My experience in the business, civic and environmental areas will help me to lead on vital local issues of concern including:
– Maintaining a healthy business environment for the long term;
– Achieving aggressive carbon emissions reductions; and
– Supporting a sustainable community that actively cares for those in need
Below is an overview of the my take on the balanced relationship necessary between business, governance, regulation, and democracy.
Businesses have a critical role to play in achieving social good, including the provision of goods and services to the members of a community, providing meaningful employment and income, and acting as the agents for government policy. No great achievements of our capitalist democracy have been achieved without the cooperation and contribution of businesses. The most truly productive, democratic, and equitable economic period in US history occurred when three elements were in balance: business owners, labor, and government. This time period from the 1950’s to the 1980’s was marked by great advances in worker rights, compensation, pensions, and worker safety. While the conditions are different today from that period of balance, and while changes need to be made to bring the three elements into a better alignment, business will remain critical to maintaining progress on issues such as climate change, poverty reduction, and health care improvements.
An excellent example of how business and government worked together to achieve an important social goal is the elimination of chemicals that were causing the depletion of the ozone layer in the 1980’s and 1990’s. As scientists determined that chloroflourocarbons (CFC’s) were responsible for the ozone hole over the South Pole, government regulators debated what approach to take to their elimination. At first, all businesses resisted the elimination of CFC’s, complaining that there were no adequate replacements available. DuPont was among the companies that argued against the government imposing regulations on CFC’s. The US government moved forward with such regulations, and parties were able to convince DuPont and other high-capability companies that there was an enormous benefit to being the leader in developing replacements for banned chemicals. DuPont turned its expertise toward solving the chemistry problems rather than blocking regulations, and was able to produce products that met the US phase-out timeline. As a result, as the rest of the world adopted similar regulations, DuPont established a global leadership position in the production and sale of the replacements for CFC’s.
In this real-life example, the government role was to create the framework within which business would operate to provide for the public good. Government did not have the capability to design, produce, or distribute the chemicals that it wanted to proliferate. However, by harnessing the creative power of business through regulation, it created an incentive structure that caused the most capable business to meet the societal need, producing jobs and profits in the process. Regulations for human safety and environmental protection can be used to create business opportunities for the most visionary business actors. This model will need to be used to address many of the most pressing human challenges of our time, including climate change, increasing population, and poverty reduction. Government will have a crucial role to play alongside business, including improving the treatment of labor, safeguarding the environment, and representing those not adequately represented in the market system. Certain populations have little or no money such as poor individuals, the unborn, and animals, and their only representation in a market economy is the government. Business has the capital and production capability to take creative and profitable actions while providing employment and the government has the responsibility to direct those capabilities towards a healthy society.