2024 Request for Your Support

I write to ask for your financial support of the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism to enable us to contribute, as best we can, to encouraging commitments from individuals, businesses, NGOs and governments to the ideas of moral capitalism, moral government and moral society.

Here is what we accomplished in last year.

During 2023, as we all saw a war continue in Ukraine and Russia without a peaceful resolution in sight and a new war, viciously commenced against Israel, another war without a peaceful resolution in sight, our work evolved to ask just what is civilization?  Can we be civilized if we overlook ethics and morals?  But just where should we look for those guiding lights?  In ourselves?  In others?  In divine revelation?  In the wisdom of our cultures and ancient philosophers?

Our thinking, shaped by dialogue with many, has more and more examined the intangible – human capital formation and social capital contributions to justice and well-being.

As the American cartoon character Pogo said in the 1950s: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

As in its first meeting in 1986 at Mountain House in Caux, Switzerland, the Caux Round Table, during 2023, sought to solve problems through the application of ethics, complementary ethics drawn collegially from various wisdom traditions speaking to a greater common good for the many, rather than seeking to affirm the power and the privileges of the few.

We sharpened our focus on human and social capitals.  We proposed a global ethic of personal responsibility at our July global dialogue.  We met with Shi’a Muslim leaders, both academic and clerical, in Najaf, Iraq, to learn more from the personal example of the Prophet Muhammad in promising, through covenants, to respect and protect Christian communities.  We drew on teachings of the Buddha, with Thai colleagues, to prioritize the middle way of moderation and equilibrium.  We asked for ideas and constructive criticism in monthly meetings, both in-person and through Zoom.  We used our monthly newsletter, Pegasus, to broadcast globally ideas and values in harmony with these engagements.

We were skeptical that ESG would be only a fad, a superficial articulation of virtuous intentions, offering little of substance that would turn into actual virtuous behaviors more aligned with the ethics of moral capitalism.

Two articles of note were published in Directors&Boards.  Our colleagues, Ibrahim Zein and Ahmed El-Wakil, published a thoughtful and thorough book on the covenants of the Prophet Muhammad.  Recovery of the Prophet’s precedent in giving covenants may provide a new way of thinking about how to bring about a lasting peace between Jews and Palestinians.

This work is unique.  In a real way, the Caux Round Table has few competitors for its thought leadership.

This year, we will continue to find ideas intersecting with good values that can provide leaders with vision and resolve.  We will continue our study of the covenants of the Prophet Muhammad, our partnership with Thai leaders in business, government and the academy.  We will ask many to share their thinking in the shaping of a draft global ethic to be submitted to the Summit of the Future in 2024 at the United Nations this coming September.  We will convene round tables.  We will publish books on Amazon.

You may consider making a contribution to fund specific undertakings:

-Sponsor one or more issues of Pegasus.

-Support a regional round table.

-Sponsor a workshop on the covenants of the Prophet.

-Sponsor a book of essays.

You can donate via PayPal (or visit our homepage – www.cauxroundtable.org – and click the yellow “donate” button), by check (75 West Fifth Street, Suite 219, St. Paul, MN 55102) or by wire transfer (please ask for instructions).

Anything you can give would be most appreciated.

Local Round Tables in 2024: Your Thoughts

We would like to ask our Minnesota participants what time of day would be most convenient for in-person round table events?

We’ve been scheduling events for 9:00 am or over the noon hour on weekdays at the Landmark Center in St. Paul.  What about early morning events, say from 7 or 7:30 to 8:30 am or early evening events, say from 5:00 to 6:00 or 6:30 pm?  Please let us know.

We plan to draft a proceedings after each event, which would then be shared with relevant local audiences.  This would be under the Chatham House rule of non-attribution, unless participants would like to edit the proceedings into a statement with authors.

Also, if you have any specific topics you believe are pressing for attention from community leaders, please send us your suggestions.

You can email us directly at jed@cauxroundtable.net.

We look forward to hearing from you.

It’s Valentine’s Day: I Love You America for Better, for Worse, for Richer, for Poorer, in Sickness and in Health

More and more Americans are saying to themselves – and even openly – “the country is not ok; the kids are not ok; I am not ok.”

A dysphoria seems to have taken over our culture and politics, crowding out older optimism, resilience, wisdom and self-confidence, which replacement does not bode well for the country’s future.

Actually, though many have forgotten, in July 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter spoke to the American people about their dysphoria, as he perceived it:

“I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy.  The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways.  It is a crisis of confidence.  It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will.  We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation.  The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America.”

