Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pathways To A New Black Economy: The Main Ingredient

PathwaysThis is the second installment in a series of articles or blog entries under the rubric of black economic development, or black economic autonomy. The title I've chosen for the series pretty much sums up what I hope to accomplish, and suggests, in addition, the immensity of the task--"Pathways to a New Black Economy."

To say a "new" economy is also to imply the existence--either now, or before--of an "old" one, otherwise there would be nothing to replace.

To be sure, a black economy already exists, but what I'm proposing is not a complete overhaul of the economic system now in place, but a partial departure from the old way of doing business, and a venturing headlong into a twenty-first century paradigm that will, in part, overcome one of the obvious obstacles to black economic autonomy--finding those black businesses, and professionals that are readily accessible, and to whom we can give, to a satisfactory degree, our trust, even if it's not always unqualified.

If I wait until I've researched the various topics exhaustively, these articles will never be written, and the delay, for all its emphasis on perfection, may not improve the quality of the product, but may dampen the enthusiasm with which I undertake the task. Oftentimes it's perfection that spoils the stew, and not the many hands that stir it, or the various tastebuds that seek to enhance its flavor.

Yet, for a black economy to thrive, and to have even an outside chance of growing, expanding, and becoming a force for good within the black community, a main ingredient must be added to the economic stew at the beginning--notwithstanding the number of eventual contributors to the stew, and the necessity of adding other ingredients that taste, and experience will dictate.

An economic renaissance must be predicated on one ingredient, an ingredient not totally missing now, but which, I fear, must be present in sufficient quantity to effectuate the development of conditions that would maximize the "new economy's" chances for success.

The Four Pathways to a New Black Economy establish a table of contents of a sort, an enumeration of those areas I'll explore and those topics that I'll take up:

The Main Ingredient
The Indispensable Factor
The New Way
The "Old" New Way
At the outset, I not only request your candid input, but invite it, along with your suggestions, corrections, and improvements. As much as is possible, let's make this a collaborative effort.
The Main Ingredient
The Main Ingredient constitutes the First Pathway to a New Black Economy, and, in many ways, stands out as the most important. That's why I call it the main ingredient: to stress it's importance, and highlight why it's first in line to be discussed, although it doesn't contribute materially to the New Black Economy.

With this necessary ingredient in mind, I said in the comment section of an earlier blog entry:

This period of economic sluggishness has within it innumerable opportunities as well, opportunities that we're (as Greg L would describe it) not "prepared" to exploit.

I will, at some point, present my vision for economic growth within, and development of, the black community, if we can develop, and then harness, an essential element.

With this element we can look to a bright economic picture, and, without it, a bleak one, or, at the very least, a picture that will take incredibly longer to change colors--from a black and white negative, to one filled with vibrant colors: the way that Technicolor motion pictures excited the sense of sight after years of [us] viewing on screens various shades of black, and gray.


The use of the words, the element, and the ingredient, are just two ways of referring to the same thing--an essential something that's present, but not always consistently, in the affairs of men and women, not just black men, and women. Yet, it's an ingredient that's paramount, if blacks are to cultivate the necessary environment where honesty leads, and is well out front, as we come together to forge, and formulate, a New Black Economy, and lay the foundation for a brighter economic future.

Recently, someone asked me: "What does honesty mean to you?"

Only one word came to mind, not a full comment, not a thought-out philosophical response, not even a dictionary meaning. Just one word:

TRUST.

Trust is the element, the ingredient upon which a New Black Economy may be built--as well as nation states--and form the basis upon which all enterprises may flourish, provided people of goodwill have developed the will to put the good first.

Without trust, an enterprise, no matter how well-intentioned, no matter what good marks its purpose, is doomed from the beginning. Because trust is so elusive in business, and still so essential to the success of an enterprise, it has to be built-in, as it were, to exist as an integral part of the business model--that is, business transactions must be scrupulously monitored, and dishonesty meticulously rooted out--how, exactly, will become clearer, as the discussion progresses.

