Professor Michael H. Posner | 2019 Jacob K. Javits Visiting Professorship Lecture

good evening everyone it is such a wonderful thing to see such a full room such a excited room it’s really an honor and a pleasure my name is Sibylle raver and I serve as deputy provost and on behalf of both the provost and the president I welcome everyone here tonight it’s just terrific to see everyone I’d really want to especially thank Dean syndrome for in his office for inviting me to share a few words tonight and especially to extend an extremely warm welcome to the Javits family and of course to their colleague Jeff Kyle and his partner Danielle and of course to all of you this evening we are really honored to hear from Professor Michael Posner of the NYU Stern School of Business Stern has led as you know by our wonderful Dean professor Sundaram and he will introduce a professor Posner shortly but I just want to take a few moments to recognize the accomplishments and the legacy of Jacob Javits and Marion B Javits particularly because of the support we received from the Marion B and Jacob Javits foundation we are so grateful for that partnership and we thank the foundation for their continued support the Jacob K Javits visiting professorship was established in 2008 and it’s to honor the memory and accomplishments over the four term senator senator Javits and to promote the values for which he fought the professorship is awarded to an academic a lawyer a policymaker a journalist and historian or a former elected official whose work focuses on issues close to the Senators interests and those include health civil rights labor foreign policy disability rights education employment fairness and Economic Security for working Americans we can think about those issues as incredibly timely for our times today and incredibly important for this institution as you know NYU is very much a private university in public service we have a very strong focus in equality equity and an opportunity at this institution senator Javits has a long a distinguished career of dedicating his life’s work to his community born and raised in New York City the senator Ernie law degree from NYU were so glad to have our esteemed NYU Dean and president of NYU emeritus John Sexton here as well and Senator javis was elected in itial II to represent New York’s 21st congressional district in the US House of Representatives he subsequently served as New York State Attorney General for several years before being elected to the US Senate where he served for four terms I think many of you already know and I think it’s really important to highlight the incredible force in policymaking that Senator Javits split had in terms of his impact on our nation in our nation’s future he helped for example to create the National Endowment for the Arts and the humanities in 1973 he sponsored the War Powers Act and he helped to pass the Employee Retirement Income Security Act which which ensures fair private pension system in recognition of his commitment to public service senator Javits was awarded multiple medals including the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his exceptionally meritorious contributions to our country the senator believes strongly in the power of bipartisanship in driving social progress and he was well known for building effective coalition’s to pass legislation that benefited the American people to honor this legacy in 2016 the Javits Foundation established the Jacob K Javits Prize for bipartisan leadership professor Posner’s talked tonight on restoring bipartisanship in the public and private sectors is a wonderful tribute to the Senators legacy and with that I’ll go ahead and turn it over to Dean Sundaram thank you so much again for joining us and we really look forward to all the comments that will follow thank you everyone and welcome I’m the Dean of the Stern School of Business that goes on the room it’s my pleasure to welcome all of you here today in many ways I have the easiest and most pleasant task of all introducing a truly wonderful colleague but before I do that just a few words of thanks my thanks to the Javits family these have its foundation for making this event possible my thanks to Sybil for her introduction my thanks to John Sexton who’s hiding at the back the person who introduced us to Mike Posner and made it possible for Mike Posner to be here at Stern and one last acknowledge meant a truly wonderful alumnus celebrating his hundredth year now a graduate of 1941 from Stern who is back at CERN for the

second time this week whose attends many of our alumni events Alfred Abraham Thank You Alfred sternness but this is the first time Stella saw or had the opportunity to host the Javits lecture and we are particularly delighted about that because the subject matter the broader subject matter of the Javits lecture of the Javits professorship is something that is very close to Stearns heart some twenty years ago a few colleagues of mine who had significant foresight saw the importance of the way business was evolving away from the traditional shareholder focused model to broader concerns and we became the first school to set up what is now in its 20th year a business and society program that looks at the intersection of business and society of business and its public’s business and law business and the broader world business and democracy business and ethical leadership business and professional responsibilities these have been incorporated into our curriculum in very deep ways by the wonderful faculty that lead the business and society area into a social impact core that every one of our undergraduates has to go through in addition to that liberal arts core in their business core into Professional Responsibility courses that our MBA students go through it is in some ways the richest part of the business education that they get today because it brings together the technical skills that they acquire over their course here in to analyzing problems of importance that they will look at not only for in the business world tomorrow but for the society of tomorrow one of the exemplars of the business in society area is the person it is my privilege to introduce