We live in a society defined by markets systems, systems that facilitate the exchange of goods and services across distance and many boundaries through constructions of legitimacy and trust. Humans have created currency exchange, for the supply of goods, patterns of finance and capital, and all the laws that define corporate forms. Once we understand that markets and market systems are social and cultural constructions, they can be modified. Because our society created our market systems, we can change them.
Criterion has shaped markets in specific issues like health care and fisheries, changed the conversation by inviting new people to the table, and equipped new leaders with the understanding and ability to create lasting change to market systems. A few significant initiatives that highlight our work in shaping markets include:


[kleo_feature_item title=”Reshaping Healthcare” icon=”0″]For five years from 2007 to 2012, Criterion, with Good Capital and the Access Project, examined the root causes of medical debt and designing an innovative approach to leverage financial systems to alleviate the burden. We reframed the problem first as uncovered costs of health care, and then eventually to see that as in the broader context of a cash market in healthcare. Because the U.S. healthcare economy is driven by the paradigm of insurance, thinking about systems for increasing the value of a dollar in a cash market opened up new opportunities for solutions and ways to change the rules of the game. A defining moment occurred when we discovered the underlying system foundation to medical debt was a stunted and irrational $300 billion cash market.  Our discovery and exploration of the implications of an irrational cash market in healthcare are presented in our seminal Cash Market Report.[/kleo_feature_item]
[kleo_feature_item title=”Examining Fisheries” icon=”0″] Starting in 2010, we spent 3 years researching the history of fisheries and market systems, looking at the role of finance in sustainable fisheries. Through this work, we assessed opportunities and investment options in sustainable fishing and had a hand in developing ideas which led to the beginning of aquaculture. We continue to use employ the knowledge gained from this work to deepen our understanding of industries in South East Asia and the Pacific[/kleo_feature_item]
[kleo_feature_item title=”Changing the Conversation” icon=”0″]Beginning in 2005, Criterion hosted 16 conferences over the course of ten years, during which leaders from finance, women’s rights organizations, and the many expressions of the Christian church met to push the boundaries on how to use finance as a tool for social change. Held around the United States, Convergences not only fostered friendship and collaboration — they changed the conversation.  At Convergence, ideas and conversations converged to create energy, collaboration, and direction.[/kleo_feature_item]
[kleo_feature_item title=”Equipping Leaders” icon=”0″]In 2012, Criterion launched Leaders Shaping Markets to build and support leaders who work on changing the rules of market systems. We co-led this work with Cheryl Dahle, Michele Kahane, and Rachel Sinha, creating space and time in dialogues to codify what we knew about approaches to shaping markets. Our goal was to build and support a community of people who work on changing how the systems that undergird our economic markets work, in the process redefining who we thought of as leaders.[/kleo_feature_item]
Through our current work, we continue to influence how markets are shaped and invite new leaders into the conversation to transform our markets.

Criterion Institute, 501(c)(3) 81 Church Hill Rd · Haddam, CT 06438 860-345-3520 (main) · info@criterioninstitute.org ©2023, all rights reserved.

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