What Does It Profit Podcast

By Dr. Dawn Carpenter

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What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Spoiler alert: Nothing. This bible verse has endured over the centuries as a reminder that we can't put our price tag on what matters most. Yet, time and again, businesses have put profits above all -- leading our world to the brink of a climate catastrophe, an inequality crisis, and the greatest extinction of other creatures since the dinosaurs (except this time, the meteor is us). Can we align growing returns with the greater good? Former investment banker turned business ethicist Dr. Dawn Carpenter believes we can -- and that figuring out how just might save the world. In What Does It Profit, Dawn talks with the world's leading thinkers and researchers, entrepreneurs and executives, exploring the most innovative ways we can reconcile capitalism's demand for profit with the long term well-being of people and the planet. From socially responsible investing to conscious consumerism to business ethics in this age of extremes, Dawn is your guide to the cutting-edge ideas and experiments driving the purpose-driven business revolution. What Does It Profit?

Episode Date
SPECIAL EDITION | Whistling At the Fake: The Value of Truth in Science

In this episode, Dr. Dawn is in conversation with Dr. Elisabeth Bik and Dr. Ivan Oransky. Dr. Elisabeth Bik is a microbiologist and scientific integrity consultant who has worked to call out fraudulent scientific papers. She became renowned in her fight against the bad science behind hydroxychloroquine as an effective therapy against COVID-19 that resulted in a global Twitter assault.

Dr. Ivan Oransky is an accomplished journalist, editor, and educator who founded Retraction Watch, the world’s only aggregated database of scientific retraction. In this episode, our guests take a moral stance on science - and tell us… What Does It Profit?

This episode has been produced as part of "Whistling at the Fake: The Crucial Role of Whistleblowers in Countering Disinformation," a global business ethics research project funded by NATO's Public Diplomacy Division as part of its resilience projects. The project aims at addressing the gap of citizen comprehension of the forms, means, and impacts of misinformation and disinformation, and empowering the general public with the tools through which to identify fake news, including appropriate responses to such behaviors. The project focuses on the crucial role whistleblowers and other knowledgeable insiders play in exposing misleading and hostile information activities and increasing public resilience to acts of this nature. The project is managed by Manchester Metropolitan University and coordinated by the Principal Investigator Dr. Costantino Grasso, who serves as Associate Professor in Business and Law at Manchester Law School.

Mar 09, 2022
Off-Season | Meme Stocks vs. Short-Selling for Good-- Revisited

As we head into the 4th of July holiday weekend, we dig into the WDIP back catalog to revisit a conversation from October 2020 with The Assassin, famed short-seller Fahmi Quadir. 


Now that meme stocks are a thing and short-selling and hedge funds have made their way into social media lexicon, we thought it was time to take another listen.  


We'll be back in two weeks to share with you a conversation with Dr. Dawn and the folks at Hustlers for a Cause-- talking entrepreneurship and the soul of What Does It Profit, contributive justice.  In the meantime, Happy Birthday, America, from all of us at What Does It Profit!

Jun 30, 2021
Off-Season | Finance Justice: Promoting Lives of Greater Economic Success

In this off-season episode, we dig into the WDIP back catalog to revisit a conversation with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) CEO, Lisa Mensah where we talked about the idea of "finance justice." The original conversation was released in December 2020. The work keeps pressing forward as OFN seeks to build coalitions of investors that believe that investing in people pays rich dividends by building lives of greater economic success.

Special thanks to Peter Collins for sharing his soulful rendition of the Gospel classic "I Don't Feel Noways Tired" that provides a special kind of mojo for this episode.

For those interested in joining this movement, OFN invites WDIP listeners to join them virtually at their annual conference in October 2021.

Stay tuned. We will be back with you in two week when we talk about the big, bad "H" word:  "hedge" funds and revisit a conversation with the "Assassin," famed short-seller Fahmi Quadir. Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss a thing.  

Jun 09, 2021
Off-Season | About WDIP and Dr. Dawn w/Uncertain Things

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend-- the unofficial start of summer... at last!  At What Does It Profit, we are officially in the "Off-Season" and busy cleaning house, tuning up, and otherwise getting ready for Season 3.

During the off-season, we wanted you to get to know more about our host and the ethics work behind the show.  We also want to introduce new listeners to insights from our back catalog in mini-episodes beginning in June.

This week, we introduce you to our friends, Adaam and Vanessa of Uncertain Things.  Their social-commentary podcast is what our friends in Boston call "wicked-awesome."  Our host, Dr. Dawn, sat down during Season 2 to talk all things WDIP and the work of storytelling in finance and investment. We hope you enjoy the conversation.

