You are currently browsing the archives for the Book Reviews category.

Archives

From Field to Plate...

Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

Thursday, April 23, 2015 @ 04:04 PM
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A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at willisdavid167@gmail.com.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 105). This blog is a continuation of the review of ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ON WEALTH AND POVERTY published by St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, New York in 1984.

The first sermon
In the first sermon, St John deals with the lives of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-21). The parable passes over the moral qualities of the two men, so St John must discuss what is wrong with the life of luxury and what is good about the life of poverty. Are all the rich condemned and all the poor saved? No, although the poor have a better chance. The rich man’s chief fault was his failure to give alms; he neglected the duty of helping his neighbor. In addition he harmed his own spiritual health by his self-indulgent way of life. Lazarus, on the other hand, by enduring patiently without complaint used his sufferings to build up spiritual strength. St John is concerned with spiritual, not material well-being. If we wish to store up treasure in heaven, we must both observe the commandment of love towards our neighbor and practice the asceticism appropriate to our circumstances for the benefit of our own souls.

The second sermon
The second sermon moves along to the deaths of the two men (Luke 16:22-24). Death reveals who was truly rich and who was truly poor. The man who lived alone receives an honor guard of angels; the other man lost all his followers and lies alone in hell. St John has more to say about the positive duties of the rich: they must hold their property as stewards for the poor, and must share their wealth without regard to the moral qualities of those who are in need. If we spend more than necessary on ourselves, we deserve the same penalty as if we had stolen the money.

The third sermon
In the third sermon, St John takes up the rich man’s first petition, that Lazarus should bring him a drop of water, and Abraham’s response (Luke 16:24-26). What is the relation between our misfortune or prosperity in this life and our condition in the life to come? Can we earn our way to heaven by our sufferings, voluntary or involuntary, in this life? Not exactly, according to St John; but earthly sufferings, if endured with patience, can help us get rid of some of our sins and the punishment due to us for them. Everyone of us has some sins, no matter how good we are; but if the general trend of our life is virtuous, we can finish our necessary suffering before we die. Besides, we need to train ourselves in virtue in order to become the kind of people God wants us to be.

What we are expected to do
If we are poor or chronically ill, the effort of patient endurance with thanksgiving is sufficient asceticism. If we are rich and healthy, we must practice voluntary austerity both to overcome our sinful inclinations and to develop a virtuous character. As a pastor and teacher of morals, St John concentrates on what we ourselves are expected to do.

Intercessory prayer for the dead
In concluding the third sermon, St John speaks of the great chasm that separates heaven from hell. This raises the issue of intercessory prayer for the dead. The Fathers of the Orthodox Church generally teach, with the support of Biblical texts like this, that we must make our choice for or against God in this life, and that once we have passed to another life we will have no opportunity to escape from hell. Thus St John here tells his congregation that, if they have not made their own efforts to acquire virtue during their lives, they must not expect to be saved by the prayers of others, whether of their spiritual father or of any saintly relative.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 06:04 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 104). This blog is a review of ST JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ON WEALTH AND POVERTY published by St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, New York in 1984.

Introduction
St John of the golden mouth (Chryostom) lived, served and preached at a cross-roads in the history of the Christian Church. He was born about 350 A.D. at Antioch in Syria: a time not long after Constantine had established Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire, and a city where Greek civilization encountered the various cultures of the Near East. The church of Antioch was founded by St Paul, visited by St Peter, and adorned by the episcopate of St Ignatius the God-bearer (martyred about 107). Antioch was the third city of the empire until the rise of Constantinople, with a population of perhaps 300,000, mostly Greeks, but also Syrians, Phoenicians, Romans, Jews, and others. Christianity had to compete with a variety of religions, as well as with the secular attractions of the theaters and the race-course. Earthquakes and Persian invasions were persistent dangers. Antioch prospered because of its position on the trade routes; some families were very rich, though others were very poor, and a majority were in an adequate financial condition.

John was struck by the arrogance of the rich
John’s parents were Christians and prominent citizens. John received the standard education of late antiquity. His teacher Libanius was a famous rhetorician, whose public speeches attracted large audiences. John’s own sermons later became a similar form of public entertainment. His ethical teaching combines the spirit of the New Testament with the tradition of the Stoics and the Cynics, who taught that virtue was the only true good, and wisdom the only source of true freedom and true wealth. For twenty years he served the church of Antioch as reader, deacon, and priest. He knew from experience the sufferings of the poor and the sick, and was struck in contrast by the arrogance of the rich. His sermons were popular – though never as popular as the theater or the race course. The congregation often interrupted his preaching with applause, but did not necessarily put his advice into practice.

