Insights, 9/5/2019

In this edition of insights, we examine the threats of tribalism in politics, the U.K. and the democratic tests of their current time, and the current push of policy for regulations that would support stakeholders. Read the insights below, and, of course, we encourage you to read the articles in full and inform yourself on these important issues:

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“At this time, we can see storm clouds gathering. A polemicist’s role is not sufficient for a leader. A leader must display strategic acumen that incorporates respect for those nations that have stood with us when trouble loomed. Returning to a strategic stance that includes the interests of as many nations as we can make common cause with, we can better deal with this imperfect world we occupy together. Absent this, we will occupy an increasingly lonely position, one that puts us at increasing risk in the world…Unlike in the past, where we were unified and drew in allies, currently our own commons seems to be breaking apart. What concerns me most as a military man is not our external adversaries; it is our internal divisiveness. We are dividing into hostile tribes cheering against each other, fueled by emotion and a mutual disdain that jeopardizes our future, instead of rediscovering our common ground and finding solutions. All Americans need to recognize that our democracy is an experiment—and one that can be reversed. We all know that we’re better than our current politics. Tribalism must not be allowed to destroy our experiment.” - General Jim Mattis, former Secretary of Defense, Wall Street Journal, MORE

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“In his first days as Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson has attempted some of the most tried-and-true tactics of the populist era. He sought a hostile takeover of his own party and governing institutions, moving to consolidate their power in his hands...Yet Mr. Johnson’s moves have, so far, blown up in his face. Parliament rose against him. His party revolted in sufficient numbers that he has lost his governing majority. While he has delighted his core supporters, there is scant evidence that voters are suddenly rallying behind him or against his opponents. Deep into the era of tear-it-all-down populism, in one of the countries most disrupted by that trend, the fail-safes meant to keep politicians in check are, for once, working as intended. In a time of faltering institutions and norms, they have held. Britain, for all its evident political chaos, is bucking global populist trends. While that might not hold for long, experts say it offers striking lessons for when and how democracy can work as intended — and when it doesn’t.” - Max Fisher, New York Times, MORE

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“If the Business Roundtable is serious about stakeholder capitalism, and if responsible firms are to flourish and spread their benefits, it will not just decree principles according to which its firms will operate but will also push for laws and regulations that support firms’ ability to stand up for their stakeholders. These might include minimum-wage and benefits requirements and broader mandates to protect companies that want to do right by their workers from those competing companies that are ruthlessly pursuing shareholder interests. Or they might include rigorous restrictions on advertising and promotion practices, so firms who are honest and transparent are not placed at a competitive disadvantage. Or universally high capital standards on financial institutions, so that imprudent willingness to take on risk cannot be a competitive advantage.” - Lawrence Summers, former US Treasury Secretary, Washington Post, MORE

 The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Common Good.