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Breaking the Cycle of Debt — Toward a Sustainable Financial System

A few months ago, I wrote an article calling for an end to the world’s debt — summarizing the history of debt from anthropological studies of early civilizations and economic activities in hunter-gatherer societies.  You can read it here. We are living through an unprecedented period of human history.  Our population has exploded.  We are […]

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What If All the World’s Debt Just Went Away

Just for fun, imagine if all debt were wiped away when the Mayan Calendar ends this Friday… How would the world be different?  What would become possible for you personally in your life?  How would nations and corporations invest our newfound wealth differently if we all started from a clean slate?  Problems like global warming […]

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A Major Report on the Framing of Poverty

Earlier this year, I had the profound honor of bringing together a team of frame analysts, data technologists, and international development experts to focus on one of the most critical problems in the world today — our rigged global financial system.  We worked closely with the campaign team at /The Rules to uncover important insights […]

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Why It’s Hard to Replace the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Metaphor

Writers on economics have been talking since the election about why the “fiscal cliff” metaphor is misleading. Alternative metaphors have been offered like the fiscal hill, fiscal curb, and fiscal showdown, as if one metaphor could easily be replaced by another that makes more sense of the real situation. But none of the alternatives has […]

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We Have the Power to Change the Rules

This article is co-authored by Joe Brewer, Martin Kirk, and Adriana Valdez Young.  It was originally published on the Gates Foundation blog. It’s time we called out the great myth that mass poverty just is, as if it were a natural part of some universal moral order. Such thinking is profoundly untrue and disastrously misleading. […]

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Towards a Resilient Global Economy

If I had to pick a single word to describe the global economy today, it would be fragile.  Policy makers and business leaders have actively built a system that destroys the environment in order to produce profits in the short term — by distributing goods and services across a global supply chain that is designed […]

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How Will the 99% Deal with 70 Million Psychopaths?

Did you know that roughly one person in a hundred is clinically a psychopath?  These individuals are either born with an emotional deficiency that keeps them from feeling bad about hurting others or they are traumatized early in life in a manner that causes them to become this way.  With more than 7 billion people […]

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The Framing of Economics and Morality

This article was co-authored by Elisabeth Wehling and published on the Huffington Post. In his June 11, 2012 op-ed in the New York Times, Paul Krugman goes beyond economic analysis to bring up the morality and the conceptual framing that determines economic policy. He speaks of “the people the economy is supposed to serve” — “the unemployed,” and […]

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An Interdisciplinary Approach to Complex Issues

I was recently interviewed by Bhavani Prakash at Eco Walk the Talk about cognitive policy, large-scale behavior change, deep history, and the transition to sustainability.  We explored the importance of cross-disciplinary thinking for addressing global challenges. Here’s an excerpt: So what we’re seeing now with these global social movements, is an acceleration of change that […]

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Where Rational Choice Theory Comes From

Every wonder how it came to pass that a global economic system was put in place that is so harmful to human well-being? In this video, I share the historic origins of rational choice theory (also known as the theory of rational action) and describe how cognitive science ultimately revealed its foundational prejudices. Hope this […]

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