today Mike Posner now all of you have read Mike’s bio and Mike’s incredible achievements both in the private and public sectors but especially not the nonprofit world in government over the last three decades so I’m not going to revisit that that that part of his biography but this I will say there are resume virtues and there are the human virtues and the nicest part of what mike is the human kind of like he’s dealing with the kind of questions he does on business on human rights it’s remarkable how cheerful he always is but more that way never there’s anything to be done in the Institute he’s the first person to put up his hand and say I will volunteer to do this so Mike came to Stern in 2014 as I said courtesy John sextons introduction to us we established in 2014 under Mike’s leadership the Center for business and human rights the first center of its sort in the world and I think still the only real I mean I know there are some of Mike’s prodigies who have gone on to start other similar centers in Switzerland and elsewhere but I think it’s still the only real center of its sort I’ve often told Mike that we should think about renaming the center the Center for business and democracy because the hardest issue we are handling today is issues around liberal democracy and the ways in which business not deliberately not with any malice is undermining some of the the most difficult institutions that have been the most difficult to build over several hundred years liberal democracy itself is under threat in many ways today and Mike has been at the forefront of leading the discussion on this through his centers work around fake news and the topic of today how to resolve bipartisanship fortunately it says I just looked at the topic it says both in the public and in the private sector in the private area I think it should be a little bit easier to handle he just had a piece on this topic in Forbes magazine and I was pleased to meet one of the editors of Forbes when I came in was talking about that so without further ado let me introduce Mike thank you so thank you Raghu for those really warm words I’m delighted to be here and really honored to be selected by the Javits family and their foundation as this year’s Javits visiting professor for the past six years I’ve really been lucky to be here at Stern and to call it my home I in 2012 when I was at the State Department colleague and I decided to start this Center on business and human rights in a business school I went to many of my West Side Upper West Side liberal friends some of whom were sitting here and I told them what I was trying to do and they said mixing human rights and business sounds like an oxymoron so I thought oh my gosh but I came to John Sexton who’s an old friend and if you don’t know John he’s an incredibly persuasive character and he

said this is the right place to be and he sent me to Peter Henry to the business school that Dean then and they were both unbelievably immediately receptive John understood Peter understood that human rights is vital to the success of a 21st century company and it is to our society and they saw an important gap that NYU could fill and supported the creation of our Center I’m really as I say incredibly indebted to John to Peter to Raghu to stern for allowing us this opportunity our vision was then it is still today to challenge and to guide business in charting rules of the road for the 21st century global economy too often business the business model for companies is to do whatever they must do to make money in the short term and then to give some money away to charity to community and arts groups or to enhance their brand we urge companies to move beyond this model of corporate social responsibility which all too often has been more about protecting a company’s brand reputation than how to change maduk business principles we focus on how companies are making money not how they give it away and this is a tough agenda over the last six years we build a terrific team privilege to be working alongside some similarly committed people at Stern who Raghu mentioned when I arrived Peter connected me to Bruce Buchanan who had the foresight 20 years ago to create the business and society program he’s now handed the baton to Bhatia wiesen Feld another great colleague who continues to lead this great program among our colleagues one here is John Haida an author and print a very prominent ethicist and ton see Whelan who joined Stern several years ago from the rainforest alliance to create a center for sustainable business we’ve benefited greatly by NYU’s commitment to taking risks and to thinking big president Hamilton and Raghu who are current dean don’t just tolerate untested ideas and try to manage change as you’ll see if you go to the stern website they embrace change stern now is about how do you encourage new ideas this is a core value for NYU and for stern it’s also something that John did in his years as president this is not a static place it’s a dynamic institution that’s willing to take chances so I want to reflect on one chapter of NYU’s history the story of a great American change agent named Jacob Javits Javed’s grew up in a crowded tenement on the Lower East Side he graduated from NYU Law 1926 and beginning in 1947 he began a career of public service that took him to the US House of Representatives for seven years New York State Attorney General for two and then for 24 years as a United States Senator he belonged to a group known as Rockefeller Republicans politicians who championed liberal social policies prudent economic policies and integrity and government sadly today Rockefeller Republicans are an endangered species in fact I hope they aren’t actually extinct there’s a decline in their decline in part is why we’re having such a hard time finding common ground so today I want to talk about the decline in part and bipartisanship in our politics in our society and offers some thoughts in particular about what the private sector can do to address our growing divisions and rekindle our capacity to reach out to each other to the other senator Javits just to spend a few more moments out his unbelievable career he devoted his professional life to reaching across the aisle looking for opportunities to forge links between Republicans and Democrats liberals and conservatives he was a problem solver intensely focused on achieving practical results if I can borrow a phrase from New York Times columnist Tom Friedman he aim to make a difference not just to make a point and his track record of accomplishments points to the value of bipartisanship in 1957 he sponsored early civil rights legislation that laid the foundation for the landmark civil rights laws we all know of the 1960s he was an enthusiastic supporter of workers rights understood the important role unions can play empowering working people he helps shape reforms of our pension system there was a mention of ERISA at a time when old age and poverty

