Listen: Benjamin Franklin famously called on American business leaders more than two centuries ago to "Do well by doing good." To him, that meant creating companies that were not just about the bottom line, but also that helped foster happier and healthier communities. Now, as 2021 approaches and the world recovers from the greatest crisis of our lifetimes, sustainable investing is a bigger discussion than ever. What does it mean, and how does it not only help the environment and societies but also build your bottom line? That's the topic of the latest episode of Living Beyond Borders.
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:
Hi, everybody, Ian Bremmer here. It's Monday and a quick take for you right before the election. That's right. Don't panic. All of you remembering Douglas Adams, the great Douglas Adams, for those people that back in high school, this is the kind of book that you knew people that read the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. You said, "That's probably a normal human being a little dorky, but isn't going to kill me," where the people that were all about Atlas shrugged and the Fountainhead, those were people that were problematic later in life. That's just my own personal view. Maybe a little Tolkien. That was also fine. A little Hobbit. I'm friendly that way, but this is the message I really want people to keep in mind in the next 24, 48, 72 hours, the next week, two, three weeks.
It's going to be tough out there. People are going nuts. They're going crazy. The media is making it worse. The social media is making it worse, and it's going to be a tough time for the United States. But to be clear, we are not on the brink of becoming an authoritarian state. We are not about to be a Banana Republic. We are not on the verge of collapse. Instead, we are very divided. A lot of people are hurting. A lot of people are angry, and we have a whole bunch of people in very different information bubbles. They don't talk to each other, engage with each other, and that is a problem. That makes the country feel so much less purposeful, mission-oriented, communal, civic, all the things that we want. If you've got a flag, if you want to be united under that flag, you have to care about all the people in the country, not just the ones that agree with you politically.
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Kevin Sneader, Global Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company, provides perspective on what corporate business leaders are thinking during the global coronavirus crisis:
What are the opportunities and threats on the horizon for 2021?
Now, given the pandemic is still raging, it's hard to narrow the threats and opportunities down, but here are three threats and three opportunities. One, a growing likelihood of increased inequality on several fronts. Gender, since a quarter of women in work we recently did with LeanIn.org were either contemplating leaving or taking time out of the workforce. This reached 40% for those with young children. Race, since Black Americans have seen their jobs disappear at a far greater rate than their white counterparts. And income, since COVID deaths are 4 to 5 times higher among the unemployed and are concentrated in jobs that have been hardest hit. The second threat, mental health. The signs are increasing that this is the other side of the health threat that the virus poses. And three, the environment. They need to ensure a green rather than brown recovery at a time when money is tight.
On the opportunities, first off, flexibility in working through remote and other forms of working that are now happening. Secondly, innovation; we've seen more startups this year being started than in any year before. And lastly, the environment; for all that I said there is a risk of a brown recovery, policy makers and businesses alike in much of the world assuring they're prepared to invest behind the business case for a green recovery.
Jon Lieber, managing director for the United States at Eurasia Group, provides his perspective on US Politics In 60 Seconds - this week from in front of the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park in Washington, D.C., which is currently behind barricades because some protesters want to tear it down.
First question, with the tit for tat escalation of closing consulates between the US and China, are US-China relations at an all-time low?
Well, they're certainly not very good. And probably the most important marker was a really tough speech given by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Nixon Center in California. Perhaps important for its symbolism, that this is an end of an era of engagement that began with President Nixon in 1969. You've got a lot of escalating factors. You've got these closing embassies, accusations of espionage by the Chinese, the potential banning of TikTok. And WeChat in the US. You've got the potential banning of Huawei. And, of course, you've got the ongoing trade war and sanctions. Now, the trade war may become less important as a factor, along with the other worsening parts of this relationship. The Chinese have retaliated so far proportionately. They don't want to be seen as the ones escalating this advance of a presidential election.
Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, provides his perspective on technology news:
Will the new audit of Facebook civil rights practices change the way the company operates?
Yes. It came under a lot of pressure from civil rights activists who organized an advertising boycott. And then an internal audit on Facebook's effect on civil rights came out. It was quite critical. Those two things, one after the other, will surely lead to changes at the company.