JOEL ROSENTHAL: Good afternoon. I'm Joel Rosenthal.
This is a genuinely special event for us. This is an opportunity for us to host a sister institution, the Carnegie UK Trust. I'll say more about them in a minute.
I know some of you know this story but others do not, and I'll just give you the very, very, very short version.
There are something like 15 to 20 Carnegie endowments, separately endowed, independent organizations, that still exist, that were endowed by Andrew Carnegie about 100 years ago. I have a list, and I'd be happy to share it with those of you who are interested.
The relevant point here is the last two endowments, in chronological order, were the Carnegie UK Trust and the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. So we are the two youngest children. Some of you have heard me say this before, but I am a middle child, so I have an issue. The youngest are usually the favorite.
Beyond having a common benefactor, we also share values. I was reminded of this the other day. I was at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which is really the biggest, the parent organization in certain ways. There is a saying from Carnegie that is on the wall of the waiting area, which is "for the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding," which I think is a good summary of what Andrew Carnegie was all about.
I also noticed the Carnegie UK Trust—I love your motto, which is "changing minds, changing lives."
But I am also reminded too—I know this sounds a little earnest, but I think it gives you the Carnegie flavor—of the inscription, which I think is at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, a quote from Andrew Carnegie, where he says, "My heart is in the work," which says a lot about the man.
The Carnegie organizations have been celebrating their centennials in serial fashion over the last few years. The Carnegie UK Trust will be celebrating its centennial next year, 2013, and the Carnegie Council will be celebrating our centennial in 2014. You will be hearing more about that in subsequent events.
It has been a great opportunity for us to renew our relationship with our sister organizations. I have learned a lot. It has been a wonderful opportunity. We have had some opportunity to travel to Edinburgh, to Scotland, to visit with the Carnegie UK Trust.
Among two things that I have learned, though, in our last couple of years of cooperation: one is the proper pronunciation of Carnegie.
The other is this sort of curious problem of whether we are celebrating our centenary or our centennial. We'll just leave that up for grabs.
Anyway, this is a great opportunity. The Carnegie UK Trust have actually taken very seriously this opportunity of their 100th anniversary and embarked on a very important study, "Global Rules, Local Rulers." I admire it for many reasons.
One is the rigor that's involved in it. It is a rigorously empirical study. They have done a lot of work. But it is also normative, looking at serious questions of where the international economic regime and structure should go. For me that combination of rigorous empirical work with a serious normative question about how we can make the world a better place is exactly what we should be all about.
Without any further introduction, what I would like to do is introduce our guests. I think what I'll do is recognize Albert, who is going to be introducing the panelists. Let me just say a few words of proper introduction for Albert Tucker.
Albert is currently an independent consultant. Among many senior, nonexecutive positions he holds is a trustee of common purpose and vice chair of the Big Lottery Fund in England, which sounds interesting to me. Previously, he was managing director of Twin Trading, an alternative trade organization that builds sustainable business with farmers in Latin America and Africa. Albert is a leading figure in the fair trade movement and overseas development and is an advocate for small-scale producers and citizens in global trade and policy.
I'll turn it over to Albert.
ALBERT TUCKER: Thank you, Joel. It's a real privilege to be here.
Today what we're going to do is we'll have two of my colleagues from the UK to address you. We really want to have a discussion, so you are not going to get very many presentations here, but we just want to get a discussion going amongst ourselves, to create a space and a starting point to develop the issues we are going to present to you. So if I can just invite Martyn Evans and Melanie Leech to join me here.
Melanie, maybe you could start. Melanie is the vice chair of the Carnegie UK Trust. Melanie will open and introduce the session.
MELANIE LEECH: Thank you very much indeed, Albert.
Hello, everyone. It's a real pleasure and a privilege to be here.
As Joel said, we are, as the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust, one of around about 20 or so institutions endowed by Andrew Carnegie, who split his time between Scotland and America—born in Scotland and very much home territory for him; then, obviously, moved to America and made his money there. So the range of trusts, I think, goes from very, very local (within Scotland there is a trust focused solely on his birthplace of Dunfermline) to the truly international and global (such as the Council).
We sit somewhere in the middle. I had an interesting discussion at the table just now. To us, we feel like we have a very big job to do, because we have to represent five different parts of the UK and Ireland, and that's quite a challenge. We are trying all the time to balance between Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland. But I guess to those of you sitting here who are from the Council or from other organizations that have much more of a global remit, that feels like a very local challenge. We feel like it's hard enough to think of the UK as a significant identity in its own right.
But we do take our responsibilities extremely seriously. Our founding purpose was to improve the well-being of the masses of the people in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Over the past century—as Joel mentioned, we've got a birthday coming up very shortly, next year—we've tried to do that in a number of ways.
We have tried to lead thought around big public policy and social policy issues. We've carried out extensive grant-giving programs.
We are very well known, I think, in the UK for endowing a series of public libraries across the country, many of which have also been reaching their centenary, or will do so very shortly. We have had an interesting challenge recently trying to position ourselves in the debate, as those libraries have been threatened by cuts in public funding, threatened with closure, threatened with demonstrating relevance to modern society, and so on. That has been quite a challenging issue for us. But what a great task to have, to be the custodian of a legacy that actually is so engaging still in the 21st century, even if it needs to find a way to move forward.
We've created and supported new organizations that have tried, again going back to the founding purpose, to improve the well-being of the masses, several organizations; for example, a voluntary arts network we established to try to create and link together across the whole of the UK voluntary organizations involved in grassroots arts activity. I could go on and on—many, many examples.
In 2004, we decided to take a slightly different direction. We thought that to really have an impact in the late-20th and moving into the 21st century, we needed to move away slightly from traditional grant-giving, small-scale grant-giving, and to position ourselves much more as trying to influence policy, to get to people who are thinking about big issues and try to influence that thought to improve people's lives.
Joel has kindly already mentioned our strapline, "Changing minds, changing lives." That very much, I think, encapsulates what we are trying to do. I actually do take the credit for that strapline. [Applause] Thank you very much.
We sat in a room as trustees, as you do. I'm sure you've all been—I don't know whether you do it with Post-its and whiteboards in the U.S.; I guess you do too—but we sat there and challenged ourselves and brainstormed and wrote ideas. Nothing was working terribly well.
I came up with the idea, "Changing minds, changing lives." At first, I have to tell you, it didn't go down very well. I was laughed at, may I tell you. I'm not sure that this will resonate or not, but I'll try it anyway and give it a go. The expats, at least, will know what I'm talking about.
But, after another hour-and-a-half or so, when we were told we weren't going to get out of the room until we had come up with a new strapline, it was like, "You know what? 'Changing minds, changing lives,' yeah, maybe that works." And so it has come to pass. That may be the only contribution I significantly made to Carnegie, but I can claim some credit for that one.
We now group our policy work, our attempts to influence, around three main themes: people and place, knowledge and culture, and enterprise and society. The themes that are relevant to today's discussion and that have come through in the report that we are discussing have run through actually all of those threads, but, obviously, particularly through the enterprise and society theme.
We have done some other publications in this area. The titles probably tell you as much as you need to know or I've got time to tell you this morning about what they are. We did one called "More Than GDP, Measuring What Matters." "Enterprising Minds"—what is it that individuals bring and capture and how can we harness that activity? This is very much, I think, territory we are engaged in, becoming comfortable in, starting to shape a voice in.
