The Great Transformation
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Taming Corporate Power: The Key Political Issue of Our Age

Taming Corporate Power: The Key Political Issue of Our Age | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Big business and its lobbyists have taken control of our politics. But there is an alternative: here’s how we can take on the fat cats.


Excellent article written by George Monbiot. You can follow George on Twitter here: @georgemonbiot.


Illustration by Nicola Jennings. 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Excerpt from the article:


Corporate power has shut down our imagination, persuading us that there is no alternative to market fundamentalism, and that “market” is a reasonable description of a state-endorsed corporate oligarchy.


We have been persuaded that we have power only as consumers, that citizenship is an anachronism, that changing the world is either impossible or best effected by buying a different brand of biscuits. Corporate power now lives within us. Confronting it means shaking off the manacles it has imposed on our minds.


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The Great Transformation
Exploring the ongoing culture shift in society.
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The Looming Death of Homo Economicus

The Looming Death of Homo Economicus | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

The world seems to be on the verge of another “great transformation," which will fundamentally redefine the nature of our economic and social relationships. But mainstream economics – which assumes that people are self-interested, fully rational economic actors – fails to recognize the social half of the equation.

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Podcast: What’s the Moral Cost of Doing Business Today?

Podcast: What’s the Moral Cost of Doing Business Today? | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Today, most companies openly talk about their obligations to the people and places where they work. More than 70 percent of the 500 biggest US-traded companies now issue reports on their efforts to engage in corporate sustainability or responsibility — up from 20 percent in 2011, according to the Governance & Accountability Institute.


But what do those reports mean? How responsible should corporations be for what happens around them? And what’s the best way for consumers to tell which companies are getting it right?

FRONTLINE spoke to two experts to talk about the obligations — and costs — of doing business in our global world.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Former BP executive Christine Bader and Human Rights Watch researcher Arvind Ganesan on what it takes to do business responsibly today — and the role consumers play in holding companies accountable.

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How Benevolent Capitalism Can Change the Future of Your Business

How Benevolent Capitalism Can Change the Future of Your Business | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

There is nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself. Capitalism is not evil. What is wrong is when you don’t look beyond that to find a way to make your business grow and become something greater than profit and loss. Functioning from benevolent capitalism is where you are working to create more in the world for everybody, not just you, and it’s a very powerful concept when executed well.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Benevolent capitalism acknowledges the interconnectedness of all life, inviting every leader into the space of sustaining the good of all through your every contribution. As a benevolent leader, when you truly receive the enormity of this, you recognize that every single choice you make affects not only your business, but individuals, society, the planet and the environment

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Want to Create Purpose-led Business: Ask Yourself Big Questions

Want to Create Purpose-led Business: Ask Yourself Big Questions | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

By asking how it could play a part in alleviating global poverty, Interface is creating a purpose-led business.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Any organisation can ask big questions and engage with the grand challenges of humanity – poverty, climate change, education, health, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, injustice, inequality. It starts with a big question. 

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Silicon Valley Isn't a Meritocracy. And It's Dangerous to Hero-Worship Entrepreneurs

Silicon Valley Isn't a Meritocracy. And It's Dangerous to Hero-Worship Entrepreneurs | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

If the tech scene is really a meritocracy, why are so many of its key players, from Mark Zuckerberg to Steve Jobs, white men?


If entrepreneurs are born, not made, why are there so many programs attempting to create entrepreneurs?


If tech is truly game-changing, why are old-fashioned capitalism and the commodification of personal information never truly questioned?

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luiy's curator insight, November 26, 2013 10:08 AM

 The Myth of Meritocracy

The myth is that anyone can come from anywhere and achieve great success in Silicon Valley if they are skilled. It holds that those who “make it” do so due to their excellent ideas and ability, because the tech scene is a meritocracy where what you do, not who you are, matters.

There is some truth to this statement. To a certain extent, there is a lower barrier to entry in tech than in some other industries. Having a famous father or coming from an old money family would not necessarily be an asset as it might in banking (it wouldn’t necessarily hurt, either). And certainly the highest status in the tech scene comes from one’s job rather than family name, although wealth factors considerably into status.

I frequently heard variations of the saying “everyone wants to take the pretty girl to the dance,” which refers to the tendency venture capitalists have to cluster around popular deals. (The prevalence of this phrase is very revealing of who is in these meetings.) In reality, everyone wants to be in business with young, white, male entrepreneurs with connections to high-status people, a pedigree from certain companies, a well-known mentor. Sharon Vosmek, CEO of the nonprofit Astia that helps fund women entrepreneurs, identified “systematic and hidden biases” in technology funding:

VCs hold clear stereotypes of successful CEOs (they call it pattern recognition, but in other industries they call it profiling or stereotyping.) John Doerr publicly stated that his most successful investments — and the no-brainer pattern for future investments — were in founders who were white, male, under 30, nerds, with no social life who dropped out of Harvard or Stanford.

