Category Archives: Politics

John E. Wade II is very interested in, and has studied, political issues relating to the United States as well as the world. He is motivated to help provide his honest and open opinion on many matters relating to politics and isn’t afraid to speak his mind!

Can We Change?

BY • ON Monday, February 8th, 2016 • UNDER Heaven on Earth, Politics. feed.

Can we change – for the better – one by one, million by million, billion by billion? I think we can – partly through transactional analysis. I have, through enormous efforts of many from 1998 until now.

Think of the ramifications of such changes.

The key is to engender wisdom in ourselves and others and support it with a strong spiritual foundation, so life’s bumps and bruises don’t destroy us.

Values are all-important. And it’s hard to develop sound values without a solid spiritual base.

We must strive for Heaven on Earth, or we will be consumed by all the catastrophes that Henry Kissinger described in “World Order.” To paraphrase him – we are desperately in need of world order. Of course, that’s the opposite poll which I want us to seek and find with God’s enduring, steadfast love.

The world is now small, and we must learn to live together – not only with peace and security but helping each other out through free, fair trade; large scale businesses assisting those that make less than $2 per day. Together, we can achieve Henry Kissinger’s world order and my imagined Heaven on Earth.

The Necessity to Choose Wisely this Presidential Election

BY • ON Monday, February 1st, 2016 • UNDER Politics. feed.

Our nation and the world are very much at risk.  Those risks vary from climate change to nuclear weapons in the Middle East, to the printing of money all over the world.  We need to carefully choose the people we put in power who will handle these mounting risks.

The Democratic candidates currently running for president are far too far to the left and will not be able to properly address the issues we are facing. They do not respect the private sector, the service of prosperity (when it isn’t overtaken and regulated or absorbing deficits that undermine our whole economy with pressing debt).

The Democrats only care about re-election, not about the promises they can’t keep. In fact, trust and honesty are rare commodities among Democratic candidates.  This is why we must carefully look at the Republican candidates being offered up this presidential election and choose wisely.  I believe that Governor John Kasich of Ohio is the best option, and I fully endorse him for president.

Don’t get me wrong. We need Democrats as well as Republicans -– liberals, moderates and conservatives.

But we are at a crucial point in American history after the Obama Administration (at least January 20, 2017). So much damage has been done by President Obama and all the Democrats that supported him.

2016 is a “must win” for Republicans and all Americans, not to mention the world.

My Endorsement of Governor John Kasich as President

BY • ON Tuesday, January 19th, 2016 • UNDER Politics. feed.

John R Kasich was elected governor of Ohio—a key swing state—first in 2011 and then reelected again in a landslide. He closed an $8 billion budget deficit without raising taxes and has reduced taxes by $800 million. Now that’s the sort of thing that can and would reduce our $200,000 per person national debt. This debt, entitlements, and a bloated federal government is pressing down on our economy. It’s invisible—but it is real in its effect.

Kasich is no stranger to taking on and solving big problems. He served as a member of Congress from central Ohio for 18 years and, as the chairman of the House Budget Committee, he led the effort to balance the federal budget for the first time since 1969 and helped enact historic welfare reform.

He has worked in the private sector and was a commentator for FOX News.

I read one of his books, Every Other Monday, and it convinced me of his fine character. After the Obama Administration and Secretary Clinton, we are in dire need of Governor Kasich who is described as known for being straightforward, optimistic and energetic.

Vote and support Governor John Kasich for president. It really matters, not only to Americans, but to the world.

The Dangers Of Stress

BY • ON Monday, January 11th, 2016 • UNDER Politics. feed.

We can make a reality that would be wonderful. It’s in our own hands and Gods. When one honks a horn universally and causes negative emotions in another human being(s), that’s a lack of kindness that produces stress.

Stress is hurtful in many ways – recognized or not.

We must move forward toward a kinder, gentler, loving world. It’s not even conceivable to continue on as we currently do with an increasing number of ways to destroy ourselves – from nuclear proliferation to cyber warfare, not to mention climate change, bad water, etc.

I worry about President Obama and his lack of leadership except in the wrong ways. He has less than a year left in office, but he has proven over and over and over again that he can do so much damage, domestically and internationally.

The world is in jeopardy due to huge government debts and entitlements. In the U. S. we have a bloated federal government. We must be kind, but we must have complete control of our federal government – including the military. We need economic and military strength.

Right now, we don’t have that and President Obama is taking us down; he’s anti-American, the worst President in our history.

Our electorate must come to its senses. Voters must come to their senses in 2016. Our nation is headed toward a banana republic government without a middle class and a poor economy and military presence in the world, which is very bad from a humanitarian viewpoint.

REVIEW Part IV: The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

BY • ON Saturday, January 2nd, 2016 • UNDER Book Reviews, Politics. feed.

The Business Solution to Poverty:

Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

By Paul Polak and Mal Walwick

Review By John E. Wade II

Part IV

The chapter, “Why Business is Best Equipped to Fight Global Poverty,” starts with a statement that I heartedly endorse, “It’s not just that traditional methods have failed.  Businesses possess unique characteristics that are ideally suited to the task of innovating new approaches—and taking them to scale.”  The authors explain—and I certainly agree with them—that private businesses encompass three “…overarching and undeniable advantages in addressing the challenge of poverty:

  • Profitable businesses attract substantial capital.
  • Successful businesses hire lots of people.
  • Successful businesses are capable of reaching scale.”

