Thursday, February 12, 2009

Behind the Great Firewall of China: Freedom, Control, and Democracy on the Internet

The Great Firewall of China is widely known, but what does it look like, how does it operate? Policy Innovations advisor Rebecca MacKinnon gave a fascinating presentation on Freedom and Control on the Internet at the Open Society Institute in New York earlier this week, detailing some of the trends and practices in Chinese censorship.

Search engine censorship is one of the primary forms. Rebecca showed examples of the different sets of image results one gets from and from when searching for Tiananmen massacre., the global site, returns photos depicting violence and victims., the Chinese domestic version, shows nothing of the sort. Instead the results include at least one photo of the Nanjing massacre.

Rebecca also showed what happens when you try to visit banned sites or post sensitive words to a blog. Banned sites are made to look like you're experiencing a temporary technical error, and blog posts with sensitive words can elicit a pop-up that says the "community editors" will get back to you shortly, so don't repost your text. Of course, you never hear from them and your draft never gets published.

The Chinese government is also proactive about shaping opinions online, throwing their support behind organizations like anti-CNN, a website that combats "the lies and distortions of facts from the Western media." They also pay members of what has come to be known as the 50-Cent Party to post opinions favoring the government and its policies in online forums. 50 Cent refers not to the American rapper but the per-post rate these loyalists receive.

Spoof and humor seems to be the predominant form of online criticism that is somewhat tolerated. In the wake of the recent Mandarin Oriental hotel fire next to the Chinese Central TV headquarters building—which has been dubbed the "underpants" building by Beijingers due to its unique two-legged architecture—various visual puns and mashups appeared online mocking CCTV. It turns out CCTV caused the blaze with illegal fireworks while celebrating Chinese New Year. Sadly one firefighter died and several were injured in the incident, but humor nonetheless belongs in politics, as the Tina Fey phenomenon made clear during the U.S. election.

A parallel trend of resistance is what Harvard's Ethan Zuckerman describes as the cute cat theory of digital activism: where free speech, organizing, and other forms of anti-authoritarian protest piggyback on social media that are primarily intended for benign and mundane activities like sharing photos of adorable pets. Authorities can't take down the whole site to delete the protest group pages without killing the cat appreciation society pages, too.

So is the Chinese government worried about online activism and dissent moving into the streets? Very much so. This is where the rubber meets the road, said MacKinnon, although no opposition party has yet to emerge from the Internet. The true test may come later this year as economic downturn meets a slew of dramatic anniversaries: March 31, 1959, Dalai Lama flees Tibet; June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square; October 1, 1949, People's Republic of China founded.

MacKinnon emphasized that Internet norms in the West will influence what happens in China. We're at a stage where large communications companies exist in a mediating layer between people and their governments. If this layer remains opaque, then the system will tend to reinforce incumbent power, she said. To help keep things transparent, Rebecca has worked to develop the Global Network Initiative, a voluntary code of conduct for the ICT industry. Through a multi-stakeholder process, GNI has crafted a "collaborative approach to protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the ICT sector." She says we may see companies conducting "human rights feasibility assessments" in the near future.

Operating in an environment of censorship presents ICT companies with significant ethical choices. Should they fudge on their philosophy to gain early market access? Will fostering some openness be better than none at all? How sensitive should they be to the domestic affairs of a sovereign nation?

Chinese private enterprises don't have the luxury of ruminating on these matters. In fact, they are legally responsible for the content their users post, and the government can rescind their business licenses if they don't manage to keep controversial material off the web. For the individual user who wants to maintain freedom and anonymity, there are options such as the Tor project.

The Robot Revolution Is Now

The robot revolution in war is upon us, according to PW Singer, who recently came to speak at the Carnegie Council's Public Affairs program in New York City.

Some ethical points that Singer raised concerning the use of robots in war:

1. As the human cost of war falls, will there be more war?
2. Will terrorism become easier with robots?
3. Does the use of robots mean war is further commercialized?

4. With the resulting first-person videos from robots in war, are we going to get a Hollywood-esque YouTube-ization of war?
5. Human failings and the fog of war still abound despite the use of robots.
6. Is the use of technology scary or just cowardly?
7. What is the message users of robots send to their "enemies"? Does it glorify the courageous people who are fighting an imperial robot army, like Star Wars?

Photo by leodirac.