But we can't do any of that without these kinds of events that really help us to engage with other people who can bring a lot to that debate, different perspectives, different ideas. We are still finding our way through it.
Although I have to say that we have—I can say this as a trustee—an incredibly dedicated, committed, and great team of staff. I'm looking at Jim Metcalfe, he has been instrumental in this report, led by Martyn, and others in the UK Trust that have helped us very much as trustees to become enthused by these ideas, become gripped with the potential to make a difference in this space. I thank them for that.
It may be thought slightly unusual, given that our remit is very much focused on the United Kingdom and Ireland, for us to be talking about global issues, about global organizations and all of those issues. I think, in an era of globalization, that has both expanded and contracted our horizons in a way, because it has brought us all closer together, it has brought all the issues that previously we might have thought of from a national perspective very much closer together. So you can't really disentangle actually what might improve the lot of the population in the UK from some very big issues that operate at a global level.
But, equally, some of them impact very, very differentially locally in local jurisdictions. So I think—I hope—that Andrew Carnegie would understand that in the 21st century improving the lot of the people in the UK and Ireland involves actually engaging with some very global issues from the roots of our local perspective in the UK
I think—and I dare to hope—that he would also be delighted to see a strong partnership emerging between two of his endowed organizations. I think that has been another thing we've really celebrated, form the UK Trust's point of view, getting to know the Council, to develop that relationship.
We like to come together as a group of Carnegie trusts and foundations. But certainly, from the United Kingdom Trust perspective, I think this is the first—and I hope the first of many—but I think we are moving to a different level in terms of the engagement we are having as a pair of trusts. I think that, again, has been a fantastically rich experience and one we would only, I hope, grow further and develop as we go through these conversations, but also, I hope, many other issues.
I think the last thing I just need to do is to, on behalf of the United Kingdom Trust, thank Joel, thank the Council members, for their hospitality today, but also for that very rich partnership that they have embraced, just as we have tried to from our side.
I look forward to hearing the discussion today. We are really, really interested to hear your views. We are going to sit here, but that is not so you can throw questions at us. As Albert has already hinted at, we very much want to hear your views, get an engagement going between all of you, and we want to sit and listen and learn from that.
So thank you all very much indeed.
ALBERT TUCKER: Thank you, Melanie.
As Melanie has just said, we've already set an agenda. Changing minds is usually tough enough, but changing minds and then changing lives is the challenge we have set to ourselves. I guess we're starting at the changing-minds stage.
I think, looking at the bios of the people who are around the room, we've got some very good minds around the table. So we really would want your input, your challenge, and your guidance about our thinking so far.
To start that, we'll have our next input for that discussion. Martyn Evans, the chief executive of the Carnegie UK Trust, will introduce the project, and then we will open up for discussion on his findings.
MARTYN EVANS: Thank you very much, Albert.
May I add my own welcome and thank you for all the organization that has gone behind today.
I am going to give you a short outline of our research. It is interesting that foundations and trusts and not-for-profits in the UK tend to concentrate on the distribution of tax dollars—welfare—and not on wealth creation or the regulation of markets.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. But that's only half the issue. It's through markets, enterprise, and trade that wealth is created. Now, many acknowledge—it's not a ringing endorsement—that markets are the least-worst way of creating and distributing wealth.
But however you look at it, the results have been extraordinary. In the last 100 years, our GDP in the UK has doubled, and yours has more than doubled every 25 years. Every generation, in real terms, GDP has doubled. That has created an amount of wealth and a difference from our grandfathers' and our great-grandfathers' generations that is beyond our real ability to understand.
Andrew Carnegie wrote very early in life: "I began to learn what poverty meant. It was burned into my heart that my father had to beg for work."
We are now living through the second global crisis in banking—and, indeed, capitalism—in the last 100 years. In addition to that banking crisis, we have a very much related crisis, and that's one of confidence in both politicians and the business leaders. There is a general narrative that politicians are remote, self-interested, and venal, while business leaders lack values and any sense of social solidarity.
My experience is that neither of those things is generally true. However, that narrative has a very strong hold on public discussion. Trust is at a particularly low ebb, and we blame these players, politicians and business leaders, for the crisis we are now in.
So we have an economic crisis and we have a crisis of trust.
We have a third, and this is the weary cynicism epitomized by the often-repeated quote, "No matter who you vote for, the government always gets in." That quote goes down fairly well. It is less than 90 years since we had universal suffrage within the United Kingdom. Women were finally given the vote in 1928. So how come we have come so far that we can dismiss the voting with that cynicism?
Cynicism is corrosive. It demeans. It halts public inquiry and cooperation. It's a currency of too much public debate and too much of the comment in the media.
The Occupy Wall Street and Occupy London protests around the world are one manifestation of a public dissatisfaction with the current way the world appears to be, and probably a summary of the problem.
In my experience, you must campaign for things, not against things, if you want change to happen. Many of those on those demonstrations knew what they were against but they couldn't really articulate what they were for.
As one of my sons, probably rather cynically, said, "I kind of feel drawn to these protests, but they always seem to end in the same way: some old hippie standing on one leg playing a flute." Probably not generally true, but you get the impression that he had.
Now, confidence in both government and industry, as I said, particularly the financial sector, to address our economic concerns has diminished most swiftly in the developed world.
In the UK, citizens are concerned about their personal economic prospects and about their place in the global economy. They see a system where many believe the balance of power and benefit is shifting away from them fast and they have no control over that.
Globalization, this thickening of the independence between markets, countries, and people, started in the midst of the last century. From the conclusion of the Bretton Woods agreements forward, the conditions, this gradual process of globalization, have been fundamental to our post-Second World War international settlement.
Broadly, economic institutions have worked to reduce or remove product tariffs between national markets and stimulate financial liquidity and inter-market financial transactions, to bind countries together to a shared understanding, a shared set of rules.
However, it's exactly in this area which we chose to look at, trade interactions and governance, that most critics and advocates of globalization recognize the progressive hand or the malevolent influence of globalization. For some critics, globalization and the freedom to trade internationally is in fact a cipher for forced deregulation and the privatization of domestic public policy and services.
Conversely, others have argued that global free trade pushes down prices, multiplies markets, and fosters higher-value opportunities for workers and consumers across the globe. National governments combining through international government organizations are seen as the essential guardians, rule enforcers, and structural managers of trade agreements.
We chose, as I said, to look at the World Trade Organization [WTO] to illustrate how we think this issue has arisen and where we are now.
The WTO provided a kind of unifying brand about globalization and free trade, and through the Uruguay and then the Doha trade rounds, international relations have been built and developed and rules applied. In that process, British NGOs, nongovernmental organizations, contributed very significant resources into the WTO. What had been quite a secretive organization to start with was opened up by this process of engagement by nongovernment organizations.
They developed a voice and an understanding to get a public perspective into these inter-government agreements. They devoted some of their significant in-house capacity to policy research and advocacy, and they drew citizens into a discussion. They didn't always agree with them, but they were drawn into a discussion.
Now, as global trade discussions ran into the sand, as these agreements started to become much more difficult to arrive at, as the players became locked into a process of endless agreement, working, very little to happen, what was happening to the NGOs was they were reassessing their commitment.
In our research, one interviewer said: "As the Doha round floundered, we stopped lobbying for change inside of WTO. We started to argue from the outside, to get rid of the WTO as a whole and start again."
