[An email I sent recently.]
You seem rational, educated, compassionate, etc. and thought you could give me some outside perspective. (Here's a rambling overview ….)
I am interested in starting a non-profit business that starts for-profit ESOPs.
Many things have contributed to my thoughts.
JaxLegalAid was involved in a program to help ex-cons start businesses. (I haven't seen any evidence of success…)
I spoke with a Libertarian at school who felt the lack of ownership rights was at the root of the BP spill; "When people own something they take care of it… sell off the Gulf of Mexico…"
I agree about the ownership stake …
Publix is the largest corporation out of Florida, and is an ESOP. An acquaintance who works at Publix says after five years he now has $5000 in Publix stock. I don't understand why the workers don't show a preference about where they work… but the workers at Publix sure seem friendlier than those at Winn-Dixie ...
Jobs create wealth for the corporations. When I worked as a freelance lighting tech the company would pay me $12/hr and bill the client $36/hr. When I went to law school professors pointed out that you have to bill three times your wage; if you make $50,000/year you need to bill $150,00/year. That's how capitalism works. One third to pay you, one third to pay for the building, the equipment, the electricity, whatever, and one third for the money men, the capitalists, profit. So, getting a job is getting exploited, getting taken advantage of, basically, for chumps. But thats what we [working class chumps] teach our kids; "Get a job."
(The SBA is worthless… but that's another story…)
And everyone knows that a house is "the average Americans largest investment, their largest asset" Yeah, the average chump. From the business perspective it is just a very big widget to sell the average consumer. Reagan said, "Buy a house ['cause I have stock in Lennar Homes…"]
Obviously, instead of teaching our kids "to get a job" and "buy a house" we should be teaching "start a business."
I believe this could be done sustainably. Loan a group $50,000 to start a business, they pay back 10,000/yr and they "buy-out" the business and are the employee-owners, and the loan is repaid with interest!!
I've thought about this from many more levels….
I've thought about approaching Peter Rummell, a wealthy local business man who "switched sides" and contributed $100,000 to Alvin Browns mayoral race and now is with the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
I've thought about approaching Chef Gordan Ramsey: "Hey, we have ten folks that are starting a restaurant… you can do a TV show that would inspire people..."
I thought about creating support by writing blogs. But comments are very tepid. Again and again people are like, "Just give me a job…" I see no ambition to be part of the ownership…! Just more, "Give me a job… I'll work to create a profit for somebody else"
I wonder if I should continue down this path. Why should I help these fools. I should just buy a boat and sail off
to the Cayman's…
Even after I explain all this to people, they are like, "Just give me a job… I'll work to create a profit for somebody else… " Yet working for Wal-Mart, or Raytheon, or BP, just creates more profit for Wal-Mart, or Raytheon, or BP, who then hire more lobbyists…
People are in fear, and overcompensate by acting macho and independent. (I joke, "the bigger the pick-up truck, the smaller the penis." People over-compensate for their weaknesses.
They convince themselves that getting a job is independent -- but it is pure subservience to the corporation. At least the folks at Publix are working for their corporation, one they have part ownership in.
Politics and the economy and culture are all intertwined.
We need to build a culture of true independence, where kids want to start a restaurant or a software company. (Of course you can make a lot more money working as an engineer at Raytheon than running a flower shop. But, at Raytheon you are spending your time working to pay for your own wage and then both to pay the owner's electric bill and making the owner a profit, and, ultimately, the job isn't very secure…)
Writing blogs and trying to generate interest is frustrating, and I am starting to think it's the wrong way to go.
That's where my thoughts are at this point…
Again, you seem rational, educated, compassionate, etc. and I'd like to sit down over a beer and hear your thoughts…
Drop me a line whenever.