Migration Policy Gone Awry: The Gulden Coffee Story, Part II

In 2007, Policy Innovations ran the story of Gulden Coffee, a fair trade coffee business based in New Jersey that imported coffee directly from Colombia. Yesterday, we learned that Gulden Coffee is being liquidated because one of the owners, who had an investor's visa, was not let back in the United States. Ironically, the end of her story in Policy Innovations talked about creating jobs in the United States:

I am proud that GÜLDEN Coffee is an American company, supporting increased trade and investment between the United States and Colombia. It will mean more jobs in both countries. The exchange with the farmer touched my heart, encouraging me to strive even harder to make my family's small business a success that I can share with coffee workers and small producers around the globe.

I spoke with one of the owners this morning to learn they will have to fire all of their employees (half a dozen) and liquidate a company in this terrible economic environment.

With Ana's permission, I am posting her email, which I received last night.

Dear Devin,

How are you? I hope everything is good for you.

I was reading your article about "Is Ethical Capitalism Possible?" and I decided to tell you something that happen to me and my company Gulden Coffee.

On November 2008 I came to Colombia because have to renewed my Investor visa (I am not yet an American residence). I came to your embassy for my interview. Unfortunately on that day I was told by the consul that I was not eligible for that kind of visa. I was also told that the main reason for such denial-decision was mostly related to the volume of my business; apparently such volume was not big enough, as it is required.

On December 23, 2008, following with the consul instructions, I came back to the embassy to apply for the business visa. As I explained to the consul, my main objective now was to go back to the USA and find a manager for my business. Again, the consul denied my application, apparently because of my lack of employment in Colombia. As I was explained by the consul, my profile didn't meet the criteria for that kind of visa. Needless to say, I tried my best to explain the consul why I didn't have employment in Colombia. I told him that the main reason was due to the fact that I have been in the USA since 2000, working hard, building my business and respecting and obeying all the USA laws.

Since that day I am trying to contact the American Ambassador via email and mail, and he did not answer (I enclosed the letter). So we decided to close our company, fire employees and explain to my clients why we are out of the business. I cannot believe that this happen to us. We are good people trying to do business, pay taxes and contributing for American Economy. I am in shock but if USA does not want us, I won't insist any more. I am in Colombia and I will open my business here and trying to build wherever I did in NY.

I want to thank you because you were very nice with us. If you are planning to came to Colombia please don't forget to contact me….I will always remember you…..take care,

Ana Maria Trejos-Gulden

I hope we will hear a happier part III to this story.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Financial Crisis Now an Economic Crisis

This may seem subtle and even obvious but this point occured to me today while reading an article by Daniel Gross in Slate on Secretary Geithner's speech about the bailout. The hostile punditry and market response seemed premature to me, given the fact that his speech could have been a lot worse and the Obama team has only been in office a couple of weeks.

But back to the point: It appears we in the United States and elsewhere are moving from a financial crisis to a real economic crisis. Words matter when considering policy.

Here is Gross's final paragraph. You can follow the links:

The great challenge for Obama now is that the economy at large is beginning to resemble the financial sector. The latest readings on job losses, auto sales, and overall economic growth show an economy that is spiraling downward. Politicians may be hoping that the economy is like a bungee-cord jumper, who, after experiencing a sickening drop, experiences great relief as he bounces back sharply. But they might want to temper the promises they make about recovery. Many economists believe we need a bigger stimulus package, not a smaller one. Obama's rhetoric about recovery may be reassuring, but, at this point, Geithner's pessimism is more credible.


In the past few days a number of initiatives have come out of the White House that suggest the Obama administration sees conservation as a major component of its energy policy. Stephen Chu, the new Energy Secretary, has long advocated efficiency [opens YouTube link] as the quickest, cheapest untapped resource. More recently President Obama, through words and actions, has lent his vote of support to these efforts. In a speech to staff at the Department of Energy Obama emphasized rising efficiency as one tool in our battle to “end the tyranny of oil in our time.”

So where does this battle begin? With a presidential memorandum calling for the DoE to “set new efficiency standards for common household appliances… [to] conserve tremendous amounts of energy. “ The aim is to “save through these simple steps over the next 30 years the amount of energy produced over a two-year period by all the coal-fired power plants in America.”

