Today, I am hosting one of the most star-studded gatherings of recent times at the City's Mansion House. Economic and political luminaries from across the globe are attending, including President Bill Clinton, Head of the IMF Christine Lagarde, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, former White House advisor Larry Summers, the HuffPost's founder Arianna Huffington and many, many more. This gathering of minds isn't for a business summit discussing a new report or project launch, but on the subject of business itself - how to revolutionise business for a world that no longer trusts capitalism.
Inclusive capitalism can sound to its detractors like a contradiction in terms - how can capitalism, which by its very nature has both winners and losers, be inclusive? But this is what's so revolutionary about this idea. We all live in turbulent times; humanity was fortunate collectively to make it through the last bloodied and broken century, and our economies were severely tested five years ago. Over the next 100 years we will face equally great challenges a population of nine billion, of which seven billion will live in cities (attracted by the opportunity they bring), a growing middle class with real life-style choices and an environment that is struggling to keep up with the demands the population places on it.
Inclusive capitalism is one of the ways in which those of us with any power and influence can protect those who aren't as fortunate. We must do more than that; we must steer the juggernaut of 21st Century change effectively. If we are to succeed at this, we have to tackle three key challenges: making mega-cities truly liveable, binding the global middle-class into a future of shared responsibility, and looking after our planet with its finite natural resources and climate change uncertainties.
And we cannot afford to be complacent about this. It's easy in London to forget the challenge of creating a liveable and growing city; London may be old (and creaking in places) but it remains one of the world's most desirable locations in which to live and work. Senior figures walk or use public transport in London because it is a better option than a car, and 91% of the workforce using public transport as their main means of getting to work is great from both a liveability and sustainability perspective. We need to challenge ourselves to replicate this globally if we are to create cities in which citizens can live fulfilling and sustainable lives, and if we are to protect our ever more fragile planet in the long-term. Public transport planning is a crucial part of sustainable city planning: an inclusive transport system is the bedrock of an inclusive city. But transportation isn't the only issue that we have to work on for sustainable urban development; we must integrate it with all the other urban infrastructure that's necessary to enable us to capture the greatness, and more importantly, the opportunities that cities present.
However, being inclusive has to be about more than just the physical furniture of a city. It must also be part of the civic fibre of the city. Capitalism and successful democracy go hand in hand - citizens who can participate fully in the leadership of their societies through robust, accountable and transparent institutions without worrying about corruption are more likely to put their resources into building a sustainable business that creates long term value for people and the planet. Incentivising all citizens, especially the growing middle class around the world, to act responsibly for the benefit of all (including future generations) will help restore trust in both capitalism and democracy - and we must ensure it becomes a reality.
The City's financial services industry has a key responsibility to show leadership in this area; we must ourselves behave more responsibly and make sure that the opportunities of capitalism are widely shared. As the City's ambassador for financial and professional services, it is my duty to face the financial community and remind them that they must play a productive role in society. And I am clear on this: the City's industries need to accelerate the pace of change and to become, as a whole, more closely aligned to society. It needs to serve and not be self-serving and most of all it needs to reach out and include.
London has always been a crucible for the development of great ideas, innovations, partnerships and products. If we are to put this creative energy to its best use and to balance competing demands, we must attract the best human capital and ensure that our talent pool is as wide as it possibly can be. If we exclude ethnic minorities, the LGBT communities, the disabled, the socially disadvantaged and women, where will the new ideas come from? Who will challenge traditional thinking, if we only have people like us in our teams?
This is what being inclusive is all about - and as Lord Mayor I have banged the drum for women on many occasions, and I hope that I am doing my bit to push the wave all the way up the beach for women's equality. We need more community leaders to focus on equality and try and make what difference they can. Business has to play its full part in creating new opportunities and ties that bind society together. If too many people remain or become marginalised, they are less likely to be enfranchised, empowered and effective as workers and citizens, rendering them unable to make an economic contribution at best, and resulting in civil unrest at worst. Everything a firm does from the very top to the very bottom should demonstrate on a daily basis our desire to see a stronger, better evolution of capitalism.
As Lord Mayor I bear a 12th Century title. But that is not why I take the long view. Short-termism is not an option. We need to take the long view, the inclusive view - for capitalism, for our economies, our societies and our planet.
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