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HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM

Thursday, April 9, 2015 @ 06:04 AM
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HEADLINES OF THE DAY: ANOTHER 15,000 PEOPLE DIED YESTERDAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO POOR TO LIVE. THE RICH INCREASED THEIR WEALTH YESTERDAY BY $0.3 BILLION. THE 21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IS ONE DAY NEARER.

“O Ye rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.”
Bahá’u’lláh

A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at willisdavid167@gmail.com. CHAPTER 1: INDIFFERENCE TO POVERTY: Part 100). This blog is a continuation of the review of HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM: REBUILDING THE PATH TO THE MIDDLE CLASS by John Hope Bryant, published in 2014.

The well-off possess incredibly high levels of self-esteem and self confidence
Just as the poor are not who we think they are, neither are the so-called rich. The advantages they enjoy are both financial and a mirror image of the disabling characteristics I outlined in relation to the new definition of poverty. Relative to the poor, the well-off possess incredibly high levels of self-esteem and self confidence. In fact, this is this group’s real wealth. Second, they possess strong and positive role models, typically beginning with their parents, a strong and stable community environment, and most notably, access to vitally important business role models. Finally, this group possesses strong and natural access to opportunity in their lives – strong schools, top-flight educational access, and educational resources. They also possess a natural network of family relationships to help them navigate circles of power and influence.

The things that they depend upon for their largess will fall away
If the rich and privileged simply decide to disappear behind their walls, the things that they depend upon for their largess will fall away, will be torn away, or will be destroyed. This is a global problem, not unique to America, but it is a most immediate risk here in the United States because of our reliance on freedom, life, liberty, and the promise of our Constitution at the heart of the American experience.

A new partnership between government, community, and the private sector
But there is another way, rooted in a new partnership between government, community, and the private sector that focuses on actually solving our problems in a holistic way. This is a partnership between the rich and the poor, focused not merely on decreasing levels of aspiration, hope, engagement, well-being, and, with all of that, increased economic energy and increased gross domestic product.

Every big business was once a small one
84% of all tax revenue in the state of California is paid by 15% of California taxpayers. Immigrants or their children founded more than 40% of Fortune 500 companies, which collectively employ more than 10 million people and today generate total annual revenues of more than $4.2 trillion. America has been small businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and what is often referred to as “shoot-ups.” Every big business was once a small one, and the 38 million residents of California represent a huge, mostly untapped reservoir of economic energy.

Ford’s insight ushered in the birth of the American middle class
When Henry Ford introduced his first automobile, he was smart enough to pay his workers enough to buy the automobiles they were building. Ford’s factory production approach was all about volume, and he realized there was no point in building a lot of cars if he didn’t have a lot of customers. Ford’s insight helped usher in the birth of the American middle class – and provided a kick start for the city of Detroit.

It has been the masses driving this economic juggernaut
Since that time to today, from Detroit to Silicon Valley, it has been the masses of America, not the high-end classes of America alone, driving this economic juggernaut. In fact, with the notable exception of wealth gained through criminal activity, war, government contracting, and the like, almost all real wealth accumulation in this country has come through the working poor, the struggling classes, and a broad middle class.

HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 @ 07:04 AM
posted by admin

HEADLINES OF THE DAY: ANOTHER 15,000 PEOPLE DIED YESTERDAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO POOR TO LIVE. THE RICH INCREASED THEIR WEALTH YESTERDAY BY $0.3 BILLION. THE 21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IS ONE DAY NEARER.

“O Ye rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.”
Bahá’u’lláh

A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at willisdavid167@gmail.com. CHAPTER 1: INDIFFERENCE TO POVERTY (Part 99). This blog is a continuation of the review of HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM: REBUILDING THE PATH TO THE MIDDLE CLASS by John Hope Bryant, published in 2014.

You only need a super minority to change the world
Financial literacy, access to credit and banking, is not enough without opportunity. We must move 100 million or more Americans (approximately one-third of the U.S. population) up and into true participation in the free enterprise system, anchored with education, self-esteem, real choice, and real opportunity for all. Giving people financial literacy and an opportunity for self determination means giving them hope. But the reverse is also true: making this country work for the masses of struggling Americans, the middle class, and those who want to one day join them depends on the power of hope itself. Hope is so powerful that you only need a super minority of it to change the world.

