Reading the following quote from a leading bank, “We believe we have an affirmative responsibility to play an even bigger role in helping solve the economic, social and environmental challenges of the day” (JPMorgan Chase & Co., 2012), should make us curious about its sincerity. It is hard to find a bank website and not to read sentences like this introductory quotation. We seem to live in the era of corporate social responsibility, and to take responsibility is said to be an important cornerstone of a modern, ethical corporation.
However, do corporations really take full responsibility for their actions? Content analysis of presidents’ letters in the annual financial reports shows accounts as a rhetoric device directed to influence stakeholders in their responsibility judgment. Our results indicate that bank managers in the financial market crisis primarily use accounts which do not directly address responsibility.
This may inspire future research to have a closer look on account giving in the communication of companies if different layers of the responsibility pyramid are concerned (Carroll, 1991): economic, legal, moral responsibilities.
Private Equity at Work is a wonderful introduction to private equity. Using a mixture of simplifying models, aggregate descriptive data, published statistical analyses, and detailed case studies, Applebaum and Batt provide a comprehensive examination of private equity and its role in the U.S. economy and society. The authors propose that “the private equity business model represents a test of the notion that pursuing shareholder value aggressively is a good thing by putting the shareholders even more in charge” (p. 4). Although they question the value of private equity for anybody but the general partners running private equity funds, their critical approach to private equity is nevertheless a remarkably fair and balanced evaluation of private equity’s advantages and disadvantages.
World Future Reviewis a refereed journal that seeks to expand communication among the researchers and practitioners now exploring trends and alternatives for society. This journal welcomes articles that: 1) assess techniques for studying future options; 2) fairly evaluate probable, possible, and optimal outcomes of existing policies and practices in every field; and 3) facilitate the exchange of futures-relevant information among cultures. World Future Review‘s aim is to help all peoples develop sustainable lifestyles and technologies that respect the carrying capacity of Earth’s environment, while promoting new research into areas beyond today’s known limits.
1. Methodological and conceptual papers regarding futures study techniques;
2. Papers based on research, analysis, and modeling of presumed causes and potential developments affecting current social, economic or political conditions;
3. Papers evaluating the actual outcomes achieved by government and corporate planning efforts and/or assessing the common practices of professional futurists;
4. Papers about futures research practitioners (whether individual, corporate, or governmental) and their contributions to the art and science of futures research.
5. Scholarly reviews that compare past efforts at forecasting and/or depictions of future societies in fiction or popular media, with actual events and current trends.
The news isn’t always uplifting: declining home price growth, sinking big business profits, and rising gas prices can make for an economy that is less than reassuring. How can we even start to fix it? According to Nancy Adler there is hope if we allow our passions to lead us to creative solutions and we strive towards a sense of beauty in our leadership.
“These times are riven with anxiety and uncertainty” asserts John O’Donohue.1 “In the hearts of people some natural ease has been broken. . . . Our trust in the future has lost its innocence. We know now that anything can happen. . . . The traditional structures of shelter are shaking, their foundations revealed to be no longer stone but sand. We are suddenly thrown back on ourselves. At first, it sounds completely naïve to suggest that now might be the time to invoke beauty. Yet this is exactly what . . . [we claim]. Why? Because there is nowhere else to turn and we are desperate; furthermore, it is because we have so disastrously neglected the Beautiful that we now find ourselves in such a terrible crisis.”2
Twenty-first century society yearns for a leadership of possibility, a leadership based more on hope, aspiration, innovation, and beauty than on the replication of historical patterns of constrained pragmatism. Luckily, such a leadership is possible today. For the first time in history, leaders can work backward from their aspirations and imagination rather than forward from the past.3 “The gap between what people can imagine and what they can accomplish has never been smaller.”4
Responding to the challenges and yearnings of the twenty-first century demands anticipatory creativity. Designing options worthy of implementation calls for levels of inspiration, creativity, and a passionate commitment to beauty that, until recently, have been more the province of artists and artistic processes than the domain of most managers. The time is right for the artistic imagination of each of us to co-create the leadership that the world most needs and deserves.
This morning saw the beginning of the World Future Society 2014 annual conference: WorldFuture 2014: What If in Orlando, Florida!
WorldFuture 2014 is a collective of some of the world’s most inquisitive and dedicated scholars, asking about the future of a myriad of topics including humanity, government, education, religion and even happiness. Speakers will include Paul Saffo of Foresight at DISCERN, Stacey Childress of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s investment in K-12 Next Generation Learning, Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project and many more! You can keep up with the conference on Twitter by using the hashtag #wfs2014!
In honor of the conference, we’re pleased to bring you the top five most read articles from World Future Review.
According to a December 2010 report from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Monthly Labor Review report, the U.S. housing bubble peaked in 2006 and burst in 2008. Residential-construction-employment fell to levels lower than those in 1993 and foreclosure signs quickly became a common sight in neighborhoods across the country. But were some neighborhoods affected more than others? Why? This is what authors Keith Ihlanfeldt and Tom Mayock explored in their article “The Variance in Foreclosure Spillovers across Neighborhood Types” from Public Finance Review.
The estimation of foreclosure spillover effects has been the subject of a number of studies following the most recent housing market crash. An important issue largely overlooked by these studies is the extent to which these spillovers vary across neighborhoods. In this article, we use data from the South Florida metropolitan area to study the variance in these foreclosure spillovers across neighborhoods with different income levels and racial concentrations. We find that the largest foreclosure spillovers occur in higher-income neighborhoods. In low-income, minority neighborhoods, we find no evidence of spillover effects. The results have important implications for local governments.
I investigate the relation between corruption and the composition of state government spending in the United States. The analysis reveals that the United States is not immune to the adverse effects of corruption documented in cross-country studies. Corruption lowers the share of state government spending devoted to higher education and raises the share of spending devoted to other and unallocable budget items. These results are robust to the use of political variables to instrument for corruption. There is also some evidence that corruption lowers the share of spending on corrections and public welfare and raises the share of spending on health and hospitals, housing and community development, and natural resources.