Category Archives: system change

Preparing for a full spectrum approach to climate change

The lively debate in the US on a Green New Deal shows that rich countries are not yet ready for a ‘war economy’ footing on climate change. But the extreme threat of the climate emergency mean that the time has come for innovation policies that prepare us for that shift in the near future.

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Themes in ‘The Rise of Sententocracy’

The Young Foundation have recently released an anthology, celebrating the 60th anniversary of Michael Young’s classic ‘The Rise of Meritocracy’.  I had a go at answering their question – what lies beyond meritocracy? – and my piece was published. This post expands a bit more on some of the themes and thinking.

Beyond Meritocracy: The Anthology
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What if the constraint on eternal growth is biology, not physics?

When reflecting on a recent piece on the physics of eternal growth, I was struck that the fundamental challenge is not about physics but biology. Specifically, unless nature can cope with human activity, then it will collapse, taking civilisation with it. But conversely, if we can find a more of human activity which we value more and more that co-evolves with nature, then in principle we could have eternal growth.

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Industrial Strategies and a Stakeholder Economy [SESSION SLIDES]

Earlier this week I spoke at on Industrial Strategies and a Stakeholder Economy at an event on ‘Redesigning Capitalism: From shareholder to stakeholder capitalism’.

The event was run by Promoting Economic Pluralism, which is creating and supporting spaces for diverse voices, perspectives and approaches to understanding our economies to help co-create truly sustainable, resilient and inclusive ones. PEP is run by the inimitable Henry Leveson-Gower, who deserves great praise for pushing for requisite variety in economics.

Some people from the session were asking for the slides. Here they are. In a perfect world I would write a blog post of my talk, but the perfect is the enemy of the good. So, better than nothing, here are the key points from the talk:

  • We’re in a profound mess.
  • Industrial strategy is ‘back’ because new approaches are needed.
  • There is a spectrum of industrial strategies, reflecting different political preferences.
  • Addressing transformation failure probably requires a ‘participative’ approach.
  • That makes a ‘stakeholder economy’ both a means and an end.
  • Orientating everything in an economy to address the profound mess means we have to experiment everywhere.
  • There are hints of an emerging practice of transformative, participatory industrial strategy.
  • We need many global ‘social learning cycles’ to get better at using participative approaches in industrial strategies to deliver a sustainable footing.

Let’s have ESG ratings as well as credit ratings when issuing bonds

A short post to salute an initiative of Vigeo Eiris (where I am a non-executive director), which I hope will have a big contribution to shifting the finance system by making ESG information the norm in investment decisions.

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SPEECH: ‘Successful Sri Lanka in a sustainable world’

At the end of November, I had the honour of giving the Keynote speech at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2017. I was there as an affiliate of Good Karma, a Sri Lankan consultancy I’ve had the pleasure of working with this year. You can read my speech below on why economic transformation is inevitable, the best way to win the future is to invent it; and, that Sri Lanka can choose to grow towards a sustainable future.

“Rather than burden our children with our mistakes, we can inspire them with our example.”

 

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Reform vs Revolution vs Restoration approaches to sustainability

What do we mean when we talk of ‘sustainability leadership’? This is addressed by Jem Bendell et al in a new paper, who use critical theory to unpack both ‘leadership’ and ’sustainability’. After reading it, I find myself framing sustainability as about shared dilemmas (not problems), regretting managerialist capture, and pursing a restoration approach (rather than reform or revolution). I also suspect we need to find a pragmatic, fundamental approach to change, though I’m not sure what that will be.

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