Center for Business and Government    

"CBG's talented, energetic and respected team of faculty, fellows, staff, students, friends and advisors is on the move, making a difference, leaving a mark and taking on a range of complicated and critically important issues at the intersection of business and government."

-Ira A. Jackson

 

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May 2001 Director's Welcome

 
 
1 May 2001


Dear CBG Family and Friends,

Wow -- what a month April turned out to be for CBG!

We:

· hosted a major conference on an important topic that had never before been explored in a serious and sustained fashion;

· conducted four Forum events on extremely topical and hot issues;

· held a slew of lunches and dinners for visiting faculty and public officials on a wide range of subjects;

· celebrated a handful of new books and publications by faculty and fellows; and

· formally launched a new program and a brand new website.

And that's just what I can recall offhand as I'm sitting outside on a sunny afternoon drafting this monthly memo to CBG family and friends.

The conference: "Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, New Growth Strategies for the 21st Century Economy," attracted to Harvard some 150 of the nation's leading entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, academic and policy experts, and public officials concerned about how to sustain and strengthen high growth entrepreneurial activities in the U.S. Put together under the leadership of Associate Professor David Hart of CBG and assisted by Rina Spence, a CBG Fellow, this unprecedented conference featured some 40 presentations on a broad array of topics, including a well-attended public discussion in the Kennedy School ARCO Forum on "Entrepreneurship and Public Policy: What's Government Got to Do With It?" with Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, Michigan Governor John Engler, U.S. Senator Tom Carper and Congressman Ed Markey. The conclusion was best summed up by VC Patricia Cloherty who said, "government has everything to do with it!"

Co-sponsored with the National Commission on Entrepreneurship and funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, this fast-paced and provocative conference may well set the stage and help to form the intellectual and action agenda at CBG in the future on the most effective role for government in promoting risk-taking and high growth entrepreneurship, in the U.S. and abroad. Looking around at the end of the spirited conference, one participant who has helped to champion entrepreneurial education for the past 30 years and who has assisted in the Kauffman Foundations' pioneering work to champion an entrepreneurial culture in the U.S., concluded: "If Mr. K. were alive and with us today, he'd be dancing on the table tops!"

Other Forum events during April included a thoughtful and passionate address on corporate responsibility for environmental sustainability by Ray Anderson, founder of the Interface Group (one of the world's leading manufacturers of carpet tile), considered by some as "the greenest CEO in America." This event coincided nicely with the 31st anniversary of Earth Day, and the formal launch of an exciting new initiative based at CBG under the leadership of Professor Rob Stavins called the Environmental Economics Program at Harvard University (EEPHU). EEPHU is a consortium of over a dozen leading environmental economists from around Harvard University and more than a dozen doctoral and post-doctoral students and fellows. Take the time to check EEPHU's handsome and informative website (ksg.harvard.edu/cbg/eephuhome.htm) and while you're there, take a moment to read Rob's recent op-ed piece on global warming and the Kyoto Protocols.

It seems that whatever the headline these days, some member of the CBG family is at the front ranks of the intellectual research and debate and in formulating the policy agenda. Beyond the cover stories on the environment, for instance, electricity continues to be a dominant concern -from the pending blackouts this summer as well as bailouts and charges of market manipulation. CBG is at the intellectual and programmatic center of that controversy and has been for a decade, through the pioneering work of CBG's Professor Bill Hogan and the Harvard Electricity Policy Group (HEPG), which he leads. Bill led a Forum discussion on "California Blackouts: Could It Happen Here?" with former Congressman and Institute of Politics Director Phil Sharp; California State Senator Debra Bowen (Chair of the Energy and Utilities Committee); Michael Shames, founder and Executive Director of the Utility Consumer Action Network of San Diego; and Rick Sergel, President and CEO of National Grid USA.

HEPG hosts its 25th meeting in Cambridge early next month and continues to play a unique convening and educational role in providing a fact-based forum for corporate, public, academic and activist leaders to find common ground, to share best practices, and to develop consensus on how to improve performance on one of the trickiest areas of regulatory reform. For Bill's latest reflections, including his April 24 paper with Scott Harvey: "On the exercise of market power through strategic withholding in California," check out the HEPG website (http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/%7Ehepg/) or connect to it through the Programs page of the CBG website (http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/cbg).