Those NGOs who participated so forcefully in the latter part of the 20th century in opening up, making understandable, global issues, global trade relationships, to the citizens in the developed world were driven by internal constituencies of members, supporters, funders, and staff finding it very difficult to defend what they were doing in this endless and rather difficult process of rounds to doing something different.
They started to refocus their resources away from trade and into environmental campaigning, the issues of environmental degradation, energy sustainability, and security and integrity of the food supplies. These were not new concerns to nongovernment organizations, and they were certainly not exclusive of trade and economic policy, but they did see the shift away from an argument about global trade, globalization, and the benefits of that.
With increasing speed in the early part of the 21st century, they streamed away from economic and trade policy into environmental and poverty work.
The collective effort of that streaming away, in our view, in our evidence that we took from our polling and our research, has been to de-scale and de-populate the topical trade discussion at a significant point in the development of the global economic story, and that was the point at which it started to collapse. The resources, the intermediaries, were not there.
Our research mirrored other recently published work in suggesting a very strong sense of dislocation and disempowerment among citizens in the developed world, in our own country, for whom the complexity and scale of international economic system change excluded them from any meaningful contribution or debate. They felt the victims of change. They felt no power whatsoever.
The contradictions that they were being told in diagnosis and cure frustrated and confused citizens in our research—one day advised to save and pay down debt, the next to spend and kick-start the economy. Citizens started to express—and they do express—a cynicism about expert advice. The media, particularly, in our research was viewed negatively, favoring adversarial dispute and debate over explanation and understanding.
Now, isolated from the international institutions, which are incredibly important, as we would understand, and frustrated with this kind of bipolarity and incomprehensibility of the economic debate, citizens became so disengaged that they couldn't find a voice within which to participate.
The dangers about domestic public audience setting itself against globalization within a climate of powerlessness and mistrust are many, not least that the crisis is so obviously shared across borders and requires intergovernmental as well as local solutions. A vacuum in what we call this public economic debate is too easily filled by isolationist voices, which will drown out systems-based-reforming diagnosis and policy proposals.
Our conclusion was there appears an opportunity and a challenge to NGOs to reengage, to recapture some of this lost ground, because, as I said, this crisis of confidence in business and politicians means that whilst they are not powerless to help, they are not trusted to help.
We have to demonstrate through NGOs the relevance of our international organizations, and we have to say to these highly trusted organizations: "Get back into the fray. Come back in and start a debate." If you don't do that, as we have said in our report, if you are not able to pollinate— that fertilization and understanding of what happens between countries—and make people understand the relationship of complex institutions, more and more they will come back to their own perceived self-interest, more isolationist, more protectionist, and distrust even more the international governments.
I think our conclusion is this: Looking at NGOs, they were heavily engaged in groundbreaking system-change thinking around development and economic thinking. They were able to make the personal relevant to what people could do, also to explain through the personal actions you can take the complexities and engagement with the system. They are highly skilled at delivering practical innovations at grassroots level.
Now, the challenge that we are setting—and this is why we are here, to hear whether this has resonance with you—is to connect that expertise and change thinking into domestic economic debate. Not to undertake it themselves, but to seek partnership with the other institutions—with politicians, with business leaders—to reengage the debate about the value of trade, the value of entrepreneurship, and the fact that global rules actually do protect our interests.
Our conclusion, as I've said, is that if that doesn't happen, what we will see now is a fracturing of the debate and a disengagement. When you have less understanding and less engagement, you have some very dangerous underpinning for political action and demonstration.
That was our conclusion, Albert. Thank you very much.
ALBERT TUCKER: So, what we have heard, just to summarize very quickly for us, is: We've got a fast-paced and changing environment; there is quite a lack of knowledge about what the way forward should be amongst citizens; we've got over-committed NGOs in the sector who have been lobbying around this area; we have cynicism amongst the public and the NGOs about trust in our business leaders, trust in our banking and economic systems; we have a challenge about how to reengage with that.
If we did that survey here in the United States, is there something that would be very, very different in those findings? Does it resonate with you here, the findings you just heard expressed? Is there something that would surprise you in what you have just heard? Is there something you think is missing if that was a discourse that was happening here?
PARTICIPANT: My name is Susan Gitelson.
I want to commend this report because it really analyzes and comes up with a positive view of this very serious crisis. It's important that it comes from people from the UK because before there was a Carnegie, who was the greatest proponent of free trade if not Queen Victoria and Prince Albert? So you really, as Brits, have brought so much to the world about the importance of exchanges.
The reason I wanted to ask a question is that I had the good fortune of speaking to you informally before, and you said that you are working on entrepreneurship in the UK. Heather and I will tell you about Mayor Bloomberg and efforts at entrepreneurship in New York and the United States and so forth.
So part of the improvement of the global picture has to come from local efforts all over to encourage entrepreneurship—people who are optimistic, forward-looking, want to take initiative, are willing to work very hard. How do you feel about this?
ALBERT TUCKER: I am not going to take it as a question. You've made a point about entrepreneurship having a role to play.
A question I really want to tease out your views on is what you've heard from us about the reactions from the UK. I'll come back to what we need to take as approaches. Does it have a resonance for the United States? We are talking about global rules here, so we want to check out the interconnectedness of what we have just said. We'll come back to ways forward in a moment.
PARTICIPANT: Thanks. My name is George Paik.
One of the reasons I came was that I spent 1992 and 1993 at the State Department as the junior officer, note-taking person, on the trade and environment portfolio. So I would have to say that your comments are extremely resonant, that the bipolarity and the politicization of issues that are actually technical in origins is a pervasive problem.
I am curious about the sequencing of some of your research because it sounds like a lot of your findings relate to dynamics since the Seattle summit. I would say in 1992 and 1993, when you got into the working group level, where we were beginning to bring NGOs into the discussion, bring them to working groups in Geneva and at OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] as well—yes, there was a discussion, but I would say that a lot of that working discussion was already: "Oh, well that paper has too much trade" or "that paper has too much environment." And it wasn't just NGOs and it wasn't just lobbyists, but it was also government bureaucrats whose interests might have aligned one way or the other.
I wonder if there is something structural about democratic government in complex societies. I wonder if we are all fighting a tendency towards some natural bipolarization impulse that we all have. I wonder if it's nice that maybe you see more of it since Seattle, whereas I was already cynical before Seattle as somebody on the inside. That's my reaction.
ALBERT TUCKER: But it is not just your cynicism. We are talking now about citizens and the people who talk to citizens on the public debate. I suppose the proposition is that that cynicism and dislocation is growing. Is that the same here? Is that your experience?
GEORGE PAIK: I wonder if it's growing or if it's just becoming more explicit.
ALBERT TUCKER: Anything from the U.S. picture that we should think about that hasn't been reflected in what we are saying, and then I will move on to my next—
PARTICIPANT: I'm Sam Gregory.
I may not be the best person to give the U.S. picture, given my British accent, but I do live here. I am the program director at a human rights organization, Witness.
Let me give a parallel example, which I think reflects the same challenge. I work in the world of Internet policy. There, there is a very strong reaction back against kind of full multi-stakeholderism here in the United States, the idea that citizens are not being represented, that Congress doesn't represent them, that the ITU [International Telecommunication Union], which I saw is on the first page of your report, definitely doesn't represent them. I think that is going to be the same dimension that you are going to see on trade policy because it fits in a very similar sort of dynamic.
