Wednesday, January 24, 2007

On changing sectors

In today's San Francisco Chronicle columnist David Lazarus has a very important column on the increasing social and political leadership role of corporate CEOs. He's pointing in particular to the news conference on Monday when several CEOs* called for limits on carbon dioxide omissions.

Lazarus quotes Columbia business school professor, Raymond Horton, who says,

"Today's business leader is more cosmopolitan and socially concerned than in the past...I wouldn't be surprised to see a more-aggressive stance on public-policy issues."

This is all well and good. But here's my concern. Lazarus also writes,

"It's becoming increasingly clear that our elected officials - Republican and Democrat - are politically incapable of tackling some of the urgent problems that require far-reaching and difficult solutions."
If we can't rely on our elected officials to accomplish these goals, must we rely on corporate CEOs? What about the independent sector? How can, should, and will the independent sector and philanthropy define themselves as the roles of public and private sector leadership becomes blurred?

* Monday's news conference included CEOs from Alcoa, BP American, Caterpillar, Duke Energy, DuPont, FPL Group, General Electric, Lehmann Bros., PNM Resources, and PG & E.

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