Capitalism has been used to justify callousness, exploitation, even slavery. But among the greed weeds grow flowers of generosity and altruism, proof that capitalism is a human institution that can occasionally respond to our better natures.
Between A.D. 25 and 32 -- Jesus throws the money changers out of the temple.
1736 -- Philadelphia newspaper publisher Benjamin Franklin organizes the first North American volunteer fire brigade.
July 4, 1851 -- The city of Baltimore celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence by releasing all debtors from jail and firing guns in their honor.
1881 -- Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie begins construction on a library in his hometown of Dunfermline, Scotland -- the first of some 2,800 libraries he will fund.
1917 -- The National Industrial Conference Board, a business organization, endorses the eight-hour workday.
1919 -- Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company starts its Industrial Assembly, a kind of model House of Representatives designed to give its 30,000 employees more say in company affairs.
1946 -- John D. Rockefeller Jr. donates $8.5 million to the United Nations for the site of its permanent headquarters in New York City.
1953 -- In his book Social Responsibilities of the Businessman, pioneer Howard Bowen makes the case for corporate social responsibility.
1978 -- The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility creates and coordinates the South African divestiture movement.
1981 -- Musician Tom Petty threatens to change his album title from Hard Promises to $8.98 when MCA tries to sell it for $9.98. Petty prevails.
1982 -- Actor Paul Newman founds Newman's Own, a for-profit food company that donates all profits to some 1,000 charities.
1985 -- Telecom Working Assets is founded with a social agenda: to support progressive causes.
1988 -- At the request of Mexican coffee farmers, the Netherlands launches Max Havelaar, the first guaranteed fair trade label.
1994 -- Rugmark Foundation, a nonprofit that works to end slavery in the rug and carpet industry, is established by rug companies and human rights organizations.
1997 -- Media mogul Ted Turner announces his intention to donate $1 billion to the United Nations over 10 years.
1999 -- Mattel launches research to find organic substitutes for plastics used in its toys.
2000 -- After widespread protests, McDonald's imposes new guidelines for its egg suppliers, banning the withholding of food and water from chickens and phasing out debeaking.
March 2001 -- Tobacco giant BAT donates $7 million to the University of Nottingham to develop the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility.
April 2001 -- Tobacco maker Philip Morris launches an ad campaign to promote its delivery of Kraft macaroni and cheese to Albanian refugees. Industry insiders estimate that the campaign costs $1 million, far more than the $125,000 the company spent on 43 tons of noodles and cheddar.
August 2001 -- Eleven major corporations, including General Motors, Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and DuPont, create the Green Power Market Development Group, a partnership designed to build profitable corporate markets for green power.
2002 -- Bainbridge Graduate Institute and Presidio School of Management launches MBA programs in sustainable business.
January 2002 -- General Motors pays $100,000 to use a Chumbawumba song in a Pontiac jingle; the anarcho band donates the entire sum to CorpWatch and IndyMedia to launch environmental campaigns against GM.
April 2002 -- U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio proposes that the Federal Bureau of Audits survey the financial statements of all publicly traded companies. The proposal fails by a vote of 39 to 381.
September 2002 -- Thanksgiving Coffee in northern California is the first U.S. company to switch to a 100 percent biodiesel truck fleet.
May 2003 -- Thirty-nine percent of shareholders in the Yum! Brands company (KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell) send a symbolic message by approving a resolution requiring the company to explain how all policies will ensure economic, social, and environmental sustainability.
September 2003 -- More than two-thirds (68 percent) of Alabama voters reject legislation proposed by Republican governor Bob Riley to shift the state's tax burden to the rich; Riley cites God's mandate 'to take care of the least among us' as his motive.
February 2004 -- Atlanta-based company Fashion Victim copyrights the iconic image of revolutionary leader Che Guevara snapped by photographer Alberto Korda in 1960.
June 2004 -- Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Unilever, with the blessings of Greenpeace and the UN Environment Programme, meet in Brussels to find alternatives to ozone-depleting refrigerants.
September 2005 -- Jefferson Parish president Aaron F. Broussard says of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, 'If the American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn't be in this crisis.'
February 2006 -- UPS orders 50 hybrid electric delivery trucks, a shipping-industry first.
March 2006 -- The International Organizationfor Standardization (ISO) announces a new ISO standard for social responsibility.