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The rule of law and democracy are crucial to capital markets. A free market balanced by a democratically elected, transparent and capable government, and a strong civil society ("an inclusive regime") yield stable growth rates and greater social welfare. Conversely, threats to democracy are threats to the private sector, which is why business leaders and institutional investors cannot afford to remain on the sidelines when such threats emerge.This paper explores the state of American democracy and whether it constitutes a systemic risk that impacts fiduciary duties. The paper proceeds in three parts. In the first, we assess the question of whether American democracy is backsliding towards failure, and argue that it is. In the second, we will examine whether democratic failure represents a systemic risk, and conclude that it does. In the third part, we offer some preliminary thoughts about what steps major private sector actors may undertake as part of their fiduciary responsibilities given the threats to U.S. democracy and markets.
On February 24, Russian president Vladimir Putin launched a brutal invasion of Ukraine. This war, which has already displaced millions of people and menaced the lives of millions more, presents an existential challenge not just to Ukraine's sovereignty, but also to the liberal international order. It comes at the time when liberal democracy's star has faded across the 29 countries covered in Nations in Transit. This edition of the report, assessing the events of 2021 from Central Europe to Central Asia, marks the 18th consecutive year of democratic decline for the region as a whole.Putin's war is the latest and gravest expression of his thuggish and malignant influence on neighboring states. When free societies have resisted his efforts to warp their media and corrupt their politicians, he has threatened or actually used military force, as in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014. When authoritarian incumbents have teetered in the face of popular demands for change, he has backstopped their regimes and deepened their dependence on Moscow, as in Belarus or more recently in Kazakhstan. But the stakes of the current conflict are even higher. If the Kremlin succeeds in subjugating a sovereign, democratic Ukraine, it will mark the first time that an authoritarian power has overthrown a freely elected national government in the region since the end of the Cold War. Even if the effort fails, it has already destabilized the Nations in Transit region, potentially accelerating the steady antidemocratic transformation that has taken place across Europe and Eurasia.
Pew Research Center;
This post analyzes results from the two basic means the Census Bureau has used to estimate census coverage for the last seven censuses – the bureau's Demographic Analysis and its Post-Enumeration Survey. Demographic Analysis (DA) constructs a national estimate of the U.S. population by age, sex, race and Hispanic origin using historical data on births and deaths, federal data on international migration and Medicare records. DA uses the basic demographic accounting equation that the total population is equal to births minus deaths, plus immigration, minus emigration. Birth and death records for 1945-2020 are used to estimate the U.S.-born population under age 75 for Census Day, April 1, 2020. International migration estimates employed a number of data sources, but mainly the American Community Survey for the foreign-born population younger than 75. Finally, administrative data from the Medicare program, adjusted for under-enrollment, was used to estimate the population ages 75 and older on Census Day since these cohorts were born before 1945 when vital records were less complete.Although the main data for DA is administrative records, not sample surveys, there are a number of sources of potential uncertainty, including, for example, registration completeness, classification errors and differences in reporting between the 2020 census and the external data sources. To account for this uncertainty, the Census Bureau produced three alternative estimates – low, middle and high – reflecting alternative assumptions about births, international migration and Medicare enrollment.The Post-Enumeration Survey (PES) in 2020 is a sample survey of about 10,000 census blocks that ultimately included almost 400,000 people. About 160,000 households were interviewed to determine where they lived on Census Day and their basic demographic characteristics. The people in these households were then matched to census records to determine who was counted correctly, missed or counted in error. The PES sample includes only households; it excludes people living in group quarters (such as college dorms, prisons and nursing homes) and the small number of people living in Remote Alaska areas. Consequently, the PES coverage estimates apply to a household population count of 323,200,000 and not the full census count of 331,400,000. As a sample survey, the PES is subject to sampling error, so the Census Bureau reports the PES results with a margin of error.The estimates of the amount of net undercount shown in the final chart were developed by the Pew Research Center using two main data sources: the Census Bureau's PES estimates of the percentage undercount for racial and Hispanic groups in 2010 and 2020 applied to the P.L. 94-171 census counts for these groups.
