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Tipping points

Tipping point: the point at which a series of small changes or incidents becomes significant enough to cause a larger, more important change. The modern condition is best captured as a series of multiple, interconnecting tipping points: the Pandora’s box of cause and effect, with no knowing where the domino trail will end. These tipping points – environment, social and economic – are the tight-ropes we walk daily; some…

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The citizen factory

“This progress from one of the poorest countries of Europe to one of the most prosperous has not been an accident. It’s based on this idea that when there are so few of us—only 5.5 million people—everyone has to live up to their full potential,” he said. “When people are afraid, they focus on short-term…

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Halting truth decay

‘As Hannah Arendt wrote in her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (ie the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (ie the standards of thought) no longer…

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The war of words

In Ibsen’s little performed play Rosmersholm – little performed because it was considered too radical for 1886 Sweden-Norway – two idealistic lovers contend with lost faith against the backdrop of a democracy hijacked by those who would twist populist rhetoric to tragic ends. Its recent revival on London stages this summer and the critical acclaim it received…

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The civil war

“But the tide is beginning to change. In August, the Business Roundtable, the influential US business group, amended its two decade-old declaration that “corporations exist principally to serve their shareholders”. The Roundtable said: “While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders” —…

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Food for thought

“More than 250 million people are undernourished in Africa, making them vulnerable to disease, deficiencies, and prone to developmental stunting that inhibits their full potential. The long-term economic costs of this are staggering: this must change. With the effects of climate change expected to further negatively impact global food production in the next decades, it…

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The migrant camps

“If migration is the driver of the populism that defines the current political scene, it is demography — specifically the radically different demographic profiles of north and south — that creates both its demand and supply.” Migration is as old as time, but today – unprecedented in its scale and volatility – it is one…

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The stubborn optimist

Christiana Figueres is the force behind the historic 2015 Paris Agreement and convener of Mission 2020, which seeks to bend the global curve on greenhouse emissions by 2020. She is also a self-declared “stubborn optimist”, which she credits as the root of her astounding success on a path that has led so many to failure. …

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Frontier technologies and empowerment finance

“Never before have we seen such a technology as transformational as blockchain — whether it‘s being used to send immediate foreign aid via crypto, or to generate IDs for refugees — it has the power to change the way the developing parts of the world work while enabling more developed nations to efficiently share resources. The…

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The voice of impact

‘Here’s how this often unfolds: seeking comparable, aggregate measures of impact, investors identify “what” measures they need and ask their investees to provide them. Investees typically don’t have access to these data, so they instead share sales or employment figures. The impact investor then converts these into “lives impacted” numbers and makes approximations of impact—such…

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The Age of Impunity

In the brief moments when it has been possible this week for the British press to consider anything other than ballots and political psychodrama, some might have noticed David Miliband, turning our sights to much bigger problems than Brexit.  There are now 70.8m forcibly displaced people worldwide. Half of them are children. Less than 1%…

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Whose advice are you buying?

Whose advice are you buying? In 1992 I co-founded the UK’s third independent international advisory firm. I did this just as the City was entering its fastest period of growth, fueled by the Big Bang of ’86. I did this because I knew then, as I know now, that systems will burn when independence is…

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