Invitation to Brainstorm Topics for 2020 John Brandl Gathering – Tuesday, December 17th

You are invited to a roundtable discussion on Tuesday December 17, 2019, to gather input and prepare for the next “Annual Celebration of John Brandl & His Uncommon Quest for Common Ground” in 2020.

“What’s Keeping You Up At Night?” is the driving question that organizers of the annual Brandl lecture series invite you to respond to in an informal roundtable discussion from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in the Josie Johnson Community Room at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

With impeachment hearings roiling now and pivotal national and state elections looming ahead determining the fate of our country for many years to come, the organizers of the annual Brandl convocation — the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism, Center of the American Experiment, Citizens League, Growth & Justice and the Humphrey School — reach out to you to help determine a fitting topic and frame for a 2020 gathering in the ecumenical spirit of the late John Brandl, a remarkable scholar, public servant and friend.

We’ve planned and implemented 10 years of annual Brandl gatherings. In year 11, in honor of John’s memory and his uncommon quest for common ground, we invite all people of goodwill — with open minds, firm convictions and welcoming spirits — to join us in this planning discussion.

Representatives of each group will facilitate segments of the conversation.

There is no cost to attend.

To register, please click here.

Minnesota Business Leadership: Pioneering a Moral Capitalism – Friday, November 22nd

You are cordially invited to attend a special moment in the history of Minnesota business leadership.

At the Minneapolis Club from noon to 1:30 pm on Friday, November 22, the Minnesota-based Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism (CRT), with the endorsement of the Minnesota Business Partnership and Governor Tim Walz, will mark the 25th anniversary of the publication of our Principles for Business.

To mark the anniversary of this Minnesota contribution to global capitalism in our time, the CRT will initiate an annual Dayton Award for Distinction in Business Service. The first award will be presented to Douglas M. Baker, Jr., CEO of Ecolab, at this event.

In addition, Paul Polman, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce and former CEO of Unilever, will speak to us about his high regard for Minnesota companies.

Lunch will be provided.

Seating is limited.

The cost to attend is $100 per person.

You can register here.

2019 Global Dialogue: Registration Now Open!

I would like to invite you to join us for our 2019 Global Dialogue taking place Thursday, November 21 through Saturday, November 23 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Two items of special note:

First, Paul Polman, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce and former CEO of Unilever, will be speaking to us over lunch on November 22 on the 25th anniversary of the founding of our Principles for Business.

Secondly, we will be awarding the first Dayton Award for Distinction in Business Service to Douglas M. Baker, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Ecolab, also during lunch on the 22nd.

Registration information can be found here.

I do hope you can join us.

Public Office Public Trust Workshop – Thursday, September 26th

Last fall, we held an election in which the American people put what we are more and more calling “tribalism” on the front burner of our politics. While it is important to understand the passions and fears of our fellow citizens, our constitutional republic was not established to foster tribalism of any kind.

The Preamble to our Constitution holds that: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Beating at the heart of our constitutional democracy is the ethical proposition that “Public Office is a Public Trust.” But what does this mean? Where did the idea come from? Is it still true? How can we tell a good public servant from an unworthy one?

Those who were elected to office back on November 6th were chosen to hold public office. Before assuming such offices, they will be asked to take an oath to be faithful in the execution of that trust responsibility, faithful not just to those who voted for them but to all of us, our state and our country.

How can they more fully understand the law and the tradition setting forth the duties of office that will soon be theirs in service of our citizens? Through study and discussion as always since our founding as a nation.

We’re delighted to invite you to participate in the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism’s (CRT) workshop on Public Office as a Public Trust scheduled for 8:30 am on Thursday, September 26th, at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

The workshop is a new initiative to encourage and professionalize elected and appointed public officials at all levels, as well as those who aspire to elective or appointive office, to live up to the highest standards of stewardship responsibility.

The mission of the workshop is to promote good stewardship in office, thoughtful trusteeship and enlightened fiduciary practices using the CRT’s Principles for Government as best practices. The commitment of the workshop is taken from George Washington’s remarks to the delegates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention that “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest may repair.”

