The Common Good Forum 2015


The Common Good inaugural forum assembled some of the brightest thinkers in the US with a day of dynamic presentations on today’s complex economic and political landscape. Leaders from many fields provided provocative discussions on the issues you want to know about – where we are today, where we need to go in the next 5 to 20 years, and how we are going to get there. Each of our speakers offered practical and insightful information on the global and national landscape essential for public policy or investment decision-making.  

The theme of this forum was “Powering the Growth Engine”.

SESSION (1) The New Economy: Death or Rebirth of Publishing in a Digital World?

Tech and digital technologies have transformed the publishing world, forcing the closing of some long-revered newspapers and magazines, and slashing revenues, profits, and jobs at others. Here is one story of how a publishing company bucked the trend.

SESSION (2)  The New Economy: Keeping it “Made in America”

Manufacturing was the economic engine that provided jobs and good wages for over a century. What can we learn about growing a vigorous U.S. economy from companies like Siemens USA, which, under the leadership of Eric Spiegel, continues to spearhead new approaches to manufacturing, or from Steve Rattner, who helped reorganize the auto industry?

SESSION (3)  Lead Up to 2016 and Beyond: US Politics Now

This panel provided a lively exploration of the issues, the events, and the leaders that will shape our politics in coming years. Will the key issue be “the economy” with concern about wage stagnation, jobs, and inequality? Will anti-government, anti-spending, anti-tax forces reign? How will frustration over Washington gridlock be addressed by voters? We look at the 2016 race and important trends we need to watch.

SESSION (4) Storm Warning: Openings and Danger Zones

How should the U.S. manage national security and foreign policy challenges – from growing instability in the Middle East to the emergence of ISIS; from cyber threats to an increased assertiveness in global corners, such as new tests of U.S. influence? Each of our panelists looks at the globe from their area of expertise, offers a brief overview, and discusses options to strengthen U.S. interests.

SESSION (5) Power Talk: Medical Revolution – Latest Advances in Stem Cell Research

Stem cells have remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth, and they can serve as an internal repair system. Stem cell pioneer and renowned cloning scientist, Dr. Robert Lanza, gave a presentation on how stem cell research is one of the most hopeful and powerful medical developments in modern times.

SESSION (6) Global Opportunities & Challenges: Charting Growth around the Globe

This panel focused on the global economic environment and regional economic growth. Where is growth likely to come from? Is the U.S. still the major catalyst for growth? Will Europe hold? Is China slowing down? Are frontier and emerging markets still sources for great growth?

SESSION (7)  Investing the People’s Money

The responsibility for investing the people’s money at the state level is enormous, and our panelists oversee the investment of over $250 billion in assets. State pension funds must grow over time and yet be protected. What goes into the decision-making on how investments are made and funds allocated? What kind of investments make up the state portfolios? How are your investment partners helping to maximize return and protect the potential for the downside?

SESSION (8 )  Power Talk: Reinvigorating the American Dream

The best test of America’s economic vigor is whether the middle class is doing well. Unfortunately, while a few Americans have done very well in recent decades, millions of middle-income families are struggling to get ahead or even stay afloat. Smart public policy can change that, and ensure all citizens share in economic success. The high stakes for both our families and our economy justify a bold new policy agenda that will make a vision of inclusive prosperity a reality.

SESSION (9) The Responsibility to Protect: National Security Challenges

What keeps the national security experts up at night? What are the most serious threats to American homeland security? ISIS and foreign-based attacks? “Lone wolf” terrorists? Cyber attacks on government, individuals and business? Nuclear proliferation? How do we address these dangers? Can we balance public good and private concerns; privacy and security?

SESSION (10)  Secular Stagnation or Debt Supercycle

Why is economic growth slowing? Weak, post-Financial Crisis growth has been blamed by some on “secular stagnation” – a permanent lower growth rate caused by chronic weak demand that requires new approaches from the macroeconomic toolkit. Another view is that the advanced countries have experienced the “financial crisis/debt supercycle” that is relatively rare in modern day advanced countries but was common before WWII and is still common in emerging markets. The difference matters – both for policy and for predicting what comes next. Unlike secular stagnation, a debt supercycle is not forever, and ends when debt levels normalize, collateral values rise, and credit begins flowing more freely again. Economist Kenneth Rogoff explains whether we can expect growth trends to resume as the headwinds from the recession recede.

SESSION (11) Investing in America’s Future: Inequality, Infrastructure & the Middle Class

What advice would you give our current President (or the next one) to put the U.S. on the path to a vigorous economy with shared prosperity? Is the economy stalling? How can we address economic inequality, the hollowing out of the middle class, or wage and income stagnation? Can we grow jobs given disruption from globalization and technology advances?

Interested in attending future events?