What does God expect of us, rich and poor?
During his preisthood in Antioch, St John preached his series of sermons on the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, perhaps in 388 or 389. The sixth sermon was preached after an earthquake, when it seemed timely to speak of God’s judgment and the necessity of choosing the right way of life before it was too late. The parable of Lazarus and the rich man enabled St John to treat several of his favorite themes. First of all, there is the age-old question, why do we see righteous people suffering while sinners live in prosperity? From this there follows the moral question, what does God expect of us, rich and poor? In more general terms, how do we attain salvation? The first four sermons treat the text of the parable verse by verse and discuss these questions along the way.

Tuesday, April 21, 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 103). 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.

Chapter nine: Project 5117
Project 5117 is Operation HOPE’s revolutionary four-pronged approach to combating economic inequality by improving financial literacy; increasing the ratio of business role models and business internships from today’s national average of 5% to 20%; empowering adults and families to become involved in the banking system; and to help raise their credit scores.

Changing and transforming an entire generation
Project 5117 is about changing and transforming an entire generation, empowering future leaders for America, and stabilizing and rooting this generation of working-class, and middle-class communities, first by addressing the untapped power of business role models and business internships for youth and then by creating opportunities for those families to participate in banking and credit.

Conclusion: Where we go from here
people seem genuinely confused about how the poor get out of this mess. I am not. In many ways, I am building upon the solid foundations of thoughtful global leadership focused on poverty eradication advanced by such people as Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, and C.K.Prahalad, author of The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. America’s poverty is not just about money and not having enough of it. The core of the problem is that poor people have more time than money in their days and not enough tangible opportunity in their lives. They pay the most to get the poorest quality goods and services, and all too often they feel beaten down before they even get started with their day. Bad capitalism then feeds on this sense of despair, cynicism, and lack of hope.

Making free enterprise and responsible capitalism relevant
While the world is still adjusting to and trying to recover from the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression, I am focused on what comes next. In the midst of this crisis I see an opportunity to finally make free enterprise and responsible capitalism relevant to and workable for the poor and the underserved. This time round, world economic growth will require the positive inclusion of us all.

Four major “big bangs” in economic growth
The United States has seen four major “big bangs” in economic growth in its history: an agricultural phase, and industrial phase, a technology phase, and our present information age. These previous stages of economic growth required land, buildings, equipment, or other “things” to light the fuse of economic growth and prosperity. Even the information age, which we currently are in and have arguably led, has depended upon the thing called a microprocessor.

The fifth stage of economic prosperity will be very different
Our next economic big bang, the fifth stage of economic prosperity, will be very different. Rather than relying on things, it will rely almost wholly on what we might call the “software of human development.” This is the development and unleashing of empowered human capital around the world. The new software of human development is what arises when you energize and inspire a generation of young people with the power of a new, transformational idea. The idea is this: you are the product. And when people know this, when they believe this, when they are given the tools and opportunity to achieve this, they become what I call “the CEO of you.”

This is how the poor can save capitalism
What the world needs now is a generation endowed with the empowered human capital to create its own jobs. And when they do this – when one billion youth around the world figure out how they can light the fuse to lift themselves up through self-determination – they not only help secure the gross domestic product growth that the world needs but also gain dignity for themselves and all those around them. This is how the poor can save capitalism. Remember, we only need 5% of a community to serve as role models to stabilize that community.

Monday, April 20, 2015 @ 09:04 PM
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 102). 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.

Role models
All of us are who we are because of our role models. Whatever anyone has become in life, it began first with seeing that image somewhere. Being smart and working hard is not nearly enough if you don’t have a relationship with a mentor or a model of life success. A study by the University of Chicago, cited in Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, noted that it only takes 5% of a community to act as role models to stabilize a community. I find it amazing that only 5% of a community needs to stand up and show young people in their lives the path to a successful career in order to trigger an economic tipping point that can stabilize a neighborhood and eventually a nation!

Education is not connecting them to a sustainable career
After two years of data, the Gallup-HOPE Index has shown that, although 77% of students want to be their own boss, only 5% are currently learning the skills necessary to do so by interning with a local business. Present estimates indicate that 20% to 50% of students in many large urban high schools fail to graduate, in part because many students don’t believe their education is connecting them to a sustainable career. We must connect this next generation with a meaningful role in the workforce, through more private sector mentorship, cradle-to-career pathways, and positive role modeling in schools and communities.

