By Robert Hart, MBA Candidate, Marlboro College Graduate School

Terry Mollner, co-founder of Calvert Funds and founder of the Trusteeship Institute, and John Cavanagh of the Institute for Policy Studies discussed “Visioning a Resilient New England – the Economic Future” before a packed crowd of over 100 folks.

Terry promoted a new economic philosophy he calls ‘Common Good Capitalism,’ the next state of maturity beyond our current form.  He grounded his philosophy in the recent work of E.O. Wilson, the eminent biologist, who last year refuted his own kin selection process theory in the pages of Nature magazine, and now believes that cooperation, not competition, is the crucial leg of evolution.

The cooperation that Terry spoke about is what he posits as the highest form of moral behavior – freely choosing to give priority to the common good.  In a business and economic context, that maturity would not come from any one law or regulation, but rather through the emergence of the more mature truth.

Terry, who said, “The people from the 1960s will be best remembered for what they did in their 60s,” is working to create an organization to build momentum of that maturity.  He is creating a new form of community investment fund which he calls CREW Fund; he ultimately believes that small investors will be able to change companies, to make them more mature, responsible, and cooperative.

There are many factors that Terry identified which will help spur this transformation, including environmental demands, holistic (as opposed to reductionist) science, private sector product associations, and the inevitability of our maturity.

The New Economy, which John Cavanagh also spoke about, does not have to wait for corporate personhood reform, or any other government policy, it is emerging right now.  Relationships will become ever more important; new corporate forms like B-Corporations are evidence of this new emerging state.  A healthy new economy will have ecological balance, equitable distribution, and living, accountable democracy.  In order to get there, we need to change the cultural stories that frame our collective behavior; change the rules of the game by removing subsidies from companies that don’t serve the common good, and reforming corporations; and working together to build this new economy.

Ultimately, corporate personhood is a key issue that requires reform, because the Delaware Chancery mandates that corporations fulfill shareholder interests as opposed to stakeholders and the broader environment.  John brought up the group Corporation 2020, based in Boston, which is working to do just that.