So I wonder how you think about the reframing of that in terms that resonate with the generation of people who are thinking in the Occupy terms, who are thinking in terms of the Avaaz movement—thousands, millions, of people standing up in singular moments. I think that would be an important element to look at.
The other contrast I'd put out in the United States, which I think is something we have seen in terms of human rights language and inequality, is the work of groups like Opportunity Agenda here in the United States, who look at how we frame issues in terms that resonate for the U.S. public, so opportunity versus inequality.
I think there are some differences between the U.S. and the UK in terms of how people are framing these debates. I think there is shared opposition, that is very similar, to this sort of faux sense of who is representing us.
ALBERT TUCKER: Can you say a little bit, just explain for my purposes, the opportunity versus inequality debate?
SAM GREGORY: This is a piece of research done by a group in the United States, called Opportunity Agenda, that looks at how you present issues that go past bipartisan things. I think trade policy is very bipartisan because markets and inequality—inequality is framed as a choice point; you know, you have some people—inevitably, there will be inequality. Opportunity frames that as a positive thing, so everyone who has opportunities to benefit from trade or from the opportunities in society. So it is a framing question within the United States that tries to move beyond bipartisan stands on an issue.
ALBERT TUCKER: So you are positing that debate should be taken into the trade rules debate as it is framed?
SAM GREGORY: I think actually opportunity is a hugely powerful framework to use in trade.
ALBERT TUCKER: Great.
PARTICIPANT: Hi. I am David Cowen. I run the Museum of American Finance downtown on Wall Street.
I think if you polled 1,000 Americans—because that's what you are asking—with these questions, the first preamble is that we have these two wide oceans, and we have less than 10 percent of the people who have passports. I don't know how many would know these—not New Yorkers; you're talking about all Americans you're asking.
Having said that, they care most about their job in a tough economic environment right now. They see jobs going overseas, whether they are outsourcing to call centers or manufacturing jobs that have left America. That's what's on their mind.
When they look at these world organizations, they want to have what you keep saying is free trade, but their politicians are telling us we don't have fair trade. So many of these things, like an exchange rate with China that makes it very advantageous for them to export—but that also takes away jobs here in America. I think that's where the focus of everybody in a tough economy is, first and foremost.
PARTICIPANT: My name is Patty Chang. I'm with New York University.
I was actually curious about the empirical research that you did. Having read the research paper that you circulated, I was just wondering in terms of—because you did a survey and also focus groups—whether it was longitudinal, in the sense that you measured change. How do you know it is actually increasing? Or was it just temporal, like you just polled people at a certain time period to ask them their impressions of it?
ALBERT TUCKER: It was the latter.
PATTY CHANG: Okay. Because that makes a difference in terms of understanding how much change is actually being made.
ALBERT TUCKER: So you would posit we should also think about maybe doing some longitudinal work as we go along?
PATTY CHANG: Yes, exactly. Well, looking at the past and seeing how much opinions have actually changed.
ALBERT TUCKER: So both backwards and forwards on that?
PATTY CHANG: Yes.
ALBERT TUCKER: Any thoughts on that, Jim?
PARTICIPANT: Hi, I'm Jim Metcalfe. I did some of the research and then wrote the paper.
It should be clear that this is just the start of a discussion for us. This is not the end of a longstanding program. So it is actually a temporal piece of research. I just wanted to add that. So we don't want to over-claim about the primary research. It's just designed to inform this discussion. I'll speak to you more later on about the practical outputs of the work. But that should be clear. We don't want to overreach in any way.
ALBERT TUCKER: But at this stage we want to create the space to actually have that discussion and start testing that out between us globally.
PARTICIPANT: My name is Blaine Fogg.
I think Americans generally know very little about NGOs and IGOs [intergovernmental organizations] and what they do, and what they do know they don't necessarily hold them in very high regard. So I think that they have a real need for education of the people here in this country about them and what they do and what they do positively.
Having lived in Europe for three or four years, I think Americans generally don't have as broad a view of the world as other people do. I suspect that's because we've had a long period of American hegemony, which is coming to an end. Without global leadership, we are going to have to learn to live with others and support these kinds of organizations.
ALBERT TUCKER: But in a shrinking global environment where we are also connected, is this a good thing?
BLAINE FOGG: Oh no, no. It's a bad thing, obviously.
ALBERT TUCKER: So your thoughts about how we look at that—do you think there needs to be a lot more education? America needs to be a lot more engaged?
BLAINE FOGG: Absolutely.
PARTICIPANT: Matthew Olson.
I have had the impression for many years that NGOs establish themselves and, because they are NGOs, they are legitimate. It is not clear to me that because they are NGOs, they are legitimate.
I was interested to read in The Economist, and haven't read the point in many years, that there is no real accountability for NGOs. I would be interested in hearing about the legitimacy of NGOs, the legitimacy of the self-claim to legitimacy, and to the reaction of NGOs that possibly they should also be accountable as are governments and corporations and all the rest.
ALBERT TUCKER: I think there is a question about accountability, particularly in the U.S. context, and I think a little bit—
MATTHEW OLSON: Particularly accountability.
ALBERT TUCKER: Yes, particularly in the UK context.
I don't want us to get into a debate about the accountability of NGOs. The thing we found is that there is quite a level of trust in the discourse created by the NGOs. The NGOs played a critical role in the WTO agenda, as we heard.
The question we are trying to pose is—it's the first line on this report, which is the next phase of the question I want to go to—"Citizens depend on rigorous public debate to both understand and regulate the operation of international economic policy." So the accountability question is there, and I think I would have it on our agenda—some accountability framework in the U.S. context you've raised.
But I wouldn't want us to go into the accountability of NGOs—that would take us all day to discuss, I think—but more about who do you see playing a role in that public debate? What are the key players and factors we need to get a more effective public debate?
MATTHEW OLSON: Well, Greenpeace is the first thing that comes to my mind.
ALBERT TUCKER: As a trusted advocate, you are saying?
MATTHEW OLSON: As a trusted advocate, but also one that assumes that they have a right, based on their opinion, to take coercive measures, even to go door-to-door in Brunswick, Maine, and solicit funds.
ALBERT TUCKER: But in terms of trade rules, that debate is still not there. We find that there is a dislocation from that discourse. That is really what I want to get at. How do we get a proper discourse happening?
PARTICIPANT: My name is Kevin McMullen, from no place in particular.
I think the situation is hopeless. Most Americans are angry with the world because they don't do what we tell them to do all the time. It's even worse than it sounds.
The last time I was in this room for a breakfast lecture, two distinguished gentlemen at my table tried to convince me that there is no such thing as international law, there's only power. People come up to me in law libraries, see the books I have, and try to convince me there's no such thing.
Not only that, groups such as the ones that are here today are an infinitesimal sliver of the population. I have actually run into the same person three different places in one day in Manhattan [Laughter]—here in the morning for a breakfast lecture, at the American Foreign Law Association for a luncheon lecture, and in the late afternoon at New York Law School for an international law lecture.
ALBERT TUCKER: And that person is probably saying the same about you somewhere else today. [Laughter]
KEVIN McMULLEN: I heard of a bumper sticker for which I have sympathy. I understand that it reads, "I feel much better since I've given up hope." [Laughter]
ALBERT TUCKER: Okay. So if we steadfastly don't want to give up hope, what would be your thoughts about what we should be thinking about? Or if we want to reengage hope, what would you think would be one thing you think we should be thinking about? And your dear friend who went to the same things, what should these people be thinking about more positively?