were often synonymous ERISA along with Social Security made secure retirement possible for millions of Americans he was active internationally as was mentioned again he was troubled by the escalation of US military involvement in Vietnam without adequate congressional say and so he was a major force behind the adoption of the War Powers Act and he actually wrote a book about it though he’s mindful of maintaining control of our borders he supported continued US leadership on refugee rights the list of his accomplishments goes on and on and on his success was rooted in pragmatism in principle his actions were fueled by his commitment to fairness equality dignity and integrity a frustration with a corruption of Tammany Hall first drove Javits into politics what’s amazing is that he never became jaded he maintained a firm moral compass and a vote a devotion to principle throughout his long career unfortunately these attributes seaman short supply these days omits our growing political polarization now it’s all too easy to blame our divisions solely on our current president whose actions and demeanor I find deeply disturbing but I realized that the 2016 election and his continued popularity with a sizeable minority of our population reflects deeper divisions within our society often driven by anger and fear though the president clearly exacerbates these divisions often on a daily basis he didn’t create them whatever our beliefs it’s incumbent on each of us to go the extra mile to understand the perspective of others whose views are antithetical to our own and even to look for common ground much has been written about the growing polarization in our society what one analyst calls a culture of contempt a recent Pew study confirmed our partisan divisions are more intense and more personal than they’ve been in a lawfully long time 58% of Republicans now say the Democrats are more immoral than other Americans most Democrats say the same thing about Republicans men older people are more likely to harbor these views these Nut negative feelings run very deep in 1960 this is one statistic that jumped out at me when pollsters asked people how they would feel if one of their children married someone from the other political party five percent of Republicans and four percent of Democrats said that they would be upset they did the same polling in 2010 half of the Republicans and more than a third of the Republic of the Democrats Harbor those sentiments today 83 percent of respondents say with they discussed politics more than once a day they feel angry about something they’ve heard or read it seems that the only thing we can agree on now is how angry we are at each other these various acts their various explanations for how we descended into this partisan ranker some are obvious increasing religious racial ethnic diversity in our society growing gap in employment income health even longevity between Americans the demise of traditional news media which once offered daily description of events that were widely accepted as accurate other factors are less obvious some people say it was the Cold War which United us against communism or the passing of the world war 2 greatest generation but I want to focus tonight on three broad trends that I think deserve special attention the nature and scope of these things would deeply shock senator Javits if he were alive today the first is the rapid expansion of the global economy and it’s residual effects here at home as I stressed my students in every course the benefits of globalization are obvious in the last 35 years more than 2 billion people on our planet have been lifted out of extreme poverty the private sector has played the key role generating hundreds of millions of jobs a globalized economy has given us access to more goods and services and greatly reduce costs we enjoy blueberries and melons from Latin America in the dead of winter we buy cheap clothing online manufactured in Asia and it’s delivered our store our doorsteps in a day or two we spend hours every day on these various electronic devices we love powered by batteries that are built with minerals mined in Africa while we enjoy these advances we’ve been too slow to address the

social consequences accompanying this global growth because wages are so low much lower in places like Mexico or China or Bangladesh a significant portion of US manufacturing jobs especially low-wage industries have migrated to other places factory workers in Youngstown work scran or Flint who’ve lost their jobs have every reason to be upset and afraid for their future but instead of finding ways to mitigate these negative consequences politicians of all stripes too often fuel popular anger by demonizing trade agreements dismissing the value of economic progress in developing countries are trying to build walls around our country these bromides failed to address the real challenges facing working in middle-class americans a second related change fueling polarization is economic inequality the statistics are stark over the last 40 years CEO compensation in the US has increased by nine hundred and forty percent that’s nine hundred and forty percent while the salaries of the lowest paid workers in the same companies has increased by only twelve percent in fact the average income for majority of American workers have not risen at all since the 1980s the gap between rich and poor is actually widening the top one percent