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By Claudia Viek
Posted on: May 7, 2016
For National Small Business Week, l’d like to draw attention to the potential of business ownership to address the wealth gap in all of our communities. Most of the attention of the inequality gap has been on the disappearing middle, but there’s a racial component to the problem as well. Wealth owned by white households is more than 10 times that of Latinos and 13 times that of African Americans. Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve, has said that business ownership is one of the four pillars of wealth creation.We know what works to grow small businesses. In California, $2 million in... read more
By Zach Bernstein
Posted on: May 3, 2016
The closer we get to the November elections, the less likely it appears that Congress will take major action on any issue. Especially for the crucial issue of climate change, which requires that we put a ceiling on global temperatures now, this is bad news.Better news is that several states, those "laboratories of democracy," as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis put it, are doing their job. They're considering moving forward on a major piece of climate policy—passing a carbon tax. A few states in particular are showing signs of progress:In Massachusetts, two bills are currently before... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: May 3, 2016
Last week, 175 world leaders inked an accord to slow climate change by cutting carbon emissions worldwide. The agreement commits the U.S. to reduce carbon emissions 26 percent by 2025. Other nations have made similar commitments.But even as the ink dries, a debate rages about how to achieve the reductions. Some believe it should be done top-down, by regulation, directing the industries that emit most of the carbon pollution to make specific cuts. Others believe that the government should refrain from industry-by-industry directives and instead tax carbon uniformly across the entire economy.... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 20, 2016
Efforts to boost the minimum wage made real progress this week. California just approved an increase to $15 an hour by 2022, with New York close behind. This more than doubles the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. If extended nationally, the new $15 minimum would benefit more than 50 million Americans.Large national business organizations have strenuously opposed raising the minimum wage. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce couches its opposition in worker-friendly terms, saying that "minimum wage increases end up hurting the people they're intended to help." The National Federation of... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 5, 2016
Innovation – usually led by technology – eats business models for breakfast. Amazon lays waste to brick-and-mortar retailing, Uber wrecks the taxi industry and online media sucks the life out of newspapers. Innovations like these create value for consumers as they inflict pain on any employees, investors and communities that are caught on the wrong side of change.The corporate names that lead the disruption capture our attention. But in the background, other players create new bits and pieces that accelerate the disruption and relieve some of the pain. This infrastructure takes many forms:... read more
By Pat Heffernan
Posted on: April 4, 2016
March marks Women’s History Month again, but I am not celebrating. Stories and images of courageous women of the past are everywhere. These women deserve recognition — they fought hard to advance equal rights and access for the majority of the U.S. population who happen to have been born female. Yet in 2016, I find it increasingly difficult to talk about celebrating for one month a year when there are so few signs of positive progress to improve the lives of women. How can we better harness attention, social change innovations, and sustainable economy principles to advance gender equality?... read more
Citizens United
By Penniman and Potter
Posted on: March 31, 2016
Campaign finance is arguably the breakout issue of this election year. Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both rail constantly against Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that opened up election spending to corporations and super PACs. On the GOP side, candidates' super PACs have garnered as much news media scrutiny as the candidates themselves.This might seem like music to the ears of those who worry about how money dominates politics. But Citizens United is only the harmony, not the melody of that tune. The much greater threat to America's hallowed... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: March 21, 2016
As different as Donald Trump and independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are, they have one important policy goal in common. It’s a dangerous goal, one that elites in both parties must counter, before a new public consensus is formed and grave damage is done to the economy.Both Trump and Sanders are, at their heart, protectionists. They both believe in tariffs and other obstacles to prevent foreign-made goods from competing with American-made goods, and keep foreign worker salaries from driving down Americans’ pay. Trump is the most direct and vocal about it, calling for tariffs as high as 45... read more
By Manisha Paralikar
Posted on: March 16, 2016
Are you an idealist?  Do you believe in sustainability?  Has idealism led corporations to embed sustainability throughout their operations? Wait, is that last part even a reality?Some might question whether it has, or if it can even be. Others – including me, and probably you – work in your business every day toward that goal in the face of obstacles, hypocrisy, and as Christine Bader notes in The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist, even our own contradictions.  Using Bader’s decade-long experience promoting human rights standards within BP as a backdrop, Evolution is a fast-paced, fun book... read more
By Warren Taylor
Posted on: March 10, 2016
Food labeling is the ground on which the battle for the future of America’s food system is being fought. Consumers increasingly want to know more about how their food is produced and processed. They support labeling foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) - to the tune of 89 percent, according to polling from last year. They want to know where it comes from, and what goes into it. This market trend is undeniable.Despite this trend toward more organic and non-GMO food, the industrial agriculture lobby group Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food is advocating a national food labeling... read more

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