THESE are dark days for the shaving industry. After experiencing a century of fairly steady growth, makers of razors and other shaving equipment have seen revenues level off or fall in the last few years. Beards are back.
One striking feature of this resurgence is that for the first time in well over a century, a growing number of the world’s business leaders are sporting facial hair. Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, Goldman Sachs’s chief executive, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and Marc Benioff, the billionaire founder and chief executive of Salesforce, are just a few prominent examples.
It’s easy to view the bearded business leader as a mere extension of the overall beard trend, or yet another sign that work environments are becoming more casual. But the tangled history of facial hair and capitalism suggests that deeper forces are at work.
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