If the Japanese experience is anything to go by, the President is understating the impact a concerted conservation drive can have on energy consumption. As Devin Stewart and I write in “How Japan Became an Efficiency Superpower: Lessons for U.S. Energy Policy under Obama,” Japan has successfully decoupled its economic growth from energy consumption, achieving efficiencies unmatched anywhere in the world.

A measure of skepticism at this point could be warranted. After all, Japan has become what Devin Stewart calls an “Efficiency Superpower” not over night, but over the course of 30 years of consistent policies. Yet that same institutional momentum that has allowed Tokyo to get to where it is today in terms of energy policy seems to be now building in Washington.

Aside from the high-profile appointments of Dr. Chu to the DoE or Carol Browner as White House Energy and Climate Change advisor, appointments to other government agencies show concern with climate change and energy conservation will be high on the agenda. The administration’s selection of Ron Sims, a former Executive of King County, Washington, as deputy secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development is a case in point. In his former role Sims advocated for the expansion of public transportation, protection of green space, and increased biofuel use. His appointment complements White House’s pick of Shaun Donovan, a champion of energy-efficient affordable housing at New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, as HUD Secretary.

With more and more policies on energy and the environment coming out of the Administration, it may be just a matter of time before other tried-and-tested ideas from our allies abroad are translated into U.S. policy. Germany, for example, has been successful at promoting electricity production with wind and solar by in effect raising the cost of energy high enough to make renewables competitive with conventional (fossil-fuel fed) generation.

Both in the EU and East Asia cars have become much more efficient over the past 30 years mainly not due to government mandates (though these also play a role), but to higher petrol taxes. The return of low oil prices, expected to last another two or even three years, may cause the old standby – imported oil – and the age of the SUV to be upon us once again. Should lessons from our friends in Europe and Japan fail to reach the halls of Washington then, as Evan O’Neil writes, “Obama Could Miss the Bus on Raising Gas Tax” – and therefore miss a great opportunity to dampen oil consumption and make the American economy energy-competitive again.

For the time being, what has become abundantly clear is that science has regained its rightful place in government decision-making. The stimulus bill, in its current iteration, contains a smorgasbord of energy initiatives targeted at renewables, conservation, and research. Let us only hope that, in President Obama’s words, Capitol Hill understands that “inaction is not an option that is acceptable … -- not on energy, not on the economy, not at this critical moment.” The United States, and the world, cannot afford another 30 years of rudderless drift.
Photo Credit: Energy Conservation is Executing by owen-jp

Monday, February 9, 2009

The "D" Word: Deglobalization

Once described as inevitable, unstoppable, and irreversible, the great economic experiment with global integration is faltering.

Before we go any further, let's be clear about something. Globalization has been declared dead before. But in the past, those peddling reports of its demise seemed just a little too eager, barely able to conceal their glee. And, of course, they were never quite able to produce the body.

This time, things are different. There are bodies everywhere. This time nobody's smiling.

Financial Times editor Martin Wolf described the mood at January's meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland as "gloom verging on despair." British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned recently that the global economy was in a "downward spiral."

These are not the voices of protest. Wolf is the author of a 2004 book titled Why Globalization Works. Brown has called globalization "a force for good." This is about as far away as you get from the anti-globalization crowd that regularly shows up to demonstrate at meetings of international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO.

In normal times, these are voices that exemplify sobriety. These are not normal times. Brown even uttered the "D" word – depression – a word placed off limits by economists long ago out of fear that its mere use would spread unnecessary fear and minimize the collective global misery of the 1930s.

There is, however, another "D" word looming out there, one so clunky and unappealing that it is unlikely ever to end up in the title of a best-seller: Deglobalization.

When people think of globalization, they often think in terms of "flows" – trade flows, investment flows, immigration flows. This is a useful way of looking at it, because it provides an easy measure of globalization's progress at any given time. The greater the flows the more integrated the global economy has become. Over the last few decades the progress has all been in one direction.

Those days are gone. Trade flows have begun to drop off. Foreign direct investment has been declining for the last two years and is projected to dip even further in 2009.

But deglobalization, like globalization, will not merely be limited to flows of financial capital and manufactured good. It will affect people as well.

In the United Kingdom, a French-owned company's plan to hire Portuguese and Italian contractors rather than British workers recently resulted in a nationwide string of work stoppages. In South Africa, immigrants and refugees from neighboring Zimbabwe have been targets of xenophobic violence.

Economic pain has led members of both U.S. political parties to support "Buy American" and "Hire American" provisions as part of federal stimulus spending.

