DAVOS, SWITZERLAND -- This week, while candidates "squirmished" in advance of Iowa, more than 2,000 global leaders gathered here for the World Economic Forum. The theme was The Fourth Industrial Revolution -- the coming era of automation and smart technology -- and what business can do to help meet the big challenges ahead of us. The dominant refrain was the need for business leaders to put purpose at the center of the definition of business itself. It's a shift, already underway, with the power to not only improve the world but also boost the bottom line. As Unilever CEO Paul Polman put it, "investing in the common good, investing in the long term, is a better investment than just your short-term self-interest." What came through loud and clear this year was a growing realization that companies that chase short-term profits at the expense of social responsibility won't last very long. It's not just a better and more enlightened way forward; it's the only way forward.
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