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Friday December 19th 2014

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Will Sandy Trigger Our Great Transformation?

In The Future of Finance two weeks ago, the Capital Institute’s John Fullerton explained how our response to Sandy will come in two phases.  Today, he expands on Phase Two in a new post, which originally appeared on The Guardian Sustainable Business blog.

We are now a couple of weeks into the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, and no one has yet improved upon the analysis of Bloomberg Businessweek’s November 1 cover story: “It’s Global Warming, STUPID.”

In 1944, the famous political economist Karl Polanyi explained the root cause of WW II when he wrote in the The Great Transformation, “The true nature of the international (economic) system under which we were living was not realized until it failed.”  Similarly, mainstream economists and finance theorists still do not get the vital interconnection between the true nature of the (economic) system under which we are living, and healthy ecosystem function.  What will it take?

One complex, indivisible, systemic crisis: Good morning, America!

Let us be optimistic.  Let us assume we begin, for real, to do all the things we know we need to do, we know how to do, we have the technology to do, but until now we have lacked the will to do.  The list includes a carbon tax – think $10 gasoline America, going to $20; feed-in tariffs; energy efficiency incentives; sustainable agriculture; and massive public investment in renewable energy research.  But the true nature of the system under which we live will demand far more.

Here are five critical challenges we must face in the Great Transformation of the twenty-first century, above and beyond “doing what we know we need to do:”

Read John’s full post at The Future of Finance.

What We Mean When We Talk About the Skills Gap

The term “the skills gap” is being bandied about quite a bit in the mainstream press these days in articles that call on the American education system to move quickly to beef up its science, technical, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum if America is not to irretrievably lose its global competitive advanced manufacturing edge.  Harold L. Sirkin, a senior partner with the Boston Consulting Group, predicts in a November 13 Businessweek post, “Skills Gap: No Big Deal, If…”, that the skills gap is likely to increase over the next decade as baby boomers who were educated in an era when STEM education and vocational schools were the norm age out of the workforce.  Tom Friedman’s November 17 New York Times op-ed column, “If You’ve Got the Skills, She’s Got the Job,” features a woman-owned sheet metal company that was unable to recruit welders with the requisite high-level math skills when it was awarded a contract to armor a fleet of humvees.

We at Capital Institute are also concerned about the growing skills gap, but we believe the discussion around it must be framed in broader terms.  Yes, we know students need a more rigorous grounding in the STEM curriculum and more hands-on learning.  But, just as critically, they also need to acquire the skills of holistic systems thinking as our global economy bumps up against the earth’s biophysical limits.  The leaders of Chicago’s Austin Polytechnical Academy, the subject of our next Field Guide to Investing in a Regenerative Economy study, also understand the critical need.  Read more

 


Manufacturing Renaissance Council Wins $1.25 Million in Funding from the City of Chicago

Congratulations to the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Campaign, the subject of our soon to be released Field Guide study, “The Next (Regenerative) Industrial Age,” for securing $1.25 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) from the City of Chicago for its Austin Polytechnical Career Program.  The funds will support the Austin Innovation Park, Austin Polytech Career Program, Austin Manufacturing Training Center, outreach to elementary school students around advanced manufacturing education and careers, and a new bridge program to prepare African-American males for advanced manufacturing training.

 


Missed John’s Heathy Money Summit Talk?

Earlier this month, John joined futurist and economic iconoclast Hazel Henderson for a conversation about our unsustainable economic systems and the Anthropocene Age.  The talk was part of the three-day Healthy Money Summit from the Shift Network, a global teleseries offering tools and inspiration to transform your relationship with money and to cocreate a new financial paradigm.  If you missed the talk and still want to tune in, you can do so here.  Happy listening!

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