These protocol-equipped figures pressed companies to embrace a new philosophy: Do each of your activities where it can be best done, wherever that might be. You raised money from Korean investors, sourced from Mexico, sold in France, paid taxes in the Caribbean, and, when growth hit, chose a Swiss bank or ethereal Bitcoins to store the proceeds—or reinvested them in whatever venture on earth promised you the most attractive returns. It was an expansion of commercial freedom. Porter suggested, however, that it had disrupted an older pattern of companies behaving with a sense of citizenship. “There is somehow a detachment because of this notion of globalization—that we’re no longer an American company,” he said. “And the odds are that if you’re operating all around the world, then you don’t have any special requirement to worry about Milwaukee.” Somewhere on the road to globalization, Porter said, the self-image of business as a pillar of community had yielded to a self-image of “We’re global now, and that’s no longer our problem.” He added, “They started not accepting any responsibility for that community because they didn’t think it was their job, and they could always move somewhere else if that community didn’t want to do its thing.” This was a win-lose: The companies had flourished because of their freedom to escape and the community’s lack of leverage.
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