Thursday, November 24, 2011

Richard Branson empathy for "Occupy Wall Street" protesters - 23rd November 2011


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As the fourth richest man in the United Kingdom, Sir Richard Branson is not part of the "99 percent," a phrase coined by the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters to describe those making less than the richest one percent.

But the Virgin boss and self-made billionaire has empathy for protesters currently making headlines all over the world, reported Tuesday.

"It is a very positive movement, it's a peaceful movement and it needs to make businesses all over the world sit up and listen," Branson said at the Rock the Kasbah party in support of his non-profit Virgin Unite foundation in Hollywood.

He said his new book, titled "Screw Business as Usual," actually has a message similar to that of the protests.

"Basically its saying that business should come to be a force for good, it should get out there and tackle the problems of the world," he explained. "In that way, it hopefully can regain its reputation and the need to 'Occupy Wall Street' will be less."

Branson also said he is optimistic that the movement will have a positive impact in turning the corporate world around for the better.

"It should happen in packs and I really think its capitalism is going to have a good name rather than a bad name," he said. "It's up to the people who are lucky enough to be in a position of power through businesses to utilize that power responsibly that's so very, very important."

As a teenager, Branson spent time running from police wielding batons as he marched on the American embassy in England in an effort to try to stop the Vietnam War.

"I'm a lad of the 60s and I think we had a social conscience in those days," he recalled. "So from quite a young age I set up an advisory for the young people and through the advisory center I got a great understanding of people who were struggling in life, and I'm in a position where I can make a real difference and I'm determined to make a real difference."

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