Tuesday, October 30, 2012

excerpt from Chapter 6 - flood example

Chapter 6 - page 102


One excellent example of “Constructive Capitalism” came from Home Depot who shut all their stores in the Southwest US during the Austin, Texas floods in late 2013.  As part of their relief effort, the Home Depot shipped warehouses full of supplies and sent their staff to the flooded area to immediately start rebuilding the damaged communities.  The employees were paid in full their regular salary and all their travelling expenses.

Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (August 2005) was still a fresh memory in 2013, and no one wanted to see the same thing happening in the city of Austin, so Home Depot mobilized almost five thousand employees, delivered untold truck loads of supplies and utilized their management skills to deliver on-ground support to those affected by the floods.  Just to be clear, the Home Depot was not involved at all in the initial rescue or relief effort but rather the rebuilding efforts that followed.  Fortunately, the rescue and relief efforts were pretty well managed as opposed to Katrina, so the rebuilding process could start right away.  The Home Depot did not wait for insurance issues, local zoning discussions or the media.  They just started rebuilding and repairing people’s homes so the owners could move back in.

The effect was immediate and astounding for Home Depot.  Home Depot had forfeited a sizable portion of their marketing budget to fund this effort but certainly reaped the rewards from a business standpoint.  Their brand value sky-rocketed as did their stock price following the Austin floods.  By March of 2015, Home Depot’s stock price had almost tripled to just under $200.  When asked about their efforts at the time to make such a large commitment, the CEO said that he just could not sit back and watch people in trouble when he knew he had the resources at his finger tips to do something about it.  He pointed out that Home Depot was monstrously successful in the South Texas area and that he felt that they should contribute as much as possible.  Many share holders at the time questioned his decision as they felt that the Home Depot was going to potentially forego billions in sales as a result of the rebuilding effort and that the materials should not have been just “given-away”.  Home Depot at the time made it clear to the stock-holders, that as a part of the local business community, they had an obligation to be involved in the rebuilding of its communities whenever required.  It is not moral to profit from the suffering of its customers.  This was revolutionary corporate thinking.

Today, the Home Depot has a regular rebuilding program that goes to disaster areas all over the world and pitches in “on-ground” as required.  They are under no obligation to wait for governmental efforts other than not to interfere with rescue efforts.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Excerpt from Chapter 4

Chapter 4 -- page 56


One of the most horrific and misguided thoughts of the time that got embedded in the American psyche was that compassion was equal to socialism or communism.

By 2009, just the comment of a compassionate governmental policy made the speaker into, at a minimum a socialist, and in the worse case, a Hitleresque demagogue who was striving to undermine the entirety of the USA.  That may sound melodramatic, but phrases like that were actually used at the time by American citizens.  I can still remember with disgust back in 2010 when President Obama was trying to implement some type of universal health insurance program so that every American citizen would have access to health care.  The shocking thing to me is that a system, which cared about the general health of all citizens, was considered akin to Nazism by some people.  Even to this day that still strikes me as the most absurd type of rhetoric.  To me and many others, it was an unconscionable misuse of our American right to freedom of speech, and I argued at the time that it should be considered hate speech.  To utilize NAZI imagery in an American political debate is simply immoral on any level.

The Republican Party and the Tea Party Movement were mostly to blame for this rhetoric, and as early as 1980, there had come a point where political expediency was the paramount goal.  Rhetoric could be founded upon any truth or mistruth and could even be what many folks would consider slanderous.  The shocking thing about this situation is that so many American citizens actually accepted this rhetoric and supported it.  I can understand that there was disillusion in the US at the time due to the 2008 economic collapse but to sink to such lows should have been offensive to so many more people.  This is why I argued so strongly that a new definition of freedom needed to be established, as we as a nation, had sunk just too far in our willingness to allow anyone to do or say whatever they chose in the political arena.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Excerpt from Chapter 6 -- Constructive Capitalism

Chapter 6  --  page 100


One of my guiding business principles is what I referred to as “Constructive Capitalism."  Let’s face it, I got rich simply by making the world a better place.  That was always my goal from a young age.  I’ll be honest and admit that I also went into business for recognition, wealth and challenge.  However, I always operated with the philosophy that I would like to build a legacy that would be respected.  When my company developed the efficient food product known as “NutrisHouse” Bars which delivered a person’s complete nutritional daily requirements, then that really was the fulfillment of my dreams.  I ultimately have far surpassed any and all of my hopes.