Ours is an age where greed has replaced trust; an age where the withholding of information is commonplace, and deception reigns, so that the unwary may be preyed upon, and the trusting fleeced. Ours is the age of Bernie Madoff, and Wall Street shysters. Trust, if it were a commodity, would be rarer than diamonds, and more precious.

Greg L summarizes it this way:

"[A]t the bottom of our nation’s economic and political problems is this focus on 'making money' rather than helping and giving to people. Greed is the scourge of the earth."

Indeed, it is. I will revisit this "ingredient" along the way--and certainly in the last installment. The last installment, hands down, will be the most controversial of the Four Pathways to a New Black Economy.

Now to prepare us, to give us a working background, I'm appending here several observations about the current state of the black economy. It's not a comprehensive overview, but it will, for now, suffice.

"Overview (Demographics): In July 2008, 41 million people in the United States, or 13.5 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, were Black. They are the second largest minority population, following the Hispanic/Latino population. In 2007, the majority of Blacks lived in the South (56 percent), while 34 percent of white population lived in the South. The ten states with the largest Black population in 2008 were New York, Florida, Texas, Georgia, California, North Carolina, Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, Michigan. Louisiana is no longer in the top 10, as a result of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Combined, these 10 states represented 59% of the total Black population. Of the ten largest places in the United States with 100,000 or more population, Gary, Indiana has the largest proportion of Blacks, 83%, followed by Detroit (82%).

Educational Attainment: In 2007, as compared to Whites 25 years and over, a lower percentage of Blacks had earned at least a high school diploma (80 percent and 89 percent, respectively). More Black women than Black men had earned at least a bachelor's degree (16 percent compared with 14 percent), while among non-Hispanic Whites, a higher proportion of men than women had earned at least a bachelor's degree (25 percent and 24 percent, respectively), in 2006.

"Economics: According to the 2007 Census Bureau report, the average African-American family median income was $33,916 in comparison to $54,920 for non-Hispanic White families. In 2007, the U.S. Census bureau reported that 24.5 percent of African-Americans in comparison to 8.2 percent of non-Hispanic Whites were living at the poverty level. In 2007, the unemployment rate for Blacks was twice that for non-Hispanic Whites (8 percent and 4 percent, respectively). This finding was consistent for both men (9 percent compared with 4 percent) and women (8 percent compared with 4 percent).

"Insurance Coverage: In 2007, 49 percent of African-Americans in comparison to 66 non-Hispanic Whites used employer-sponsored health insurance. Also in 2007, 23.8 percent of African-Americans in comparison to 9 percent of non-Hispanic Whites relied on public health insurance. Finally, in 2007, 19.5 percent of African-Americans in comparison to 10.4 percent of non-Hispanic whites were uninsured."

23 comments:

msladydeborah said...

I just read through this quickly. It's eary a.m. and I have to get up soon and depart for work. But when I comes home this evening I will return and share my thoughts.

This looks interesting and good.

Greg L said...

"Ours is an age where greed has replaced trust; an age where the withholding of information is commonplace, and deception reigns, so that the unwary may be preyed upon, and the trusting fleeced. Ours is the age of Bernie Madoff, and Wall Street shysters. Trust, if it were a commodity, would be rarer than diamonds, and more precious."

DB, I'm heading off to work here, but wanted to comment quickly on the above issue. Your comments are entirely on point and the trust issue is a huge opportunity for small business. In a recent Gallup poll, many major institutions of American life (i.e. the press, congress, the church and etc.) had extremely low and declining approval ratings owing to the issue of the lack of public trust. The one exception was small business, which was highly trusted.

Those poll statistics not only back you up, but also indicate the huge opportunity that's available for small business. As the economic situation continues to unravel and as more people come to the conclusion as to who is behind it, skepticism grows and trust becomes even more important. This can really be a boon for a small local business with ties to its community. The predisposition towards doing business locally with someone that's trusted is already there, one just have to find a way to market himself or herself.

I'll be back with more later.

Blinders Off said...