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Desire for Power and Status is Driving Our Unsustainable World

Desire for Power and Status is Driving Our Unsustainable World | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

It is time for all of us to wear the ‘sandals of humility' if we are to end division and inequality in society.

 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Rampant egos are a major problem in driving our unsustainable world, because the accompanying need for status drives consumption.

 

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Regulating the internet giants: The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data

Regulating the internet giants: The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

The data economy demands a new approach to antitrust rules.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

A new commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era.

 

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How Corporate Dark Money is Taking Power

How Corporate Dark Money is Taking Power | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

A secretive network of business lobbyists has long held sway in US politics. Now their allies in the UK government are planning a Brexit that plays into their hands.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

In April 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt sent the US Congress the following warning: “The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.” It is a warning we would do well to remember.

 

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The End of Globalisation?

The End of Globalisation? | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Political science suggests that a reversal, or even collapse, of globalisation is a distinct possibility.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

For most of the past 25 years, globalisation was seen as an unstoppable force, as sure to advance as the sun rises in the east. But increasingly, it looks more vulnerable than inexorable. Causes for concern are easy to find. 

 

Read also the second piece in this series: The End of Globalisation? How Executives Should Respond.

 

 

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A giant problem

A giant problem | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Disruption may be the buzzword in boardrooms, but the most striking feature of business today is not the overturning of the established order. It is the entrenchment of a group of superstar companies at the heart of the global economy. Some of these are old firms, like GE, that have reinvented themselves. Some are emerging-market champions, like Samsung, which have seized the opportunities provided by globalisation. The elite of the elite are high-tech wizards—Google, Apple, Facebook and the rest—that have conjured up corporate empires from bits and bytes.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The rise of the corporate colossus threatens both competition and the legitimacy of business.

 

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How the Banks Ignored the Lessons of the Crash

How the Banks Ignored the Lessons of the Crash | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Joris Luyendijk spent two years talking to hundreds of City insiders. They revealed how close we came to disaster – and how quickly finance went back to business as usual.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Seven years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, it is often said that nothing was learned from the crash. This is too optimistic. The big banks have surely drawn a lesson from the crash and its aftermath: that in the end there is very little they will not get away with.

 

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Welcome To The Post-Work Economy

Welcome To The Post-Work Economy | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

For the future economy to work, we need to get rid of our unhealthy fixation on what work and jobs mean to our self-worth.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

We need to move towards a "postcapitalist" economy, where working for money loses its centrality, where goods, information, and intellectual property are shared, and where economic actors collaborate in new ways, whether it's credit union-type financial institutions or co-operative-type retailers.

 

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Capitalism Will Eat Democracy - Unless We Speak Up

Capitalism Will Eat Democracy - Unless We Speak Up | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Have you wondered why politicians aren't what they used to be, why governments seem unable to solve real problems? Economist Yanis Varoufakis, the former Minister of Finance for Greece, says that it's because you can be in politics today but not be in power -- because real power now belongs to those who control the economy. He believes that the mega-rich and corporations are cannibalizing the political sphere, causing financial crisis. In this talk, hear his dream for a world in which capital and labor no longer struggle against each other, "one that is simultaneously libertarian, Marxist and Keynesian."

 

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John Lasschuit ®™'s comment, February 9, 2016 12:37 PM
He's right. That's why we should try make this more visible for most people.
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How to Stop Prioritizing Goods Over People and Consumption Over Creative Activity

How to Stop Prioritizing Goods Over People and Consumption Over Creative Activity | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

What does it really mean to create wealth for people — for humanity — as opposed to money for governments and corporations?

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Rhodes Scholar, and economic theorist E. F. Schumacher's1973 book Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered was deemed by The Times Literary Supplement one of the 100 most important books published since WWII.

 

Sharing an ideological kinship with such influential minds as Tolstoy and Gandhi, Schumacher’s is a masterwork of intelligent counterculture, applying history’s deepest, most timeless wisdom to the most pressing issues of modern life in an effort to educate, elevate and enlighten.

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Ivon Prefontaine, PhD's curator insight, October 14, 2014 6:56 PM

David Loy and Marc Anielski write on the Buddhism and economics. Other sources might be Wendell Berry and Gary Snynder who write about ecology and economics being connected.

 

@ivon_ehd1

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Never Mind Corporate Responsibility, Companies Can Solve Actual Social Problems

Never Mind Corporate Responsibility, Companies Can Solve Actual Social Problems | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Can Michael Porter's theory of "shared value" change the way multinational companies fundamentally relate to society?


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Porter believes that companies are entering a third phase in their relationship with society. The first was about philanthropy, where business donates money to causes. The second was about "corporate social responsibility," or minimizing their social or environmental harm. The third is about solutions: actual products and services with a social purpose.

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Matthew Farmer's curator insight, January 9, 2015 1:46 AM

The concept of Shared Value and its use as a term to describe business activities that address social/societal challenges in a financially profitable way is growing in popularity. 


At its core the notion is appealing - being able to solve societal problems profitably is compelling.  What is there not to like?


The concept is not without challenges however - particularly if you consider that companies may continue to create or contribute to the societal problems they now profitably plan to address.  

