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Socially Responsible?

Last night, Ben and Jerry, the founders of the ice cream company, were on the Colbert Report. Besides promoting their new flavor “Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream,” they took a moment to get serious. Ben Cohen held up a cloth disk (which turned out to be a kind of Frisbee). It had a pie chart that displayed that half of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon, leaving little else for social causes. He then implored people to go to TrueMajority.org to learn more.

Ben and Jerry’s is known for being a socially conscious company — their website alone has information on improving America’s education programs, stopping global warming, preventing animal cloning, and helping family-owned farmers — but the overt political statement surprised me.

Is this the new state of social capitalism? Speaking out against your government? Should business-leaders use their personas to sway the public’s opinion about the government’s ability to govern? Or is this no different than speaking against cloned animals and praising organic farming?

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