KEVIN McMULLEN:We have to do something much more strenuous. Essentially, we have to abolish public schools. I have recently been preparing to teach a short course for the bar examination, and the professor who has recruited me for this has had endless meetings with me, and he keeps saying to me, "No, it's too advanced. The students are too uneducated and they're too unwilling to learn. They're whiners and they're lazy, and god forbid you use a Latin word."
ALBERT TUCKER: So you probably agree with our colleague over there about more education and awareness, I guess.
PARTICIPANT: My name is Larry Bridwell. I teach MBA students from all over the world at Pace University.
I think you are alluding to something that has not yet been put forth. The surveys show that globalization has reduced poverty in China and India because of the employment opportunities, and the victims, some people believe, are people who work in American factories, working-class people in the bottom 50 percent.
One good example of this is NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement]. A majority of the American people still oppose NAFTA. But I am intrigued by your fair trade work because that is an example of poor people being able to get higher incomes because they export into the United States.
So I think the debate about globalization, if we were to boil it down, is that it is very good for low-income countries that have access to advanced markets, and maybe the victims are people who used to work in factories and other kinds of jobs, including information systems, who have had work that has been providing advancement in the standard of living for India, China, and elsewhere around the world.
ALBERT TUCKER: You're talking about protectionism, that there is an increase? I think we had feedback from Leon Brittan, one of our former ministers, who is the chairman of UBS now, who was talking about a concern about an increasing sense of protectionism. You are alluding to that now. What is your position on that?
LARRY BRIDWELL: I teach a course on globalization, and one of the things I spend several weeks on—it's an academic term—is the theory of comparative advantage, which essentially says that free trade is terrific because it raises the productivity and the standard of living of all people around the world.
But when you have local victims in the United States and other advanced economies, then you have not only political turmoil but people's lives being ruined because Walmart, which used to buy products from American factories, actively campaign to buy—now 60 percent of the merchandise sold in Walmart is from China.
ALBERT TUCKER: One of the things I think we found in the research was that, because citizens really are not engaged with the rules, they are not engaged with what is creating these dynamics, their reaction is quite unpredictable to us. They are not believing us anymore. They are not trusting us anymore to actually have answers or solutions to these problems. I think that polarizes very much with the challenge you pose.
So what are the things we should be engaging with as part of moving that discourse forward?
PARTICIPANT: I'm Ugoji Adanma Eze. I'm actually a British citizen.
I'd like to really answer the gentleman's question over there. I'm also a member of civil society at the United Nations. I'm actually the focal point for NGOs, the Commission on the Status of Women, Women and Peace and Security, at the United Nations.
I, quite honestly, object to his statements as regards the unaccountability of NGOs. I would like to commend Carnegie UK Trust for being aware of the important role that civil society and NGOs do play. We are responsible people. We don't run amok.
I feel I am in a unique position. First and foremost, I am British; and, secondly, I am here at the United Nations in civil society playing an important role.
I do concur that the average American citizens are completely in the dark of important international issues, international affairs. So they tend to generally make flippant statements. NGOs—people automatically think about Greenpeace and events they have done.
I would just like to say that we are responsible people and we can make change in the international arena. Thank you very much.
ALBERT TUCKER: I think one of the things later that I want to get back to in this discussion is we know there are other players and there are roles they can play. I want to park that, because our focus has been that NGOs are critical actors, whatever our positioning of them is, which is why I don't want to get into the debate about their accountability and status and so on. NGOs have been a focus in terms of what role can they play. There are roles for other players, and we can map that, if people really want to pull that out for us for thinking going forward.
But right now, if we are saying that there needs to be rigorous public debate and NGOs can play a critical role in this, what are the things we would want to see on that agenda around some of the issues you've already raised?
UGOJI ADANMA EZE: Another point I'd like to raise. The critical role that NGOs have played, and will play in the future—one just has to see the events that occurred in the Middle East, in North Africa, the Arab Spring.
Another point is that the current president of the General Assembly does recognize the important role that NGOs can play. He does go out of his way to actively engage with us. He sees that we can play an important role in the international stage, mainly of the United Nations. Thank you.
PARTICIPANT: Mike Koenig, Long Island University.
To get to the point of giving up hope, there is one area where I do see a small sliver of hope. That is the kickback against ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement. Most of that kickback is based on the perception that much of what ACTA is is disguised copyright legislation. The copyright legislation, which in the U.S. started out as fourteen-plus-fourteen, but only the creator could renew, not the estate or the heirs, has not become a phrase that is as frequently used as "what we have is perpetual copyright on the installment plan," and that what ACTA is is another step in trying to extend that further.
What I have seen is a great deal of cooperation among NGOs internationally in kicking back against ACTA and trying to get ACTA derailed in the EU, in the U.S., and in other parts of the world. I think that is a very positive development.
ALBERT TUCKER: Thank you very much. I welcome the celebration of hope.
PARTICIPANT: Well, I'll see if I can make you feel even better. I'm Ron Berenbeim.
I want to address the issue of NGO accountability and the modalities in which at least some NGOs operate, which is a highly cooperative mode. There are all kinds of NGOs.
One with which I have been very much involved for, I would say, 12, 13 years, has been Transparency International, on whose steering committee for business principles I serve. It would have gotten nowhere without the indispensable support of General Electric and many other businesses, but notably General Electric.
Anti-corruption is certainly something on which we can all agree now. Transparency International is not registered as a corporation anywhere because it isn't one and there is no requirement of that sort for an NGO.
This argument about the accountability of NGOs has been around for a very long time. But the bottom line really is that the partnerships between NGOs and business organizations has been a very active one on things on which they can agree.
I just got back from Rio+20. There, there was considerable participation and teaming between NGOs and businesses in areas of anti-corruption, alleviation of poverty, and gender equity. So this is something that has been happening for quite a long time.
Now, there are NGOs that have a more hostile position towards business and towards which business has a more hostile position. But that's not the point. There are also all kinds of corporations as well.
I'll close with a comment.
First of all, Susan, on the issue of British free trade, let's hear it for the British Navy. Victoria and Albert didn't do this all by themselves.
ALBERT TUCKER: From the world you have just come from, from the trade round discussions you have just come from, is there one thing you would like to add for us to think about from the discussions you just had in Rio?
RON BERENBEIM: Well, it wasn't a trade round. Rio+20 was a United Nations meeting to celebrate—which is not an occasion for celebration necessarily for everyone in this room—the enunciation of sustainability doctrine by the Brundtland Commission, which occurred 20 years ago. Gro Harlem Brundtland became prime minister of Norway thereafter. That was the first time the word was ever used, at least in that connection. So this was a celebration of this and talking about steps forward.
The initiative in which I specifically was involved was a business curriculum for some 400 institutions—and we hope eventually there will be over 1,000 worldwide—that includes principles for responsible management education.
Secondly, it was part of the Global Compact, which includes many thousands of businesses that subscribe generally to these kinds of responsible management practices and a more diverse idea of what constitutes effective business practice than simply return on equity year after year, quarter after quarter.
ALBERT TUCKER: A question for us: If we are saying that the environment we've got at the moment is a lack of confidence in our trade and business institutions and our finance institutions and their ability to resolve some of the challenges we are facing, if we are saying that the public are disengaged and feel dislocated from that agenda and are not quite sure what's happening, and if we are trying to create a space where we can get reengagement, what do we need to do? What are the barriers we need to overcome? What are the things we need to start doing to open that discourse?