Rights x Tech;
The health of our American democracy depends upon equitable and safe digital spaces. This report examines and synthesizes intersectional movements to build better, more inclusive, and humane technologies. It also introduces a set of principles and inclusive frameworks to help platform, product, and policy leaders conceptualize intentional ethical technology that is responsive to the needs of impacted communities and shape meaningful interventions for systems-level shifts at the intersections of technology and human rights. Rights x Tech is a forum and community that explicitly explores the intersections of technology and power. It brings together technologists, policymakers, and movement leaders for dialogue and solution-building on emerging issues around human rights, products, and power.
The Future of the First Amendment project has been surveying high school student and teacher attitudes about free speech and the news media for eighteen years. The 2022 survey is the eighth running of this national high school survey and provides an important look into the views and attitudes toward speech among young people in the wake of the pandemic and the social justice movement.The 2022 Future of the First Amendment study marks the eighth time since 2004 that Knight Foundation has commissioned a national survey of high school students and teachers to explore their attitudes about the First Amendment. As in past years, Dr. Kenneth Dautrich of The Stats Group conducted the study. The 2022 study includes responses from 10,098 high school students and 672 high school teachers, repeating many of the core questions that have been asked in the past so that we can identify trends in student and teacher opinions over time. The study also asked select questions from other surveys in the Knight Free Expression Research Series conducted by Ipsos of 1,000 college students (College Student Views on Free Expression and Campus Speech 2022) and 4,000 American adults (Free Expression in America Post-2020) in order to compare the sentiments of these groups to those of high school students.
A decade ago, a Muslim religious scholar named Hussain Khan was a vocal critic of the Mahila Mandal Federation (MMF), a Mumbai-based grassroots women's group, which has been nurtured by an NGO called CORO for the past 20 years. He questioned MMF's efforts to help women take on leadership roles in their communities in urban informal settlements. But instead of viewing Khan as an adversary, MMF believed he might one day become an ally.Today, Khan hosts MMF meetings at his madrassa (school), which traditionally excludes women. And he has developed a course, "Quran and the Constitution," which builds community members' awareness of their constitutional rights and their moral responsibility to help neighbours in need.What prompted Khan's change of heart?Along with MMF, CORO spent three years conversing with Khan about the challenges women living in urban informal settlements encounter, including domestic violence and low access to education. CORO was well-positioned to engage in those meetings, since it is largely led by Dalit and Muslim people who live in the communities in which they work. Khan was later selected into CORO's Samta Fellowship, where he spent a full year reflecting on the values enshrined in the Indian constitution and acquiring leadership and movement-building skills that he took back to his community.It is not an accident that Khan now champions the work of a grassroots group that he formerly opposed. It is an outgrowth of CORO's core approach to supporting community-driven change: to meet people where they are and earn their trust. The idea is to unlock their "power within" to advocate for the rights of Dalits, Muslims, and other historically marginalised communities to have an equal opportunity to advance their lives.To learn more about how this kind of ground up, community-driven change comes to life, a Bridgespan Group team spent several months researching and interviewing CORO as well as three other NGOs in the Global South: Mumbai-based Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA); Kenya's Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO); and Ubuntu Pathways (UP), which works in South Africa's Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) townships.Our research reaffirmed that community-driven change is challenging to execute. Multifaceted power dynamics related to gender, caste, class, and religion often pose significant barriers to change. However, we also learned that, despite all of this, the four NGOs pushed past those challenges to build long track records of success by playing a supporting role as community groups built their own solutions. Tightly focusing on a few NGOs, rather than on many, gave us a close-up look at on-the-ground approaches to working with community members as they take steps towards leading their own change. One of our main insights was the similarities in how community-driven organisations think. Specifically, we identified five mutually reinforcing mindsets that help orient these NGOs around community members' priorities and lived experience.