For some time now and to the great detriment of our state and country, a narrowness in serving the common good has dominated our politics, resulting in a system of government that is polarized, fractured and unable to effectively address even its most basic challenges. The workshop will train you in the tried and tested ideals of public service.

The workshop will present historic, intellectual and moral foundations for the ethics of public stewardship, including the Bible, John Locke, Adam Smith, Max Weber and the Federalist Papers, among others.

The agenda will include:

1. Pew Research Center findings on political polarization

2. Movie High Noon: public trust and personal courage

3. The Moral Sense: human nature and natural justice

4. CRT Principles for Government

5. History of trust responsibilities

The two main presenters will be Steve Young, Global Executive Director of the CRT and Doran Hunter, Emeritus Professor of political science at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Tuition is $50 per person and $20 for current students who present a valid student I.D. at the door (neither fee includes the cost of lunch).

Space is limited.

For more information or to register, please click here.

The session will adjourn at 4:30 pm.

Trade Wars Round Table – Monday, September 23rd

Not at all far away and in real time, President Trump’s trade wars continue apace.

A renegotiated treaty of commerce with Mexico and Canada are stalled in the Congress. China is waiting President Trump out. He is gambling that they will cry “ouch” before he does. But he is facing re-election and Xi Jinping is not. Furthermore, Xi commands a liquidity making machine which can turn out as much money as needed to support domestic economic activity in China.

Trade wars violate the norms of free market capitalism. They favor some over others and permit rent extractions. But free markets favor a “race to the bottom” by privileging lower cost producers.

In the current edition of Foreign Affairs, Dani Rodrik argues for protectionism to shield a nation from competition with countries which have lower wages and weaker social safety nets and less protection for their natural environments. That implies an unnecessary transfer of wealth from domestic consumers to domestic owners and workers.

Has globalization really gone too far? Is China’s self-referential mercantilism acceptable or abnormal? Is China playing by the rules of high-minded globalism, seeking prosperity fairly for all? If not, what can we do about it?

What about the trade consequences of a hard Brexit? If the English want to act from prideful spite, should anyone care?

Please join us for a discussion about trade wars at 9:00 am on Monday, September 23rd at the University Club of St. Paul.

Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 8:30 am and the event at 9:00 am.

To make registration easier and more convenient, we’ve decided to use Eventbrite going forward. To register, please click here. Both members and non-members can register there.

The University Club is located at 420 Summit Ave in St. Paul.

Parking will be available along Summit Ave.

The event will conclude at 11:00 am.

What Do We Want from a Just Economy Round Table – July 2nd

As our country moves ever closer to the 2020 election, the issue of economic justice just keeps on holding center stage. In our Western tradition, discussion of what should be “just” goes back at least as far as Plato. Concerns for power, freedom, fairness, outcomes, inputs, entitlement, right, duty, responsibility, pulling one’s weight, free riding, rent extraction and more, hover in and around any consideration of justice.

Was Cain right that he need not be his brother’s keeper or does our Judeo-Christian heritage disown him for such selfishness?

Elizabeth Warren has 20 proposals to bring America closer to her vision of economic justice. According to the New York Times:

“Her proposals would tip power from executives and investors to workers and allow the federal government to more aggressively steer the development of industries. She has called for splintering technology companies, like Amazon, that millions of consumers rely on in their daily lives. She would reduce the rewards for entrepreneurs to build billionaire fortunes and for companies to create global supply chains, scrambling the incentives for work, investment and economic growth.

Ms. Warren would seek big tax increases on the wealthiest individuals and corporations, creating a new tax on household assets that exceed $50 million as well as a new tax on corporate profits. From those two steps alone, she says she would raise at least $3.8 trillion over a decade — money that would go toward her plans on student debt cancellation, free college, childcare, the opioid crisis and green manufacturing.”

Bernie Sanders sticks with his version of democratic socialism. Kamala Harris has her alternatives.

Trump and the Republicans have their vision too.

Anti-trust red lines not to be crossed are suddenly being proposed for Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook.

Can we find common ground on the criteria to use in measuring proposals for what is just?