of all Americans are richer than the bottom ninety percent these discrepancies have serious costs life expectancy in this country has actually fallen for three years in a row affecting low-income communities disproportionately globally Oxfam calculates this is another wild statistic the 26 richest people on our planet have wealth that’s equal to the bottom 50% that’s 3.8 billion people the need to write this balance is obvious the third seismic shift relates to technology the so-called fourth Industrial Revolution every day we see the benefits we see advances in artificial intelligence improving efficiency in everything from commuting to life-saving medical procedures instant global communications suddenly become free of charge in the nineteen eighties a phone call from Tokyo to San Francisco cost about $30 a minute now we get grumpy if our free videoconferencing app takes a minute upload we take for granted the easy and immediate access the internet affords to us massive amounts of data on virtually every subject but as with globalization the explosion of technology also sparked new challenges power of states to collect data often results in unchecked surveillance that violates our private privacy misapplication of data lens leads to discrimination in areas ranging from law enforcement to home loans scrim ination amplifies racism and biases that already exist in our society automated production means robots are replacing people many of whom find struggle finding another job and as we’ve witnessed in recent years various forms of political dissing for social media and threaten our very democratic discourse it’s easy to get overwhelmed and at this moment in what I’m saying you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed and to retreat into our partisan corners curse our political rivals but in actions actually not an option there’s too much at stake each of us needs to find a way to contribute to solving these difficult problems as the first Human Rights Center to business school we’re convinced that it’s really possible to persuade the world’s largest companies to help tackle these vexing challenges we take a pro company high standards approach we focus on what it will mean practically to integrate human rights into core business models if these issues are regulated to the margins of corporate management if progress is never going to occur our once companies do recognize these as business priorities we stand ready to work with them to develop industry specific standards and metrics and to build credible systems to assess their performance in a way that will enable fair comparison against their peers our industry based focus started with the apparel manufacturers and their global supply chains five weeks after we came to stern the Rana Plaza factory complex in Bangladesh collapsed 1,100 garment workers most of them young women were killed 2,500

others were injured we quickly organized a working session in this room where we brought together some of the largest Western clothing brands the Walmarts the gaps along with their local Bangladeshi suppliers representative of about seven Western governments and international organizations like the World Bank we became part of a larger effort to forge industry government cooperation on factories safety issues in Bangladesh and these efforts really have contributed to measurable improvement conditions in the first tier factories but as we pursued our engagement we also saw the widespread existence of largely invisible subcontracting factories these are the places where workers are often in the greatest jeopardy we did exhaustive research we documented the existence took us a year of several thousand subcontracting factories across Bangladesh producing four egg export we get we came up with a chart which is on line names and addresses of 7100 factories recognizing resource constraints in Bangladesh to tackle this really massive challenge we’re now proposing working to build a model of what we call shared responsibility where Western governments brands will work with their Bangladeshi counterparts the World Bank philanthropy to create a common fund to fix these neglected factories Bangladesh is a frontline state in the struggle to make respect for human dignity a minimum standard for global supply chains as Western as Western consumers investors we each have a responsibility to support companies that dedicate appropriate resource to improving these working conditions with respect to the challenge of inequality we believe the investment sector has a uniquely important role to play and stern has been a proud a school with a very proud and and excellent finance department for many many years Raghu has been a proud part of that I’m also proud to hold the Jerome Kohlberg chair and ethics and Finance and I think here our work with this sector advances the late mr. Kohlberg’s vision recently financial leaders in the city Larry Fink Jamie Dimon Ray Dalio have warned the gains generated by our current financial system are not being adequately shared in August quite remarkable statement 180 corporate CEOs through the Business Roundtable underscore this point acknowledging and they haven’t done this very often in the past that corporations need to serve the interest not only of their shareholders but also their workers contractors and the communities where they operate but for these aspirational pronouncements to gain traction Wall Street firms need to abandon a model primarily focused on short-term shareholder returns and move toward a broader approach that also better serves the long-term well-being of our society as a whole as they do we will need better measures of corporate performance on human rights my colleague who’s here Casey wonderful colleague casey o’connor willis is leading our efforts in this crucial area working to give greater coherence and practicality to the social component of what the investment community calls ESG meaning environment social and governments governance investment funds that include ESG factors are expanding driven in part by women and millennial investors who assign greater priority to these concerns but our research has concluded that the current measures investors use to assess social human rights performance are failing and actually quite miserably they assess promises not performance analyze what’s most convenient not what’s most meaningful investors need better and more reliable comparative information on which companies are actually doing a good job especially in addressing factors that lead to inequality but we’re still at an early stage of this our aim is a build a model for the s the social element that would better enable investors to respond to this urgent challenge inequality also presents itself in the lack of diversity in the upper echelon of the investment sector itself in 2017 the knight foundation did a study which found that investment firms owned by women or underrepresented minorities only oversee about 1% of the roughly 70 trillion dollars in assets under management in addressing this daunting challenge we