BD,

Trust is the major stumbling block among blacks when it comes to other blacks. Is the New Way the same as solutions?

I have to go now...I will be back.

Black Diaspora said...

@Greg: "This can really be a boon for a small local business with ties to its community. The predisposition towards doing business locally with someone that's trusted is already there, one just have to find a way to market himself or herself."

The egg scare that's gripping the nation, I'm told, is the result of large corporations hogging the production end of things.

Small businesses, as you imply, are local. They have to be responsive and responsible. If something goes wrong, they could be ruined, but corporations can hide behind their distance from point of sell, their mega-bucks, and high-powered lawyers.

This is not to say that mom and pops locally lack integrity, but that corporations have shown by their actions a certain immorality, and attention to the bottomline that doesn't characterize small business owners, who see their place in the community as providing a much-needed service, or product.

Looking forward to your other comments.

Black Diaspora said...

msladydeborah said...
"But when I comes home this evening I will return and share my thoughts.

"This looks interesting and good."

I won't say it. I won't say that you're first again.

I'm looking forward to your thoughts.

Black Diaspora said...

Blinders Off said...
"BD,

Trust is the major stumbling block among blacks when it comes to other blacks. Is the New Way the same as solutions?"

You're right, I'm afraid. That's why I'm leading off with it as the "main ingredient."

I hope to offer ideas that will, hopefully, encourage "trust," but there are no magic bullets to correct flaws of character.

The "New Way" is solution-based. Further, I'm also looking to you (meaning those who post here), as well, to provide some of the "solutions."

Greg L said...

>>The "New Way" is solution-based. Further, I'm also looking to you (meaning those who post here), as well, to provide some of the "solutions."<<


As I mentioned earlier, when I started my business it felt that I was literally on stage at “Saturday Night at the Apollo” and again, while my practice is more diverse now, I must state unequivocally that black folks have contributed mightily to my success in business, but I had to earn that support.

When I started my business, I had a couple of strikes against me that presented a marketing challenge. The first challenge was that there were few Black CPA’s and the idea that many folks had was that Jewish CPA’s knew all about money, so what could I possibly know about money? Basically, the challenge was that the white man’s ice was colder. But behind all of this was the notion of trust. Could I be trusted to do the work properly? Could I be trusted to be a competent businessman by doing stuff like returning calls and being timely with the work product? Unfortunately, too frequently our experience with black business is such that this doesn’t happen.

Before I talk about how I dealt with the trust issue, let me briefly digress and talk about the situation with black business generally, which can’t be separated from the situation with black people in the general sense. One of the basic problems with black leadership, whether it’s business or otherwise, is that our best foot is not forward. The brightest and most talented of our people are generally not running the businesses or, for that matter, engaged heavily in the community. They’re occupied building up the situation of the larger society. This means that those left to run the businesses, to run for political office, to run the institutions in the community are frequently not our best and brightest IMO. In other words, “our starters” are playing on the other guys team (and frequently catching hell while doing so), while the second string are the ones in the community. This is distinctly different than the situation pre-integration and we can’t underestimate the impact this has across a number of institutions in the community, including businesses. Dubois’ talented tenth have been seconded outside of the community. In my view, the challenge is to bring more of us back.

In the business context, I look at trust as a marketing opportunity rather than something to take umbrage at. So I don’t get too caught up with whether we should be trusting each other automatically because trust is something that’s earned and here’s what I’ve discovered earns it:

1)Develop your competence (i.e. education, training, gaining experience)

2) Demonstrate your knowledge and competence for all to see. Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind about this. This is particularly important in the African-American community to overcome the negative perceptions.

3) Under promise and over deliver

4)No matter how perfect you try to be, mistakes will be made. When they occur, go all out to do what you must do to correct them.

Again, I offer this in the business context, but they’re applicable in other parts of life as well outside of business. People trust what they see you do and if they don’t see you doing it, why should they trust?

Greg L said...

