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The meaning of purpose

“In 1962, Milton Friedman set out a framework for business in which he described the social responsibility of businesses as being to increase profits so long as they stay within the rules of the game. It was a powerful and influential proposition that established the conventional framework for business around the world. However, it has…

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Show me the money

“Prior to December 2015, I didn’t have a clue we had a problem with human trafficking in Canada. And as I learned, and others learned, we found new indicators that we could immediately share with each other.” – Peter Warrack, Bank of Montreal and Project Protect   A powerful and rousing short film by The…

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The age of forgetting

From our smartphone culture to the rabid reductiveness of our sound-bite media cycle, we live in a time of momentary, meaningless distraction. It drains our productivity and it devastates our policy debate.  But England’s ageing crisis cannot be forgotten away – and we’re not adapting. The number of British people needing round-the-clock care will double by 2035. As the FT reminds us, ‘Public spending on the average 80-year-old is about four times that spent on the average 40-year-old. It is a similar story for tax payments, but in reverse…

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The UN launches the Sustainable Development Capital Initiative 

What does it take for an idea to seed? What are the specific conditions that must be met, what mind-sets cultivated, what context needed to achieve mass adoption? Two weeks ago I spoke at the UN’s General Assembly in New York City alongside Prime Minister Theresa May, Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau, Rwanda’s President Kagame, and…

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Remembering Kofi

Last week, the world laid to rest Kofi Annan: father of Africa, great statesman, and profound humanist.    With his form of leadership, he taught grace to the world’s powerful, and gave strength to the world’s most lowly: boundless in his compassion and emphatic in his belief that you are never to young, or too…

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Aiding and abetting: rewriting the rules of giving

If there was ever a moment to redefine the meaning of international aid, it is now. The population of Africa is now greater than the entire developed world combined. There has never been a more compelling moment to challenge the diseased philosophy of moralised giving that sits at the heart of our Big Charity and Big…

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The defining decade: lessons from Lehman and radical re-visioning

“I studied economics and went to business school, but neither taught me to think critically about the purpose of finance. Most people in finance look at spreadsheets and screens all day, having only learnt one type of economic theory. It’s not surprising that they don’t think about the real big-picture impact of their work. I…

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China’s sharp-eyed state

‘Welcome to China, where AI is being pressed into service as handmaiden to an authoritarian government. For many critics, this seems fraught with danger: an Orwellian world where “Big Brother” is always watching, able to spy on anyone from human rights lawyers to political dissidents and persecuted minorities. For supporters, it is near utopian: a…

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O-Zones: The opportunity of poverty

‘As part of the December 2017 Trump tax cut, an unlikely group of billionaires and politicians quietly inserted a generous and complicated new tax break designed to lure big dollars into struggling areas known as Opportunity Zones, or O-zones.  About 8,700 O-zones nationwide, ranging from run-down inner cities to dusty rural hamlets, have already been designated. But investors who want to take advantage…

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The last mile to global health

‘The backpack is a key part of Last Mile Health’s effort to deliver basic health care to people who live beyond the reach of the health system. Raj was born in Liberia and fled the civil war there with his family when he was 9. When he returned as a medical student years later, he…

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Chinese Rebel

‘Despite being born into a relatively prosperous period, well-educated millennials in big cities not only face unprecedented competition in the labour market but are also finding it harder to buy what Chinese people tend to see as the most fundamental asset: an apartment.’ What does it mean to be young and middle class in china…

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Kenya’s millenial hustle

‘Mutua, whose father is a waiter and mother does not work, says he convinced his mother to give him money rather than basic items such as toothpaste and shoe polish. He went to Eastleigh, the Nairobi district famous for Somali traders who boast they can acquire anything from anywhere in the world, and bought decorative…

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