May 25, 2021
Capitalism In Service to Human Rights

We’ve reached the end of our second season.  This is the time when we take a pause and look back. In today’s episode, it means looking back to our pilot episode about shareholder activism and our Season 1 bonus episode called The Price of the Ecuadorian Chernobyl. This is the story of Chevron and the decades of oil dumping in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

In this episode, we jump back into this epic David and Goliath story and get to know Steven Donziger, the human rights lawyer at the center of all of it.

Why are we having this conversation now?  After losing its case, Chevron is seeking to hinder the collection of the judgment by filing a retaliatory lawsuit meant to silence and bankrupt the lawyer representing the Ecuadorians. It’s almost unbelievable.  Do the math. Chevron owes the Ecuadorians $9.5 billion, and it’s now demanding $60 billion from Steven.

As bankers, we are trained to follow the money. And we suspect that there’s more to the story.  We have a lot we could talk to Steven about. But in this episode, we’ll try to get to know Steven and find out how he managed to turn the tables and use the tools of capitalism in service to human rights. Maybe this is what’s really spooking Chevron, and dare we suggest might be spooking the entire petrochemical industry.

Apr 28, 2021
The Economic Value of Dignity

We’ve reached the last regular episode of Season 2. Hold on to your passport. We’re still travelling.  We start in New York and then head to India with Megha Desai. Megha is the former ad agency protégé, who after a decade in the business, answered the call of the ancient Indian philosophy of Dharma. She has energized a newly transformed family foundation into a leading voice for economically and socially marginalized women in India.  Megha’s amazing work has empowered women in ways that break through centuries of marginalization. 

NOTE: Next week, we’re off to finish production on our not-to-be-missed Season 2 Bonus episode. Available on April 28. 

Season 3 will launch September 8 after a 4-month show and social media upgrade to improve the listener experience. During this time, we will bring you bi-weekly mini-episodes drawing insights and updates from conversations in our back catalog. Subscribe now, and we’ll see you in September!

Apr 14, 2021
A New Soul for the Global Economy - The Economy of Francesco

Despite being in the midst of a global pandemic, we’re going to take a trip around the world. We're talking about the Economy of Francesco (EoF) with Paulo Santori, an economic historian in Rome and with Myrian Castello, a “human-right-to-dream” activist and facilitator in Brazil. EoF is a global youth movement inspired by Pope Francis and Saint Francis of Assisi whose members and their co-operators believe that now is the time to be bold and build an economic future worthy of our humanity.

Apr 07, 2021
Time: The Most Valuable Commodity (Roberta MacDonald)

This week we stay in the co-op space a little longer and get a two-for-one. As an homage to Women’s History Month, we talk with one of the most celebrated marketer of co-ops-- and one of less than a handful of women responsible for driving the development of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, DC. We talk with Roberta MacDonald, Senior Vice President for Brand Strategy at the Cabot Creamery Cooperative about life and the story behind of one of America’s most beloved agricultural co-ops.

Mar 31, 2021
Shared Economic Benefits: Intro to Co-ops (Casey Fannon)

This week, we’re going to switch things up a bit.  We are going to talk about the idea of inclusion, but from a slightly different perspective.  We are going to learn all about economic structure called a co-op.  Sure you likely have heard of housing co-ops, maybe even grocery co-ops… but do you know just how common they are?  Let’s talk co-ops with Casey Fannon, President of the National Cooperative Bank. 

Meet the WDIP Team at www.whatdoesitprofitpodcast.com, and meet our host at www.dawncarpenter.com. Subscribe wherever you listen.  Welcome to WDIP. We’re glad you're here.

Mar 24, 2021
Diversity as a Superpower in Business (Logan Scott)

This week, we talk with Logan Scott, Manager for Diversity and Inclusion at The Walt Disney Company. Logan's work during Black History Month on the New York Times' 1619 Project inspired us. Logan talks about superheroes, diversity, equity, inclusion, and what it all means for business.

Mar 17, 2021
The Power of Superheroes (Gareb Shamus)

This week, we take storytelling to a whole new level. We learn that each of us is a “superhero” at something. We talk to the man whose Instagram feed has selfies with the Hollywood Superhero A-LIST. In some ways, we think of our guest today as a kind of superhero himself, building community where it's needed. Today, we talk with the legendary Gareb Shamus, former Chairman and CEO of Wizard Entertainment, and the Co-Founder and CEO of Ace Comic Con.

#KamalaHarris #ReadAloud


Mar 03, 2021
Corporate Democracy from the Inside Out (James McRitchie)

The winds of change are blowing in corporate governance. Where will they take us? Time will tell. This week we have a shareholder perspective from a man whose name is well-known in the investor relations offices of many of the most well-known corporations in America. We like to call him a dean of the Shareholder Rights Movement, others like to call him a corporate gadfly. You decide: corporate gadfly or an inside progenitor of the next generation of capitalism. Shareholder Activist, James McRitchie.

