There are seven panels planned for the regular class period and one for the asynchronous students. Please sign up for a specific role on one of the panels, including your name and the best email address for teammates to use in contacting you. Every student is expected to sign up their first and second choice. If there aren’t enough slots, I will open up new ones. Do NOT alter the spreadsheet as it stands (besides filling in your name and email).
If the role you want is filled, you will have to choose something else. If you are already familiar with a particular industry sector or a particular role, consider choosing something different so you can broaden your knowledge and perspective.
The panels are briefly described below. The information has been updated based on discussion with the asynchronous students.
Each panel has a facilitator/scribe. This person’s job is to provide a very brief overview of the relevant sector, and to facilitate the discussion. I will serve as the backup facilitator.
The agenda for each panel will be:
Facilitator introduction – 3 minutes?
Opening statement by each role – 1-2 minutes (10 minutes)
Facilitated discussion of key issues and possible recommendations (10-15 minutes)
Facilitator summary of results (areas of consensus, areas of disagreement)
Group feedback/agreement on facilitator summary
The opening statements for each role can be done by one of the two students in that role if there are two, or each can speak. Once each role has spoken, we will have open discussion about the issues related to that sector, trying to find consensus about what, if any, action the Biden Administration should take. This could include eliminating existing regulations, changing existing practices in some way, or creating new policies or regulations. Recommendations could address data collection and reporting, standards, incentives, penalties, or anything else you think of.
This is an opportunity to practice respectful debate. Remember, we are each playing a role and it’s ok to disagree with a person’s position as stated in the discussion, but not ok to attack a person verbally. The world needs more people with the skills to use critical thinking skills to develop a position, a willingness to listen to other perspectives to try to understand where other people are coming from, and an ability to consider what each is willing to give up for the greater good, and what each holds firmly as of highest priority.
Panel 1: Technology – Free speech
This would include companies like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter where concerns have been raised about false information, hate speech, foreign political influence, fake accounts, as well as consideration of free speech principles and the practical implications of regulating the volume of information posted. What guidelines, restrictions, penalties, processes, or other measures, if any, would serve society’s interests?
Panel 2: Technology – Monopoly
This panel would address big tech companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, focusing on issues of anti-competitive behavior. Can companies be too big? Can they have too much control over the marketplace? What is a fair system where success can be achieved if you have better ideas and better execution, and what are society’s interests in ensuring that new companies have a chance to get started and that suppliers and consumers have the benefits of open competition.
Panel 3: Fashion Industry
This panel will consider issues related to the garment industry – where clothing is made, what labor conditions exist, what role retailers, government, and consumers should have in the industry. Should companies be able to seek out the least expensive suppliers? What are acceptable labor conditions? What are the environmental impacts of “fast fashion” with inexpensive clothing being accumulated and disposed of? If factories are outside the US, what role, if any, should the US Government play?
Panel 4: Energy Sector
This panel includes major energy companies (who may also be involved in renewable energy) as well as renewable energy companies. How should climate change be factored into public policy? To what extent should businesses be able to determine their own strategies and transitions and to what extent should the federal government be involved?
Panel 5: Agriculture Sector
This panel would look at the food system – what are national and global societal needs in terms of feeding the population and protecting the environment? How do we ensure that the agriculture sector can be sustained financially and environmentally? How should we address the depletion of natural resources, the obesity crisis, the increasing demand for organic food, the climate impact of different agricultural practices and products, or other issues the panel identifies?
Panel 6: Banking and Finance
This panel looks at institutions that ensure our financial and banking systems are secure, reliable, honest, and accountable. How much government oversight is needed? How are financial institutions held accountable? Are some companies “too big to fail” – their collapse would have such dire consequences that the government must ensure their viability? What information should consumers have access to and how can consumers know the information is trustworthy? Should there be limits on how much interest and fees a bank can charge, or should the competitive marketplace let supply and demand determine the cost of financial transactions? What other interests does the government/society have in the banking sector, if any?