look to Eleanor Roosevelt for inspiration she once wrote that human rights begin in places close to home and that spirit were working with Robert Kennedy human rights organization to encourage greater diversity within University endowment funds including NYU which collectively hold about 500 billion dollars without asking schools to sacrifice financial returns were encouraging University investment offices to go the extra mile to give women and minority-owned firms a serious shot at competing for this business last year we hosted a conference with trustees investment officers from 13 of the wealthiest schools including NYU in the spring we’re going to hold a follow-up meeting we’re going to invite representatives of the 30 schools with the largest endowments schools like University of Chicago Georgetown NYU are stepping up to accept this challenge and were they’re eager partners finally last point with respect to the breathtaking advances in technology we focused on Internet governance and the growing threat to our democracy posed by political disinformation on social media our deputy director who’s here Paul Barrett is leading the charge we were very fortunate to lure Paul away from three decades of excellence in journalism both with the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek he’s now applying his very considerable talents to authoring now four reports we’ve done on disinformation initially we focused on misuse of the Internet platforms by foreign governments notably the Russians this year we turned our attention inward examining disinformation generated by domestic users including extremist groups who have an utter disregard for the truth our most recent report focused on the 2020 election in the each of these reports we concentrate on the responsibilities of the Internet platforms themselves outlining practical steps they can and need to take to counter this pernicious disinformation these issues are ever more critical as newspapers continue to decline Americans are getting more of their news online because so many online sources peddle false political content our failure to moderate online content sensibly is it’s a beauty to the significantly growing divisions within our society find the important part of our mission is to encourage other business schools to adopt the stern model embrace human rights as part of their teaching and research next week we’re going to co-host a meeting with the University of Geneva School of Management we’re representatives of about 30 business schools from around the world are coming to discuss how they can get into this early stage a lot of them are still trying to find their way they don’t have a John Sexton they don’t have a raw goose and arm to help them but we’re confident we’re going to make that happen the common theme in all of our work is a commitment to applying core human rights principles and standards to business taking a page from Senator Javits we endeavor to tackle these challenges in manner that builds broad alliances and achieves practical results and while the corporates by itself cannot eliminate polarization in our society or restore greater bipartisanship without meaningful private sector engagement these larger efforts are sure to fail senator Javits once said the business properly understood is central to every aspect of our civilization you share that perspective and we see growing opportunities for business schools and the Future Business Leaders we teach to build responsible global supply chains an investment system that promotes greater economic equality and well-managed social media platforms that advance rather than detract from democratic discourse to say the least this is an ambitious agenda but as general as Senator Javits also said there’s nothing to be gained by waiting for a better situation you see where you are and you do what you can so we invite you to join with us in doing what we can in pursuing this timely and exciting agenda thank you very much now I know we have a few microphones around and I’d be glad to take a few questions have a little conversation here I’ll call on people if you don’t ask questions I’ve been known to do that so please who wants this the first

question I must have said something to provoke somebody there you are there’s a microphone coming to you right now thank you as a retired newspaper editor I have given some thought to how one might moderate as you said the bad actors on the Internet but I can’t think of any way to do that other than that to eradicate free speech as the Chinese have done can you do you think there are ways to do it that will actually work yes the the key word you use or the we use a lot is to mitigate the worst effects we’re never going to eliminate bad things on the internet that’s too pervasive it’s the volume is too great but I think there’s a when when you talk about free speech I think there’s a different standard that applies to the Internet platforms as it does to the news media used to work for and so if you start from a premise we start from some really simple premises especially in the political sphere if there is provably false content that is flooding the system the Holocaust never happened Obama was born in Kenya the Pope endorsed Trump there’s a range of things I could give you a long list the students in Florida