Solving Economic Inequality and the Productivity Crisis

The Path Back to Stronger Long-Term Growth and Higher Investment Returns via Prioritizing Innovation: Asset Owners as Stewards of the Economy

Shifting Corporate America’s Strategy from Rationalization to Innovation

This high-level summit – taking place at the United Nations in NYC on October 10, at 2.30pm ET - will explore one of the most significant growth issues of the life-after-QE long-term equity investment landscape. 

Join State Treasurers, leaders of the largest pension funds across North America, a Nobel laureate and other world-leading experts at this event, where new, pioneering engagement tools specifically designed to address this core growth issue and effect a critical shift in investee companies will be explored. 

Corporate strategy across America’s publicly-listed companies over the last 25 years or more has been largely predicated upon rationalization.  But, as Harvard’s Professor Michael Porter has pointed out, rationalization is not strategy; Bain & Company also recently highlighted that rationalization is “the corporate equivalent of trying to squeeze blood out of a stone”.  Leading experts have drawn attention to the lack of broad-based innovation across all sectors of the economy (the ultimate engine of robust long-term profit growth) as companies routinely put innovation on a back-seat. 

Rationalization-as-strategy has clearly run its course. The corporate profit growth rate is currently at the low end of its historic range since 1960. We face a productivity crisis, as the Conference Board, McKinsey Global Institute and many others have pointed out (which plenty of research shows cannot be dismissed as merely a ‘mis-measurement’ issue), a crisis that has been caused by companies routinely failing to invest in drivers of innovation (workers as core productive assets) and ignoring the raising-output part of the productivity growth equation. 

As well as stunting long-term growth by failing to properly prioritize innovation, rationalization-as-strategy has also been a key driver of economic inequality (as CEOs have focused obsessively on driving down costs, cutting wages and jobs, globalizing jobs, etc) and has produced companies that are severely handicapped in terms of being able to build themselves into robust long-term growth machines. 

In short, the need to restore innovation as the core driver of corporate America (and beyond) is critical, and asset owners – as the owners of these corporations – are in an unparalleled position to achieve this via engaging with investee companies with the right tools. 

Please note that this event is for all asset owners (pension funds, endowments and foundations).  

Please register below, or for further information, email:


2:30pm Opening remarks
2:40pm Nobel Laureate Professor Edmund Phelps: 'Stewardship and the Dearth of Innovation’ 
Moderator: Professor John Kay CBE
3.40pm Derek van Bever (Director, Harvard’s Forum for Growth and Innovation): 'The Capitalist’s Dilemma’ 
Expert keynote speech, followed by Q&A session led by Ken Bertsch
4.40pm Engagement tools for asset owners and potential pathways of stewardship
Panel-led discussion

Panelists include: State Treasurers, and a CEO and a Director of Corporate Governance of two of the largest pension funds in North America 
5.25pm Closing remarks
5.30pm Drinks reception
7.00pm Close

Hosted by The Ethical Capitalism Group LLC, in partnership with the PRI.


The Ethical Capitalism Group


UN Building
New York NY
    United States


10 Oct 2017 02:30 PM - 05:30 PM (EDT)

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