Please join us for an open discussion at 9:00 am on Tuesday, July 2nd at the University Club of St. Paul.

Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 8:30 am and the event at 9:00 am.

Cost to attend is $15 for Business and Public Policy Round Table members and $35 for non-members.

Payment will be accepted at the door.

Space is limited.

To register, please contact Jed at jed@cauxroundtable.net or (651) 223-2863.

The University Club is located at 420 Summit Ave in St. Paul.

Parking will be available along Summit Ave.

The event will conclude at 11:00 am.

Financialism Round Table – May 24th

The 2020 presidential campaign is now underway.  The big issue shaping up for the American people seems to be “capitalism.”

Do we want to keep “it” or should we go for “socialism?”

What is our capitalism anyway?  Certainly not what it once was in the age of steam power now that we are in the age of the internet with Hydra-headed AI heading our way to revolutionize our lives yet again.

Heraclitus had a point: “Things always change.  You can’t step into the same stream twice.”

Yet, some things about capitalism seem to be the same: the rich have it better than the poor and those with assets get more assets.  Those with capital do better than those who only bring labor to the economy.  A few companies still dominate market segments.  The middle class does not have enough savings for retirement.  Those dissatisfied call on the state to make things right.

The share of our economy which is finance has grown as never before in history.  Returns to liquidity outpace wage increases.  It was unbalanced financialism which brought on the collapse of credit markets in 2008.  Companies set their courses to influence stock markets which have attention deficit disorder.  Is this wise?

Please join us and John Taft, Vice Chairman of Baird, for a round table discussion on financialism at 9:00 am on Friday, May 24th at the Minneapolis Club.

John has been Chairman of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.  He’s also the author of two well-received books on finance, Stewardship: Lessons Learned from the Lost Culture of Wall Street and A Force for Good: How Enlightened Finance Can Restore Faith in Capitalism.  He is the great grandson of U.S. President William Howard Taft.

Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 8:30 am and the event at 9:00 am.

Cost to attend is $15 for Business and Public Policy Round Table members and $35 for non-members.  Payment will be accepted at the door.

Space is limited.

To register, please email Jed at jed@cauxroundtable.net or call (651) 223-2863.

The Minneapolis Club is located at 729 2nd Ave South in downtown Minneapolis.

Parking will be available in the Club’s parking ramp.  The entrance to the ramp is on 8th Street.

The event will conclude at 11:00 am.

Minnesota’s Contributions to Moral Capitalism Round Table – Tuesday, April 9th

Minnesota can take great credit for proposing the practice of moral capitalism for our global economy. The proposal is gaining traction not only in the U.S., which in the forthcoming presidential election campaign will debate capitalism vs. socialism, but seems to provide a political/economic/social formula of balance for well-being in societies around the world.

Please join us and Charles M. Denny and Bob MacGregor at 9:00 am on Tuesday, April 9th at the University Club of St. Paul as they recall the creation of the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism’s Principles for Business in the early 1990s.

They will discuss an important moment in Minnesota business history, one which reflects the Minnesota ethic of community and optimism about how we can always do better than we did yesterday.

Chuck was at that time CEO of ADC Telecommunications and Bob was Vice President of Dayton Hudson (now Target) and Executive Director of the Dayton Hudson Foundation.

Both are now retired, but still thoughtful and passionate about how business can best promote the well-being of societies around the world.

Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 8:30 am and the event at 9:00 am.

Cost to attend is $15 for Business and Public Policy Round Table members and $35 for non-members. Payment will be accepted at the door.

Space is limited.

To register, please contact Jed at jed@cauxroundtable.net or (651) 223-2863.

The University Club is located at 420 Summit Ave in St. Paul.

Parking will be available along Summit Ave.

The event will conclude at 11:00 am.

Public Office as a Public Trust Workshop — Thursday, March 28th

We have just held an election in which the American people put what we are more and more calling “tribalism” on the front burner of our politics. While it is important to understand the passions and fears of our fellow citizens, our constitutional republic was not established to foster tribalism of any kind.

The Preamble to our Constitution holds that: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Beating at the heart of our constitutional democracy is the ethical proposition that “Public Office is a Public Trust.” But what does this mean? Where did the idea come from? Is it still true? How can we tell a good public servant from an unworthy one?