>>but that corporations have shown by their actions a certain immorality, and attention to the bottomline that doesn't characterize small business owners, who see their place in the community as providing a much-needed service, or product.<<

BD,

I think this is a huge open door for small business. There's a movement afoot for some to move their money to small community based banks due to the intransigence of the major money center banks. People are highly upset at big business and the egg thing is just another reminder. They're primed to act on this by going local, but again the small business has to earn that trust, but most already do. As you say, we have to live with our customers and there's no quicker way to be out of business than to rip someone.

Anonymous said...

Greg, I value, immensely, your insight, knowledge, experience, and expertise.

Your perspective will serve us invaluably going forward.

"I must state unequivocally that black folks have contributed mightily to my success in business, but I had to earn that support."

Ideally, this is how "trust" is built, one brick at a time.

And where blacks are concentrated, and alternatives exist, this approach is superior to others, and is one of the advantages of the small-business model--where you live and die, rise and fall, on the quality and excellence of your customer service.

Although there are areas of high black concentration around the nation, we're still scattered across the demographic terrain, and the challenge to come together as a black collective, using the weight of our collective resolve, is greater because of it, but it's still a necessary requirement, if we're to excel and advance as a people.

Trust, then, becomes even more imperative because of the impediments we face in building a united front, impediments that whites don't face because of their ubiquitous presence, and common interests.

I don't think blacks rip us off at a rate higher than whites, it just that we seem to hold it against blacks more--I suppose because they are family, and we, therefore, expect more, and better.

But when you think about it, I'm sure that it's just as true for many in our immediate family--who're just as likely, if not more so, to take advantage of us as non-family members.

Of course, not all family members are this incline, but I have several in my own family that stand out.

Blinders Off voices that perception precisely when she writes: "Trust is the major stumbling block among blacks when it comes to other blacks."

"One of the basic problems with black leadership...is that our best foot is not forward. The brightest and most talented of our people are generally not running the businesses or...engaged heavily in the community. They’re occupied building up the situation of the larger society."

This is a valid criticism, and one that is often heard: Once blacks succeed they leave the black community--a black flight--which creates with their leaving a brain drain.

Africa suffers, too, because of this brain drain, I'm told, with Africa's best and brightest finding success, money, and fame in the greener pastures of Europe and the United States.

It's hard for blacks to uplift Africa, or the black community, while at the same time uplifting those people who aren't dedicated to reinvesting in Africa or the black community--not with schools, health initiatives, or opportunities.

Individuals prosper, but at the expense of the whole.

"Dubois' talented tenth have been seconded outside of the community. In my view, the challenge is to bring more of us back."

Or to engage them again. This is being done, but not on the scale necessary to make a real, lasting impact.

We have to repurpose blacks everywhere, to have them rededicate themselves to the continued development of the black community. It's possible, but it has to have a collective urgency, and a collective focus to make it a priority, and eventually a reality.

"In the business context, I look at trust as a marketing opportunity rather than something to take umbrage at."

As you say, developing "trust" has its advantages, and can be turned into a positive.

At the beginning of any enterprise, I suspect that building "trust," especially where little existed before, should be priority one, and is why I placed it first in the order of things.

And if BP is to earn our trust again, it will have to dedicate itself to your several trust markers. So far, the only trust they've managed to earn is "distrust."

Black Diaspora said...

Of course, I'm the anonymous, not so anonymous, commenter above.

Blinders Off said...

The comments as insightful and true, I strongly believe in patronizing black owned business and I always encourage others to do the same. However, I will not blindly continue to spend my money with a black business if the company does unprofessional work and give poor service. I had to fire a black contractor who was doing some remodeling in my home, I should have fired him sooner and I would not have been out of thousands and several more thousands to have his work re-done by another contractor. Although, that was the worse experience I had to deal with a black businessperson, it did not deter me from supporting black owned businesses.

New Path of Solutions: Politics

Power is what people gain when they win an elective position. They have the power to create laws, revise laws, decided a person fate, etc...,

Before my family decided to reside in the town I live in, we lived in military housing. During the years we lived in military housing I observed and identified the problem blacks were having in this Southern town. They were complacent; I was tired of witnessing their acceptance of blatant racism and hearing them say, "That's just the way it is here."