Shifting from what we are against to what we are for
We must harness hope by shifting from stating what we are against to working toward what we are for, and that alone will create positive economic energy. That alone changes the tone and culture of the environment in which we live and lifts us all up. Black poverty, white poverty, it’s all poverty.

Chapter two: A new look at income disparity
The federal government defines the poor in America as those who make approximately $23,050 a year for a family of four. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 16% of the American population lives in poverty, including 20% of our children. All the numbers have gotten worse in the past 20 years. Between the ages of 25 and 75, 58.4% of Americans will spend at least one year below the government-defined poverty line.

My approach reflects behavioral rather than traditional economics
The real poverty we must battle is a state of being rather than a simple statement of financial condition. It is much more connected to aspiration, emotions, psychology, and hope than it is to financial or material analysis. Therefore, my approach reflects behavioral rather than traditional economics.

Middle class once meant stability
America has a teetering class of people from all walks of life, living with a wobbling sense of staggering uncertainty. The recent economic crisis pulled many more members of what we call the middle class into this new reality of the teetering class, with the accompanying disabling characteristics. “Middle class” once meant stability, whether for a blue-collar worker such as a factory worker or white collar worker such as a college professor. Job and income stability meant one could stay at home to raise the children.

For the first time in a century, our children’s future may not be as bright as our own
In the current economy, many members of the formerly blue-collar middle class have fallen into poverty, leaving a contracting middle class composed of more white-collar workers but with two working parents. These parents are competing with the streets to raise their children, and after 20 years of hard work and sacrifice, many find that they are not making any more money. Middle-class Americans are worried and embarrassed that, for the first time in a century, it seems as though our children’s future may not be as bright as our own.

Poverty produces a lack of opportunity in education attainment
The emotional and psychological effects of being a part of the teetering class are many. First it results in a lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. Second, poverty results in a lack of positive role models and a crappy environment in a person’s immediate community. Finally, poverty produces a lack of opportunity in education, educational quality, and educational attainment; a lack of relationship wealth, or “who you know”; and a lack of access to capital and knowledge, financial or otherwise.

HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM

Tuesday, April 7, 2015 @ 08:04 AM
posted by admin

HEADLINES OF THE DAY: ANOTHER 15,000 PEOPLE DIED YESTERDAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO POOR TO LIVE. THE RICH INCREASED THEIR WEALTH YESTERDAY BY $0.3 BILLION. THE 21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IS ONE DAY NEARER.

“O Ye rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.”
Bahá’u’lláh

A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at willisdavid167@gmail.com. CHAPTER 1: INDIFFERENCE TO POVERTY (Part 98). This blog is a continuation of the review of HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM: REBUILDING THE PATH TO THE MIDDLE CLASS by John Hope Bryant, published in 2014.

Stable jobs, good wages, and benefits fueled a thriving middle class
Fifty years ago Detroit was an economic hub, a center of culture and manufacturing jobs, home of some of the largest industries, companies, and employers in the world, supplying American-made automobiles to a burgeoning American middle class. Stable jobs, good wages, and benefits fueled a thriving middle class, and families and neighborhoods flourished. Back then, Detroit was the fourth-largest city in the nation, with more than two million residents, and boasted the largest per capita income in America.

A complete collapse of the economy
Today, the entire automobile industry is a shell of its former self, and after decades of decay and retreat, the population of Detroit has declined to about 700,000 and the unemployment rate stands at more than 18%. Those stable, high-paying jobs have been replaced by technology and global competition, resulting in a complete collapse of the economy. A city about the many, which found a magical way to ride a wave up, increasingly became a city of the few, where everyone concerned rode the original dream into a deep fiscal ditch. The leaders forgot about the struggling class that made the city in the first place.

Detroit went broke long before it went bust; it ran out of ideas
The unions began to see their role as simply guaranteeing jobs, raises, and benefits, to the point that worker health insurance is today one of the largest expenses for a Detroit car manufacturer. General Motors planned to spend more than $60 billion on employee health insurance, an average of $1,400 per automobile coming off the line. Detroit went broke long before it went bust; it ran out of ideas. It is one of the reasons that Detroit became the largest municipal bankruptcy case in American history.