"The purpose of this program, asking taxpayers to sacrifice, is really not to create jobs in the European Union," Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, the second highest ranking member of the Senate, told French news agency AFP. "I want to create jobs in Illinois."

“With the unemployment rate at 7.2 percent, there is no need for companies to hire foreign workers … when there are plenty of qualified Americans looking for jobs," added Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley.

With friends suddenly in short supply and serious talk of protectionism in the air, globalization is clearly on the run. But could the American credit and mortgage crises actually force the mighty wave of globalization into reverse?

Why not? It's happened before.

The collapse of the Byzantine Empire destroyed the 2,000 year-old Silk Road and plunged the rich world into a mercantilist scramble for colonies. The global integration of the late 19th century – a time economist John Maynard Keynes called an "extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man" – was undone by the horrors of World War I, resulting in nearly 40 years of beggar-thy-neighbor trade policies and anemic worldwide economic growth rates.

Over the last half century, globalization has had salutary effects on governance, innovation, and prosperity. It is a controversial process, to be sure, but a return to mercantilism seems certain to prolong the current crisis.

The challenge for policy makers will be to resist political pressure to de-globalize. The temptation will be strong, but giving in will not be de-lovely.

Photo Credit: Buy American! by Photo Mojo

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Should America "Buy American"? Remember the Golden Rule

Today, joining European leaders and U.S. President Obama, Japanese prime minister Taro Aso weighed in on the ethics of the "Buy American" clause (championed by the U.S. steel industry) in the stimulus bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week. From Bloomberg:

"'Buy American' is definitely wrong," Aso said today in parliament. "It's clearly against the spirit of the World Trade Organization to say you must use American steel to make bridges."

From a strictly utilitarian perspective, more American companies use steel than produce it. Protecting a few U.S. steel jobs at the expense of larger U.S. companies bears scrutiny. As economist Douglas Irwin put it in the New York Times: "General Electric and Caterpillar have opposed the Buy American provision because they fear it will hurt their ability to win contracts abroad."

But it is worth remembering another, perhaps more universal ethical principle--the Golden Rule--in making policy.

In this Christian Science Monitor editorial, the Golden Rule is invoked:

If "Buy American" is not expunged from the recovery package, President Obama will cede his moral authority to lead the world away from mutually destructive trade policies – triggered by a crisis for which the US shares much blame.

To recover, America will have to export more, not less. "Every man for himself" won't accomplish this; only the golden rule will.

Economist Douglas Irwin also calls on the Golden Rule in the New York Times op-ed:

Remember the golden rule, or the consequences could be severe. When the United States imposed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930, it helped set off a worldwide movement toward higher tariffs. When everyone tried to restrict imports, the combined effect was a deeper global economic slump. It took decades to undo the accumulated trade restrictions of that period. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

Similarly, Nayan Chanda warns against "beggar thy neighbor policies" in the Straits Times:

The legal challenge aside, one unavoidable consequence of any “Buy American” provisions in the stimulus package would be retaliation from China, Europe and other countries now in the process of allocating government funds to boost their sagging economies. Concerned about the wider ramifications of this retaliation, US business groups — including major companies such as Boeing, Caterpillar and General Electric — have called on Congress to resist such protectionist measures.

Despite the lessons of history, the dangers posed by protectionism are often seen as a problem for tomorrow while saving jobs is a fiercely urgent task. The world now needs leaders who can stay calm in the face of the raging storm and work together to stimulate their own economies without triggering a new wave of protectionism.

"Buy American" provisions may temporarily provide job security for some Americans, but the contagion of protectionism will stunt global trade and bring misery to Americans and the rest of the world.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Creating Real Value - Capitalism Quo Vadis?

I just got the transcript back from my talk in Brussels on Nov. 14 last year. It was at the European Parliament and the theme was "Being Bold - A Key to Sustainable Success?" as part of the International Business & Leadership Symposium, sponsored by the International Association for Human Values.

Here is my speech:

Thank you very much for having me here. It’s a delight to be here.

Who knows what the origin of the current financial crisis is? Raise your hand - zero.

Does anybody have a policy recommendation for the current crisis? Okay, zero.

I’m going to do a brief tour of the horizon. I apologize for my slightly American-oriented talk today. The crisis is believed to have originated in the United States, so I think it’s a bit appropriate.

