The Berggruen Institute is dedicated to the design and implementation of new ideas of good governance -- drawing from practices in both East and West -- that can be brought to bear on the common challenges of globalization in the 21st century.

We are an independent, non-partisan “think and action tank” that engages cutting edge entrepreneurs, global thinkers and political leaders from around the world as key participants in our projects.

The great transition of our time is from American-led globalization 1.0 to the interdependence of plural identities that characterizes globalization 2.0 as the dominance of the West recedes with the rise of the rest. A political and cultural awakening, amplified by social media, is part and parcel of this shift, and good governance must respond by devolving power and involving citizens more meaningfully in governing their communities. At the same time, we believe that accountable institutions must be created that can competently manage the global links of interdependence.

21st Century Council

A forum for dialogue on global governance, with a focus on the G-20 as the governing body of globalization. Members include former heads of state, global entrepreneurs and political thinkers.

Council for the Future of Europe

This Council gathers a small group of the region's most eminent political figures to research and debate ways forward for a united Europe.

Think Long Committee for California

Develops comprehensive approaches to repairing California's broken system of governance while evaluating policies and institutions vital for the state's long-term future.

Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century
Recent Activity

Now trending...

21st Century Council
Council for the Future of Europe
Think Long Committee for California
9 June 2015

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg - the author of SB 8 (courtesy of the Los Angeles Times)

California Senate Bill 8 - the state bill introduced by State Senator Bob Hertzberg last year that would mean a sweeping overhaul of California's tax system - generated significant discussion in the media and press this past month. The bill would introduce a sales tax on services, as originally proposed by the Berggruen Institute's Think Long Committee in 2011, of which Sen. Bob Hertzberg (pictured) was a member.

In an editorial on June 8, the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board argued that "the California tax code is like a handyman's rickety stepladder, as untrustworthy as it is essential." Due to a shift in California's economy, a much larger percentage of tax revenue comes from "personal income tax revenue, which rises and falls much more sharply with the economy." Seeking to tax services, as SB 8 does, would "lessen the state's reliance on personal income taxes" and is thus aimed at "smoothing out state revenue while also promoting growth."

Also covering the issue, KQED - Northern California's PBS and NPR stations - asked "Is a Do-Over on the Horizon for California's Sales Tax?" As the article notes: "California's sales tax remains largely focused on goods and not services, while the state's economy has decidedly shifted toward more growth and reliance on services." The author highlighted SB 8 as a leading proposal in the discussion to reform California's sales tax system.

Finally, as Berggruen Institute senior adviser Nathan Gardels opined in the Sacramento Bee: "Even though California has one of the most progressive tax structures in the nation, inequality is rising and dashing hopes. Something more is needed as USC professor Edward Kleinbard has articulated and former Assembly Speaker, now Senator, Bob Hertzberg has sponsored in legislation: namely, a new philosophy of governance that focuses on the overall progressive outcome that can be achieved through modernizing the tax code and investing in infrastructure and public higher education - the key means of upward mobility. Such investments are inherently progressive in the distribution of their benefits and in the creation of new well-paying jobs." The bill will undergo hearings in the California legislature in the fall.

29 April 2015

On April 27, CNN host Fareed Zakaria defended the humanities as part of the L.A. book launch of his new treatise, In Defense of a Liberal Education. Zakaria is a member of the Berggruen Institute's 21st Century Council. The WorldPost hosted the launch.

Zakaria spoke on a wide array of topics -- chief among them the subject of his book: the importance of a liberal arts education. In a time when both the left and right are questioning the utility of the liberal arts on the grounds that it is not the skills-based training needed to prepare one for today's workforce, Zakaria argued that, in fact, a liberal arts education is "the special sauce" that has helped make the U.S. economy one of the most robust, innovative, and dynamic economies in the world.

As Zakaria explained in his remarks, the very skills that a liberal arts education helps teach - creativity, critical thinking, flexibility, and common sense - are the skills that make for successful workers and entrepreneurs, and are the skills that are the hardest to replace with AI. Technical skills, on the other hand, are the easiest to replace with AI. This was not to diminish the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math, but rather that the STEM disciplines should be married with the liberal arts to bring about the most creative, dynamic, and successful economy possible.

