A discussion moderated by Jeff Klein, Executive Director & Chief Activation Officer, FLOW Inc.

Visit Biographies for more about presenters

Where do we go from here?
Where next? This session not only invites participants to propose where the peace through commerce movement might best head next, it also provides some conceptual frameworks for thinking about those steps.

Peace Through Commerce: Where we go from here
Watch the videos and join the discussion with presenters below.

John Forrer, Administrative Director, George Washington University Institute for Corporate Responsibility

"Locating Peace Through Commerce in Good Global Governance"(4:06)

Marc Lavine, Doctoral Candidate and Instructor, Boston College Department of Organization Studies

"Peace Through Commerce and Creating Social Movements"(7:14)

Jorge Rivera, Associate Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy, George Washington University

"The Protective Policy Process and Business Responses in the U.S. and Developing Countries"(12:03)


Discussion: Peace Through Commerce: Where do we go from here?
1. How can we catalyze and facilitate multi-sector collaboration to advance Peace Through Commerce projects on-the-ground and to advance the idea of Peace Through Commerce in general?
2. a) If we believe that peace is a process, and requires ongoing attention and cultivation, and if we understand that economic opportunity is an essential ingredient for sustainable peace, what are the elements of a Peace Through Commerce system that need to be addressed to establish and sustain peace? b) What is the relationship between these elements - in time and over time? (for example, what is the sequence of events or elements that need to be addressed, and what is the ongoing relationship between these elements?)
3. What are the pre-conditions and factors for establishing economic opportunity?

Views: 262

Replies to This Discussion

A year or so ago, I had lined up a traditional academic conference to be held in Fall, 2008. It was shaping up to be a good, solid conference and I was looking forward to it.

Then I met the folks from FLOW including Michael Strong, who moderated Theme 2 of our eConference, and Jeff Klein, this week's moderator. They provided an awesome degree of energy, ideas, and organizational capability and turned a nice, but perhaps a little sleepy, academic conference into one that had some real pizzazz. I am very grateful for their contributions to that event and for their commitment to the ideal of Peace Through Commerce.

It seems fitting that Jeff run the "anchor leg" of our eConference as we think through what needs to happen next. I very much look forward to this final week.


Timothy L. Fort, PhD, JD
Exec. Director, Institute for Corporate Responsibility Lindner-Gambal Professor of Business Ethics George Washington University School of Business Professorial Lecturer, George Washington Law School

Thank you Tim.

FLOW is honored to have been a collaborator with you and the Institute for Corporate Responsibility in producing the November 2008 Peace Through Commerce® conference, and to be participating in this eConference. We thank Tim, ICR, The World bank Institute, BusinessFightsPoverty.org, and all of the presenters and participants for bringing this eConference to life, and adding new energy and intelligence to the Peace Through Commerce movement. We in the process of formalizing the Peace Through Commerce Alliance to provide a forum for ongoing collaboration to advance the idea and the practice of Peace Through Commerce, and we intend to use this web space provided by BusinessFightsPoverty.org as a platform for inviting and facilitating ongoing dialogue and collaboration to advance Peace Through Commerce.

We welcome and encourage inquiries and explorations into the practical application of the ideas underlying Peace Through Commerce, and we welcome collaboration to spread the word and engage others in the conversation and collaboration.

I look forward to this final week of the Peace Through Commerce eConference and am happy to be moderating the conversation.


Jeff Klein
Executive Director &
Chief Integration Officer
Liberating the Entrepreneurial Spirit for Good

For the definitive FLOW book, see Michael Strong's Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World's Problems, with John Mackey and others, released March 2009 by Wiley & Sons, and listen to John Mackey's audio CD Passion and Purpose: The Power of Conscious Capitalism, released April 2009 by Sounds True, both available at the FLOW online store.
Looking at Question 1.

It would be interesting to know about examples that are considered to be successful multi-sector collaborations, but even more interesting would be to learn about the specific criteria (variables?) used to judge that success.

Thank you John,

We are beginning to identify good case studies and to outline criteria for future collaborations. Among the criteria we can look at are:

• GDP: As Michael Strong's research (built on the research of others and on indexes like the Fraser Economic Freedom Report)
• Access to legal and financial system (property rights, starting a business, access to credit etc) as measured by the Fraser Index, the World Bank's Doing Business Project, and others.
• The number of entrepreneurs and the size and growth of their enterprises.
• And I just encountered the Gallup Organization's World Poll, which measures perception of well-being and their related Global Migration Study, which seem to be relevant.

We look forward to hearing about case studies - to learn from successes and challenges they encounter.

There are several better data sources than Fraser's. You might want to check out what I think is the best along these lines: The Bertlemann Transformation Index, which correlates economic growth, social/governance issues...... transparency, accoutnability etc....

Advocating reforms targeting the goal of a constitutional democracy and socially responsible market economiy, the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) provides the framework for an exchange of best practices among agents of reform. Within this framework, the BTI publishes two rankings, the Status Index and the Management Index, both of which are based on in-depth assessments of 125 countries.
Hello all-- Jeff identifies some important outcomes to consider to help us assess whether commerce is supporting peace. I have some thoughts about that but first I want us to consider the "other side of the coin" which is the process of collaboration, that can help us reach peace promoting outcomes.

It's important that we assess multi-sector collaboration itself. This raises questions about what actors should be on board, how committed they are to the process, how they gauge the value of the collaboration.