Feb 24, 2021
Business Roundtable: Re-conceptualizing the Corporation? (Jessica DiNapoli)

In 2020, JP Morgan CEO, Jamie Dimon’s tenure at the helm of the Business Roundtable expired. But what about this whole new way of doing business? In 2021, shareholder activists put the stakeholder governance paradigm to the test, and JP Morgan said, no. The whole issue got us thinking. It’s time for an update on this new vision for a stakeholder approach to corporate governance.  We talk with someone very familiar with what’s been going on, Reuter’s corporate governance reporter, Jessica DiNapoli.

Feb 17, 2021
Transcending Robinhood: Finance for Good? (JC de Swaan)

In this episode, we're not talking about bulls or bears.  We're talking about the big, fat elephant in the room.  The finance industry is ethically-conflicted. We talk with JC de Swaan, hedge fund investor and Princeton finance ethicist, about Robinhood, Wirecard and a few other notable companies-- as a way to frame how to do finance better.  The hope is to inspire the idea that finance can be a force for good. 

Feb 10, 2021
Democratizing Asset Management (U.S. Rep. Andy Levin)

In this episode, we explore the idea that everyone who has retirement assets should have the ability to know where their money is invested and how it has an impact in the world.  With knowledge comes power-- the power to make sound economic and moral decisions. Our guest is Congressman Andy Levin, Vice Chair of the House Education and Labor Committee and author of legislation that could make that happen.

Feb 03, 2021
What is Life Worth? (Ken Feinberg)

In this episode, we’re going to a difficult place.  How do we as a society express-- or dare we say-- determine the value of a human life?  The question itself forces us to make an important distinction between economic value and moral value. And to help us sort through this, we couldn’t think of anyone better than the Special Master of the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund-- Ken Feinberg. He is arguably the world’s leading expert mediator between the bank and the tragedy.

Jan 27, 2021
Los Muchachos: Ride or Die (Jorge Valdes)

We start our second season with one of the most notorious narco money men in US history, Jorge Valdes. We hear the story of how a 10-year old Cuban refugee becomes the youngest person to work at the Federal Reserve Bank in Miami and who then goes on in the '70s and '80s to run the international operations of the Medellin drug cartel. Jorge is one of only a handful of the leadership from that era who is still alive to tell the tale-- and Jorge's story has lessons for all of us.

Jan 20, 2021
Season 1 Bonus Episode: The Price of the Ecuadorian Chernobyl

In this special bonus episode, we revisit an issue we explored in the first episode of the season and talk with Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams about her work to engage with Chevron at its 2020 annual shareholder meeting, using her activist shareholder voice to urge for Chevron shareholders to be able to call special meetings to discuss significant issues affecting shareholder value.  In this case, it happens to be the over $3 billion the company has spent evading is over $9 billion obligation for its role in perpetrating what is described as the Ecuadorian Chernobyl and going after the human rights lawyer, Steven Donziger, who was brave enough to take on the case.

Jan 13, 2021
Season 2 Trailer

Welcome to those who have just found us... and welcome back to our loyal WDIP listeners.  This three minute trailer takes a tour through some of what we learned in Season 1 on our quest to explore the moral and social value of business.  Season 2 promises introductions to voices you might never imagine on a business show.  Think of it as Business Talk 2.0-- listen with your conscience.  Join us for new episodes on Wednesdays.  Season 2 launches January 20 2021. 

Dec 30, 2020
The Family Business: Italian-Style

In this episode, we rewind the clock to pre-COVID days and take an "audio" vacation to the Amalfi Coast of Italy.  We talk with culinary entrepreneur Chiara Lima of the famed Mamma Agata Cooking School in Ravello. Family businesses can be found all over the world, and here in Italy the "happy hands" of the entire family are involved. Buon Natale... Saluti!

Dec 23, 2020
Green Swans & Regenerative Capitalism

In this episode, we talk with CSR and sustainability legend, John Elkington.  John takes us beyond his "people, planet, and profit" to the "U-bend" and on to the green swans that bring us regenerative capitalism.  John is one of the world's leading futurists and is here with us to share his hopeful vision for the future.

Dec 16, 2020
Finance Justice & Finance First Responders

In this episode, we talk with Lisa Mensah, President and CEO of the Opportunity Finance Network about "finance justice."  We talk about how the struggle for justice in our country has much to do with money.  We talk about the work of CDFIs (Community Develop Financial Institutions) and the role that they play in fostering economic justice in some of our nation's most challenged and disinvested communities.  She offers a vision for a path forward and celebrates and encourages participation with some unlikely partners. (Special music credit in this episode goes to Peter Collins. Listen to more on Spotify.)