Upon my company’s ultimate success in the USA and Europe, we then started developing the same food products for poorer countries.  The products for these regions cost about a third of the more consumer-oriented products that were being sold and marketed in the western areas.  Of course, everyone knows that the flavor was not as good and the packaging was not as elaborate, but the nutrition value was the same.  Every single country in the world that imported NutrisHouse Bars saw improved health almost immediately.  Even where there were still dictators and civil wars at the time, the health of the citizens improved.

 “Constructive Capitalism” evolved as a concept that in essence requires a company in order to be successful to do doing something tangibly beneficial to improve the state of the world.  This was not necessarily a unique concept that I developed, rather a progression of the changing consumer-mindset and some companies realizing that it was in their best interest to go this route in order to maximize profitability.  “Constructive Capitalism” was also not just about financial contribution either.  Just writing a check to a charitable organization seemed unsettling to most people after the success of NutrisHouse Bars where genuinely positive results were being realized.  Consumers would not accept anymore that if a company does business they just cannot hand over a payment to make them feel or in the worst case scenario, look good.  The contribution of the company must be genuine, involve the resources of the company and be done with the spirit of improving the conditions in the surrounding areas.  Even in the US, the spirit of corporate contribution became more about first-hand infrastructure development rather than continuing to do “fun runs, bake sales and raffles”, as Bill Gates put it in 2007.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Excerpt from Chapter 1 - changing perspective towards wealth

Chapter 1 -  Pages 8 & 9


Historically, where the personal valuation had gone awry, however, was in terms of the origin of one's individual wealth.  The mere possession of money had come to supersede the means of accumulating it.  In the early twenty-first century, any individual could accumulate wealth with no regard to the impact one made on other individuals or society. The worst aspect of that system, however, is that one could accumulate wealth at the expense of others.  This was a flawed model, as the most aggressive people and organizations, that seemingly prioritized wealth and power, ended up accumulating a disproportionate amount of both and subsequently started persecuting and taking an authoritative position in relation to those who had less.  This ultimately led to the “Occupy Movement” in 2011 and 2012.

America fortunately came to realize that accumulation of wealth at the expense of others is not wealth that should be judged as valuable or honorable. Through the “New Freedom Initiative” (NFI), wealth that was accumulated without adding value to individuals or society, started to become less respected or desired, and per my initial point regarding human judgment, “unsavory money” actually became judged as negative by a great majority of Americans.  Just as an easy example, banks in America came to refuse drug money out right by 2015.

The effect of this unsavory label was to encourage individual and corporate wealth-building as a result of benefiting a wider group of society.  It would also serve to keep those who had amassed their fortunes in a less than honorable manner from having personal influence or access to broader political, business or social institutions.  No one ever argued that any individual could not make money in America any way they liked.  What came to pass, however, was that the holding of that money did not automatically include power and influence along with it.

By the mid-2030s, ethics have since returned and are now a key component to wealth-building such that the amount of money that one accumulates is reasonably proportionate to the contribution one makes throughout that process.

In today’s world, those individuals that provide the greatest benefit to society receive the greatest return in terms of money, property, power and authority.  As a result, most people can claim a higher level of happiness and stability in 2043 than they ever could in 2013.  This claim to happiness extends well beyond American borders into parts of the world where in 2013 even having a claim on clean water was rare.  The world genuinely has improved significantly as a result of changed attitudes toward money.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Excerpt from Chapter 7 -- Reforming the Legal System

Chapter 7 -- Pages 139-140

Let’s get back to the legal system reforms.  Lawyers in general, had allowed their industry to get completely out of hand in the late twentieth century.  There was no sense of law in what they did and ultimately there was a distinct lack of contribution, and I’ll go as far as to say ethics in their actions.  Lawyers were in my mind in the early twenty-first century, the biggest sponges on society and sucked more value and goodness out of American culture than any other group or professional sector in history.

Lawyers had taken the concept of right to defense and due diligence to overshadow any other aspect of their being.  Right to defense meant doing anything and everything possible to create a measure of doubt in the minds of the jury.  In worst case scenarios, they went as far as to corrupt the entire spirit of the legal system.  This situation of course was vehemently opposed by me personally as I could never see the value of taking advantage of weaknesses in the system and then to utilize that as a defense.  Also, there was the need for judges and government to correct the weaknesses in the system, rather than just exacerbating them and making the weaknesses even more pronounced, such that it became an open flood gate for inequity.