International Forum for Democratic Studies;
From cameras that identify the faces of passersby to algorithms that keep tabs on public sentiment online, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools are opening new frontiers in state surveillance around the world. Law enforcement, national security, criminal justice, and border management organizations in every region are relying on these technologies—which use statistical pattern recognition, machine learning, and big data analytics—to monitor citizens.What are the governance implications of these enhanced surveillance capabilities?This report explores the challenge of safeguarding democratic principles and processes as AI technologies enable governments to collect, process, and integrate unprecedented quantities of data about the online and offline activities of individual citizens. Three complementary essays examine the spread of AI surveillance systems, their impact, and the transnational struggle to erect guardrails that uphold democratic values.In the lead essay, Steven Feldstein, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, assesses the global spread of AI surveillance tools and ongoing efforts at the local, national, and multilateral levels to set rules for their design, deployment, and use. It gives particular attention to the dynamics in young or fragile democracies and hybrid regimes, where checks on surveillance powers may be weakened but civil society still has space to investigate and challenge surveillance deployments.Two case studies provide more granular depictions of how civil society can influence this norm-shaping process: In the first, Eduardo Ferreyra of Argentina's Asociación por los Derechos Civiles discusses strategies for overcoming common obstacles to research and debate on surveillance systems. In the second, Danilo Krivokapic of Serbia's SHARE Foundation describes how his organization drew national and global attention to the deployment of Huawei smart cameras in Belgrade.
This powerpoint and the accompanying webinar (available through Nonprofit VOTE's YouTube channel) look at a variety of resources designed to assist your organization in putting together a 2022 voter engagement plan ahead of this year's midterm elections! Additionally, we launched our 2022 Work Plan! Created with a human service organization in mind, this tool will help your organization harness its existing power and further leverage its trust and relationships with potential voters. Please note, that this is a beta version of the tool and that we anticipate room for improvement and future updates.
Center for Voter Information (CVI);
In the past year, VPC and CVI commissioned a team of social science researchers to size the gaps and opportunities in voter turnout and registration of the New American Majority, which includes people of color, young people, and unmarried women. The research team included Professor Bernard L. Fraga, Professor Zachary Peskowitz, and Caitlin Gilbert. They have provided impressive data and analysis underscoring the importance of VPC and CVI's work to engage the New American Majority (NAM) in democracy in equal proportion to their presence in society through voter registration, mobilization, and education.
We cannot allow ourselves to resume what was; we must reimagine what can be. True recovery requires us to acknowledge the unjust structures and policies that, in many ways, led to and compounded the devastation of the pandemic. It calls for us to examine our obsession with the idea of rapid growth at all costs and establish a shared understanding of inclusive, sustainable growth that results in equal opportunity—and equitable outcomes. It demands us to recognize our global web of mutuality and come together to collectively address the problems ahead with humility and reciprocity. And it challenges us to realize a bold, hopeful reimagination of our social, economic, political and governance systems, with equity and interdependence at their core.Reimagine Recovery: A Playbook for an Equitable Future offers a detailed vision of such recovery, beginning in the places we work and live and extending to our largest global stages. Like much of our work at the Ford Foundation, the playbook asks: What's possible when everyone can fully participate in society and has the opportunity to shape their lives? What's possible when we follow the lead of leaders and organizations building solutions for—and with—historically excluded communities? What's possible when we shift our old ways of operating and include equity in our execution of every policy and cultivation of every movement?
Public Policy Institute of California;
Every California voter has received a June 7 primary ballot in the mail and they have been weighing their election choices in the midst of disturbing news and unsettling circumstances. Inflation continues to take a daily toll on consumers and dampens their economic outlook. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has turned into a deadly and protracted military conflict. The latest omicron variant is resulting in yet another surge in COVID cases. And Californians are being asked to conserve water in response to the drought while bracing themselves for wildfire season. The one bright spot is Governor Newsom's May revision, which includes a record-setting surplus of revenues available for the state budget.This report highlights key findings of a statewide survey on state and national issues that was conducted from May 12 to 22 by the Public Policy Institute of California.
What will it take to live up to our potential to be good stewards of an equitable and thriving future? The 2021 Pulse Check on Shared Stewardship for Thriving Together Across America surveyed more than three hundred leaders who are well-positioned to act as stewards in communities across the U.S. The results track the diffusion of shared stewardship and explore the extent to which the values, priorities, and practices of stewardship are taking hold nationwide.Fielded from October 2020 to July 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey provides rare and timely insights about stewarding well-being in a period of significant threat and opportunity. The 2021 Pulse Check was led by ReThink Health, the flagship initiative of the Rippel Foundation, in partnership with the RAND Corporation and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Rippel. It sought to learn:To what extent do changemakers across America endorse stewardship values?What are their priorities for investment and action?How fully are stewardship practices incorporated as organizational norms?What kinds of obstacles and momentum builders are shaping the path forward?