Why Do We Need Inclusive Economies?
Yonkers, N.Y.-based Greyston Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Kenner, who for years has espoused inclusive economies, has given this question considerable thought. “It comes down to fair and equitable,” says Kenner, who also serves as President and CEO of Greyston Bakery, which for nearly 40 years has practiced Open Hiring, a hiring process that does not ask job applicants to submit resumes, answer interview questions nor be subject to background checks. “Unfortunately, our capitalist system is being challenged like never before because many believe that it is not fair and equitable; some feel that they are not being afforded the same economic opportunities or have equal access to the economic benefits that many are enjoying. However, no other system has lifted so many out of poverty, like the capitalist system.” We need to get control of the narrative as business leaders and share how business and the capitalist system can be a force for good.
Kenner believes that individuals, business leaders and communities that strongly advocate for more inclusive economies and inclusive economic growth need to place more emphasis on addressing challenges that inhibit inclusive economies. “The system is not the issue,” he says. “How we as practitioners are engaged in the dialogue and leverage our immense power as employers, leaders and citizens is what needs to change. We should not have a system where some feel like they are ‘forgotten’ or ‘excluded,’ but understand that they have just as much of a chance to be successful as the next person.”
How Do You Create An Inclusive Economy?
This question is akin to asking about the future of work and how local economies, if not the entire private sector, might change if labor markets and economic development are more inclusive economy-directed. Kenner sees possibilities. “Perhaps we make it harder than it needs to be because it involves challenging traditional methods, i.e., hiring for example,” he says. “But simple leadership means that we resolve that we notice there is an issue and we will do our part to solve some of the challenges this county and world face, whether it is poverty, health, environment or whatever the major concern of the day is.”
What Is Inclusive Growth In Simple Terms?
Kenner says he “doesn’t want to sound repetitive, but inclusive growth exists when there is the foundation for fair and equitable access to the tools and wherewithal that allow for economic growth, i.e., employment, credit, home ownership, education, health care, and child care, that lead to economic security.”