The coalition put together a newsletter called "The Minority Report" exposing his record when it came to blacks while as Mayor and circulated it to every black person in this community. The blacks that had the Mayor's sign in their yard pulled his sign up and replace it with the person we backed. To make a long story short our person won, he was the lesser of the two evils. The election in 2008 proved to the whites holding elective office we can make a difference and it also proved to any black person seeking to run for an elective position they could win.


People who seek political power always court the black vote during elections when two or more whites are running against each other. The black vote decides the winner and that is a fact in most cities. However, when we give our vote, we should expect and demand that they do not ignore us once elected. My motto here in my town is "We will vote them out every four years until we get one that does not ignore our concerns".

Becoming knowledgeable in local, state, and federal politics is a New Path that we must take. We must continue to remind our young people of the people who died for us to have the right to vote and encourage them to use it. No matter how big or small the city we live in, forming a coalition to keep up with the politics in the city or town we live in is important, because decision that affects our black owned businesses, neighborhood, recreation, and development starts in City Hall. If we do not let our concerns be heard, they will always be ignored and we will always be invisible.

Political Knowledge and Using It Is Power!

Black Diaspora said...

@Blinders Off: "Political Knowledge and Using It Is Power!"

I like that statement. I'm glad you weighed in.

"The comments as insightful and true, I strongly believe in patronizing black owned business and I always encourage others to do the same."

Like you, I, too, have bad experiences with black-owned businesses and professionals, but continue to patronize them whenever possible.

When I take inventory, I find that I've had far more bad experiences with white businesses and professionals than with black ones.

I reject shoddy work, and poor service, regardless of color, or race--and don't feel that I should accommodate it simply because it's our goal to cater to blacks.

Certainly, it's our aim to build up black businesses, and encourage blacks to become entrepreneurs and business owners, but it's also in our interest to insist on excellence, and weed out those blacks that take in our money without delivering what we've paid for--whether it's a product or a service.

Greg's words resonate: "I don’t get too caught up with whether we should be trusting each other automatically because trust is something that’s earned and here’s what I’ve discovered earns it...."

It should be our aim to advance quality and excellence, and not shoddiness and greed.

That's why, in the economic system I'm proposing, a mechanism is installed to assure that "trust" is integral, rather than accidental--so that a black contractor, like the one whose incompetence cost you dearly, won't be able to ply his trade while hiding it.

"The election in 2008 proved to the whites holding elective office we can make a difference and it also proved to any black person seeking to run for an elective position they could win."

I'm happy to have your input: You give us a political perspective from which to view all this.

As we learn to leverage our buying power, we can learn to leverage our political power. They don't have to be seen as two separate things, and can be incorporated into the system I'm proposing.

"No matter how big or small the city we live in, forming a coalition to keep up with the politics in the city or town we live in is important, because decision that affects our black owned businesses, neighborhood, recreation, and development starts in City Hall."

In my city, Mexicans, and Mexican Americans marched on City Hall to show their displeasure with the city's stated support of, and solidarity with, Arizona's papers please law recently passed.

I see nothing wrong with blacks using their collective political clout to agitate for change, and to influence those elections that will give them favorable candidates--ones that have pledged support for black community causes.

In the economic model I'm proposing, I will keep your "coalition" in mind.

I welcome other suggestions of a political nature. My model can accommodate almost anything.

Greg L said...

>>However, I will not blindly continue to spend my money with a black business if the company does unprofessional work and give poor service….. People who seek political power always court the black vote during elections when two or more whites are running against each other. The black vote decides the winner and that is a fact in most cities. However, when we give our vote, we should expect and demand that they do not ignore us once elected. My motto here in my town is "We will vote them out every four years until we get one that does not ignore our concerns". <<

>>Certainly, it's our aim to build up black businesses, and encourage blacks to become entrepreneurs and business owners, but it's also in our interest to insist on excellence, and weed out those blacks that take in our money without delivering what we've paid for--whether it's a product or a service.<<

There are a great many things that I’ve learned in business that has immediate applicability across the spectrum of African-American concerns. We can always get what we want whenever we hold people accountable. Certainly, a part of that is meting out sanctions or giving rewards. It’s the basic mechanism by which behavior is shaped. The best thing we can do for our business people, our politicians and our children is hold them accountable and withhold support if it’s not been earned by doing the right thing.

