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By David Brodwin
Posted on: March 9, 2015
Our modern global economy struggles with the challenge of using limited natural resources without exhausting them. It’s hard to design regulations that ensure we don’t over farm the land, don’t overfish the seas, don’t overcut the forests and don’t take too much water from our rivers and aquifers. As populations grow, these questions become ever more pressing. The same challenges apply when it comes to limiting what we dump into our environment, for example, water pollution, pesticides and the gases that cause climate change. A little pollution can be OK. Too much pollution kills. All these... read more
By Susan Inglis Doug Pierce George Vallone
Posted on: March 2, 2015
In 1861 before a Painesville Ohio crowd, Lincoln said “I have stepped out on this platform so that I can see you and you can see me, and in this arrangement, I have the best of the bargain.” We also have the best of the bargain in writing this story of leadership in state and municipal sustainable procurement because visibility and communication are key to helping to end rampant “greenwashing," which is misleading or in some cases, false claims being made about a product’s environmental benefits. In addition to being the biggest barrier to progress on global health and environment, including... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: February 24, 2015
A beast of a trade pact is lumbering, claws outstretched, towards American small business owners, consumers and workers, and it’s not clear if anyone can stop it. The beast is called the “Trans Pacific Partnership” or TPP. Behind the lofty language of partnership, and the stated goal of stimulating trade worldwide, it aims to strengthen multinationals at the expense of nearly everyone else. Most importantly, and most dangerously, the pact undermines the power of governments everywhere to encourage local entrepreneurship, protect consumer health and assets, and preserve clean air and water.... read more
By Claudia Viek
Posted on: February 17, 2015
Women-owned businesses can be found in all industries and sizes, but many of them are hidden in plain sight in home-based enterprises. These small businesses are making a difference in local economies - even those run from the family dining room table. Take Gisele as an example. She started off making tamales in her kitchen, then began selling at the weekly farmers market, and finally moved to La Cocina’s kitchen incubator in San Francisco. Now, she runs a full-service catering business, creating opportunities for others in the process. Or take Melanie, whose 12 employees research and write... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: February 16, 2015
With the release of its annual budget last week, the Obama administration threw nearly $4 trillion worth of birdseed to an agitated and generally unappreciative flock of congressional pigeons. The ritual brought forth the predictable mix of intense squabbling and complete boredom. Those directly affected by the budget strut and squawk to secure the crumbs they are used to getting in past budgets. Meanwhile, most of the public gets lost in the details and quickly loses interest (if they were ever interested at all). Within moments of the birdseed hitting the pavement, all the seed is spoken... read more
By Nick Sorrentino
Posted on: February 9, 2015
Just this year the word ‘crony capitalism’ will be added to the Oxford Dictionary, and I couldn’t be happier. In addition to being the Director of Political Outreach for Future 500, a nonprofit based in San Francisco committed to diplomacy between businesses, NGOs, and broader society, I am also the editor and co-founder of Against Crony Capitalism (ACC), a website dedicated to exploring the place where special interests and the state converge. ACC’s readership is a bit odd. Unlike most political websites, which tend to cater to one particular ideology, we pride ourselves on the fact that our... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: February 9, 2015
The public – even the Republican public – is getting more worried about climate change, but its growing concern may not be enough to prod Congress to act. Americans swing like a pendulum when it comes to climate change. Between 2000 and 2007, about 60 percent of Americans believed that it was caused by people, according to Gallup’s polling. But the denial machine kicked in with full force, and the public, which struggles to understand complex data, began to back off. Belief that carbon pollution causes climate change fell, reaching a low of 50 percent in 2010. But then the trend reversed.... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: January 28, 2015
One of the trickiest moves in politics is to embrace publicly the values of your opposition while advancing your own policy agenda. President Barack Obama did just that last night when he proposed to cut taxes for the middle class. It’s a bold move that could transform the coming campaign. This tactic has a long and colorful history, going back all the way to the launch of affirmative action, if not before. Republicans have long fought affirmative action, but their rhetoric has shifted as they pursued an advantage while fighting on difficult terrain. At first, Republicans found themselves at... read more
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