Pulse: Fiscal Policy
(Marsha Vande Berg is director of MJGlobal Insights, a resource for corporate and fund decision-makers when shaping their dynamic sustainability stakeholder narratives. The former CEO of the Pacific Pension & Investment Institute, Marsha has worked with pension executives worldwide. A Stanford University Distinguished Careers Fellow and author of MJGI Briefs, you can reach her at linkedin.com/in/mjvb and follow her @MarshaJVB.)
By Marsha Vande Berg
Remarks made at the International Finance Forum Spring meeting 2022. Edited post-delivery to reflect China’s announcement of its first ESG disclosure guidance, officially published April 16 and to take effect June 1, 2022
COP26 critics, step to the side. From the get-go, few of us expected that the two-week UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, which ends Friday, would deliver the ultimate solution to climate change tied up in a big red bow and marked for extinction no later than 2050. There are too many variables, timetables, individual government and private sector interests at stake. But that doesn’t mean we are not on our way. We are.
The striking differences between the plans for the US economy of President Donald Trump and his challenger, former vice president Joe Biden, are being pushed off center stage by the theatrics of a willful, unpredictable White House incumbent in the midst of a suddenly very challenging campaign.
While an optimistic consensus in corporate America is growing around last year’s passage of a sweeping US tax bill, corporate boards would be wise to pivot their spending deliberations to how companies can catalyze new technologies on behalf of improvements in real wages, growing jobs and educating the workforce. This should be the preference over stock buybacks and shareholder dividends if the US economy is to realize more than a one-time, feel-good growth spurt.
In the mid-1800s, English philosopher and political economist John Stuart Mill developed “Utilitarianism,” a framework for making moral decisions. In Mill’s formulation, an action achieves optimal social utility when it advances the well-being of the most people, i.e. “the greatest good for the greatest number.”