The crisis in the China underscores the importance of the work of CBG's Asia Program and China Initiative, under the leadership of Professor Tony Saich. Tony joined other leading experts for a timely Forum debate and discussion on the topic. Asia loomed large on our CBG calendar all month long-beginning with candid reflections from former Taiwanese Premier Tang Fei, now a senior CBG Fellow, and following up with a number of presentations about the seemingly intractable economic downturn in Japan from the perspectives of Takeo Shiina, former chairman of IBM/Japan; and former Japanese Minister of Economic Policy and widely-read author Taichi Sakaiya.

Competition and trade policy in Europe was the focus of a lively and informative evening with Mario Monti, European Commissioner for Competition Policy. Monti's discussion touched on the cooperation and divergences with the U.S. on issues ranging from celebrated mergers (GE/Honeywell, MCI/Worldcom/Sprint) to consumer protection. Continuing the European focus, Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser of Austria shared his reflections on European interest rates, economic growth prospects, and the structural challenges faces the EU, in an open and candid conversation with CBG faculty and KSG students just last Friday.

There were so many other CBG events in April, and our calendar is already so packed for the future, that I can't possibly do justice through a short narrative description. I wish I had time to detail Mary Schapiro's inspiring presentation about the history and progress of the unusually successful self-regulation of the securities industry by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), where she is president; or to celebrate Cary Coglianese's new book with Jennifer Nash entitled "Regulating From the Inside: Can Environmental Management Systems Achieve Policy Goals?"; or give a full page to Aetna Professor of Public Policy and Corporate Management Professor Lew Branscomb's upcoming receipt of the prestigious Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board for contributions to public service and for "outstanding contribution's toward mankind and the nation"; or to applaud the publication of "Winning the Influence Game: What Every Business Should Know about Government," by HBS/CBG faculty member Michael Watkins, KSG's Mickey Edwards and Usha Thankrar. To stay fully informed, check in regularly with our CBG website; even better, participate actively in the life of our Center!

The pace continues here at CBG during May and June-although the gorgeous weather makes it all seem so much more tolerable, bearable and finally pleasurable.

Let me close with a just a few quick snippets of a few upcoming events. On May 3-5, Jeff Frankel, John Ruggie, Marsh Carter and I will be representing CBG at The 2001 Harvard University Colloquium on International Affairs, addressing "A New American Foreign Policy? Global Voices, Challenges & Opportunities."

On May 10-11, CBG will be co-sponsoring a two-day conference on "voluntary, collaborative and information-based policies: lessons and next steps for environmental and energy policy in the United States and Europe."

Midmonth, I'll then be setting off with Tom Vallely and others to visit the Fulbright Teaching Program in Ho Chi Minh City, which is the heart of CBG's Vietnam Program, but returning in time to hear KSG alum and now White House Chief of Staff Andy Card deliver an address at the School's commencement.

June comes to crescendo at CBG with a joint conference with the Hewlett Foundation on corporate social responsibility, and an ambitious, significant and substantively rich exploration of economic policy-making during the '90s, carefully crafted and managed by Professor Jeff Frankel, a former member of the Council of Economic Advisors. Taking on more than a dozen areas of economic policy - from poverty and welfare reform to monetary policy and financial markets - Jeff has lined up an impressive group of scholars and authors (including Laura Tyson, David Ellwood, Alan Krueger, Paul Joskow, Robert Litan, Greg Mankiw and Hal Varian) and an equally robust group of panelists and respondents (including Larry Summers, Gene Sperling, Charlene Barshevsky, Robert Reischauer, Martin Feldstein, Robert Rubin, Robert Solow, Robert Reich, Dan Yergin, Stanley Fisher and Allan Meltzer).

All of the above is just my way of reflecting that CBG's talented, energetic and respected team of faculty, fellows, staff, students, friends and advisors is on the move, making a difference, leaving a mark and taking on a range of complicated and critically important issues at the intersection of business and government. Please feel welcome and encouraged to join us in some of these activities and to share your own wisdom, experience and resources with us.

We are proud and pleased with our progress, but to succeed we need the support and participation of colleagues and friends. Let me know if you'd like to help or get more deeply involved. As always, many thanks for your interest.

 

Ira A. Jackson, Director

Center for Business and Government

 
 
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