It’s not what we get but what we have to give that matters most
Cities thrive when there is a high level of individual economic energy and at least the perception of enough opportunity to go around. And all of this is about one thing: hope made real through a pathway to the middle class. This requires an allowance and an opportunity for everyone to become a stakeholder in that city’s dream. It’s not what we get but what we have to give that matters most.

The economic energies of the poor are neglected or wasted
If we want to save America, we must save its cities, and the only way to save America’s cities is with a vibrant and believable pathway to the middle-class American dream. The best stabilizer of societies, here and around the world, is not twenty-year-olds armed with AK-47 assault rifles but ten-and fifteen-year-olds armed with hope, economic energy, opportunity, and a dream of a life better than their parents. Currently, the economic energies of the poor are neglected or wasted. They’re outside the system.

They need to be treated as customers and job creators
The poor don’t need just “help”; they need investment. They need to be treated as customers and job creators. The main driver of freedom in the world today is not the vote but access to capital and knowledge about how to use it (self-determination). That means financial literacy education, financial capability, and financial and economic empowerment. If people don’t understand the global language of money, and if they don’t have a bank or credit union account, they are simply an economic slave. Thus, access to finance and financial literacy is a new civil rights issue.

HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM

Monday, April 6, 2015 @ 07:04 AM
posted by admin

HEADLINES OF THE DAY: ANOTHER 15,000 PEOPLE DIED YESTERDAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO POOR TO LIVE. THE RICH INCREASED THEIR WEALTH YESTERDAY BY $0.3 BILLION. THE 21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IS ONE DAY NEARER.

“O Ye rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.”
Bahá’u’lláh

A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at willisdavid167@gmail.com. CHAPTER 1: INDIFFERENCE TO POVERTY (Part 97). This blog is a continuation of the review of HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM: REBUILDING THE PATH TO THE MIDDLE CLASS by John Hope Bryant, published in 2014.

PART I: SEEDING HOPE
Chapter one: Separate, Unequal America
I am aiming to turn upside down some “truths” about the economy, jobs, where wealth comes from, and who stands to gain most if we tap the armies of ignored and “inconvenient” poor and working poor who are presently left on the sidelines. The United States is the largest economy in the world, at approximately $16 trillion in annual gross domestic product. We have enormous human resources of wealth creation and opportunity just waiting to be unleashed.

The wealthiest 1% spends only 49% of its income
Consumers – not businesses or governments – power the bulk of our massive economy, with fully 70% of the economy dependent on consumer spending. Sustained economic growth and the fortunes of the other 30% of the economy depends on the economic vibrancy of ordinary consumers, most of whom are not wealthy. The ordinary Americans are much more reliable spenders than the wealthy; the bottom 80% of the American workforce spends 90% of its income, whereas the wealthiest 1% spends only 49%.

The system works well for some, it is leaving many behind
The “bottom” 80% of consumers, the backbone of the economy, owns only 11% of the nation’s money. We’re now building the consumer-driven 70% of our economic growth on the backs of those who have only a 7% stake in the system, and as many as ten million of these consumer households don’t even have a bank account. Although the system works well for some, it is leaving many behind, and as a result it is understandably coming to an end.

If change is to come, we must drive that change
We don’t have to settle for capitalism the way we have it, or the way it’s been. We can make free enterprise and capitalism actually work for the poor, the struggling classes, and the least of God’s children. This is precisely my plan. In this plan, everyone gets a role to play, not just the president and other elected officials, big business, or big banks. This is our country, our world, and our communities, and if change is to come, we must drive that change.

The most dangerous person in the world is a person with no hope
The first myth that we must overturn is the idea that poor people are somehow not relevant to our economic growth. The second myth is that the poor somehow did this to themselves – that they are all bums and deserve to be poor because they are lazy, have bad habits, or possess a horrible work ethic. I got out and did well because of the hope factor that surrounded and encompassed my life. But when this magic doesn’t happen in a kid’s life, and when the factors that actually drain opportunity happen often enough, then kids begin to lose hope. And the most dangerous person in the world is a person with no hope.