The premise of defendant’s rights was way more important than the victim’s rights.  I always thought this was a gross betrayal of the American legal system that the upstanding citizen that has been hurt by some part of society is not protected at a minimum as much as the defendant.  I fully support the notion that all people are equal before the law, but the victims have already suffered some type of injury and, as a result, should not be subject to increased subjugation during the trial phase.  Hence the emphasis on punishment and retribution for crimes committed.  The victim should always have a sense of justice and compensation upon a guilty finding.

As with the deterrence for frivolous lawsuits by citizens, lawyers who participated in bringing forth a frivolous lawsuit were penalized within the context of the legal system itself.  The legal group responsible for regulating the conduct of its own members embraced a position of contribution over time when they put in place a scholarly and principled type of person to deliver this mandate.  He devised a system whereby contribution was a measured quality.  Along with the new measurement criteria, lawyers were graded as to their competency across certain areas of expertise.  This ultimately led to the legal standards for compensation as well as an access point for people who had been the victim of criminal activity.

This point system was developed so that lawyers who brought forward legitimate cases, argued them in the context of the law and instituted new thinking in terms of the statutes were graded the highest.  Lawyers who brought forward frivolous lawsuits, argued them in context of non-legal issues and relied on precedent, were summarily given lower scores.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

Henderson West's Campaign Platform

Excerpt from Chapter 2...pages 30, 31


As part of my formal announcement, the very first thing I did was state clearly and publicly that I would propose no policy platforms.  What I did actually state at the time was the following:

  •  I will deal with each issue separately or as it materializes;
  •  I will think and work in the best interests of America;
  • The American public will be more involved in government;
  • Employment in the public service will be effective and considered a privilege.

These four items were all I ever promised to do if I were elected president.

The reality of the world in 2012 was that it was just too complex and too varied to have any type of formal agenda or ideology to rely upon.  Most issues and events materialize out of nowhere and have no historical context (or in some instances too much) and are completely inharmonious with doctrines or previous legislation.  Further, most modern issues had too broad an application to generate a lot of interest by the American public.

Therefore, I decided to make no claims that “I would create jobs, institute health care, would democratize the world, no opinions of foreign issues” etc.  The people at the time were astounded that I made no election type promises, but I knew from my own observations that making promises based on a future situation that I did not have any first hand facts on was ridiculous.  For example, every American politician in the previous forty or fifty years had indicated that they would balance the budget but as soon as they get into power they have found a reason to suggest why they can’t do it.  I just didn’t see the point in what I considered pandering to the American public.

I sensed that most Americans had so little faith in political promises that I was simply asking US citizens to trust me based on my business record and the fact that they liked and respected me.  I did not want to appear to be a traditional politician and, to be honest, it was not in my nature to act like that anyway.  I just wanted people to feel that they were voting for someone who would do his best to do the right thing by America rather than just another person in the role for theie own personal benefit and power and was a puppet to their party.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ff21st -- Excerpt from Chapter 10

Excerpt from Chapter 10...page 235


In our modern time, there is no reason for America to ever start a war of any kind.  Period.  I have stated this numerous times and many people consider me to be a bit soft as a result of this pronunciation.

However, I do see the need to maintain a military and I do see the need on occasion to step in to rectify a situation that is out of hand though we look at that as our normal doctrine of “defend, free, enforce”.

The only reason in this era that America would initiate a military action that some might consider proactive is in terms of wars of conquest.  Whether based on historical territorial disputes, or simply a desire by one country to expand its territory, this will never be tolerated by military means. 

As was initiated with the US purchase of Kennedy and Newfoundland, growth can now be obtained by mutual negotiation and or legal claims by the newly established global courts of geography.  As nationalism has become less and less of a driving force in the world, land transfers have become more and more a common occurrence and have rectified the situation whereby one region feels the need to invade another.

Finally, since the peace amnesty signed in Bangkok in 2030 regarding conflicts of this nature, land disputes have virtually dwindled away.  Countries have accepted their territorial boundaries and now more or less peacefully operate within them.