Of course I have something to say about the presidential election, as does most everyone. But I will spare you any pronunciamentos as to how it will all play out, where it will all go and who will do what to whom. We lack the data from which definitive conclusions can be drawn because no one in a position to do so – not least the prospective members of the administration – has given us much of a clue as to how programs, policies and promises (made or inferred) will actually take definitive shape. Perhaps there has been some kind of strategic decision to stay quiet about the planning process until after the inauguration, or perhaps they are waiting for some of the contradictions that have been presented to us to shake out. In any event, there is nothing to do but wait (unless you favor speculation, which I do not).
There are any number of challenging topics I could address this quarter: Brexit, the election, interest rates, inflation, recession, asset values in the domestic and foreign markets. Instead, I am going to turn from the challenges of the moment and say something about both the for-profit and the nonprofit worlds - something I think readers will find compatible with their worldviews, no matter where they may be on the economic/political/social spectrum. And what I have to say will result in a modest proposal.
We recently received a letter from a CWC client of longstanding in which he set out his concerns about some of the serious challenges facing our economy. Because I believe his concerns are shared by millions of our fellow citizens I thought it worthwhile to publish his letter (edited) and my response.
You may recall that in the CWC 4Q15 “Report and Commentary” I spoke of transparency not just as a morally attractive personal and institutional characteristic but as a fact of life to which those who have the good fortune to live and work in the 21st century will be expected as a matter of routine to conform their behaviors. Two thousand years ago the handwriting was on the wall (“There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed”). Two thousand years later some combination of democratization, technological advances in the area of data access, populist angst, curiosity (or nosiness) and envy has translated the handwriting on the wall to a reality in the marketplace. And as there is virtually no space, anywhere, that is not directly or indirectly a marketplace, transparency is fast becoming a precondition of any transaction: personal or communal, for-profit or not-for-profit, domestic or international.