PARTICIPANT: Susan Ball.
I'm having a little confusion on your use of the word "NGO," because the NGOs that I have worked with are—you don't even worry about accountability with them.
Do you know Camfed in London?
ALBERT TUCKER: Yes.
SUSAN BALL: I'm on the USA Board for Camfed. That's great. They are doing girls' education in Africa. That's an NGO that I don't think fits into what you are talking about. So when you use the broad term "NGO," I don't know whether you are talking about those institutions or these great big—
ALBERT TUCKER: I am probably the worst person to open this discussion with because I could probably take our discussion in lots of other ways.
Camfed does work in Africa around poverty, and they participate in discussing what are the things funders should be supporting in Africa to actually help alleviate poverty. So they do do some campaign work, but it is not campaign advocacy as sometimes we would understand it.
That's a debate I don't want us to have here, about the kinds of NGOs. What we are saying is there are some NGOs who, in the UK context particularly, people like Oxfam—I understand Oxfam does a range of different things, but they are also strong campaigners on trade rules from what they learned from their work.
So there are all kinds of NGOs and we can have all kinds of different relationships with them.
I did some work with Transparency International around trade rule in Kenya and corruption in Kenya. But corruption wasn't the issue. Making trade work well for everybody was the challenge, and corruption was a part of it.
So NGOs come from lots of different directions. Our focus is the public discourse that is not happening, the public dislocation that is not happening.
People are saying to us, "Those big corporations doing the trade, they benefit out of these trade rules. There are big institutions who we feel we can't trust anymore; they benefit out of trade rules."
We are going towards our despair position, our loss-of-hope position, and we don't want that to happen. So what do we need to do to reopen and reinvigorate those discourses if we are trying to create this space for that discourse to happen?
PARTICIPANT: You raised a question about what could be done. It seems that it's a very serious problem that the NGOs backed away from, particularly, the World Trade Organization talks and so on. But the reasons that were given here from the panel and also from you, that it was getting too complex, that they weren't getting anywhere—this, as you suggest, has contributed to the problems to solve.
It calls for perhaps more professionalization. Oxfam has been wonderful at this. They genuinely have really highly trained people who know the subject, and they are not operating from a sympathy or some other kind of half-informed campaign goal, which really can be a wrecking ball.
Jagdish Bhagwati, the Indian economist at Columbia, said years and years ago, decades ago, that if this starts getting into the World Trade Organization—he was particularly worried about labor standards—he said, "If we insist on imposing labor standards from the developed world or the developing nations bring other issues in, this is going to wreck the Doha round." And to some degree this has happened.
I think your results in your study were not about the role of the developing countries, but I think that has to be taken into account, because many nongovernmental organizations of the kind you are talking about have taken their lead from campaigners in the developing countries, often who have very political agendas.
ALBERT TUCKER: But there is an emerging thing for us when I was looking at the report, for sure, that the developed countries aren't in it.
I think as you said over there, with people seeing jobs going away from here because another economy that was a developing one is improving, then it creates a different political dynamic for us, hence the protectionist tendencies that are beginning to emerge.
How do we make that discussion more global, if you like, and more real for people who are struggling, whether in developed countries or in developing countries? That connectivity is a challenge for us in going forward and one of the things we need to think about.
PARTICIPANT: Edith Everett.
I think the problem is that free discussion has been co-opted by the powerful, so that they have become political, they have become biased, they have become important to themselves and not to the general global for the best of all worlds, the best of all people. This is a very serious problem.
We see it so much in the United States, where the television and the radio and the newspapers are being bought up by important interests, wealthy people. All we will hear is their point of view. As long as that continues—and it will continue internationally, I believe—we are in big trouble.
ALBERT TUCKER: So what would you suggest we should be raising in our discourse as a response?
EDITH EVERETT: I think we ought to confront that.
ALBERT TUCKER: We need to confront that head-on?
EDITH EVERETT: I think we have to be able to say, "We can't function in a world here the haves have it all over the have-nots." We have to be more vocal about that.
ALBERT TUCKER: And I guess the media has a role to play in that. We'll come back to that.
PARTICIPANT: Jonathan Gage with the Carnegie Council and Boston Consulting Group.
I have to agree with really everyone here, there is so much room for cynicism and negativity and partisanship—it is really boom times for all that.
I think one of the issues may be that there are few problems of importance that we face right now that any of us, whether we are an NGO, government, local government, a group like this, can really resolve by ourselves without all those other groups.
If you actually look at some of the things that are happening right now, there are a lot of examples, as Mr. Berenbeim said, of actual—they are public-private cooperation, but they go beyond that.
It reminds me of a concept developed by one of my former employers, called "mega-communities." It talked about: How do you deal with problems that are transnational, international, they go across borders, in environmental ways and political ways?
The only way they can be resolved and solved fundamentally in a deep way is by governments, national and local, NGOs, environmental groups, communities, townships, getting together and working out very specific sets of problems, not whining about what's wrong and who's in control and whether they're on the low side or the down side of losing jobs, but rather how do you solve a specific set of problems. It involves ring-fencing your own needs, it involves a specific set of procedures you can actually use to work out problems and get beyond the cynicism.
I was just at the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago in a working group on advanced manufacturing. So in a national sense it was kind of a partisan group. We were talking about developing more American manufacturing. Within that, there are all the issues we are familiar with in presidential politics—jobs, growth, things are being taken away from us by Chinese workers and large international corporations.
The fact is, really when you get into it, most of the specialists there, the manufacturers, will say, "We are manufacturing more than we ever have before. We manufacture 75 percent of what we use."
That's really not the issue. The issues are a lot more complex than that and they have to be—and they are being resolved to some extent by the factory owners and corporations themselves, by federal agencies, by specialists and institutions, places like the Carnegie Council.
So that would be my suggestion. Rather than look for specific approaches to specific problems that involve all sorts of entities working in a concrete set of ways, you could actually develop that in the concept of mega-communities.
ALBERT TUCKER: So you are suggesting to us that one of the ways to get the debate really moving on the rules is to look at very specific areas. So in my mind, that is supply chains, very specific chains, and then look at creating partnerships that can discuss the specific problem and try and resolve it as a way of getting at the rules. Is that what you are suggesting?
JONATHAN GAGE: Yes.
ALBERT TUCKER: What kind of partnerships? You mentioned one.
JONATHAN GAGE: For example, let's take one from the Clinton Global Initiative. You have the City of Portland, with a few manufacturing companies, in particular Dell and some big ones, but realizing they could actually do a lot more in manufacturing and they could do a lot more to export, because I think 1 percent of American manufacturers export. You could double that to 2 percent or triple it to 3 percent.
ALBERT TUCKER: That's a scary notion for the rest of the world, isn't it?
JONATHAN GAGE: It is, yes.
But in the case of Portland, in that area they are looking at how they can optimize their manufacturing locally without undermining the big manufacturers like Dell. That involves training, apprenticeships; it involves representing small manufacturers; it involves marketing, in the sense of asking who outside the United States might want to buy products from the area of Portland; it involves a whole series of different agencies that are now actually working together over a period of time.
It's not an easy slam-dunk solution, but it's a set of solutions that come together by different kinds of organizations working together.
ALBERT TUCKER: We are looking for long-term engagements with these problems.
What you're saying is it's not just the partnerships and the companies, but they are actually engaging the public that are affected by these activities in the solutions they are creating as well?