So on the plane ride over here, I gathered a whole bunch of analyses of the current crisis, let me just give you a sort of tour of the horizon; from the least good to better. I’ll start with the publishing millionaire Steve Forbes. He believes that the main problem was bad monetary policy. The loose dollar, the dollar fluctuated too much and dropped in price, weakened, and he advises that America tie the dollar to the gold standard and lower taxes. He even proposes a flat tax. I even see that the value of this analysis, although I don’t agree with much of what he is saying, is that there is a need to lower taxes and create stability in order to drive incentives to do the right thing. Now, I don’t agree with his policy prescription, but I understand his goal.

Second guy, Martin Wolfe, it’s a bunch of white guys, sorry, but then again it’s an American perspective. Martin Wolfe, I think is a British economist, he’s a Financial Times columnist. He says the opposite of Steve Forbes. He says we need to grow the American deficit world-wide, we should also raise taxes, including a value added tax and tax energy consumption. And he says, we should demand fiscal stimuli from countries with trade surpluses while we keep trade open. Trade open is good but I don’t know how we demand fiscal stimuli from them. We’ll see how it works?

Next guy, Tom Friedman, columnist for the New York Times, has been going around talking about what he calls the need for a ‘green’ bubble. He subscribes to the idea that bubbles are inevitable and we might as well get some use out of it. Previous bubbles have included the railroad bubble in the United States, and then the IT bubble out of which both the United States enjoyed productivity gains. Generally speaking the current bubble resulted in a bunch of empty houses that we can’t really produce much out of. Related to that is former Vice-President Al Gore’s idea of looking at the crisis as three inter-related crises: energy, climate and finance. And that as far as technology and long term investment, and I’ll talk about long term investment later, you necessarily solve all the crises at once, i.e. if you have long term investment in energy infrastructure, you can solve the energy crisis, as well as the climate crisis.

Related to that and going a step further and looking at the causes of the crisis, Cass Sunstein, who is a major figure in the Obama administration and influential at Chicago and other universities, describes the current crises as what he calls a mixture of what he calls “bounded rationality,” which means you act rational but you don’t know what the environment is, so that limits the amount of rationality you can exhibit. And number two, “temptation or fragility of the human condition,” that if you are tempted to just take a little bit more, you will probably do it. So he suggests the need for more transparency in that to take these complex systems, not necessarily destroy them, but make them more easily understood.

That was just one stack I had and I hope that gives you a fairly ambivalent tour of the horizon. Now let me take it into the ethics part. Rather than going in to a policy prescription on how to save capitalism, as Steve Forbes tried to do in the cover article of Forbes magazine, let me give you some ethical principles that we might draw from, in order to reach a negotiated policy approach.

Okay, at the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs , a ninety-five year-old institution in New York City, we’ve started to espouse a set of three principles that we believe are helpful in the creation of policy formation and agreement. The three are: fairness; rights and responsibilities; and pluralism. And I’ll go quickly through them.

Fairness is basically a way out of prisoner’s dilemma. If you and your negotiating party both believe that you’re operating on the principle of fairness, then burdens and benefits can be shared equally. There’s a game called the ultimate game, it’s a little elaborate, I’m not going to go into it right now, but basically it’s an experiment with different people who have different control over the outcome, and people generally will prefer a fair outcome over one that benefits that benefits them unfairly or disproportionately.

Second, rights, you know God has been invoked here quite a bit and spirituality, and I’m okay with that, but I think that a lot of people, including the Dalai Lama, whose written this fabulous book, “Ethics for the New Millennium,” says something that we agree with at the Carnegie Council, which is that religion tends to make people angry, so we like to talk about ethics as a stand-in, or a practical way of going about it. And some people say that we are born with rights from God – that’s fine, but I think that rights are also a practical matter: if we didn’t have rights, we would need to invent them. Several atrocities in mankind’s history show that we need to have a concept of human rights, and with them goes the responsibility to protect other people’s rights, you can’t just have rights for yourself.

Third, pluralism. Pluralism is a way to get around monism and relativism. It’s in-between, and I like to call it a sort of golden mean – right in the middle. Monism is to say, “my way or the highway.” Relativism is to say that anything goes. We like to say that pluralism is a better way to address problems. It’s bringing everyone to the table, it’s creating a more sustainable and a better-informed solution.

