The recent holidays gave me more time to reflect on and give thanks to you, our wonderful Growth & Justice supporters. Your ideas, your connections, and your dollars help break the logjam of fear and anxiety, to channel the currents of ever-present change into courageous and wise actions (such as those recommended in the upcoming Minnesota Equity Blueprint - see below) that create a more just and equitable future for all who live and work in the North Star State. Your support helps Growth & Justice look behind the exultant numbers on economic growth and ask, “Is it equitable, is it Just?” Who benefits and who/what does not, and why? Economic, educational, and environmental disparities continue to widen, by region and by race. I heard in family discussions this past week that at the world level, we are beyond using the term “climate change.” We are in a full-blown “planetary crisis” (see Australia burning). Sobering talk indeed after New Year’s celebrations. I also read that we are moving beyond diversity, equity, and inclusion to a hoped-for condition/sense of “belonging” – at least in corporate America lingo. I think that is a worthy goal, but to get there, we must continue to work on welcoming diversity, being intentionally inclusive, and instill equity in all that we do. All of us want to feel like we belong – in our communities, in our workplaces, in our homes, with one another. We can build belonging by working together as diverse peoples to save our planet – our shared global home. We can build belonging by working together to make educational opportunity open and affordable for all. We can build belonging by working together to open doors and open affordable capital sources to all who wish to start and grow businesses, to diversify our economy and safeguard it from stifling and unfair monoculture and monopoly. I’m rolling up my sleeves for the work ahead in 2020. Please continue your support and join us, to belong to and believe in Growth & Justice, where Equity is our North Star! – Jane Leonard, President of Growth & Justice.
In our latest annual Progress Report, Growth & Justice makes the case that equity and climate action are rising fast as statewide policy priorities in Minnesota, among business and philanthropic leaders as well as social and environmental justice advocates. The newsletter also previews our own emerging comprehensive guidebook, the Minnesota Equity Blueprint, which lays out best practices and effective public policies that reduce racial, economic and regional disparities, while aggressively shifting to renewable energy and cleaning up our natural environment. We will release the complete Minnesota Equity Blueprint in late February and draft versions of chapters are on our website. Take a look also at our priorities for the 2019-20 legislative biennium, and watch for further research and advocacy as we push for practices and policies in 2020 that create a more inclusive economy.
Few economists capture the spirit of our guiding belief in equitable growth better than Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner who has written college textbooks about the economics of the public sector and its value in free-market democracies. In a column earlier this year, Stiglitz wrote a commentary for the New York Times calling for “a progressive capitalism, based on an understanding of what gives rise to growth and societal well-being.’’ Stiglitz extols “a broader social compact that allows a society to work and prosper together,’’ and for a larger role for democratic governments in providing economic security, adequate infrastructure, basic research and a first-rate education for everyone. “Progressive capitalism,’’ Stiglitz wrote, “is based on a new social contract between voters and elected officials, between workers and corporations, between rich and poor, and between those with jobs and those who are un- or underemployed.”
“We know that the health of our business depends on a vibrant and growing economy, and that’s only possible when economic opportunities are available to all our neighbors.’’ Statement by Target Foundation, in recent announcement that it was shifting strategically to “promoting equity.’’