were actors they they’re really not students if there’s things like that that are going viral the companies ought to take it down now the companies moderate content all the time but they they say you know we’re not editors of the New York Times were more like plumbers or like like telephone companies stuff runs through our pipes and we say there’s a third we need a third paradigm you’re not editors of the New York Times or you’re not plumbers and the firt we some very simple recommendations which they so far haven’t accepted but we’re going to keep at it one is that they find somebody like you and say we’re going to have a senior news person somebody with news judgment as a Content moderator of our sites Paul and I and Paul deals with this a lot more than I do when we go and talk to Facebook there may be eight different entities at Facebook or YouTube which they own or Instagram dealing with aspects of content moderation they may not even know what each other are doing there’s nobody senior in that company nobody’s senior at Google which owns YouTube nobody’s senior reporting to the CEO who’s a Content overseer so the first thing is coordinate internally that’s just good business practice if it’s provably false and it’s going viral especially in the political space take it down they demote it there’s lots of conversation but they have to we have to together figure out this third paradigm it’s not going to be perfect but it can be a heck of a lot better than what it is now that the internet is out of control now in the political sphere you just go on every day and take a look at what’s going on and it is undermining our politics it’s creating massive confusion and it is increasing the polarization that I was talking about these are issues that are going to help determine whether we maintain our democratic vigor so I think there’s room to move yep please um thank you um if you mentioned that I think is 140 companies CEOs got together to discuss that they were making 900 much much much too much money something like yeah well what they said is that they have to have a broader mission than just short term shareholder returns but what did they do about that in part what do they do about their own sort of situations as well as what do they do generally in their companies to change that kind of agenda so you know my view is I take a kind of Ronald Reagan view you know trust but verify I think it’s great that they issued the statement I think it’s a gives us a beachhead these hundred and eighty CEOs have said we have to rethink the way we operate do they know what they mean by that I don’t think so not exactly do they have a practical plan for doing it I’m sure they don’t but it’s an opportunity and so you know we will undoubtedly I’m trying to go down actually and see them and sort of say what are you up to I’m hoping to do that next month hmm what’s in the the the statement came out in August and it never saw anything like

that before so I think we’re we’re early-stage we may be on the 3-yard line but we’re heading we’re heading towards the other goal that’s not encouraging can you can you give us your thoughts about conduct and culture in corporate America and particularly with reference to you know what officials might do to encourage appropriate conduct and culture change the norms within companies yeah it’s a really important question it’s actually what John Hyde my colleague works on a lot with his ethical systems program so much is determined by the culture of a company so much of the culture is determined by who’s running the company the bed companies are run by people who would agree with virtually everything I said and they’re trying hard one of the challenges we face I think even the best companies the best public companies is this the ferocity of them of the investment model that says every three months you have to give us your quarterly earnings and you have to say that you met your number it forces companies often to do things in the short term that aren’t in even in the company’s best interest in the long term it puts pressure on them so I think one of the things we have to do is create a similar space for good leaders of good companies to do what they know is the right thing you see it a lot more in Europe European investors are much more attuned to this public some of the public funds state pension funds and others want to do the right thing I mentioned that women and Millennials are much more inclined to be thinking about these things all the all the surveys say twice as likely as old white guys like me to pay attention to these things so but I think the the answer to your question is hmm it’s really critical to look at these issues of culture and try to figure out in a more systematic way how do you instill these values hopefully we’re doing it at Stern with the people we’re teaching that are going out the door I tell that my students I’m teaching you for your seventh job when you go to Goldman Sachs or McKinsey the they’re not going to ask you your views on human rights but if you’re running a big fortune 500 company these are the things that keep you up at night so I think part of our role is I see it is to prepare them for that seventh job but it’s also what John’s doing really trying to think systematically how do we think mindfully about what the culture is and how to encourage those leaders that are the best they’re out there there’s actually quite a few that are trying to do the right thing in the back going back to the question about social media moderation yeah how do we deal them you know we’re talking about the private side the public response because especially in Congress even though you know companies might want to moderate when they do moderate they get this very very large negative backlash if you look at especially some of the responses among conservative politicians to some of the moderation you know there’s been like the last three four years has been a matter like in the last two years on the conservative side a massive growth in interest in you know breaking up some of these tech companies because they think they’re being censored so even if we want you know companies want to do that they’re this you