Zakaria also answered questions from the audience on a variety of other topics, including ISIS, Iran, Israel, Palestine, and space.

Attendees at the event included, among many others, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, financiers Steve Schwarzman, David Bonderman and Mohamed El-Erian, California State Senator Bob Hertzberg, former California Governor Gray Davis and Hollywood producers Brian Grazer, Lawrence Bender and Mike Medavoy. Economist and member Nouriel Roubini, essayist Pico Iyer and Harvard historian Niall Ferguson also attended.

Economist and member Nouriel Roubini, essayist Pico Iyer and Harvard historian Niall Ferguson also attended.

A gallery of the event can be viewed here.

9 March 2015

21st Century Council members Walter Isaacson, Reid Hoffman, and Mo Ibrahim

In March, Berggruen Institute 21st Century Council members Eric Schmidt, Reid Hoffman, Arianna Huffington, Laura Tyson, Nouriel Roubini, Mohamed El-Erian, and Walter Isaacson shared their perspectives at The WorldPost conference on "The Future of Work", which took place at Lancaster House in London. Discussion around the theme "prepare to be disrupted" ranged from how the emergent sharing economy, along with 3D desktop manufacturing, would take work back into the home to worries that automation could eliminate as much as 47 percent of current jobs in the United States.

In a panel on innovation and disruption, 21st Century Council members Walter Isaacson, Reid Hoffman, and Mo Ibrahim discussed the new innovators and how technological shifts have transformed the way people and businesses engage with the world around them. Reid Hoffman argued that while technology does create jobs, there is a painful disruptive period when the old jobs are destroyed. Mo Ibrahim similarly argued that in Africa the overall message is clear -- technology has meant a net gain in jobs. 

 Eric Schmidt gives a keynote address on "The New Digital Age"

 In his keynote, Google's Eric Schmidt said he wanted to talk about "why we are so unhappy - and why we shouldn't be". Schmidt rolled off a list of issues - including the rise of ISIS, a lack of jobs and instability in Ukraine - which make us feel like "we have no cause for optimism" and, he added, "many people blame technologies for these ills". "What I want to do is tell you that's not right and in many cases technology is the solution and technological achievement and advancement is essential to life in the 21st century." Using 1915 and 1615 as examples, Schmidt painted a picture of other eras of war, sickness and terrorism, concluding that "we are much happier now".  He concluded: "I am absolutely convinced that technology is not the problem and it may even be the solution."

In a discussion on the global economy 21st Century Council members Laura Tyson, Mohamed El-Erian, and Nouriel Roubini offered rare insight into the unstable and interconnected world of global markets, capital flows, and fiscal policy. As Nouriel Roubini argued, in an interconnected world "immigration is a zero-sum game. If we're getting China and India's best and brightest that means those countries are losing them." Laura Tyson called for a multi-lateral tax solution to address the flow of global capital to regions with low rates of taxation. 

In a keynote on "Redefining Success", Arianna Huffington called for a new definition of success that included well-being, wisdom, and wonder. 

Nicolas Berggruen and David Bonderman closed the conference with a discussion of the changing landscape of investment as untraditional business models and new technologies revolutionize the global economic landscape.

Queen Rania of Jordan (L), Nicolas Berggruen (C), and Arianna Huffington (R)

Also at the conference, Jordan's Queen Rania spoke about how social media is fostering small business startups in the Arab world and offering a different narrative than that of the fanatics. She also called for dropping the "I" from ISIS since "there's nothing Islamic about them." 

A gallery of pictures from the conference can be found here.


- Nicolas Berggruen & Nathan Gardels
Los Angeles Times
- The Times Editorial Board
The Sacramento Bee
- Nathan Gardels
The Hollywood Reporter
- Christopher Wyrick
The Financial Times
- Emma Jacobs
China Daily
- Nathan Gardels
New York Times
- Katrin Bennhold
The Financial Times
- Walter Isaacson
The Financial Times
- Tony Blair
Los Angeles Business Journal
- Charles Crumpley
San Francisco Chronicle
Los Angeles Times
- George Skelton
view all