Inclusive Competitiveness: America’s Next Stage Imperative
For much of our history, America has produced a uniquely robust middle class and unparalleled technology, production capacity, and global influence.
Recent decades, however, have more broadly revealed both an historic and expanding practice of exclusion based on race, gender, ability, and other socially-constructed distinctions that have subjected whole communities of Americans to second class status.
Recent Insight Center research shows that similarly skilled and experienced Black, Latino and female workers make as much as 20-25 percent less for the same work conducted by their white male counterparts. And whole segments of the American economy that are especially vital to our future growth and well-being, such as our tech sector, our financial institutions and our health fields, are largely devoid of diversity in key aspects of their leadership and professional workforce.
In our view, there is something fundamentally self-defeating and un-American about these realities.
Given the rapidly diversifying composition of our population and future workforce, American leaders must rally to advance a new frame for our nation: Inclusive Competitiveness.
Inclusive Competitiveness is a concept coined by Insight Center senior consultant Johnathan Holifield. It is a concept that envisions America’s continued greatness being tied to increased investments and opportunities targeted to society’s and the economy’s most excluded groups.
In the coming months, the Insight Center will feature opinion pieces from Johnathan Holifield that illuminate Inclusive Competitiveness as a concept, its congruence with American values, as well as prescriptions for needed change in our society. Stay tuned for updates about where to find Johnathan's game changing pieces.
Indeed, most of the Insight Center’s historic and evolving work has implicitly sought to advance a more inclusive capitalism[i]—one in which U.S. competitive interests could be accelerated through a broader and more productive inclusion of people of color, women, aging Americans and others relative to national economic development.
The Insight Center’s work to promote asset building in low income communities, sector workforce development strategies, and family economic security is all about encouraging Inclusive Competitiveness—that is, a new model of American economic growth and vitality in which all Americans can share equal opportunity and earned benefits.
This is why during recent years we have advanced important applied research and demonstration projects designed to expand public and private contract opportunities for Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses and Enterprises, child care supports for low income women seeking to participate in the workforce, and efforts to increase education, training and gainful employment opportunities for boys and men of color (who remain disproportionate subjects of state law enforcement constraints all across America).
We believe fundamentally in the merits of a free enterprise economy; but we also believe at our core that excluding a growing majority of Americans from a fair shot while producing profits and opportunity for a smaller and smaller elite class is inconsistent with our core national purposes and values.
The better way is the way of Inclusive Competitiveness. We hope, therefore, with our initial presentation of the issues in this communication, to encourage a more robust national conversation on new ways to proceed forward in developing our next stage economy and civic culture.
We hope you will resonate with our call to action and let us know your thoughts and ideas on the issues.
Henry A. J. Ramos
President & CEO