know fear how do we direct the deal if the bipartisanship on getting rid of fake news on the public side as well to encourage these private private companies yeah it’s a great question I think our instinct has been and continues to be content moderation by government’s dictated by governments often leads to a bad place so when I I was in the government one of the first things I dealt with was the Green Revolution in Iran and the Iranian government announced that they were creating the Halal Internet and I thought oh boy here we go you know every government gets to decide what’s halal what’s what’s kosher so I worry about that and there are plenty of you know ill-suited governments now that are trying to control access to the Internet or control content there are some specific things I think governments can and should do there’s a bill in Congress Amy Klobuchar and and Senator Warner Mark Warner have introduced a bill with Lindsey Graham now it was McCain called the honest ads Act we’re in a odd place where political ads our regulate you have to if you have an ad on TV or in a newspaper you have to say this ad was paid for sponsored by whoever we don’t have it for online crazy that should be government ought to regulate that and frankly an agency like the FCC or FTC that has real regulatory power ought to

be on that the companies say again we’re doing that voluntarily I’m back to Ronald Reagan trust but verify I want some government agent making sure that those ads are regulated so there’s a role for government but I’m very nervous about their the First Amendment issues really do make me nervous government regulation and especially as you say words we are in such a partisan moment government interference I think is going to cause a lot of mischief thanks Mike but two questions first could you just summarize for us what are the main recommendations to restore bipartisanship I have reduce inequality and reign in the platforms neither which sounds very easy to do whether what were there others what were the main recommendations well I talked about regulating the supply chain this yeah that would but would that reduce my with that restore my partisanship I mean that’s a good thing to do but yeah well I think yes so that’s a it’s a good question I think it word it in in this sense we are living in a world where lots of people are affected negatively by loss of jobs by a sense that the system isn’t fair and they’re looking for some sense that they’re not the only ones being singled out and it’s incumbent on American companies global companies to say you know what we actually do care about workers we care about them here we care about them in the rest of the world and so to create a kind of fair system across the board it will send a signal you may not restore if you’re the the worker who lost their job in Scranton Pennsylvania may not restore your job again I don’t there’s not an easy answer to that but I think the the act of companies saying we’re global citizens we’re paying attention to these issues were concerned about workers rights here and there we have to make that connection it’s you know one of the challenges we faced is this discussion often kind of deteriorates into how do you protect American jobs and we ignore what’s going on globally we need to bring those two together American workers and workers in Bangladesh share a common set of challenges they need to be reinforcing each other and companies need to signal the fact we care about you here we care about them there and we are trying to be fair we’re trying to be good citizens okay thank you on the question of how to have less toxic less destructive Internet platforms and social media you hear there’s some skepticism about what happens if we try to moderate content I’ve been very interested in ways to ways to be more careful about who who can open accounts that can reach large numbers of people with zero identification zero accountability zero identity checks and so I’ve been writing an article the Atlantic then this month arguing that we need to end that that not that face but nothing you have to show your your driver’s license to Facebook I wouldn’t trust them with it but that there could be third parties my point is trying to moderate the content I mean the content is almost infinite every day but the number of users so that is much lower and so what are you and what we proposed is that if you want to open an account you have to at least show that you’re a real person somewhere and that would eliminate most a lot of the trolling with a lot of the most you know the death threats the races some of the racist threats what are your thoughts on what the platform should do to do something about verifying that a person is a human being yeah and now each of the again Paul sitting behind you probably can give you a more complete answer to this okay well I’ll just give you a couple thoughts one I think it’s an interesting it’s a piece of the puzzle for sure one this is that either-or we ought to be looking both plant one of the three big platforms we’re looking at Twitter lives on anonymous accounts so that and and I think some people have said to us if you eliminated the bots the robot the fake accounts their business would change dramatically and I don’t know it’s also true and my human rights friends say if you start to require disclosure put yourself in the context of China Russia a lot of activists say the anonymity actually gives us the ability to communicate you can still post anonymously it’s just that to open the account you have to prove that your human being prove to somebody no not to the platform to the conversation on profit that’s the conversation I think it’s it’s clearly part of the discussion and to be fair to the platform’s you

