This election year, Marketplace is casting its eyes toward the future, asking how the country can address long term opportunities and threats — the ones that don’t fit into a single federal budget or election cycle. We’ll imagine and ask you, if the next president were to appoint a Cabinet member to worry about future generations, what would be job one? Got an idea? Tell us here.
In his last in-depth broadcast interview, the late writer and social critic Kurt Vonnegut observed, “I’ll tell you…one thing that no Cabinet has ever had is a Secretary of the Future, and there are no plans at all for my grandchildren and my great grandchildren.”
Since then, his idea has bounced around the internet, never quite developing into a fully-fledged meme. We have a Secretary of Commerce, of Labor, of Defense. Why not a Secretary of the Future to help politicians think harder about how today’s actions might play out in 10, 20, 50 years? If it sounds weird, it’s not. Some big corporations already have them — they are called futurists or sometimes the shingle on the door says, Chief Sustainability Officer.
Elizabeth Heider is the Chief Sustainability Officer at Skanska USA, one of the biggest construction companies in the country. She joins Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to discuss how she thinks ahead and what it means to “future-proof” her business. Click on the audio player above to hear more.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.
make public service
Thank you for doing your part!