I am going to propose something a little bit playful. I wrote an article about a year ago, an attempt to promote a new idea of fair trade. There was this idea in America, very popular among the Democrat congress members of creating a fair trade policy, rather than just a free trade policy.

Okay, what does that mean? It could be protectionism in disguise – how do we get from an unfair policy, one that cuts off the chance of poorer countries of tapping into the benefits of the trade system. How do we do that? Well, I suggested that trade might not be completely free, nor completely regulated. Again, something in the middle, a golden mean.

So, I talked about three freedoms that we might think about truncating or limiting or sacrificing: the freedom to trade with anybody; the freedom to trade anything; and the freedom to trade with impunity. This was something I put together for a trade policy paper, but I think it’s actually quite relevant for the financial crisis. The freedom to trade with anybody: if you’re selling something to somebody who doesn’t know what’s contained in this box, it’s a package that is opaque, it’s not a very good business deal. If you’re selling things that are shoddy or mysterious, that’s also not good business, and you should be responsible for your actions that result from the trade that you make. There is a great deal of business literature I can go into later on which suggests that if you’re benefiting from the externalities of your business relationships, then you do in fact have a duty to ameliorate them.

Now, I was going to go into a few concrete ways of how to make this practical. This came about a few weeks ago, Prof. John Ruggie of Harvard University, who is the United Nations representative for Human Rights. He came to our institute recently to explain his new mandate. His colleagues at the United Nations have been so happy with his work, which is essentially a survey of companies, that they have extended his mandate for another three years.

After he gave his impeccable, magnificent talk, on business and human rights and the challenges, I asked him: “Professor Ruggie, I am going to be talking about the future of human rights and capitalism in Brussels next week, can you tell me what I should say?” And he said, Okay, ethical capitalism, that sounds interesting, "well sure." He said that you can’t force people to be ethical on their own, rather you have to embed incentives in the system to encourage people to be ethical. And I would add to that that you have to create a system of incentives that are based themselves on ethics, and that’s the challenge. You know, I was watching TV the other day, a news report on these hedge funds, and the bosses saying, “Hey, you know, we didn’t break the law.” So, you have to give them the opportunity to do good.

So, I will just briefly go over some incentives: having prices reflect their true value; re-examining fiduciary duty – I know some of you might be a little skeptical about this. I have a forthcoming manuscript for a book, it’s called, “Sustainable investing: the art of long-term performance.” And the chapter I have here is Stephen Viederman's chapter on fiduciary duty, and one of the things he says is that we should take a look at the original words that we used to describe fiduciary duty. Number one was profit, and the other one was prudence, and both of them imply more long-term thinking. Profit was more for the welfare of people, rather than simply benefiting, and prudence was simply long-term strategic thinking. So his argument is that it is a return to basic principles.

Another one that hasn’t been talked too much about here, but I was going to mention it briefly, and that is a very hot topic in New York City, is Web 2.0, and it’s ability to supercharge corporate social responsibility. It’s an accelerator and a facilitator of what Bill Drayton, the found of Ashoka tells me he calls “the awareness tipping point,” where enough people are aware of what’s going on, they are aware of their connection, their interconnectivity with people, that they are going to create a new movement.

Web 2.0, which is social networking, social interactivity on the internet, is facilitating this awareness. I will just draw your attention to this article which is very popular, in the New York Times, about Google using its data from its search engines to track flu. Well, this reminded me of some of President-Elect Obama’s ideas, how he can connect with his massive database of emails. Beyond the “Walmart sucks!” type of websites, beyond that to a more positive engagement, politicians are thinking about this, to what was the result of a long-term workshop

I was engaged in with SAP, which is essentially how do corporations like technology companies help to build trust, which is again one of the main themes of this conference, between civil society, companies, consumers, investors, and with the understanding that has been mentioned earlier that all these identities are fluid and overlapping, they are not discrete. Finally, there is another theory about the way that emerging value is measured in this new economy – a more globalized, connected economy.

I have tried to coin a term I call the “empathy economy,” to describe a theory that processes are now global. That business processes, human resources, skills, knowledge, data are all part of ubiquitous computing, and it has driven down the price of data and knowledge, and driven up the value of empathy, design, innovation and ethics, broadly speaking. One study I saw on the impact of intangibles on valuation and brand, and I’ll conclude with this, was a survey of how intangibles affect brand, and therefore valuation. Number one was ethical leadership. The next two were social and environmental stewardship.

Thank you for having me speak today.