Larry Di Rita, former aide to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and current spokesperson for Bank of America, joined HuffPost Live in Davos Friday to discuss the role banks can play in the fight against income inequality.
"The greatest jobs creator in the history of the world is economic growth," Di Rita said. "Where economic growth happens, jobs follow. And where jobs follow, income's rise and there's prosperity."
"What we can do and other financial services companies [can do] to spur economic growth [is] to lend and invest." He continued. "[That] should ultimately lead to job creation, and job creation is the ultimate antidote to income inequality. We very much see that as an important objective."
Some of the bank's other recent charitable activities could have a positive effect as well, Di Rita said. To just take one example, Bank of America recently teamed up with with Bono and and AIDS charity (RED).
"We've made a $10 million arrangement with (RED) for the Global Fund involving a song that will premiere in an ad during the Super Bowl and when the ad runs people will have 24 hours to download the song," he said. "For every download we'll contribute a dollar to (RED), up to $2 million."
That kind of engagement is just what the bank's customers are looking for, Di Rita said.
"People want to be involved, including through the financial services companies they associate with, with things that we support, things that they believe in and things that make them feel better about the companies they do business with."
01/25/2014 10:07 AM EST
Bill Gates Discusses The Hyper-Connectivity Concern
01/25/2014 10:06 AM EST
Polman's View On Work/Life Balance
"We are very fortunate to do what we like to do... so I get a lot of energy out of what I do," Polman said.
"I don't personally believe in work/life balance," Polman said, adding that he hopes to have a happy life balance that includes his work.
"We have to watch what we do, I like to run so I do that every day, and increasingly watch what you eat and maintain your health a little bit," Polman said.
01/25/2014 10:00 AM EST
'We Have A Moral Obligation'
"I think we have a moral obligation to use what is given to us for the benefit of all," Polman said.
"We have no rights to exclude people," Polman said.
01/25/2014 9:59 AM EST
Statue Of Responsibility
"I always say when they built the Statue of Liberty on the east coast of the United States, they forgot to build the Statue of Responsibility on the west coast," Polman said.
01/25/2014 9:56 AM EST
'We Really Need To Move Into Reaction Mode'
"I think people are starting to discover that we really need to move into reaction mode," Polman said.
Polman said the political process has become "incredibly difficult" and is riddled with "poor agreements."
"There is some progress but frankly, not fast enough, and the business community can not wait," Polman said.
"There is more of an urge from responsible business... to drive to action," Polman added.
01/25/2014 9:55 AM EST
'There Is An Enormous Demand On Food'
"Obviously as the population grows with the changing dietary habits, there is an enormous demand on food," Polman said.
Polman said he's worked to find sustainable solutions to food production.
01/25/2014 9:52 AM EST
'There's An Enormous Pressure On The CEO Of Today'
Arianna sat down with Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, on HuffPost Live at Davos on Saturday to talk about pressure in business.
"There's a lot of pressure on the short-term," Polman said.
"There's an enormous pressure on the CEO of today," Polman added.
Polman said "the real purpose of business is to serve society," not to cater to the shareholder, but often the latter is what CEOs are focused on because of pressure.
01/25/2014 9:22 AM EST
Al Gore: 'We Need To Put A Price On Denial In Politics'
01/25/2014 8:49 AM EST
Brad Smith On Unplugging
Smith said he unplugs by getting outside and learning new things by doing things like reading.
"To me, that's a real joy," Smith said.
01/25/2014 8:45 AM EST
Relationship Between Business And Government
Smith said the relationship between business and government has a few different dimensions that usually exist at the same time.
"The government defines the laws and we comply with them," Smith said. "There may be times we think the government goes too far and we challenge them... there are times when we work together. There are times when the government is our customer."
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