The Container Store earned a top spot on the list when reports rolled in of employees saying things such as, "[I]t's rare to find a company with the same values, philosophy, and foundation principles. Going to work is like going to a family reunion every day." Research shows that this enthusiasm is a cash cow: Members of the 100 Best routinely outperform their autocratic counterparts. Indeed, American automakers' refusal to adopt team-oriented practices is often cited as the reason they could not outsell their foreign competitors.
Given that American automakers needed a bailout, Moore's movie seems more like a documentary of capitalism's authoritarian losers, rather than its democratic winners.
Self-interest is not always selfish
Business is booming for companies like Tom's Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes to needy children for each pair purchased. Psychological studies reveal a symbiotic relationship between capitalism and charity: Donations to charity increase when matched with the purchase of "luxury" products.
For instance, consumers are more willing to splurge on a $5 cup of Fair-Trade Starbucks coffee, since they can rationalize the cost as a contribution to some third-world coffee bean grower.
Contrary to Moore's view of the free market, recent research confirms that consumers are willing to buy higher-priced organic, environmentally friendly, and socially conscious products. Wanting to feel good about one's own charitableness is certainly self-interested, but is not always selfish.
Additionally, Moore laments that society has yet to learn from the antipatent altruism of Jonas Salk, who donated the intellectual property of his polio vaccine to the public domain. However, research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Eric von Hippel shows that individuals are increasingly sharing their innovations, especially within the medical industry.
So widespread is this movement, that my own father, a small-town Midwestern eye doctor, gives a free annual lecture advising developing nations on a cheap alternative to cataract machines he discovered. Because of the Internet, everyone from medical professionals to gadget enthusiasts have a convenient way to share their passions.