This is our task, and this is our moment
The job of our generation will be to connect the 45% of youth who want to start their own businesses with more mentors and internships, so that more than 5% of them can have the job training and mentorship necessary necessary to embark on a successful career. If we can connect aspiration with career opportunity through increased role modeling for youth, everything could be different. This is our task, and this is our moment.

Chapter eight: The HOPE Plan
The Marshall Plan
Following World War II, the United States put together an initiative to provide economic and technical support to help Europe rebuild its cities and economies. Called the European Recovery Program but popularly known as the Marshall Plan, after Secretary of State George Marshall, the plan was designed to modernize European industry and remove trade barriers, in addition to revitalizing destroyed cities and putting people back to work. The program began in April 1948, ran for four years, and was an unqualified success. Those four years of American technical and financial assistance may not have been solely responsible for Europe’s recovery, but it certainly helped, and most leaders today would probably agree that this not only was the right thing to do at the time but was also smart politics and even smarter economics.

An economic Marshall Plan for our times
Today, bringing hope to the U.S. economy calls for an economic Marshall Plan for our times. Call it the HOPE plan. The command staff are American and global business leaders, backed by government leaders with both vision and courage, but more specifically by each of us. Making a place at the table for the poor and underserved begins with financial literacy and everything that goes with it.

Sunday, April 19, 2015 @ 10:04 PM
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 101). 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.

More Cadillacs were sold than during roaring 1928
A couple of decades after Ford, another automobile manufacturer learned what Ford had already shown. General Motors’ Cadillac division was faltering in the 1930s. In 1928 the company manufactured 41,172 Cadillacs; by 1933 Cadillac sold only 6,736 cars, a decline of fully 84%. Dreystadt encouraged the board of directors to drop its discriminatory policies and begin selling Cadillacs directly to black customers and in 1934 Cadillac sales increased by 70%. During still-depressed 1937, more Cadillacs were sold than during roaring 1928.

The success of the mobile phone industry
The clout of poor and working-class people is no less powerful today. Walmart, founded by a man who drove a pickup truck until the very day he died, was created to provide affordable and quality products to and for the working class and the working poor. In the service sector, restaurants exhibit the same bottom-up support. Even items such as telephones owe their huge success to the massive numbers of people who want to own them. The mobile phone industry has become one of the most profitable industries of the past one hundred years, making countless entrepreneurs and shareholders immensely wealthy while increasing the connectivity and empowerment of communities and individuals the world over. And its success has been driven by the working poor, the underserved, and the struggling classes, both in the United States and around the world.

We must restore hope
I believe that the poor are an untapped, unleveraged asset for the future prosperity of our nation and that America’s inner cities are the last bastion of lost capitalism. We must restore hope and get people moving again by improving their financial literacy and their credit scores, increasing their access to banking and investment, and increasing their self-esteem and access to positive business and personal role models.

Chapter seven: The power of small business and Entrepreneurship
According to Gallup research, 70% of all jobs in America come from small businesses with 500 or fewer employees, and half of all jobs in America come from small businesses with one hundred or fewer employees. For nearly eight years running, America hovered at around 400,000 start-ups per year, and most recently that number dipped troublingly to 350,000 in the last year reported. According to Clifton, we need approximately one million small business start-ups per year to lift our country’s economy, create jobs, and sustain our prosperity. A good number of these businesses can come from populations that have been left behind, ignored, or massively misunderstood and underestimated.

Aspiration is a powerful motivator to changing behavior
Gallup-HOPE Index and Gallup Student Poll results for 2013 showed that today’s low-income youth are more likely than their wealthier peers to develop problem-solving skills. We need a generation of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and self-employment projects which becomes more powerful with each generation. Both failure and success are cultures, and just as failure breeds more failure, success breeds more success. Aspiration is a powerful motivator to changing behavior. Aspiration is tied to hope.

Cultivating entrepreneurs in middle schools, colleges, and universities
To jump-start a stagnant U.S. economy and put the country on a path toward long-term economic growth and prosperity – even global dominance once again – leaders must get their assumptions right. They must understand that entrepreneurship trumps innovation and that finding the next generation of entrepreneurs means cultivating them in middle schools, colleges, and universities, just as surely and intentionally as the country cultivates innovators. But entrepreneurship cannot be fostered by Washington; it must be developed at city level. I urge banks to encourage community entrepreneurship in areas with depressed economies by granting loans that support small business and start-up growth in those areas.

Thursday, April 9, 2015 @ 06:04 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.