JONATHAN GAGE: They are engaging those sets of stakeholders, and they are doing it in very specific ways. They are doing it with actions that they can test and benchmark. But they get beyond the politics.
For example, you could say, "We're losing jobs in manufacturing." Well, you could ask almost any expert in manufacturing and they would say, "You could increase manufacturing enormously without creating many jobs," because the manufacturing we would want in this country would not be people sewing shoes together, it would be advanced manufacturing.
So just as one example, one thing that is holding back advanced manufacturing in the U.S. is a lack of welders. I didn't know that until I was there. There aren't enough welders. These aren't people who are just sitting there braising some little unit; its people who can braise the tubes—the Internet is a big connection of tubes, as someone said. There actually are tubes, but they are made of separate kinds of metals and they have to be braised and welded.
There is a whole set of manufacturing that is not going forward because we haven't trained people to weld. So how do you do that? How do you make a career out of that? How do you train people? And how do you train them in a way that those welding expertises that they have are still relevant five years from now?
ALBERT TUCKER: Okay, you paint a picture for me I hadn't got, a picture of cooperation. Transparency must be quite open in that process.
JONATHAN GAGE: The process that we used to call mega-communities, is one where you can have public and private partnership that work so-so and some that work better. You could actually optimize the way you do that depending on what you are trying to do.
So you could have in energy in Italy—across Europe there was a program involving ENI, the government of Italy, a bunch of communities in Italy, to resolve a very explicit set of problems. It succeeded by developing ways of working together, ways of ring-fencing, and making clear "here's my set of interests." It's not trying to maximize everybody's interests, because you can't do that, but you can optimize everybody's interests.
PARTICIPANT: Camilla Hellman. I am with the American Scottish Foundation.
It was just really to say that to have a room of such experts and voices is—what we're saying is that we need to get that voice heard and to allow people to be part of the discussion.
One of the things over here is that the papers and the media don't tell the whole international story in the different ways. To maximize such opportunities by using web and using different things, and I think maybe to look at the opportunity to hold discussions that are between Britain and here—not having you necessarily travel here, but to have them quarterly and to take these conversations forward. I think the Carnegie Trust can do so much to help that conversation.
ALBERT TUCKER: So you are saying we continue this kind of dialogue, but also across the ocean and create partnerships for all of this?
CAMILLA HELLMAN: Yes. But also bringing the whole country in.
I was part of one the other day. We're part of the Scottish Coalition, where they brought together all the clans and everything from all over the United States discussing the issues and the challenges and the different things. I just think that we need to try and use technology to connect us in a way that can help us with what we are all talking about today, because I think what is being discussed is so fascinating, and I wish so many more people were hearing this, because that is what is going to help influence the discussion.
ALBERT TUCKER: So, colleagues, we need to get so many more people involved in this debate.
But I don't want to lose a point you made in passing. In the UK at the moment, we are quite fascinated by the role of the media and the press. But if I drew from what you were saying that we should bypass the mainstream press and open the dialogue directly with the citizens. Is that was you are saying, or am I putting words in your mouth?
CAMILLA HELLMAN: I was part of a conversation with the Red Cross after what happened after Katrina. Listening to the experts and listening to what was going on really helped us all to plan and understand what we needed to do in disaster.
We need to open those things up so they get heard more by more people. I think technology needs to be used. You know, we're a continent here, we're big, but you're part of the same. It's a global world.
ALBERT TUCKER: Maybe that's a response to the media domination point that we heard earlier.
SUSAN GITELSON: Entrepreneurship is the perfect follow-up, because what we want—and we've seen it with the Arab Spring and how the whole world is really learning about what is going on and about the discontent of people all over who don't have jobs and who are very frustrated, and what do you do about it?
Just as we talk about the cynicism because of so much of what we read in the media—and we hear about the Murdoch empire since the Brits are here, and all this—what we need are more success stories about entrepreneurs who start with nothing, like Andrew Carnegie, and who, either in the place where they are born or through migration, through other places in the world, they start enterprises. They are so motivated that they can't listen to those who say, "You can't do it, you're going to fail, it's not going to work." As a matter of fact, many entrepreneurs do fail. But then they start again.
ALBERT TUCKER: All right. So you are making a case for actually putting the entrepreneurial debate into that discourse as well.
SUSAN GITELSON: Yes.
ALBERT TUCKER: How does that affect the question of trade rules, and how we really make trade rules work for the citizen, and people really understand what we are trying to do?
SUSAN GITELSON: Our politicians have to listen to the citizens and create opportunities for greater trade internally and greater export-import. It's all part of this whole ideal of world trade—it makes so much sense—and comparative advantage. So we have to be the pioneers and the advocates of greater interaction and not listen to the nay-sayers all the time.
ALBERT TUCKER: All right. That's the big challenge right there. Getting the global leadership to have that discussion would be something.
PARTICIPANT: I think, just going very practically, because I see there is a big focus on NGOs in the report, there are two things you might want to think about in relation to NGOs.
One is NGOs are supported primarily by funding. In this case, clearly, there is not funding to advocate on trade policy. So, in the absence of that funding, expecting NGOs to focus their resources there is unlikely.
The second is the failing of NGOs to engage with new popular movements. This is something where it is a pressure from funders to say, "Engage with the Occupy movement, engage with people who are trying to grapple with this."
I think it's fair to critique NGOs on legitimacy. At the same time, there is a push to say that to do the work well they need funding, and to do it in a way that is accountable, they need to talk to other people.
So I think that's two things.
And then, I think putting the pressure on the media to cover these stories and finding ways to support those. The Guardian newspaper in the UK did a really wonderful job over a year following the story of one community in Africa and illustrating the impact of aid. So how do we promote more of those stories so that people understand the impact of trade, of entrepreneurship, of all those things, in a way that feels much more organic than your losing your job to someone in Mexico or China or Cambodia?
ALBERT WALKER: So maybe one of the challenges for us is to bring the NGOs into that discourse about resource.
There's an alarming quote in the report which says that in the UK at the moment there are about three-and-a-half people working on trade rules in the whole of the UK at the moment. If we translate that to the U.S., it would be 12, 13 people working on trade rules in the voluntary sector or the civil society sector. That's a scary thought.
So there is a question: Did the resource dry up or did the interest dry up first? Which dried up first? Maybe we need to talk about reinvigorating that interest and challenge.
PARTICIPANT: My name is Heather Bain. I am here with two hats actually. I am chairman of the American Scottish Foundation. I work with Camilla Hellman. I also work with the Empire State Development Corporation, which is the state of New York's economic development authority. I am with a subsidiary of ours, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.
On Tuesday I attended a state event, called Building New York's Innovation Pipeline. It was about encouraging entrepreneurial enterprise and getting seed funding and angel funding into the communities to make a difference.
There were nine organizations that were granting moneys. They were asked what they needed. They said, "Well, we need more angels, we need more mentors, we need more management skills."
One man said, "We need success."
The truth of the matter is the successful story is a very, very powerful tool. Nothing builds inspiration, nothing builds collaboration, or effective movement, more than a successful story. So one mustn't hide one's light under a bushel. One needs to get out there and make sure that successful activity, whether it's developing trade regulations, international collaboration, partnership—whatever that success—has to be routinely out there, whether it's Tweeted, social media, blogs, conventional like The Guardian newspaper, or whatever way.
ALBERT TUCKER: Thank you. I'm a great fan of failure. I support the point you make. I think success stories are quite important.