Blinders, it sound like you guys have put together a structure to ensure accountability and this is what is needed across the board. One of the things anyone must do in business is create a structure that works and again, this has immediate applicability across the entirety of our community. We need structures that work politically and socially. I think that most of our problems arise from the absence of these structures which frequently means there’s an absence of accountability and efforts at development. One of my biggest issues with our current leadership revolves around the lack of independent structure that’s capable of independently addressing our issues. This frequently results in a political leadership who are representatives to us rather than for us.

Almost any independent positive initiative we pursue impacts the political landscape IMO mainly because runs outside of the existing structure and as such will be noticed. It sounds like this applies to your organization Blinders.

Greg L said...

>>Your perspective will serve us invaluably going forward.<<

And I thank you BD for providing a forum where we can discuss these issues. There are few forums that are available for this sort of thing and I'm more than happy to contribute whatever I can

Blinders Off said...

I am enjoying this forum, I will be back to continue Monday. My baby girl is home from NY :)

Black Diaspora said...

Blinders Off said...
"I am enjoying this forum, I will be back to continue Monday. My baby girl is home from NY :)"

We won't take another step without you. :) Have a great weekend!

Roschelle said...

wow....love your writing and thinking. honored that you visited my blog recently.

Ernesto said...

BD...excellent discussion continuing here. A lot to digest, but here are my first thoughts...

Trust. Yes, a primary ingredient. One that I didn't think of instantly, but your perceptive mind forced me to recognize and think about more deeply. Where does trust originate? I think it comes down to a combination of love of self and respect for others. As you and Greg have mentioned, a successful business must believe in being of service to the community it exists in. Profitablity, while required, should not and cannot be the sole factor in a sustainable business.

As we have discussed in the past, we are plagued by the short-term profit business model, and need to establish the long term, sustainable business model. This is to our advantage and is the key in overcoming the large disadvantage of having limited capital compared to the competition. We can have that connection to the community that the big franchised McBusinesses can never have based on their business model.

It takes dedication and hard work to build this trust, and again this comes back to self-love that is the main ingredient in wanting to provide for others as a means of providing for ourselves. We must have a strong and unyielding sense of self worth to build up what has been continuously torn down.

Black Diaspora said...

Roschelle said...
"wow....love your writing and thinking."

Thanks, Roschelle. Please come again.

Black Diaspora said...

@Ernesto: "Where does trust originate? I think it comes down to a combination of love of self and respect for others."

True. It begins with the self. If one can't trust oneself to love oneself (the generator of self-respect), then all bets are off as to how much of that respect will be extended to others.

"As you and Greg have mentioned, a successful business must believe in being of service to the community it exists in. Profitablity, while required, should not and cannot be the sole factor in a sustainable business."

Well said.

Our view of "profitability" must undergo a redefining: It can't just be about the bottomline, which seems to be, all too often, the business model du jour.

If a business is measured simply by the money it rakes in, at some point, unless it's a monopoly, and transacting in an area where the product or service is indispensable, the business suffers as a result of that model.

BP is a good example of such a model gone awry: Workers safety, public goodwill, and trust--all are tarnished when bad business practices leave destruction in their wake.

Were it not for our gluttony for oil and gas (which the industry feeds and promotes), BP would be just another failed business--a victim of its own gluttony, evidenced by it almost total disregard for human life, and the fragile environment in which it exists.

"We can have that connection to the community that the big franchised McBusinesses can never have based on their business model."

Precisely. Theirs: More bang (earnings) for the buck. Ours: More service for the buck. Where "client-customer service" is the "bang" that is sought, and delivered, earnings follow, as certainly as night day.

