“Our” Kids

child poverty

Reposted from the Harvard Kennedy School:

When Robert Putnam was a teenager, somebody put up the money for him to play football on the high school team. And somebody put up the money for his spikes and helmet. Somebody also put up the money for years of music lessons and for an instrument so he could play in band. That somebody was the community of Port Clinton, Ohio, where Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, grew up in the 1950s. That small community on the shore of Lake Erie about halfway between Toledo and Cleveland, came together to do all that because it believed that it was right to support young Robert Putnam, just as it was right to give to every other kid in town the same opportunity to succeed. There was plenty wrong with a place like Port Clinton in the 1950s, including racism and chauvinism, Putnam readily concedes, but to a surprising degree, all the members of his high school graduating class were, in the eyes of that community, “our kids.”

Today, in Port Clinton, a lot of kids can’t play football or band because they can’t afford the hundreds of dollars needed to pay for the equipment. The lives of the bottom third, often simply characterized by personal and societal neglect, are unimaginable, in fact unknown, to those succeeding in today’s America.

“Over the course of the last four decades, our sense of ‘we’ has shriveled,” Putnam says. “Now when people talk about “our kids” they talk about their own biological kids, they don’t think about all kids. This leads to a situation that’s bad for the economy and bad for democracy. But it’s also just not right. We have an obligation to care for other people’s kids too, not just our own.”

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Global Growth Strong and Accelerating in 2016


Reposted from McKinsey Insights:

Leading forecasters estimate that the world economy will grow by between 2.8 and 3.8 percent this year—about one percentage point lower than last year’s consensus forecasts. Yet as monitors of the global economy lower their expectations for 2015, executives are increasingly focusing on opportunities presented by diverging growth rates among regions, countries, and even sectors. This means an essential element of strategic and financial planning for 2015 and beyond is taking closer account of critical regional trends and risks, with sensitivity to key economic indicators and government policy responses.

McKinsey’s Global Economics Intelligence (GEI) team closely tracks forecasts of leading financial institutions and multilaterals. By the latest estimate of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in October 2014, world GDP growth was measured at 3.3 percent for 2014.1 For 2016, the IMF and other organizations have lowered previous global GDP growth projections to 3.1 to 4.1 percent (Exhibit 1). Most forecasters expect a robust US economy to continue to lead the way, and the eurozone’s new program of quantitative easing is a sign the region is ready for expansion. And while falling oil prices weigh heavily on growth prospects for commodities-dependent Brazil and Russia, China and India are benefiting from easing inflationary pressures.

Even the lowered global-growth estimates of more than 3 percent in 2015 and 2016 remain well above the historical average of 1.8 percent annual growth during the past 50 years.5 But executives remain wary of macroeconomic and geopolitical risks, including oil and gas price volatility and its impact both on major exporting economies, Russia foremost, and on consuming economies, including Europe, Japan, and the United States. Other significant risks are the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, with its European and global ramifications; China’s downshifting economic pace, which has implications for global trade; the effects on foreign exchange levels and capital availability of diverging monetary-policy actions by central banks around the world; and Greece’s unresolved status in the eurozone, which raises significant questions about the economic future of Europe and the global economy.

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The Interpersonal Intelligence in the Knowledge Economy Workplace [INFOGRAPHIC]

interpersonal intelligence mrmckIn today’s Knowledge Economy, the interpersonal intelligence is vital in both online and face-to-face relationships. from assertiveness on one end to flexibility on the other, this infographic showcases 20 important attributes of interpersonal effectiveness in getting the job done. This is the third infographic in the series. Learn more about multiple intelligences theory at the Surfaquarium.

Automation Can Replace 65% of Workforce


Reposted from McKinsey Quarterly:

“The dirty secret of economics is that it’s possible for technology to make the pie bigger—and that’s exactly what it’s been doing. Record wealth. But at the same time there’s no law that everybody’s going to benefit from technology. Some people, even a majority, may be worse off. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve experienced a rising tide that has helped most people. But in the past 15 or 20 years or so, those trends have diverged. We have what my coauthor, Andy McAfee, and I call the Great Decoupling. Productivity has continued to grow steeply and innovation has been strong, but median income and employment have stagnated.

It is important to think about the policy implications here. Government leaders need to be aware that, right now, computers are as good as or better than humans at most of the tasks people involved in information-processing jobs do. That is 65 percent of the American workforce. So is this wonderful or is this a tragedy? It actually depends entirely on how governments respond.

Scenario number one is a disparity in economic power, in which the folks with the data and the algorithms have—and add all of—the economic value, and the rest of the workforce adds little or none. That scenario could create an awful social disruption. Scenario number two is to accept that in this new world, there’s a large group of people who can’t really add economic value anymore, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get to live a decent human life. So we have to start thinking about the policy implications—like a basic living wage, which Germany will be introducing, or a negative income tax, which has been off the agenda for decades but deserves to be back on it. I think people should start to think about these policy implications because the point at which we need to make decisions will be upon us suddenly.”

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Bonus: Should We Create Livelihood Insurance? [VIDEO 3:27]

China Tech Bubble Burst Looming


Reposted from Forbes:

“Tech investments in China are dangerously hot. They will cool down soon. Companies should buckle-up for a bumpy downhill ride.” These are the key messages from an internal letter written by veteran Chinese venture capitalist, Matrix Partners China‘s co-founder David Zhang, and sent to dozens of CEOs at Matrix’s portfolio companies two days ago. “Several hours ago, my colleagues just signed papers for our 45th investment deal this year, and we are only at the end of the third quarter! I think it’s time to send you a letter,” writes Zhang, soberly.

The letter, which has been floating around Chinese social networks over the past couple of days, continues: “If you paid any attention during the past nine months, you perhaps have felt the incredible heat of tech venture deals. Financing rounds are breaking records again and again, valuation and IPOs are becoming red hot.” If the current pace continues for another three months, 2014 could break the previous tech venture investment record set in 2011, when 113 deals with total value of $5.05 billion were registered for the year.

Based on daily conversations with the firm’s portfolio companies, Zhang says he is sensitive to market changes. But he can’t say if a downturn will come in the next 12 months, later, or sooner. But one thing he is sure: the Chinese technology market will cool down, eventually. The market is simply too hot right now, Zhang writes. Several major venture firms in China, including Matrix, have so far this year made double the number of investments they made for the whole year of 2013.”

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Additional context from The Economist


Poverty and Inequity 2015

Poverty and Inequity 2015

While China is predicted to recover its former position within the world economy, this time instead of the Americas having a very small percentage of world wealth, as in year 1, now it is African territories that are predicted to remain small on the international financial stage. Eastern European territories are also predicted to have decreasing proportions of world wealth.


Preparing Children for Their Transformational Future

Yong Zhao explains how the standards movement trains students for a transactional future. Instead, he suggests, schools should prepare children to be imaginative, creative and entrepreneurial so that they are ready to lead a transformational global economy.