Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Conversation

“The true spirit of conversation consists more in bringing out the cleverness of others than in showing a great deal of it yourself; he who goes away pleased with himself and his own wit is also greatly pleased with you.”
- Jean de La Brùyere

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Our Food is Making us Sick

If you eat food in the US, you must watch this 18 min video of Robyn O’Brien at the 2011 TEDxAustin. Hailed as Food's Erin Brockovitch by the NYTimes, Robyn is on a quest to uncover the secrets of American food production and how it is making us sick.

She also authored “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.” A former Wall Street food industry analyst, Robyn founded allergykidsfoundation.org after discovering her child developed an allergy to certain foods and started digging into the cause. She was named by Forbes as one of “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter.”


Thursday, March 17, 2011

New corporate structures that combine mission and profit

In this excellent article in strategy+business magazine, Marjorie Kelly describes four companies structures that have harmoniously integrated both profit and mission.  Examples of these mission controlled yet publicly traded companies with revenues greater than $1 include: New York Times, Novo Nordisk in Denmark, Grupo Nueva in Chile, and Google with its integrated .org philanthropic department.  Read the article to learn more about each company's different control structure.  BCorp has now established as a possible structure for companies who desire to protect both mission and profit.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sustainable Politics depends on Trust


But when it comes to politics, where over 300 million people are affected, and the issues are many, complex and interdependent, systematic trust building is necessary.  Often, what is promised simply cannot be delivered in a short timeframe due to the complexity of the task and unanticipated roadblocks.  In this case, the best tool for building systematic trust is transparency.  It doesn’t help that the media likes to quote leaders out of context, taking promises made years ago and contrasting it with a shortfall clip of today, without explaining the complexities and direction change in between.  Adding to this are the emotional attachments to each political party’s historical branding.  To combat this requires a place where facts are displayed for all to see.   This would at least provide some basis for objective examination, even if political affiliations tend to be based on emotion rather than intellect.


Obama started pushing transparency in his administration with his Declaration of Transparency.  The reviews are mixed.  It’s better than before, but this TIME article criticizes the lack of total transparency by the administration on the item of White House visitor logs.  Indeed, even when it comes to transparency, there are many gray zones since there are national security concerns around transparency.  But federal program performance should be visible, and to a large extent, it is more visible today.  USAspending.gov provides information on where the government is spending money, while Data.gov provides various data sets from government agencies.  Recovery.gov tracks recovery dollar funded projects and results, and the coming-soon Performance.gov will provide reviews of agency performance that will be taken into consideration as the White House makes budgetary plans.

Today’s issues are complex and increasingly interrelated.  Transparency should a priority factor in trust building.  Everyone will have their own opinion when it comes to politics; check out this Bloomberg piece on CEO ratings of Obama’s performance.  So it’s imperative to provide all the information necessary so that people can make an informed opinion.  It's the essence of good, sustainable politics in today's skeptic environment.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Money Fix and the Unemployment Paradox

The monetary system operates on the premise of scarcity.  Less money is issued than needed in order to maintain the value of money.  So while there is plenty of work to be done, and plenty of desire to work, there is currently a lack of jobs.  Why the unemployment paradox?  This movie, The Money Fix, explains how money is created and its systemic deficiency that creates the unemployment paradox.  Communities are solving the problem by bartering.

The movie provides a good explanation of how money is created by the federal bank, gives compelling interviews of community bartering systems, and explores money scarcity as the reason for the unemployment paradox.  It is weak on explaining the finer details of some of its assertions, such as the assertion that someone in the system has to eventually go bankrupt due to the scarcity in the money supply.  Nonetheless, it is an interesting watch.