Cultural Forces, Business and Peace

(Steven Fuller) #101

Russell, excellent comment about cybersecurity. It tends to apply to security in general… it’s not something that is seen as revenue-generating and therefore is often ignored or minimized as a cost-cutting measure. It’s very much like insurance in that way. It is not until someone suffers a loss that the value is realized.

If companies think security is expensive, they should see how expensive it can be to not have it.

(Casey) #102

Oh certainly, Steven!

I could just as easily find examples of sports bringing out the worst in us. The treatment Cubs fan Steve Bartman received after the MLB playoff game between the Cubs and Marlins in the early 2000s comes to mind. But however slow the process may be, I like to think as a whole, people will progress towards viewing sports as a unifying activity rather than a separating one. For the most part I think the players who are actually playing the games view it as such. It seems like now more than ever players from different teams are closer with each other and more friendly now than ever before. In basketball they become friends at an earlier age through the AAU circuit. By the time they get to the NBA, they be on opposing teams, but have had a friendship since they were in high school. Hopefully the friendships and harmony spills over to the fans.

(Ashley Ryan) #103

I wasn’t surprised to see Tom’s come up here. I’ve bought Toms for my daughter but never myself. Totally love anything that gives back but learned in another class through IU that Bain Capital is an investor in Tom’s. Didn’t realize that and doesn’t change that what they do is great but just was interested to learn that. Interesting take on these buy one give one concepts here (Link: Take it for what it’s worth though - still a cool program and if you’re going to buy shoes, not at all a bad thing to give back. Tom’s definitely makes it front and center of their message though. Where as like a Warby Parker, I didn’t realize they had a give back till we did a case study on them in a strategy class at IU.

Again, to be clear, think the act or attempt at peacebuilding isn’t lost just is that the best way to build peace, to the point of the article linked!

(adam j gunning) #104

Well said Casey. And I believe the sock company you’re referring to is Bombas, which is donates a pair of socks to the homeless for every pair purchased…though I applaud the cause I sometimes wonder who deserves the credit the business or is it the motivation of the customer who will pay a premium for socks/shoes ensure a pair is donated? For example: Millennial’s spend over $200 billion per year and one thing that sets Millennial’s apart from other generations is their persistence that a business should be about more than just profit. According to a survey by Deloitte, 73% of Millennial’s believe businesses can have a positive impact on the world, but think today’s companies aren’t doing a very good job. In order to capture those Millennial dollars, businesses are marketing philanthropy campaigns to be as much a part of their businesses model.

(adam j gunning) #105

Hi Ashley –I wasn’t surprised either to see Toms brought up, as it was actually one of the first things that came to my mind on the topic of business & peace. The buy-one-give-one model is absolutely becoming a trend however I seen similar reports that Toms and businesses alike are receiving some criticism by many in the philanthropy world. They are claiming that donating shoes might not be the best way to help the poorer communities and they brought up good reasons as to why it might even harm them. For example they say that the charitable act of donating a free pair of shoes is more of a short-term fix within a system in dire need of long-term and sustainable economic solutions. They even make a good point that by giving away free shoes it takes away business from the local cobblers and disrupting their local economy. Furthermore, they claim it risks creating an economy of dependence, claiming it would be better to address why individuals don’t have shoes in the first place. Philanthropist believe that Tom’s would be doing more for the poor by using those funds to educate rather than donate a free pair of shoes. (Pretty much in line with the famous saying: give an individual a fish they eat for one meal, teach an individual to fish they eat for a lifetime). I tend to agree what Toms is doing may not be the best long term answer but it is absolutely progress towards the goal trying to promote peace.

(adam j gunning) #106

Great call! Hard to argue with you on that Jermaine…A song that always comes to my mind for me [prob because it’s one of my favorite songs] in discussing music and promoting peace is “Changes” by Tupac Shakur. Though the artist made a profit on the song I believe it is very impactful and quite underrated.

(adam j gunning) #107

Agree 100% with you Casey. Sometimes I wonder why an individual finds tweeting abusive comments to be productive.

(Steven Fuller) #108

Adam… I think these are all valid criticisms. I previously did some research into TOMS. The first thing I found out is that there isn’t a guy named “Tom” (apparently it’s short for “tomorrow” as in “shoes for tomorrow”). The second thing I learned was that the company is not without its critics.

In addition to what you pointed out, some people have been critical of the fact that the marketing is misleading to consumers. The argument is that these $60-$100 shoes really cost just a few bucks to make and so the donation is not really all that great. Additionally, some feel that the use of the in-your-face marketing is manipulative marketing through guilt. Lastly, I’ve read where some people in Ethiopia (where the “giving shoes” are manufactured, but not where the “regular” consumer shoes are made) feel that the marketing is also exploitive of their poverty.

At the end of the day, though, TOMS is a for-profit company so they aren’t solely in existence for philanthropic pursuits.

