Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Secretary of the Future, and Chief Sustainability Officers

Secretary of the Future, and Chief Sustainability Officers

What Happens Next? Crucible 5: The Market State, is very timely considering the makeup of the current U.S. presidential primary campaigns.  Much of the campaign rhetoric from two of the major candidates is related to the mention in “The Market State” that the tilt in the power balance has been reinforced in much of the world by the perceived failings of the U.S. led free market model, and the gaps between rich and poor within individual nations are widening.  

While one presidential primary candidate believes the solution to the America’s problems are a shift to a more European like economic model to lessen income equality and raise living standards for a greater majority, another primary candidate seems to be supporting a more isolationist economic model to achieve the same ends, through limited foreign trade and limiting immigration.

What has led to these radically different views which are apparently supported by many primary voters?  Have past economic or corporate policies fermented such a rise in the popularity of these two campaign platforms?

Could different corporate and government policies years ago towards such concepts as raising minimum wages and increasing financial access to higher education have made these two campaign platforms irrelevant?

If the reports of the demographic composition of both primary candidates are true, one having supporters mostly aligned with under educated/employed individuals and the other with predominantly very young voters, then the answer is likely yes.

With the exception of Starbucks, which introduced at least some education tuition benefits to their hourly paid employees, how many other employers have a tuition benefit for hourly employees?  Raising the minimum wage for millions who are in the lowest income categories has been a partisan and corporate debate for years.  Only in the past few years have major employers of hourly workers slowly conceded to do so. 

This is not to say that these two issues are the solutions to the complex problem of a widening income gap, however they certainly are two issues of many voters supporting the current primary candidates.

The late author Kurt Vonnegut was said to have commented that, in addition to the other Secretaries in the U.S. Cabinet, there should be a Secretary of the Future, who would advise politicians on how policy decisions might affect the future of Americans in 5, 10, 20 years.  An October 8th, 2014 article is titled “What Do Chief Sustainability Officers Do?  The CSO position may be oriented somewhat to Vonnegut’s intention of a Secretary of the Future, normally a CSO would focus on environmental issues, but more recently some CSOs are expanding the role to include improving working conditions in their supply chains, and social problems.

Perhaps a question for CSOs to contemplate; how can we increase the number of consumers that will have the discretionary income to purchase our products and services?

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