But I think one of the other elements is that many entrepreneurs, as you said, do fail. What they learn from that failure sometimes builds the next success. I think sometimes our focus is only on the success stories and we are deeply disappointed when something fails.
I shock myself after I say it usually, so I'm going to do it again; some of my best work has come out of some of my best failures. I think we also, as well as discussing successes, need to discuss what has gone wrong.
Somebody whose name I am desperately trying to conjure up and I can't, based here in New York, wrote a paper on what actually resolves issues in dealing with poverty, what approaches actually change things. It's a big, long book.
What I drew from what I heard about it—I haven't read it thoroughly yet—is that the same thing can happen somewhere but not be successful. The thing that makes things successful can be just little changes along the way and little interventions, a little understanding that was there but wasn't here, that makes a phenomenal difference in changing the dynamic. I think maybe part of our push for a discourse of understanding is to try and understand a little bit what shifts can we make that can shift things.
Is there a burning point somebody hasn't made? It has to be a burning point.
PARTICIPANT: It is a burning point for me. Just another perspective when you talk about what we might do. Rigorous public debate is difficult because nobody has any agreement on the factual frame of reference when it comes to talking about trade rules and trade issues.
ALBERT TUCKER: So your recommendation is?
PARTICIPANT: My recommendation is approaching the basic curricular structures. I don't know the state of economic education in Britain. But, just as every 10 year-old knows the salient points of their national history, they might just as well know that global GDP is something like $7,000 a head and our GDP is something like $45,000 a head. I don't see why a10 year-old couldn't know that as well as they know the Magna Carta and whatnot.
Secondly, and at another level, if I could just follow up, every high-school graduate is supposed to know the Pythagorean theorem. They might be able to understand comparative advantage.
If those things were common knowledge, then there would be much less room for pure opinion that forms the kind of discussion that we have on these kinds of issues. Now, this is a longer-term thing and it's got its own issues, but—
ALBERT TUCKER: There needs to be an understood framework for discussing trade rules, which we need to have.
PARTICIPANT: Which we learn the way we learn the ABCs, yes.
PARTICIPANT: I'm Barbara Crossette from the Carnegie Council and other places.
I just wanted to emphasize that I think there's a danger here of getting the entrepreneurial side mixed up with the inter-governmental trade side. What many organizations need is expertise on the trade side and focus, and not to bring in, as I suggested before, too many other issues if you want to go ahead with the trade, and discuss that on its own terms.
ALBERT TUCKER: So we bring in focused expertise and center around the specifics, as somebody else here said.
PARTICIPANT: Just a caveat. I think all of this stuff requires constant vigilance, because many of these projects, like the entrepreneurship [microfinance?]—where was it, in India, that was so wonderful for such a long time?—the profit motive reared its ugly head and the banks got into it. So it was a profit-making thing, and these borrowers were in terrible trouble because they were having to pay big interest. This happens repeatedly. We've got to keep our eye on the ball and not let the profit motive drag us into the hole.
ALBERT TUCKER: "Vigilance," that's a good word. So constant vigilance on how the rules are impacting and how it is working out and when it is going off-track, as opposed to coming in when there is a crisis.
Joel, we had a discussion about why Carnegie should be doing this. I liked your response. I want to ask you the question: Why should we be engaged with this agenda?
JOEL ROSENTHAL: Thank you, Albert.
Before I answer the question, I want to take this opportunity to thank you and to thank Melanie and Martyn for the ambition of this project and for inviting us to participate in it.
It reminded me of a small notation, a margin comment, on the prospectus that I wrote for my dissertation. The prospectus has to be approved by a committee of professors before they allow you to go off to the library to write your dissertation. I noted on the side one professor wrote: "Ambitious. But sensibly so." [Laughter] Which I thought was great, and actually sort of in the spirit of Carnegie, which is to think big and to think about systemic change.
If you think about the Carnegie legacy, the idea was to create new institutions at the global level, to change the way people live—whether it was libraries or a world court or a league of nations.
Some of you may even know of his interest in education. He had this belief that education was undervalued and that we had to do something, a practical scheme, to make sure that education in this country was properly resourced.
One idea was to create a pension system for teachers so that teaching would be seen as a genuine profession and not just something done on the side. He was actually instrumental in the starting up of TIAA [Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association].
But this gives you a sense of the scope, the ambition. Just because we live in a set of institutions now, we don't have to accept them the way we are. We should be thinking big and thinking about large-scale systemic change.
So I commend you for the ambition of this project and the rigor by which you have gone about it. I want to thank the leadership of the organization for doing this.
I would just close by saying I hope in this conversation that especially those of you who come here from time to time recognize the efforts that we are trying to do in our own modest way to create a public space for education, and perhaps for—a friend of mine says, "Oh, I get what you're trying to do. It's civilized conversation, right?"
Again, against the background—we didn't talk much about media, but against a background of real problems with polarization in the media, I think the idea of creating a public space that is a place of genuine exchange of information, mutual learning, learning from one another—and somebody mentioned too the fact that we can do this now in a different way globally—I know some of you think about this, but maybe not as much as you should. What happens in this room is shared around the world through our studio concept. We have the opportunity to reach people in a way that is not only just to broadcast, but also to invite their participation.
I don't know much about new media gadgets and this and that—I have an iPhone I can't use—but there is an opportunity now through new media, so that while we can share information in a public space like this, we can also invite people to participate in some way.
My guess is that our generation probably won't figure it out completely. But if we can push it forward a little bit in creative and productive ways, I don't know if it solves the cynicism problem, but at least it's something to do.
I hope that's helpful.
ALBERT TUCKER: Martyn, having opened and introduced the project, any final word from you? What have you drawn so far?
MARTYN EVANS: It has been a fascinating discussion.
When we first started this, we knew it was what is called a "wicked issue." There are very few wicked issues in the world. A wicked issue is described as something you know what it is, you can say what it is, but you can't find a solution to it.
I think that ambition that Joel talked about also is quite scary, because if you start down a process of trying to open a discussion about a wicked issue, you do not have the solution. There is no solution that we have; there is no kind of prebaked cake that we can offer to you. It is the process of discussion.
I think a lot of what we have been hearing will strengthen what we hope will be a final report. We are going to be here in New York, next week we are in London, and then over the summer Jim Metcalfe, who should get more credit for this report, who wrote the report, will be discussing it with some of the leading NGOs and business groups to get maybe those mega-communities there.
This is not in any way something that we can see a solution to. But what we don't have is any narrative that people can engage with in a way which allows them to have greater understanding.
I suppose our analysis—and we repeat it—is this: If we don't try to address this wicked issue, the polarization will actually make it far more difficult to try to address it in a year, two years', and ten years' time.
So I would say absolutely fascinating. We have learned an enormous amount from the interaction today.
The final report, which Jim assures me will be ready in the early autumn—a vague date— will be sent to you all. We would really encourage your engagement with that report, because that will be the next stage at which we will say, "Okay, are there other things to do?"
It was an absolutely fascinating discussion. Thank you very much for everything you have done.
ALBERT TUCKER: I just want to finally say thank you very much for your generous input into the discussion.
I really want us to thank Jim for the report. He won't forgive me for that.
But also, just to say that please don't take this as the end of the discussion. Some of you will be seeking out to add to the discussion. Do please seek us out to give us more information if you feel there is anything missing. So do let us know what you think.
Thank you very much. We hope to be here again.