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By David Brodwin
Posted on: January 23, 2015
For years, many of the world’s wild fish stocks have dwindled as we pursued too many fish in the effort to feed growing populations. The North Atlantic cod is close to extinct from a commercial standpoint, and Atlantic oyster production has fallen 99 percent from its high in the 1920’s. This type of problem is well known to economists as the so-called “tragedy of the commons,” first recognized in England in the early 1800s. Too many sheep were let loose on public land, and their overgrazing ruined the fields for all. Since then, policymakers have struggled to devise solutions for managing... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: January 16, 2015
Earlier this week, leading economists got into a rare public kerfuffle over the core ideas that undergird the U.S. economy. The annual meeting of the American Economic Association usually draws little public notice as economists pore over PowerPoints dense with graphs and formulas. But this year, a tense confrontation developed between mainstream, neoclassical economists and those who challenge the conventional wisdom about how the economy works. One challenge was ignited by the ideas of Thomas Piketty, whose best-selling 2014 analysis of inequality caught mainstream economists by surprise.... read more
By Michael Green
Posted on: January 7, 2015
As I traveled in December to the United Nations climate negotiations in Lima, it was hard not to have an optimistic outlook. Unlike the last several global negotiations, big governments, including our own, had already made pledges before arriving in Peru, to reduce their emissions. After discussions with colleagues from around the world, I knew I was not the only one with a renewed sense of urgency. Earlier in the month, the Obama Administration had added another notch in their climate legacy by announcing an emissions deal with the Chinese government. The deal states that the US will cut... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: January 6, 2015
While much of America’s economy is gaining strength, we lag badly in one important respect: the participation of women in the workforce. Since 2000, the U.S. has lost ground in both absolute and relative terms, compared to other industrialized nations. In an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development study reported in the New York Times this week, the U.S. now ranks near dead last compared to a group of major OECD countries, lagging all of them except Ireland.  Lack of women’s participation hurts the economy: It deprives consumers of earning and spending power, which ripples up... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: December 19, 2014
This week, in a show of bipartisanship, Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama pushed forward a $1.1 trillion funding bill – known as the "cromnibus" – to keep the government open. In the bill, the Republicans proposed and Democrats accepted the repeal of regulations that keep banks from speculating in derivatives with taxpayer-guaranteed funds. With the repeal of this crucial safeguard, the chances of another financial crisis and taxpayer bailout went up significantly, and the American public got one more reason to distrust our government and both political parties. Liberals and... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: December 15, 2014
One of the biggest challenges in building a sustainable economy is protecting the regulators who exist to protect the rest of us. We create structures to keep the economy healthy, like the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Communications Commission. But such entities are stealthily co-opted by the very interests they are supposed to regulate. Keeping regulators on track requires vigilance to stave off constant efforts to dilute, evade, preempt and compromise their function. The latest casualty of the regulatory wrecking crew is the small... read more
By Kate Williams
Posted on: December 5, 2014
Imagine: Provocative panels with well-spoken business and policy leaders; buzzing breaks during which every attendee was engaging and outgoing; thoughtful roundtable sessions that facilitated invaluable cross-sector connections; policy sessions with elected and agency staff that showcased the role of policy in sustainable business development. All of this took place a few short weeks ago at the American Sustainable Business Council’s (ASBC) annual Business Summit from November 12-14, 2014 in Washington, DC. I was thrilled to be there, and am so grateful to our partner ASBC for their success... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: November 28, 2014
This month, President Barack Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet under what is called “Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.” The call for Title II was immediately misunderstood and widely criticized. “Why should we tie the Internet to something set up 80 years ago?” the skeptics ask. It turns out there are several good reasons, and they get to the heart of how the Internet helps our economy. The most important issue is simply the cost and speed of the Internet connections that Internet Service Providers offer to their customers. This has nothing... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: November 24, 2014
Six years past the Great Recession, job growth has rebounded. Corporate profits and top-tier incomes have soared. Unfortunately, most Americans have yet to see their incomes budge. This divergence has prompted searching questions about capitalism itself, and whether our grasp of economics has kept up with a changing world. Entering the debate now is McKinsey & Company, the elite consultancy that advises many of the world’s leading corporations. In a recent article in the McKinsey Quarterly, Eric Beinhocker, a McKinsey alum now leading the Institute for New Economic Thinking, and Nick... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: November 18, 2014
Local communities and environmentalists are working hard to stop fracking practices that release toxic chemicals into the air and groundwater. The latest tests show high levels of benzene, formaldehyde and other cancer-causing chemicals in the air around fracking sites. Not surprisingly, recent reports show a steep and alarming rise in health problems afflicting people who live near the wells. As new scientific studies reaffirm the dangers, the energy industry is rolling out hardball tactics to discredit them and protect fracking revenues. This summer, Richard Berman, a consultant to the... read more