One way to make these questions concrete is to consider them in light of the Peace Through Commerce movement. Tim notes that the collaboration with FLOW helped energize and transform a somewhat niche academic movement. We increasingly have people from all sectors talking to one another (academics, enterpreneurs of all stripes, people in government, NGO folks and those from other multilateral orgs like the World Bank). It's great to get such diversity on board but it adds complexity, or raises the bar, on what we must do to make sure the ensuing discussion and learning has value for all parties.

Anyone who is reading this should be able to comment on this because the core question is "what could makes this dialogue valuable to you or what could make it (more) valuable?"
This is great to hear about. Thanks for posting it.

One thought about The Gallup Well-Being measures, like the Pew Global Attitudes Project http://pewglobal.org/, is that such measures demonstrate that a significant aspect of subjective assessments of well-being and happiness are culturally rooted. The Pew data shows that happiness and the economic status of the individual are not significantly correlated (though the general thinking on this is that they are linked to a certain basic degree but after basic needs are met they're not related). In fact you can isolate the world's great conflict regions among the data and see that inhabitants in areas of lesser conflict and far greater prosperity may routinely report less happiness. While objective measures of well-being like public health statistics (child birth weight, infant mortality etc) seem important to consider, it could be that subjective measures get too murky. Maybe Peace through Commerce should see its goals as laying the groundwork for happiness and well-being to be all the more accessible but not trying to directly cause it.

My memory is that there are some good social capital indicators as well that help us address what social qualities business should help create, rather than just measures of quantity. I'll take a look and report back.
Thank you Susan and Marc on indicators and indexes. I look forward to learning more.

And thank you for your questions regarding collaboration Marc, and the value of collaborating for individual organizations, as well as the complexity of doing so.

We have been working for several years to facilitate collaboration and develop formal platforms for doing so and it is an iterative and evolving process, which seems to be evolving into a more formal structure, while being based on principles, which include flexibility. Ultimately, effective collaboration depends on shared vision, compatible culture, and skillful embodiment of facilitative practices. We are working to cultivate and model all of these, and to engage with others who share this commitment.
Hi Susan,

Thanks for pointing us to the BTI, which is very interesting. It certainly seems to provide a sophisticated framework for measuring governance issues.

On the other hand, it is complex, subjective, and relatively opaque, though most of its judgments in the end seem fairly reasonable.

Do you know of research showing correlations between BTI measures and other outcomes, be they HDI, conflict, economic growth, or other outcomes?


Dear All,

1.These collaborations can be catalyzed through a number of initiatives:including Corporate Social Responsibility schemes,peace drives, establishment of peace funds,events like concerts,runs or races,collaborations, researches and also education.

2. a).Anumber of elements of peace through commerce to be addressed would be:Responsible business practices,Accountability,Investment in peace drives or businesses that carry the minimal risk of generating conflicts,taxing busineses that invest in ventures that promote conflicts and research and Development.

b).These elements relate in that,one chain leads to another.A purely profit oriented pursuit of business that does not priorize peace of reckless corporate practices say hiring practises or even compensatary schemes can carry the risk of sparking conflicts.That is why it is essential that before any business invests anywhere,it should hire professional risk assessors to carry out a realistic risk audit complete with worst case and best case scenarios and with such solid information only can decisions be made as to where to invest.

3.The pre-conditions for establishing economic opportunities are:An assesment of the presence of factors of production,mechanisms of investment,comparative advantage, possibilities of enjoying the economies of scale and most important, the risk factors.As argued before, if the risks outweigh the benefits, then that consideration should trump profits because that is how conflicts are manufactured and fester.

Bye every body,


Thank you for drawing attention to the essentials for effective collaboration which is certainly not an outcome to be assumed. I expect we can all think of many more examples of ineffective collaborative activity than those which have resulted in measurable success.

I expect you know of the work of the International Business Leaders Forum in the Partnering space. Over the years under the inspired leadership of Ros Tennyson we have developed practical tools based on research and experience of how to make collaboration more effective:


IBLF have brought together responsible business networks in post-conflict zones and continue to be committed to work with companies, governments and civil society to further this cause. We have learnt that as long as business can see "clear line of sight" from these activities to a better business outcome, many are willing and able to join collective actions both in improving the "enabling environment" and in building enterprise and economic growth. As with all collective action, part of the trick for success is to find mutual benefits for all participants.

We look forward to working closely with you on this important subject in the future.
This is a great conversation about the imperative of multi-sector collaboration, models of governance that reflect successful collaboration, and criteria we might use to judge the success of the efforts looking at measures of outcomes and measures of the collaboration itself. Of course, there is not one set of variables, as the judgment of what constitutes success will vary by group and interests. So the starting point of what would be considered as successful outcome and a successful collaboration must be the result of negotiation and accommodation of the parties involved. Of course, we would all see that one size doesn't fit al, but we do't have to reinvent all elements of wheel either. There are great opportunities fo rtechnology transfer AND local adaption of gneralized models and practices.

But I bring this all back to Mark's observation that our efforts should be directed not only at a specific goal or objectives that are of interest to business or other players, but to advancing what we might call the "post-conflict to peace process" that entails sequences of actions that advance peace in the area. So success is not only understood as accomplishing specific goals, but in making sure the goals we are working on fit well into a sequence of "post-conflict to peace" actions.


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