(adam j gunning) #109

Your absolutely correct Steven. Businesses today have a more short term focus [more so then ever before] and are therefore less inclined to invest in cyber security especially if they felt the payback was long term. And to your point a business should take into consideration the opportunity cost of not having it, which could prove to be detrimental in the near term.

(Steven Fuller) #110

Adam, while I can’t deny parts of the general message of “Changes”; with all due respect, I’m not quite sure that I can look at the song as a whole and consider it to be “promoting peace” (especially with the way the song ends and the overall anti-police message). Tupac’s lyrics have apparently been cited by at least a few convicted cop-killers (Curtis Lee Walker, Denziss Jackson, Ronald Ray Howard) as contributing motivation to why they did what they did. I also don’t think that we can take songs in a vacuum without considering the other works along with the life of the artist as well when we try to determine if we should take this person as an example of someone who promotes peace.

(Pak Wu) #111

Yes! Especially celebrities and powerful individuals with a lot of followers who tweet abusive comments. I don’t see why they cannot keep it to themselves. Just recently, it was with Elon Musk and his comments to the British diver that has everyone worried.

(Emily Dezern) #112

Adam- as a millennial I can definitely identify with your statement. I read an article on the Deloitte survey you mentioned (link) and it describes what many of my peers believe about business. I think another recent example of the call for businesses to show responsibility to society is in the movement of many companies away from plastic products. Starbucks recently announced their initiative to eliminate all plastic straws, which came shortly after several large bans on plastic in Europe. Millennials want businesses to provide services, but to preserve the environment while doing so. This new practice by businesses will help to perpetuate peace.

(Emily Dezern) #113

Russel- I love your reference to the tragedy of the commons! Excellent comparison.

Cyber-security is becoming increasingly important in the defense business and we are having the exact issue that you described- discovering incentives for our sub tiers to increase their security. For my company, there are clear incentives (google search Chinese F35s), but for many of our suppliers there are far less indirect results of any cyber attacks. Our suppliers provide an enormous amount of our built intellectual property, however they do not have the same incentive for preventative security measures. It’s an ongoing struggle, but the best way so far to encourage security has been to incorporate it into initial requirements upon the startup of business. This protects future endeavors, but there are still vast amounts of data from the past 15 years that remain unsecured.

This will be one of the largest issues of our generation, as attacks have moved (mostly) from the physical front to the cyber front. Look at the recent election debacle or hacking of airlines/security grids to see how easy it is for cyber-warfare to make an enormous impact!!

(Emily Dezern) #114

Unfortunately the feedback that thin skinned leaders should remove themselves from twitter is common these days, and it seems highly unlikely that the advise will ever be followed! It will be interesting what history books have to say on outbursts of leaders on social media, and the impacts that it will make in upcoming years.

(Steven Fuller) #115

Unfortunately, I believe that these folks in question tend to be people who don’t get told “no” by too many people around them in their day-to-day lives. These statements are probably indications of the type of things that would typically be said behind closed doors to a limited number of folks. Now they type the stuff onto social media instead, and the whole world sees their bad behavior or lapses in judgement.

(Adam Hallman) #116

Michelle, this piece on music to help homeless children in San Diego is quite fascinating. I do see music as a bridge to ending poverty, and it promotes teamwork, creativity, and creates activity in parts of the brain that promote development. It also provides a skill that these children that they can take to other areas to improve their lives. That’s great that your school district promoted music education throughout the grades; I know now that music education is often on the chopping block with various budget cuts. To be able to utilize music as a way to build peace building through, as you refer to it, shared responsibility is a great way to improve these kids’ lives.

(Andrew Breest) #117

I think Russel’s question on how do we work to make incentives line up so that companies are incentivized to build strong cyber security will be a great question for society as a whole. In general, most companies have been reactive on this front as opposed to proactive in preventing cyber threats. For too long companies have continued to operate with weak security measures because they have not been attacked and providing strong security doesn’t provide a high return on investment in a companies quarterly report.

Perhaps companies should create an industry standard or lobby the government to require minimum levels of security to protect data. That way when these large investments are made they don’t offer other companies the opportunity not to invest(and thus reduce overhead cost) in protecting data at the risk of exposing their customers personal and financial data. This will surely be a hot topic for many years to come as technology is always rapidly changing.

(Linda Voracek) #118

Love this post, Jowan. It’s a great reminder that it is the simple things (or not so simple) of entertainment that make life manageable, enjoyable and interesting. Particularly your comment around meeting a new friend just because they were close by…something that often gets losts in today’s social environment. A relationship that forms that leaves you in a peaceful mindset.

(Linda Voracek) #119

Tom’s is an amazing story! They sell shoes, simple, and goodwill that they get from providing shoes to those in need is great, but you don’t get the sense that they do it to get press. We could all learn of them, providing good will and peaceful offers…if you are recognized for it or not!

(Linda Voracek) #120

Agree Casey - social media makes it to easy to say something disruptive without consequences - a huge issue in creating peaceful environments.