   

This article from Fast Co-exist does a good job in outlining what some of these challenges are.  It's not that the concept of Shared Value is poor - I'm actually a big fan.  It's just that it's more nuanced and more difficult for some companies to embrace than others.

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Is "Business Ethics" An Oxymoron?

Is "Business Ethics" An Oxymoron? | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

The research couldn't be clearer: Many of us see business and ethics as incompatible. Can that ever change?

 

Economics rests on an assumption of rational self-interest, yet that's the very principle that seems to reduce ethical conduct. Over a dozen studies have shown how having money in the room or just thinking about money leads to self-serving and dishonest behavior.

 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

There have always been those calling for more ethical business practices, and there are plenty of people and organizations that have long been committed to doing things differently. But that push is now gaining mainstream momentum in a way it hasn't previously. It may even be that because many of us have come to see business and ethics as such opposite forces that there's now a growing interest in bridging them.

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Common Purpose: Realigning Business, Economies and Society

Common Purpose: Realigning Business, Economies and Society | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Today’s economic and political upheavals reflect an ongoing misalignment between business and economies (on one hand) and acceptable societal outcomes (on the other). There is still time to adjust, if we are willing to reexamine some long-held assumptions.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

A healthy economy needs a healthy society, just as a healthy society needs a healthy economy. This is one of the defining lessons of the period since the end of World War II. It has long served business and policymakers well to create the conditions for this commonality of interest. Now is the time for the system to be realigned, once again as throughout human history, around greater commonality of purpose.

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Greed Is Good: A 300-Year History of a Dangerous Idea

Greed Is Good: A 300-Year History of a Dangerous Idea | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Not long ago, the pursuit of commercial self-interest was largely reviled. How did we come to accept it?


Among MBA students, few words provoke greater consternation than “greed.” Wonder aloud in a classroom whether some practice might fairly be described as greedy, and students don’t know whether to stick up for the Invisible Hand or seek absolution. Most, by turns, do a little of both.


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When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers

When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Since the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms have increasingly taken over public services like emergency care and firefighting, often with dire effects.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

While private equity firms in the US have always invested in a diverse array of companies, including hospitals and nursing homes, their movement into emergency services raises broader questions about the administering of public services. Cities and towns are required to offer citizens a free education, and they generally provide a police force, but almost everything else is fair game for privatisation.

 

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Are we about to witness the most unequal societies in history?

Are we about to witness the most unequal societies in history? | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Biotechnology and the rise of AI may split humankind into a small class of ‘superhumans’ and a huge underclass of ‘useless’ people. Once the masses lose their economic and political power, inequality levels could spiral alarmingly.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

In the 21st century, the rise of AI and biotechnology will certainly transform the world – but it does not mandate a single, deterministic outcome. We can use these technologies to create very different kinds of societies. How to use them wisely is the most important question facing humankind today.

 

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The great digital-age swindle… and the man fighting back

The great digital-age swindle… and the man fighting back | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

He was tour manager for the Band, producer of Mean Streets… so why, at nearly 70, is Jonathan Taplin taking on Facebook and co?

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon have come to define our lives in ways that have crept up on us so that now we can’t imagine being without them. But has their influence grown too large? For all the futuristic idealism that marked their beginning, have they turned into rampant capitalist monopolies that are indifferent to the damage they wreak, and contemptuous of the governments whose taxes they avoid?

 

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Neoliberalism is Creating Loneliness

Neoliberalism is Creating Loneliness | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Epidemics of mental illness are crushing the minds and bodies of millions. It’s time to ask where we are heading and why.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Of all the fantasies human beings entertain, the idea that we can go it alone is the most absurd and perhaps the most dangerous. We stand together or we fall apart.

 

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Building the New Entrepreneurial Society

Building the New Entrepreneurial Society | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Trying to make the patterns of the 20th century serve for the 21st is futile. We need to recognise that for states, corporations and individuals alike there will be no return to “business as usual”.

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Throughout his life, Peter Drucker urged corporations to ask themselves: “If we were starting from scratch, would we do it this way? Would we do it at all?”

 

In this article, Richard Straub elaborates on that it takes to build a truly entrepreneurial society. This article is part of a series of perspectives by presenters and participants in the 8th Global Drucker Forum in Vienna in November 2016.

 

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The New Face of Corporate Activism

The New Face of Corporate Activism | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

From the Arab Spring to the protests in Baltimore, social movements have become a pervasive feature of contemporary society. Moreover, activists are increasingly targeting companies and even nonprofits. Although this environment creates new challenges for business, it also presents an opportunity for social intrapreneurs to change their companies for the better, from the inside out. 

 

 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Social intrepreneurs have an opportunity to change their companies for the better, from the inside out.

 

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What should the future of capitalism look like?

What should the future of capitalism look like? | The Great Transformation | Scoop.it

Should we retire labels like capitalism or socialism? Can we embrace the messy, uncategorizable economic reality? 

 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo in a conversation about the future of capitalism. 

 

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