Gratitude

We make our way in the world through individual choice and group dynamics, but we don’t make everything we experience. Much of what we call our “world” is inherited—some good, some bad. We have inherited from the evolution of a brilliantly complex cosmos natural systems that sustain life. These include local ecosystems, regional watersheds, and…

The Politics of Exigency

Fierce Urgency & Democracy Rooted in Deep Principle Exigency is an immediate state of pervasive intense demand on our attention. “Exigent circumstances” are considered to be both emergent and critical enough to override one’s normal free will and moral decision-making. Under extreme pressures, the argument goes, one is less able to “live up to” the…

Fiduciary Responsibility in the Higher Sense

In October 2015, during the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the Managing Director of the IMF, the world’s most powerful fund for stabilizing national budgets, announced that “anything that is macrocritical is the IMF’s business”. This was an historic shift from a view that all that mattered was the…

Constellation of Forces: Measuring Good in Lived Experience

A city is a constellation of forces, a map of relational dynamics tracing human need, aspiration, action, and invention, a wager against bleak limitation, and a beacon in the darkness that shows a network of souls have gathered to pool their imaginations. A city can be of any size; it is a polity—a civic space…

Global Minnesota Talk: Climate Geopolitics

A Talk on Climate Geopolitics, hosted by Global Minnesota, based on the Great Decisions Program of the Foreign Policy Association Presented: August 10, 2016 — 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Beyond Feudalism: Shared Sovereignty, Human Dignity & Open Information

There is a tension between the feudal system and modernity, which is most usefully illustrated by the differences in how feudalism and democracy treat knowledge. In the feudal system, where powerful landlords control access to resources and consume the political space, general scientific, historical, and technical knowledge is jealously guarded and is shared with working…

Freedom from Tyranny: Redefined

A New Blueprint for Human Liberty We want a future characterized by freedom from tyranny and deprivation. We want a future characterized by open access to education and empowerment. These wants are also needs, if we are to build a human civilization capable of the flexibility and resilience required to outlast the risks that flow…

True Independence Requires Reciprocal Civic Empowerment

“A republic… if you can keep it…”  The work of building up to a better outcome has always already begun, before we have a chance to think about the work itself or its necessity. The act of leading, then, is a recognition of the forces that are converging and a conscious understanding of how to…

Macrocritical Value Generation: The Roots of Future Opportunity

Historically, when observers to the Bretton Woods institutions would raise issues of macrocritical value distortion, they were generally told “That’s not our business.” The common practice was to treat environmental damage, the degradation of basic rights, limited access to education, as “unquantifiables” or as “social issues”. IMF leadership would refer to the founding mission as dealing…

The Value of Daring

by Joseph Robertson and David Thoreson Published in The Guardian, June 6, 2016 The climate system is a unifying ethical field that extends from the physical to the metaphysical and connects your actions to my well-being, and vice-versa, no matter how remote your life is from mine. The Golden Rule we have always treated as an abstract…

An Evolving Biochemical Technicolor Birdsnest

We need to think of economics as something much wider and more diverse than the 2-dimensional graphs we are so used to. Economists, investors and political leaders routinely push us to believe economic progress means expansion over time. When the total amount of goods, services and currency exchanged in a given place expands over a…

A global coalition mapping and motivating decarbonization

by Joseph Robertson Published in The Guardian on April 25, 2016 Would it surprise you to learn that governments, oil companies, NGOs and major investors are coming together to map—and to motivate—the decarbonization of the global economy? The Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) is a policy-focused alliance of national and subnational governments, intergovernmental agencies, businesses and institutional…