Tag Archives: poverty

Prosperity versus Greed

What is prosperity and why can it be good?  I believe global prosperity is where all have the basics of life, including food, shelter, education, and healthcare.  We may not—and probably won’t—have everything we want, as that is limitless and basically unattainable.  This ideal state—Heaven on Earth element—is filled with gratitude for our means, rather than envy for those who have more, or condescension toward those who have less.

There has never been a time in human history where all had the same means.  The 20th century is full of the tragedies of genocide in the Soviet Union (20 million people) and China (a staggering 70 million people) where the Communist experiment with equal outcomes played out.  The charade of Communism is still in Cuba and North Korea to the extreme detriment of their people.

Greed and envy—negative values—are closely related.  Both are very detrimental to a satisfying life.  While it is important to have the ambition and desire to care for oneself and family, the lust for more, more, more beyond one’s reasonable aspirations can become greed.  Timing can matter; for instance, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett certainly avidly pursued great wealth, but eventually became philanthropic with their vast means.

It’s not just timing within one generation.  Passing wealth from one generation to another can result in dramatic advances, such as those by Darwin and Newton.  Personally, I have felt a great responsibility to use my inherited wealth to benefit others as well as my family and myself.

Financial literacy is critical for all.  But when wealth is passed from generation to generation, it requires a preparation for the handling of such assets, not just for the generation receiving the wealth, but also for their frame of mind to use the wealth and, in the end, benefit others.

Government Intervention is NOT the Solution to Poverty

I’ve now read two books that say that government cannot solve people’s poverty.  The poverty I am writing about is that of people existing on $2 or less per day; although comparative poverty above that desperate state is also immune to government “solutions.” There is a huge opportunity in learning how to provide useful products to this huge market 2.8 billion strong.   But it can be done, and can even be profitable.

People existing on $2 per day or less require special attention to arrive at a product that is affordable, such as the treadmill pump, which can pay back three times its cost within a year to rural farmers in India and Africa.

Providing healthy water to rural areas of India, Africa and the poor American populations is a challenge being met partially by spring water.  But many other opportunities to help this population abound.  It will take extremely dedicated, hard-working and visionary business persons to conquer poverty in the world.  But it can be done.  I sincerely believe that and, I believe, that it is the only way it can be done.

We all have a part in this worldwide march toward Heaven on Earth.  While government won’t provide the solutions, its members must be free of corruption, and be wise, honest, capable and efficient.  Governments can stand in the way of conquering poverty; or they can –through wisdom, honesty and capability—help to engender private enterprise to conquer extreme poverty.

We can and we must look to private enterprise as the primary route to a prosperous world, one in which the $2 or less a day customers rise into a more and more prosperous state.

More thoughts on “The Business Solution to Poverty”

Ruthless affordability is part – a big part – of the business solution to poverty.  But the market is so huge – 2.7 billion living on $2 or less.  Apple made dramatic products going after the “high end” market.  If companies go after that low end market with great innovation, persistence, determination and hard work; they can develop customers and fans at all levels.

I’ve spent a lot of time – about a month roughly – reading and marking up “The Business Solution to Poverty,” then reviewing the marked up version with more marks and highlighted and finally on the third time through doing my book review.  After doing the book review I went back through it almost two times.

I really believe in the basic premise of the book – that business is the only way to conquer extreme poverty and, for that matter, most any kind of poverty.

We are in The Innovation Age and we must innovate – in business, government, religions, and every human entity.   But, at the same time, we must not let the wisdom-associated values go and we must rid ourselves of the negative values.

I sincerely believe that $2 or less per day poverty can be defeated, and the way to do it is through capitalism, free enterprise or business – whatever you choose to call it.  It won’t be easy.

So many very good and charitable people have given their lives to help the poor.  But business can help them help themselves.  It is very basic.  The receiving human of charity or government aid just doesn’t respond in a way that allows him or her to elevate themselves.

Somehow, we must use our own time and money to move toward prosperity.  What is missing are corporations that seek profits at all levels – from the customer to the corporation itself.

“Profit” is not a bad word.  It is the only thing that can allow the poor to “profit” themselves and allow businesses to sustain growth to help other “customers.”

And “customers” is the right word.  The poor should not be an object of pity, but rather as fellow human beings for business to present profitable opportunities.  It can be done, but it won’t be easy.

Multinational corporations may risk their reputations in the ventures proposed in this book.  But look at the reward, not only in profits from the poor, but profits to the poor.  And, amazing public relations victories within the corporations and all their customers and potential customers.  It might be the best advertising dollars ever spent for so many really insightful corporations.

We are one human race and we must help each other – not so much with self-defeating handouts but with thoughtful business with both goodwill and a real profit in mind for all.

The 2013 world GDP is approximately $75 trillion according to the book.  But the global South is, in a way, the focus of a lot of well-meaning people.  Let’s get it right this time – not to try to play “hero” to the poor – but to help them help themselves through profits.

I have real concerns about the United States and how government aid is multiplying, unwed mothers number about 40 percent, and a lack of basis competence in our government – especially the Presidency.

The future is all we have ahead of us.  We must take care of that precious element of our existence.  The future is only known by God.  All the humans – me included – must peer as clearly as we can toward Heaven on Earth.