Those who were elected to office on November 6th were chosen to hold public office. Before assuming such offices, they will be asked to take an oath to be faithful in the execution of that trust responsibility, faithful not just to those who voted for them but to all of us, our state and our country.

How can they more fully understand the law and the tradition setting forth the duties of office that will soon be theirs in service of our citizens? Through study and discussion as always since our founding as a nation.

I’m delighted to invite you to participate in the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism’s (CRT) workshop on Public Office as a Public Trust scheduled for 8:30 am on Thursday, March 28th at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

The workshop is a new initiative to encourage and professionalize elected and appointed public officials at all levels, as well as those who aspire to elective or appointive office, to live up to the highest standards of stewardship responsibility.

The mission of the workshop is to promote good stewardship in office, thoughtful trusteeship and enlightened fiduciary practices using the CRT’s Principles for Government as best practices. The commitment of the workshop is taken from George Washington’s remarks to the delegates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention that “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest may repair.”

For some time now and to the great detriment of our state and country, a narrowness in serving the common good has dominated our politics, resulting in a system of government that is polarized, fractured and unable to effectively address even its most basic challenges. The workshop will train you in the tried and tested ideals of public service.

The workshop will present historic, intellectual and moral foundations for the ethics of public stewardship, including the Bible, John Locke, Adam Smith, Max Weber and the Federalist Papers, among others.

The agenda will include:

1. Pew Research Center findings on political polarization

2. Movie High Noon: public trust and personal courage

3. The Moral Sense: human nature and natural justice

4. CRT Principles for Government

5. History of trust responsibilities

The two main presenters will be myself and Doran Hunter, Emeritus Professor of political science at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Tuition is $50 per person (does not include cost of lunch). Space is limited.

For more information or to register, please click here.

The session will adjourn at 4:30 pm.

The CRT is an international network of senior leaders from business, government, academia and non-profit institutions who work together to improve private enterprise and public governance around the world.

Hire for Character, Train for Competence Round Table – Tuesday, March 12th

Pope Francis yesterday closed the Vatican meeting of Catholic Bishops and Cardinals especially called to stop sexual abuse of minors by priests, an insidious failure of good character on the part of those chosen to be God’s ministers on earth.

On the one hand, the failures were ones of individual responsibility – by the priests who did wrong. But on the other hand, they were failures of the institution, in hiring, in supervising, in investigating and in punishing. Those institutional failures arose out of the long-established organizational culture of the priesthood.

The root cause of the malfeasance was in values, values not held by perpetrators and values held – which either provoked or aided and abetted the wrongdoing.

The Catholic Church is not alone in fostering malfeasance. I would argue that all corporate scandals, from the explosion of BP’s Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, through ENRON and Wall Street’s 2008 destruction of global credit markets, to today’s misuse of private data by Facebook or UBS’s helping wealthy French dodge their country’s tax laws, arise first from a failure of organizational culture. What is the remedy?

Our colleague, Matt Bostrom, former Sheriff of Ramsey County, has a good answer. He is working now on a Ph.D. at Oxford University gathering data to support his solution. Matt believes that every organization, in his case police departments, should hire for character and then train for competence.

In our modern, professionalized, elite culture of expertise, we do the reverse: we hire for credentials and hope for good character.

Matt has been organizing community focus groups to gather information on the criteria people want to see in their police officers. It turns out hiring for character is easy.

Please join us for a round table discussion at 9:00 am on Tuesday, March 12th, at the University Club of St. Paul to learn about Matt’s research and how we can reduce organizational failures across the board by hiring for character.

Registration and a light breakfast will begin at 8:30 am and the event at 9:00 am.

Cost to attend is $15 for Business and Public Policy Round Table members and $35 for non-members. Payment will be accepted at the door.

Space is limited.

To register, please contact Jed at jed@cauxroundtable.net or (651) 223-2863 (email preferred).

The University Club is located at 420 Summit Ave in St. Paul.

Parking will be available along Summit Ave.

The event will conclude at 11:00 am.