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Weekend Briefing No. 63
Welcome to the weekend. Hello from Boston. It was great to see my students at Harvard Law present on their social enterprise projects. I’m so proud of all the work they put in. Additionally, I really enjoyed my time at Q Boston exploring some interesting ideas about culture, faith and how to advance the common good.
The US and Europe, the world’s two biggest trade blocs, have been negotiating a free trade deal, A smuggler’s boat carrying some 700 Europe-bound migrants sank, Mohamed Morsi was jailed for 20 years, Chinese nuclear experts reveal that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is bigger than anyone thought, David Brooks' The Road to Character hit #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers list and Amazon has named a building after its first customer, John Wainwright, who bought a book 20 years ago.
The hidden reason for poverty. This TED Talk by one of my heroes, Gary Haugen, is a must see! Collective compassion has meant an overall decrease in global poverty since the 1980s, says civil rights lawyer Gary Haugen. Yet for all the world's aid money, there's a pervasive hidden problem keeping poverty alive. Haugen reveals the dark underlying cause we must recognize and act on now.
Access is the new ownership. To absolutely nobody’s surprise, a PWC study released this week revealed that young adults 18-24 who value experience over ownership are driving the sharing economy – preferring access to ownership. However, what is interesting is the countervailing correlation of trust. We're witnessing the rise of sharing economy companies predicated on trust among strangers at the same time as general trust in society is actually falling. Only 29 percent of consumers PwC surveyed said they trust people more today than they did in the past. And 62 percent said they trust brands less today. Learn more in this Washington Post article.
Is Moore’s Law reaching its limits? As originally stated by Mr. Moore, the law was not just about reductions in the size of transistors, but also cuts in their price, though size doesn't seem to be an immediate problem. A few years ago, when transistors 28nm wide were the state of the art, chipmakers found their design and manufacturing costs beginning to rise sharply. New “fabs” (semiconductor fabrication plants) now cost more than $6 billion. In other words: transistors can be shrunk further, but they are now getting more expensive. And with the rise of cloud computing, the emphasis on the speed of the processor in desktop and laptop computers is no longer so relevant. Learn more in this article from The Economist.
Sustainable fashion 2.0. Fashion may have reached the stage where it has realized green is no longer the new black: a trendy color that is in one year; is out the next. Now it’s the new denim: a basic every brand needs as part of doing business. This week Adidas announced a partnership with Parley the Oceans aimed at addressing the issue of ocean plastic by both developing new plastic treatments that can be used in recycled polyester fabrics, and picking up plastic on beaches. Maiyet, announced a partnership with the Gobi Revival Fund to facilitate a vaccine program and “corral sanitation” for nomadic goat herders in Mongolia as part of a drive to source ethical cashmere. Learn more in this New York Times article.
Americans men with little education are the losers in the new economy. The median earnings of working men aged 30 to 45 without a high school diploma fell 20% from 1990 to 2013 when adjusted for inflation. First, there really is a shift away from the sectors where less-educated workers can earn a decent living. In this time period US manufacturing has shrunk and food service, cleaning and groundskeeping nearly doubled. But it wasn’t an even trade: Pay for operators and labors was $25,500 in 2013, compared with $20,400 for the food, cleaning and groundskeeping category. However, women without a high school degree out earn their male counterparts. Learn more about the shift in labor in this Upshot article.
THINGS I LIKE
Brooklyn brings home the Pulitzer for poetry. Gregory Pardlo, whose latest book of poetry and essays, Digest went largely unnoticed on its release selling 1,500 copies, shot to sudden literary fame this week when he unexpectedly won the Pulitzer. Read his poetry and his reaction to sudden fame in this New York Times article.
Justice for Angela Sexual assault and abuse toward women happens on college campuses more than we realize. College should be a safe place for all to receive their education. My sister, Dr. Katharine Westaway, professor of Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Miami has teamed up with her students to raise awareness. Help support by checking out this petition to make a difference. 50,000 signatures are needed by Tuesday.
Working on the weekend is a waste of time. Once you’ve clocked 50 hours of work in a week, any additional effort is not productive.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
The Road to Character. I can’t wait! One of my favorite New York Times columnists and authors, David Brooks, is releasing his new book The Road to Character. Having heard a few talks about the book already, I think it’s going to be his best yet! In The Road to Character, he focuses on the deeper values that should inform our lives. Responding to what he calls the culture of the Big Me, which emphasizes external success, Brooks challenges us, and himself, to rebalance the scales between our “résumé virtues”—achieving wealth, fame, and status—and our “eulogy virtues,” those that exist at the core of our being: kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness, focusing on what kind of relationships we have formed. Looking to some of the world’s greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. For a little preview, watch his 5 minute TED Talk Should You Live For Your Resume or Your Eulogy?, then go directly to Amazon and pre-order this soon-to-be bestseller.
The seven commandments of funding. Kevin Starr of the Mulago Foundation came up with 7 commandments for funding in the social sector. They are: 1) Thou shalt fund for impact above all else. 2) Thou shalt not restrict thy funds. 3) Thou shalt feed success with continued investment. 4) Thou shalt not hassle the doers. 5) Thou shalt not worship the god of overhead. 6) Thou shalt not be a doer by proxy. 7) Thou shalt advocate for thydoers. Learn more at Stanford Social Innovation Review.