In the February 5 issue of the New Yorker, I found a cartoon, where the cartoonist tries to capture, in a wry fashion, the dysphoria being experienced by so many Americans:

This special issue of Pegasus, “The De-Enlightening of America: The Onset of Systemic National Dysphoria”, provides readers with data on the state of the American people and their culture, politics and economy – lots of data, none of which can cheer the heart, validate old understandings of who we are as a people or provide a basis for optimism.

The issue does not attempt to provide any explanations for what the data reveals.  Nor does it speculate about the future.  Such insights are left for the reader to propose.

However, historical perspectives relevant to what the data might be revealing can be found in the thinking of two very serious students of history – Sir John Glubb (1897-1986) and Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406).

Sir John Bagot Glubb, British lieutenant general, estimated that the average length of greatness for a regime, people or nation is 250 years. America is 248 years old.

For Glubb, socially created polities rise and fall in these stages.  First, an age of pioneers.  Then an age of conquests.  Then commercial success.  Then affluence.  Then an age of intellect and finally, an age of decadence.

Decadence is marked by defensiveness, pessimism, materialism, frivolity, an influx of foreigners, a welfare state and weakening of religion.  Decadence results from too long a period of wealth and power, selfishness, love of money and loss of a sense of duty.

Ibn Khaldun suggested those stages.  In the first stage, founders of an umran (dynasties) are very energetic, vigorous, aggressive, but very kind, patient and accommodative, tolerant and creative. In the second stage, rulers show less enthusiasm for those qualities, but the economy grows faster than in the first stage.  In the third stage, the ruling elite becomes complacent in satisfaction with the status quo, sitting back and enjoying their privileges.  Wealth is still created, but there are now bumps in the road.  In the fourth stage, leaders begin to increase the extractions of rent from the people, while failing to take responsibility for the common good.  The elite, more and more, depends on a few self-seeking opportunists – grifters – and the economy suffers.  In the last stage of sumptuous luxury for the elite, resources – natural, human and social capitals – are squandered, while a challenger arises from the margins of society to subjugate the kingdom.

Depressing data on America – befitting the last phase of Glubb’s and Khaldun’s theories of national destiny – just keeps on coming.  On January 31, after this special issue was written, there were three additional reports in the press.

One report was that total cases of syphilis in the U.S. in 2022 were over 207,000, a 17% increase and the highest number of cases since 1950.  Cases of chlamydia had not increased and cases of gonorrhea had declined.

Secondly, a children’s advocacy group, Common Sense Media, released polling results.  Two- thirds of youth ages 12 to 17 said things are not going well for children and teenagers.  Less than half reported optimism that they would become better off than their parents.  Among those polled between the ages of 18 and 26, only 15% reported being in excellent mental health.  More than half the teenagers believed that public schools were doing only a poor to fair job in providing education.  Only 8% believed that public schools were “excellent.”

Thirdly, America’s New Majority Project reported that Americans’ trust in various professions, from professors to members of Congress, has dropped recently.

Gallup’s 2023 Honesty and Ethics poll asked 800 respondents from Dec. 1 to Dec. 20, 2023, to rate the honesty and ethical standards of 23 listed professions.  Nearly all answered negatively compared to previous years, following a downward trend in ratings since 2019:

-56% rate doctors highly, down from 65% in 2019.
-45% rate police officers highly, down from 54% in 2019.
-42% rate college teachers highly, down from 49% in 2019.
-32% rate clergy highly, down from 40% in 2019.
-19% rate journalists highly, down from 28% in 2019.
-12% rate business leaders highly, down from 20% in 2019.

Members of Congress have the lowest honesty and ethical standards, according to those surveyed:

-Only 6% rate members of Congress highly.
-Congress members were rated worse than car dealers, stockbrokers and insurance salespersons.

Where America goes from here is an open question.  Let us hope for the best.

Caux Round Table 2023 Dayton Award: Call for Nominations

As you know, the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism seeks annually to recognize and honor leaders in the Minnesota business community and so presents an annual Dayton Award for Distinction in Moral Capitalism.

In 2019, the first Dayton Award was given to Douglas M. Baker, Jr. of Ecolab, in 2020 to Andrew Cecere of USBank and Don and Sondra Samuels for leadership in the community, in 2021 to police chiefs Medaria Arradondo of Minneapolis and Todd Axtell of St. Paul for leadership in public service and in 2022 to Mary Kowalski and Kris Kowalski Christiansen of Kowalski’s Markets and Kyle Smith of Reell Precision Manufacturing Corporation.

This year, the Caux Round Table will present the fifth Dayton Award.  I write to ask for your recommendations as to a suitable business executive to receive the award.