know sites like Infowars alex jones they did take them the site down eventually so some of that is going on but I think we don’t see we think this is a weak knowledge this is hugely complicated both in terms of the amount of material and the number of users you know Facebook has what – 2.3 billion users we’re not talking about that’s not a small task either to keep track of them we’ve got to do all of the above and it seems to me again there is a way to do bet we can’t do worse than we’re doing and so I think we start with some very simple things straightforward things these are businesses that have grown unbelievably quickly faster than they anticipated they have to behave like big global responsible citizens and they’re gonna need to spend more money the part of my conversation they least liked is when I say to them you’ve got some huge global problems and you’re gonna have to put a lot more money to get this right we’ve now heard the term global in terms of solutions and problems you mentioned the non that the plaza issue in in Bangladesh obviously many of these issues are beyond one government or one country especially in the developing world so my question would be whether you’re concerned about the continued erosion of the multilateral platform the World Trade Organization many of the UN organizations are being defunded by governments everywhere due to populism and the raise rise of right-wing extremism so is this an issue you see so I’m you know proud to call myself a globalist I’m I believe in the UN I believe in international organizations they haven’t done a great job on these issues honestly you know we do a lot of work with the inner national labor organization they have good standards good conventions good structure of what ought to be done but they’re not very good at implementing and so I don’t I never will give up on these institutions but I’m also not waiting for them to be the solution they’re our platform for sure I’ll give you an example with the International Labour Organization took them 25 years to agree to do a study on global supply chains they did that two years ago it got so contentious internally that they suspended the study so I’m not waiting another 25 years for them to figure out how to deal with global supply chain good people they’re well-intentioned the tripartite you know industry union government and 190 countries boy that’s a tough it’s tough to get consensus on almost anything so I believe in the system I want it to work but our view is we’ve got to take the bull by the horns we’re in a business school I want businesses global businesses to be leaders on this I’m over the bed one of the trends that’s parallel to a lot of the things that you discussed is an increase in CEO political activism and we’ve observed a lot of that in the past in the recent years do you think that’s exaggerating the Venna polarization you talked about or is that simply required to have a meaningful conversation on the issues related to the s in ESG let me put it this way mm-hmm if I were given a choice between a CEO deciding to figure out how to fix their business and how they’re making money or getting involved in some cause even when I agree with I would want them to focus first on getting their own house in order now there’s plenty of things where CEO speaking and speaking out is a good thing but I I think oftentimes that’s a substitute for fixing their house so mmm we have not taken positions you know on CEO joint statements on one thing in another again I’m sympathetic to some not to others I don’t think there’s any reason they shouldn’t speak out as public citizens they’re leaders of our community but I’m always sort of coming back to how are you what’s what’s your how you running your company and what are the core issues again how are you making money what’s your core business what’s the business model what’s inherent in the business model that’s causing a problem and what are you doing about it and what are you doing about it with your competitors this is a one area where competition should be left at the door if you’re in the apparel sector the energy sector the tech sector you got to work with your competitors you have to develop industry standards all these things are easy to say they’re not so easy to do please one more question we’re going to take right through the back mm Thank You professor um if it’s the case that business have a shared

responsibility in so many parts of civic life then are there limits to where that responsibility and sure you know I don’t for again one thing I said sort of in passing you know I I believe in the capitalist system I believe in the market I believe that companies are supposed to make money so I’m not sitting there and telling Facebook to become a non-profit I think they’re making a lot of money and they could spend a bit more of it getting their house in order so the issue here is not is there unlimited capacity to do these things I don’t expect that but we’re a long way from getting to the line and so so often the case is you know the kind of mentality again of this is about the culture the culture is we’re going to maximize profit every quarter every quarter whatever it takes to do it and that sends you down a path to you know making a lot of bad choices both for your company and for society I think we can modulate that moderate that in a way that will allow for healthy capitalism healthy returns healthy profits and make our society better so that’s there’s no this is not a there’s not a science to this it’s really a question of engaging and trying to come to some principled practical way to moderate those two things all right thank you all thank you all very much I’d like to invite you all to stay for a reception continue celebrating Mike and the Javits Foundation and I’m going to do something slightly unorthodox I know that everybody wants to talk to Mike and I don’t like to get mobbed Somu do something odd I’m going to introduce her to a few other of our amazing faculty the lots of our amazing faculty in this room you will enjoy talking to them there’s Jonathan Hyde what are the world’s leading ethicists you should there’s Paul Haddad behind there who heads our entertainment and media program this dick burner in the back who asked the question who runs our volatility and risk in Saudi Kiev just put up your hand otherwise you won’t know who you are and there is a wonderful president emeritus John Sexton I think the most one of the most visionary university presidents in the country has ever had so please do stay pleased to mingle please to talk to everybody thank you all for being here again [Applause]