What we create then is another definition of, and model of, "profitability":

Goodwill as profitabilty. Customer loyalty as profitablity. Customer service as profitably. Customer benefit as profitablity.

Business transparency is another model that builds trust, but very few businesses are willing to go that route: They can't let people see how much, or how little, cost went into the making of their products, and by whom, and how much profit was generated at point of sell.

"We must have a strong and unyielding sense of self worth to build up what has been continuously torn down."

Absolutely.

We have to believe in ourselves, and in the product and service we're delivering--each contributing to the other, building confidence because of excellence, and knowing that one has a superior product, and a service to match.

During "fat years" perhaps any business model can have a good run. But it's during the "lean years" that the sowing to a profitability that includes more than money, begins to pay off and pay off big.

In this recessionary economy, not all businesses--large or small--are suffering equally. And I believe that it's their notion of profitability that is the reason why.

I'm watching a little of the U.S. Tennis Open today.

Here's an observation and how it applies to business: Nadal, it seems, plays the point, and not the game. It's as though he says, "If I play the point on every serve, rather than focusing on the game, and how I'm faring, the game will take care of itself."

If we play the trust factor, take care of the customer--build customer confidence, and customer respect--rather than focusing just on the profitability of the business we're engaged in, the business end of what we're offering, everything being equal (sound businesses practices), the business will take care of itself.

Greg L said...

"I'm watching a little of the U.S. Tennis Open today.

Here's an observation and how it applies to business: Nadal, it seems, plays the point, and not the game. It's as though he says, "If I play the point on every serve, rather than focusing on the game, and how I'm faring, the game will take care of itself."

If we play the trust factor, take care of the customer--build customer confidence, and customer respect--rather than focusing just on the profitability of the business we're engaged in, the business end of what we're offering, everything being equal (sound businesses practices), the business will take care of itself."

Nothing to add here BD, except to say Amen. Well said.

Kathy said...

BD,
I have been reading along, both posts and all the comments, don't know if I have anything to contribute here, but this is excellent, lots of things to think about.
Maybe one thing, the way our economy revolves around consumerism, I think that needs to be looked at, how it affects the soul, how it destroys our environment. So hard to get away from consumerism, though.

Black Diaspora said...

Kathy, I'm happy you're "reading along."

I've noticed that you have shut down your blog: Is it a permanent shut-down, or a temporary one?

I hope it's a temporary one: I enjoy your opinions--here, and on your blog.

Consumerism is, indeed, a bane to our society. It's a hole we've dug for ourselves, and it's not one we'll be able to extricate ourselves from anytime soon, short of a revolutionary approach to how we run our economy.

Right now, it's a "dispersed economy," where anyone who can own one, is encouraged to do so: our own house, rather than a multi-living situation, our own car, rather than using mass transit, our own TV, rather than a community-center one, our own appliances, rather than sharing just a few among many.

It's our value system, and here in the US it's "rugged individualism," not communalism. At times it's stressed, but mostly, it's "every man or woman for him or herself."

Only recently have we begun to think "recycle," in how we utilize our resources--and in reducing the harmful impact to the planet, with an eye to replacing what we take away.

Yet, with the Gulf oil spill disaster, we still have a long way to go to be better stewards of the planet, the only home we're going to have for a very long time to come.

With that in mind, you'd think we'd treat the planet better, with an eye towards preservation, towards pre-serving the planet, that is, serving it, before it becomes necessary to.

Our soul take a beating because we're always sowing to our bodies, sometimes to our minds, but rarely to our soul.

The pursuit of material pleasures, and intellectual pleasures has supplanted the pursuits of soul pleasures. They all have their rightful places, but the soul way too often comes up short: We don't spend a great deal of our time reading poetry, or writing it, painting, drawing, listening to calm, soothing, and moving music, meditating, or reading books that force us to question life, our reason for being, and how we might bring more to life than just the minimum--the whole of who we are, and permitting ourselves to experience that.