Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Recommends Book Co-authored by NYU Wagner Professor Jonathan Morduch
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is currently recommending Portfolios of the Poor, a groundbreaking book co-authored by NYU Wagner Professor of Public Policy and Economics Jonathan Morduch, for reading and discussion by the Facebook community.
The influential book is the result of systematic research on how the global poor – billions of people around the world who live on less than $2 a day – manage their money. Zuckerberg’s book club, A Year in Books, selects works with big ideas that impact public policy, society and business. Portfolios of the Poor is his 17th pick.
Professor Morduch, managing director of the Financial Access Initiative, wrote the book with Daryl Collins of Bankable Frontier Associates, who received her Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis at NYU Wagner, and researchers Stuart Rutherford and Orlanda Ruthven.
Published in 2009 by Princeton University Press, Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day is the first in-depth examination of how the world’s poorest households patch together financial lives.The book shows that they do so with surprising sophistication and complexity, refuting commonly held assumptions about the poor.
Over 250 families in Bangladesh, India, and South Africa participated in the study. Their financial diaries show that poor households are not living hand-to-mouth, but that most of them save and borrow with their future in mind, and maintain complex financial lives because they are poor, not in spite of it.
FELPS Hosts NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott
Just three weeks into his role as head of the nation's largest public school system, New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott spoke with NYU Wagner's Fellowship for Emerging Leaders in Public Service (FELPS) on April 27.
He discussed his career path, including founding a youth mentorship program, heading the National Urban League, and serving as Deputy Mayor of Education and Community Development. Chancellor Walcott also talked about leadership lessons he has learned from these experiences, including the importance of recognizing mentorship moments, the growth that comes from hiring people who will challenge you, and strategies for maintaining work-family balance in public service careers.
For Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Whirlwind Day at Wagner
Gordon Brown, the British Labour Party leader who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from June 2007 to May 2010, and is a current Member of Parliament, spent an engaging day at NYU Wagner on April 11 with groups of students, faculty, alumni, staff, and the dean, Ellen Schall. In the evening, he spoke to more than 150 friends of the public-service graduate school as the guest of the Henry Hart Rice Forum moderated by Mitchell Moss, Henry Hart Rice Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at Wagner.
The Right Honourable Mr. Brown projected optimism about globalization. He said vast increases in producers and consumers in fast-developing countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Brazil will benefit the West, as long as the U.S. and Europe invest heavily in science, technology and education and keep the doors of global trade open.
In this way, Mr. Brown argued, the West can ensure it will profit and gain new sources of employment from globalization -- and ease the understandable anxiety so rife today about economic change.
"For the first time last year, in almost 200 years, Europe and America are being out-produced, out manufactured, and out-invested by the rest of the world," he said. "...It makes people insecure; it makes people feel, ‘Are we witnessing the decline of the West?...And then people feel insecure about their jobs."
It is this economic "sea change," which surpasses even that of the Industrial Revolution, that holds the seeds of opportunity for a more balanced global economy, according to the former prime minister.
"The people who are producing goods in China, India, and elsewhere - they don't want just to be workers producing goods; they want to be consumers too," he said.
"They want to enjoy some of benefit of the goods that come with a higher standard of living. They want to be part of the industrial society as middle class consumers of the future," and they want to have "houses, electrical goods, better clothes, higher quality food, health care, and education."
"There is a huge opportunity for us in what is about to happen, because we in America and Europe can be the people who are equipped to sell goods and services that are sold in the rest of the world," added Mr. Brown.
Mr. Brown, who has a PhD in History from the University of Edinburg, was introduced by Dean Schall and queried by Professor Moss about his youthful influences (mainly his parents and his school teachers), rapport with U.S. presidents (from Clinton to Bush to Obama), and Scotland's historical impact on the American experiment.
The event was held at the Kimmel Center of New York University. Mr. Brown is the university's inaugural Distinguished Global Leader in Residence.
In his remarks, the former prime minister warned against a "race to the bottom" that will occur if countries are permitted to attract business via deregulation. What is required, he stated, is the development and maintenance of consistent international standards for investment.
Fielding a question from a Wagner student about the environmental impact of burgeoning consumer economies, he said that worldwide treaties, such as the one attempted but not enacted at the recent Copenhagen Climate Summit, are clearly merited .
Former British Prime Minister Discusses Globalization in Special Lecture
The NYU Office of the President welcomed NYU Wagner, Stern, and CAS students to a special lecture with The Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, on September 22 at the Kaufman Management Center at NYU Stern. Mr. Brown led a discussion on developments in globalization.
During his talk, Mr. Brown addressed issues relating to globalization, with a focus on fledgling political movements arrayed against it. He started with the growing tide of secessionist sentiments that have manifested themselves in such countries as Scotland, Belgium, Spain, and Italy. Mr. Brown, who is a native of Scotland, took questions regarding Scotland’s recent vote not to secede from the U.K., and stated that such reactionary responses as xenophobia and protectionism are counterproductive to the pursuit of the global solutions.
Mr. Brown then emphasized the importance of global cooperation; especially in an era when individual governments are not able to tackle today’s global concerns alone. As an example, he pointed to the UN Climate Change Conference of 2009. He argued that this was the kind of multi-lateral summit needed to address global problems, even though several issues emerged, such as reporting and enforcement challenges, that eventually ensured the conference’s unsuccessful outcome.
He also discussed the global economic recession of 2008, noting that many European countries initially believed the financial crisis would only affect the United States. However, as countries throughout Europe began having similar economic collapses, the realization of an inter-connected economy quickly emerged. This led to another global and multi-lateral approach as the G20 was created to address these economic issues. Unfortunately, Mr. Brown pointed out, global cooperation faded later that year and these types of economic calamities were soon labeled as a Greek crisis or an Ireland crisis.
The former prime minister closed by stating that without serious global leadership and multi-lateral cooperation, perennial crises such as child trafficking, global poverty, and global epidemics will continue to endanger our future. He emphasized that it is imperative that we reform our global institutions, inform public opinion on the positives of globalization, and encourage political leaders to focus on important issues through a global, not a national lens. Only then, he said, will we begin to see true positive change for global challenges.
Author: Jayson W. Browder (Global Executive MPA, 2015), is an Air Force and Iraq Veteran and U.S. Fulbright Scholar (Turkey)