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The benefits of benefit corporations

New form of business allows charitable organizations to exist alongside for-profit companies with less risk

The Beatles left a vast legacy that continues to influence music and musicians around the world more than 40 years after they broke up as a group. They have a business legacy that has not fared quite so well. The well-known story of Apple Corps Ltd. is one of colossally bad management that allowed massive employee pilfering, outrageous travel and entertainment expenses and employees who gave themselves raises. At one point the company used a psychic to authorize business deals. No wonder John Lennon called it a “psychedelic Woolworth.”

Although Apple Corps was organized as a traditional business, its founders were not interested in making a profit. When Paul McCartney and Lennon announced the company in 1968, McCartney said, "It's just trying to mix business with enjoyment. We're in the happy position of not needing any more money. So for the first time, the bosses aren't in it for profit.” He said he wanted Apple Corps to be “a controlled weirdness … a kind of Western communism." Later, Lennon said, "It's more of a trick to see if we can actually get artistic freedom within a business structure, to see if we can create nice things and sell them without charging three times our cost".

Bruce Collins

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