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Weekly Roundup: The G-20 Stalls and Stanford gets Flush

   /   Nov 11th, 2011Weekly Roundup

G-20: Fury with International Leaders

This past week, the world’s leaders convened for the annual G-20 summit in France titled “New World, New Ideas.”  The hottest topic of discussion?  The crumbling global economy and the contentious economics of Europe.  Would the Euro survive?  Would Italy follow the course of the Greeks?  Would the EU persevere through these fractures in its populace?

Lots of questions, but few concrete answers emerged.  Dubai’s Khaleej Times referred to the “clanging chaos in Cannes.” Chicago Tribune called the G-20 leaders: “One big, dysfunctional family.”  And the Guardian argued against Mexico’s Felipe Calderon (who could be facing charges of war crimes and war crimes against humanity) being named the chair of the G-20.

While much of the media coverage of the political meeting was negative, a little hope did emerge from Cannes.  Bill Gates put out a much-discussed paper on innovation, highlighting the need for greater scientific technological innovation as well as new inventive partnerships crossing sectors to address today’s development needs.  The full paper can be found in a variety of languages on his site, GatesNotes.

And Dr. Muhammad Yunus addressed the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit nearby, calling on the G20 to expand to G25 – including more developing countries from each continent to make sure that their voices are heard too at this global platform.

Overall, the leaders agreed to:

  • Increase global agricultural output  (which will be needed for the now 7 billion residents of the planet)
  • Decrease volatility of food commodities
  • Abolish taxes on food that’s bought for humanitarian purposes by UN agencies/ WFP
  • Create a committee that’ll start addressing youth unemployment (across the world, and especially in developing countries)

But they said no to the French who’ve been advocating for a global tax on financial transactions; those tax revenues would then support development.  Despite that, activists rallied together outside the meeting in support of this Robin Hoodtax.

Stanford Gets Richer to Help the Poor

Stanford’s business school got a handsome sum of $150 million (the largest to date for the business school) to develop courses that encourage students to build enterprises addressing the needs of those in developing countries.  This may help Stanford become the go-to choice for budding social entrepreneurs.

Stanford’s D.School, or Design school, already has a number of courses designed with innovation for the BoP in mind.  However, this money will only add to the concentration on designing for the other 90%.

Stanford Professor Hua Lee will spearhead the new Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies.  The funds came from Stanford alumnus and investor, Robert E. King and his wife.

Forbes’ Tim Ferguson wrote that “This latest move reinforces [the] idea that expanded wealth and knowledge at the top run of the world’s economy is making possible more serious undertakings to expand prosperity.”

Weekend Reads

  • Ron Bloom comments on TIME Ideas that Detroit can learn from Silicon Valley and vice versa.
  • Is microfinance reaching rural areas?  Seattle-based Charles Wolfe argues that we could do more with microfinance.
  • Forbes’ breaks down 10 strategies for building a successful social business.
  • The Guardian looks at the misuse of the term “social enterprise” in today’s world, citing Salesforce as one of the offenders.
  • WSJ asks a provocative question: ‘Why does India hate women?’ with an examination of India’s challenges with young mothers and female infanticide.

One Response

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