Organizers of the original Rules Change Summit at UMass Amherst in April 2013 chose five “categories” of rule changes to help prompt discussion. As a result of discussions at the event, a sixth category, “Sustainability” has been added.  You can also view and print examples of discussion ideas.

  • CATEGORY TWO: Measurement: — Alternate success measurements, including internalizing externalities, genuine progress and gross domestic happiness indicators, corporate performance. Overview by Jim Boyce, director, Program on Development, Peacebuilding, and the Environment, Political Economy Research Institute, UMass-Amherst — [1]; or (PDF SLIDES)
  • CATEGORY FOUR: Accountability: — Considering the market and community impacts on broad stakeholder groups such as employees, communities, customers, shareholders including wages, profits and taxes (loopholes, offshoring, capital gains, estate/inheritance). Overview byMarcy Murninghan, founder, Murninghan Post – (AUDIO); or (PDF SLIDES)
  • CATEGORY FIVE: Governance: — Public and shareholder influence over executive pay by disclosure or regulation: regulated adherence to world sustainability measurements (see category 2, Measurement), improved transparency. Overview by Jennifer Taub, assoc. professor, Vermont Law School (AUDIO); or (PDF SLIDES).

CATEGORY SIX: Sustainability: — Transitioning local communities to less fossil-fuel dependent food, transportation and housing systems. Initiatives to include global environmental and ecological sustainability into measurements of corporate performance.

Five issue FRAMES for consideration:

  1. The influence, power, and voice, of money: Implementing campaign finance reform, Citizens United and the First Amendment. Reviewing the role of corporations in public policy, including charter reform.
  2. Regulating, governing and owning business:  Balancing the power of government and corporations – their purpose and long-term impact on all stakeholders – the environment, communities, employees – and investors. Co-ops and alternative ownership.
  3. Engagement, advocacy and solutions: Moving from confrontation and partisanship to dialogue, deliberation, transparency and solutions – in the media and in politics.
  4. Finding equality and justice for all:   Measuring success and happiness — and  a widening wealth and income gap.  The impact of health care, taxes, wages and trade.
  5. Securing sustainable communities and world: Measuring and creating incentives for investors and governments to focus on restoring an ecological balance across food, energy, transportation and habitat.


Also: All the ideas considered at Amherst


The five key categories listed above are drawn from more than two decades of writing and thought by dozens of executives, authors, scholars, public officials and engaged citizens. They are listed as 15 sub-categories below. All of these are relevant subject matter for the Rules Change Summit; to effective at initiating change, we’ll focus the convening process on the top five, above. For a work-in-progress effort to identify the key sources of these mainstream ideas, see: “RESTORING DEMOCRACY AND CHANGING CORPORATE RULES (A new taxonomy/synopsis/overview): Charting two decades of thought on reforming the impact of money and corporations on American public policy.” (also downloadable as a PDF.)

Fifteen original categories:

  • Require federal “public good” charters for the largest public corporations
  • Lobbying reform and transparency to curtail big-money influence
  • Act for World Sustainability
  • Accept Limits to Growth
  • Encourage media diversity
  • Short-term disincentives (to discourage excessive emphasis on short-term earnings and churning portfolios)
  • Wall Street rule and incentive reform
  • Internalize costs (corporations absorb pollution cost)
  • Alternative “success” measurements besides Gross National Product (to show progress toward prosperity, e.g., “genuine progress indicators.”
  • Progressive income/consumption taxes
  • World trade -– Cost internalization, localize, cooperation, global charters
  • Alternative ownership; incentives for localism
  • Antitrust enforcement
  • Constitutional issues – Limited liability, commerce-cause reinterpretations
  • Additional policy reforms
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