Our board has established the criteria for selection of an award recipient as:

-CEO of a Minnesota company or similar operational organization
-Revenue and profits if relevant to mission
-Community impact if relevant to mission
-Demonstrated innovation/response to market opportunities
-Quality of company culture
-Care of employees
-Customer satisfaction
-Environmental stewardship
-Personal community commitment
-Company community commitment
-Vision and prudence: level 5 leadership traits (Jim Collins: From Good to Great)

In 250 words or less, please tell us why your nominee is deserving of the award.

In addition, we will take into consideration other factors you bring to our attention as deserving of recognition for their contribution to the enhanced well-being of Minnesota.

Please send completed nominations to jed@cauxroundtable.net.

The deadline for nominations is 5:00 pm on Wednesday, January 31.

I look forward to receiving your thoughts on possible recipients.

Sincerely yours,

Stephen B. Young
Global Executive Director
Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism

December 2023 Pegasus Now Available!

Happy New Year!

Here’s the December issue of Pegasus.

In this edition, we include an article by guest author Richard D. Van Scotter on college sports and the demise of the academy.

Next, Michael Hartoonian asks what do we mean by justice?

We also include some cartoons for your viewing pleasure.

Lastly, we briefly introduce an upcoming special issue of Pegasus on American dysphoria, which will be out in early 2024.

I would be most interested in your thoughts and feedback.

November Pegasus Now Available!

Here’s the November issue of Pegasus.

In this edition, we include three pieces.

First, we republish, with permission, Ivan Timofeev’s article “A State as Civilization and Political Theory.”

Next, we include a piece by Michael Hartoonian on the tensions between culture and civilization.

Lastly, we include excerpts from the September 13 statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China proposing a new regime for global governance.

I would be most interested in your thoughts and feedback.

Kind Words from Pope Francis

Tomorrow, Thursday, November 16, is Give to the Max Day here in Minnesota.

The Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism needs your financial support to help us carry on the work that only we are doing.  Here, I refer most to the study and advocacy in our time of the respect for others given by the Prophet Muhammad in his covenants with Christians and others.

The spirit behind these covenants and the example given to all Muslims of their Prophet’s good faith seem, at this time of war in Gaza, to be providential in giving us hope that a just outcome for all can be achieved.

I would like to share with you in this context some kind words sent to me by Pope Francis about our work.

On August 25, 2020, the secretary to Pope Francis wrote me this note:

His Holiness has read your letter and he has asked me to convey his appreciation for your underscoring the relevance of the covenants made by Muhammad in his day to protect Christian churches.  He trusts that such covenants will serve as a model for the further enhancement of mutual respect, understanding and fraternal coexistence between Christians and Muslims at the present time.

On February 26, 2021, the secretary to Pope Francis wrote me this note:

Dear Professor Young,

I am writing to acknowledge your letter and enclosures that you sent on 19 January last to His Holiness Pope Francis concerning covenants made by the Prophet Muhammad to respect and protect Christian communities and to express His Holiness’ gratitude to you and your associates for making available this documentation.

You can contribute on our Give to the Max page or directly through PayPal found on our homepage here (click yellow “donate” button).

If you rather mail a check, our mailing address is 75 West Fifth Street, Suite 219, St. Paul, MN 55102.

Thank you for your support.

Why Give to the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism?

With trench warfare and attacks on civilians once again taking lives in Europe; with, once again, a religious war between Abrahamic faiths taking the lives of innocents in the Levant, what difference can the Caux Round Table make to counter such intolerance of others, such rejections of human aspirations for peace and justice?

With capitalism having just produced perhaps the most profound technical innovation ever, one which will disrupt all human purposing – AI – what difference can the Caux Round Table make to minimize harmful consequences attendant on the coming use of this technology?

Because we – our leadership, our staff, our global network of thoughtful participants – are doing unique innovative work that no one else seems to be attempting.

We are exploring and communicating globally premises for a global ethic in this time of anxiety and troubles.  Our unique vantage point is the moral sense our participants have contributed since 1986 about business and finance, government, civil society and individual responsibility as what the Qur’an calls “khalifa-ship” and what my Protestant ancestors passed down to me as “stewardship.”

Tomorrow, Thursday, November 16, is Give to the Max day here in Minnesota, the annual fundraising campaign for local non-profits.  We would be most appreciative if you would support our work.

You could also contribute directly to us through PayPal or by mailing a check to us at 75 West Fifth Street, Suite 219, St. Paul, MN 55102.

If you would like to give via wire transfer, please let us know so we can send you instructions.

Thank you for your past interest in the work all of us are committed to in our different ways and for your financial support at this time.