Social stability

Imagine if we could persuade the world’s 100 largest investment funds, which together control more than $25 trillion, to invest just one percent of their holdings in programs that build social stability and improve the quality of life in countries where they invest? That’s the audacious idea behind Bretton Woods II, an initiative of the Washington, DC think tank New America, where Jeff Leitner is a Fellow.

For his part, Leitner is developing the Social Sustainability Model to maximize the impact of Bretton Woods II investments. Development of the model includes two key steps: demonstrate to investors that investments in social stability will result in higher economic returns; and map the most efficient path for building social stability.

The first step – demonstrating to investors that investments in social stability will result in higher economic returns – is largely complete. The preliminary findings were definitive: “A nation’s social stability has extremely high positive correlations with both its economic competitiveness and the ease of doing business there. The correlations are 0.78 and .80, respectively, and remain positive across all geographic regions and nearly all strata of stability.”

The second step – map the most efficient path for building social stability – is underway. Leitner is partnering with the Paris-based OECD to survey several hundred experts around the world in development economics, political science and sociology, enlisting them to help sequence the United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Leitner was enlisted in this effort by former U.S. State Department official Tomicah Tillemann, with whom GreenHouse has worked to re-design international organizations and U.S. support of emerging democracies.