The problem arises when people believe that the game is rigged
We need to recapture that old hope that if you work hard, keep your nose clean, go to school and get good grades, pay your taxes and your emotional dues, it will pay off in a fair shot at the American dream and your children will have a legitimate shot at living an even better life than you. Today, both of these dreams seem to have been shattered, not for just the poor and the undeserved but also for the struggling middle class. The problem arises when people begin to believe that the game is rigged, that no matter what they do they simply cannot get ahead. That is when a healthy skepticism turns into a destructive cynicism.

HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM

Sunday, April 5, 2015 @ 05:04 AM
posted by admin

HEADLINES OF THE DAY: ANOTHER 15,000 PEOPLE DIED YESTERDAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO POOR TO LIVE. THE RICH INCREASED THEIR WEALTH YESTERDAY BY $0.3 BILLION. THE 21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IS ONE DAY NEARER.

“O Ye rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.”
Bahá’u’lláh

A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at willisdavid167@gmail.com. CHAPTER 1: INDIFFERENCE TO POVERTY (Part 96). This blog is a continuation of the review of HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM: REBUILDING THE PATH TO THE MIDDLE CLASS by John Hope Bryant, published in 2014.

Introduction
This book is about saving America. All of America. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that the movement of his day and age was intended to “redeem the soul of America from the triple evils of racism, war, and poverty. Dr. King and my mentor, former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, genuinely thought that we make America better, stronger, more resilient, more valuable, and more valued when the nation has the benefit of everyone rowing in the waters of prosperity, dignity, and human aspiration. By 1968 Dr. King had turned his attention to a Poor People’s campaign that involved and sought to engage the whole of America, every race.

No one has ever tried to make free enterprise and capitalism work for the poor
This book is not about socialism, and it is definitely not about communism. Government has its place in our society, but we must all remember that 92% of all jobs in the United States come from the private sector. I have come to believe that capitalism is a horrible system – except for every other system. And no one has ever tried to make free enterprise and capitalism work for the poor and others left out and left behind in America, at scale.

Belief in oneself
The HOPE Doctrine on Poverty says that there are three things that define poverty and struggle more than any set of financial numbers ever could: self-confidence, self-esteem, and belief in oneself; role models and environment; aspiration and opportunity. Or lack of these things.

We have tossed away the portion of society that we need to save it
As I look for real, sustainable solutions to the poverty and lack of opportunity I see every day during my work at Operation HOPE, I have come to a strange conclusion: We have most likely locked up and thrown away the key to some of the very character traits that are required to stand up a community, create an emerging market and jobs, and grow local economies. We have actually tossed away the portion of society that we need to save it, leaving the elderly, the infirm, the young, broken families, or the traditional job striver to save a faltering community.

America’s most amazing entrepreneurship success stories
America is a grab bag of immigrant vagabonds from the world over, and a majority of her most amazing entrepreneurship success stories are also stories of struggling immigrants. These are the people who produced a country that is now the envy of people all over the world who still want to come here.

Men fail for three reasons
Andrew Young often said to me, “Men fail for three reasons: arrogance, pride, and greed.” All three of these things are rooted in insecurity and fear, and doing the wrong or utterly selfish thing most often happens when fear and insecurity overtake our being, our inner reason. The key to winning is to get over these insecurities and fears, to first conquer ourselves and to learn to become reasonably comfortable in our own skins. But the dangerous other side of this is also true: if I don’t have a purpose in my life, I am going to make your life a living hell.

The most dangerous person in the world is a person with no hope
The poor and the underserved must be given a stake in this thing we call America or I promise you they will tear it up – right before they tear it down. This is not an alarmist statement. The most dangerous person in the world is a person with no hope.

Planting, nurturing, and growing a sustainable middle class
So I am not suggesting that we cultivate the plot of the poor because it is morally right, even though it is, but because it just makes good, sustainable sense. We must do it because it is the only thing left to do that has half a chance of working and of benefiting both the powerful and the dispossessed alike. This book is about saving America and returning her to her original promise, her original founding ideas and ideals. It is about planting, nurturing, and growing a sustainable middle class. It is about creating a new, sustainable business plan that returns this country to its original big, bold, audacious dream. This idea is both utterly liberal and the very definition of conservative at the same time. America is not a country; it is an idea. And we can reimagine it to be anything we like.