Dec 09, 2020
Idle Savings - An Opportunity for Change

In this episode, we talk with Cat Berman, CEO and co-founder of CNote, a specialty investment firm that seeks to turn idle savings into resources for change. Cat left her role at Charles Schwab to use her finance and investment skills to bring high-quality financial products to underserved markets.  Cat discusses the transformative power of finance and the multiplier affect of strategic investments.

Dec 02, 2020
Patriotic Millionaires and the "S" word

In this episode, we talk with former BlackRock executive, Morris Pearl, about his crusade to enlist his fellow millionaires to support the idea that even the rich see it in their interest to pay more taxes. Capitalist to the core, Pearl warns critics not to conflate paying taxes and civic duty with the naughty scare-word: socialism.

Nov 25, 2020
Corporate Mismanagement: Bad Apples, Barrels, and Orchards

In this episode, we talk with business ethicist Kirk O. Hanson about corporate misbehavior. He and co-author Marc Epstein posit a theory that not only are there bad apples, but there are also bad barrels-- and some industries are just ripe with bad orchards.  In their book, Rotten: Why Corporate Misconduct Continues and What to Do about It, they tell the tales that end up inspiring corporate scandal documentaries on Netflix.  But what they do that the documentaries don't is give a prescription for how to clean it all up.

Nov 18, 2020
Whistleblowers: Forward Indicators of Risk

In this episode, we talk with one of the world’s leading lawyers for whistleblowers, Mary Inman of Constantine Cannon. Mary tells us the story behind the famous whistleblowers at Theranos and Boeing and offers insight on the often-heroic sacrifices of those who see it as their duty to the common good to stand up for better behavior in business.  Mary challenges us to rethink how we view whistleblowers and inspires us to see them as she does—forward indicators of risk.

Nov 11, 2020
The Corporate Civil Rights Movement

In this episode, we talk with UCLA corporate law historian Adam Winkler about that other civil rights movement-- the corporate civil rights movement. Its seems like an apt conversation to have on a business show amidst these dynamic times and this generation's civil rights movement.  Move over Pete Seeger, Beyonce, and Z-Ro and make room for Roy Zimmerman. Corporations as people... corporations with civil rights? It is an old story. In fact, you might be surprised just how old.

Nov 04, 2020
Politics - Corporate Style

In this episode, our guests talk corporate politics—but not the back-biting, ladder-climbing politics kind. We talk with Dan Ekstein, a leading corporate political strategist and muse about Levi's and Patagonia's call to political action. We also talk with Gabe Rissman, co-Founder of yourstake.org—a data management company that works with investment advisors to help them identify the ESG metrics of portfolios—including the political dimensions.  Big surprises when Gabe takes a look at our host’s portfolio.

Oct 28, 2020
Short-selling for the Common Good

In this episode, we talk with Fahmi Quadir, known as the assassin of Wall Street to some, but a hero to us.  Fahmi is one of the world's leading short-selling hedge fund managers who looks to use a short investing strategy to achieve alpha... and to focus the world on companies whose demise makes the world a better place.  In our conversation, we hear about two of her iconic trades-- one in pharmaceuticals and one in fintech, but both capturing the attention of the industry and those who hold hope that Wall Street can be a force for good.

Oct 21, 2020
Corporate Consciousness & the Healing Power of Business

In this episode, we talk with the Father of the Conscious Capitalism Movement, Raj Sisodia.  We explore the idea that business has the capacity to be the engine for tremendous positive change on both a personal and societal level. He also reminds us that business, if not practiced in a conscious way, can also be the source of marginalization and exploitation.  We are inspired by his stories of how some companies have cracked the code.

Oct 21, 2020
Shareholder Activism and Long-term Values

In this episode, we talk with shareholder activism pioneer, Bruce Herbert of Newground Social Investment. Bruce recently brought together an A-list celebrity team from Alec Baldwin, Roger Waters, and Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams to make the case that there are Chevron shareholders who believe it is both in the company's interest and the interest of the common good to honor its obligations of restitution for perpetrating decades of environmental degradation in the Ecuadorian Amazon on a scale never seen in human history.

Oct 21, 2020
WDIP Trailer

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?  Spoiler alert: Nothing. 

This bible verse has endured as a reminder that we can't put our price tag on what matters most.  Yet, time and again, businesses have put profits above all. Can we align growing returns with the greater good? Former investment banker turned business ethicist Dawn Carpenter believes we can -- and that figuring out how just might save the world. 

Sep 09, 2020