The authors write—and again I fervently agree with them—that there are other factors that enhance the economic power of business as follows:

  • “Businesses, especially well-established companies, often can marshal all the necessary specialized expertise in design, financial management, marketing, and other fields that are usually lacking or inadequate in either the public sector or the citizen sector.
  • Private businesses tend to be less susceptible to political pressure than governments, multilateral institutions, and most citizen-sector organizations—especially in countries with weak governments.
  • Prosperous enterprises stimulate economic growth in the communities where they do business.”

The World Bank estimate of global GDP for 2013 is $75 trillion.  Approximately $1 trillion more is invested in the Global South as investors are “…eager to find opportunities for lucrative new investments there.”  However, there are dire challenges “…such as loss of hope, caste or class barriers, alcoholism, drug addiction, adherence to self-defeating religious beliefs, the subjugation of women, the lasting effects of childhood malnutrition, and severe physical or mental limitations—not to mention usurious moneylenders and landlords or corrupt and oppressive governments.”  The authors spell it out, “While improved education, health, political power, infrastructure, and nutrition all play important roles, we have no doubt that improved livelihood provides the most direct path to the end of poverty.”  I fervently agree with this summation.

The authors declare that, “Once you start the process of moving families out of poverty, their neighbors take notice and begin, quickly or slowly, to imitate them.”  The authors have decades of experience in the Global South and believe that “…the problems of poverty can be addressed on a large scale only through a new generation of multinational companies built to provide products and services expressly designed to meet the needs of the poor.”  Each such company will be able to do the following:

  • Transform the livelihoods of 100 million $2-a-day customers within 10 years
  • Generate annual revenues of at least $10 billion
  • Earn sufficient profits to attract investment by international commercial finance

Part Two

Zero-Based Design and the Bottom Billions

 Recommendations given to launch a business that can transform the lives of 100 million poor people include the following:

  • “Don’t take a course.
  • Don’t get a MBA.
  • Don’t read a book (except this one, of course.)”

First go to the people you want to help and “listen.”  “The simple truth is you can’t talk people out of poverty, and donating stuff to them usually won’t make a lasting difference either.”  I agree.  The “Takeaway” is, “Poor people have to invest their own time and money to move out of poverty.”

Following is the trilogy of “Don’t Bother”:

  • “If you haven’t talked to at least 100 customers in some depth before you start, don’t bother.”
  • “If your product or service won’t earn or save three times the customer’s investment in the first year, don’t bother.”
  • “If you can’t sell 100 million of your product or service, don’t bother.”

Another “Takeaway” was “To meet the biggest challenge in development—scale—your enterprise must aim to transform the lives of 5 million customers within 5 years and 100 million during the first 10.”  It is important to design for a generous profit, and one of the best ways to measure profit is by “free cash flow (the amount of money your business has available after paying for personnel, overhead, interest on loans, and any necessary investments in developing new products, purchasing new assets, or opening new markets).”  The business must pursue “ruthless affordability” for the poor people who require dramatically inexpensive materials, operations and overhead.  Whether the customers are rural or urban, it is critical to arrive at “…last-mile (more accurately, last 500 feet) distribution.”  Branding is necessary.

The book makes an optimistic statement worth repeating, and one which I concur, “…globalization has increased intercultural awareness, mobile phones have gone global with astonishing speed, concern has grown about global poverty, corporations are adopting socially responsible practices and policies (or pretending to do so), and young people leaving colleges and graduate schools have been demanding jobs that offer the opportunity for meaningful work.”  As for myself, I can’t be classified as a young person anymore, but I have come to the definite conclusion that my calling is calling toward Heaven on Earth.  This book review and my recommendation of the book itself are part of this ultimate quest.

One of three examples of ruthless design were outcomes of Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability.  It is “…the Fertiloo, an affordable compost latrine that provides rural families with access to improved sanitation while offering a safe and easy way to contain their human waste and use it as fertilizer for crops.  Designed to cost less than $100, the Fertiloo team received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is refining its design in the field in Haiti in collaboration with a local partner.”

There is a statement in the book that should be a red flag to major global corporations, “There’s already considerable evidence that major corporations will remain competitive in the global marketplace only by creating vibrant new markets serving $2-a-day customers at scale in addition to serving more affluent customers.”  Another such bold comment is, “The corporations of the future will need to serve the bottom-of-the-pyramid customers as well as the rich to stay in business.”

According to the book, “…there are a billion people who never connect to electricity…Another billion people don’t have access to safe drinking water.”  They believe there are three reasons that the needs of the bottom pyramid are not being met by existing businesses:

  • “They don’t see the profit in it.
  • They don’t have a clue how to design the radically affordable products and services that poor people need.
  • They don’t know how to design and operate profitable last-mile supply chains.”

As an example of how corporations can move in the direction of solving these problems and addressing the opportunities, the authors point to Walmart and how they have prospered at higher levels of wealth with small margins and large volume.  Incidentally, just a day ago I read an Investor’s Business Dailyarticle (December 24, 2013) entitled, “Africa’s Fast Growth Attracts Investment.”  One of the interesting investments highlighted in that article was when “…Wal-Mart became one of the first big U.S investors when it paid $2.4 billion in 2011 to buy South African retailer Massmart.”  The book states that Wal-Mart and others are not yet reaching that bottom pyramid.  But I think they will; and they have to start by entering these Global South countries.

In “The Ruthless Pursuit of Affordability,” the authors sum up a lot, “Products that are attractive to poor customers must indeed be affordable, but they also need to work well and look good.  Poor customers are, if anything, more aspirational than the rich.  And their demands and need for value are greater, too.  When money is scarce, it’s got to be used as efficiently as possible.”  An example of such a product is the treadle pump, “…widely regarded in development circles as one of the most successful income-generating innovations introduced to poor farmers around the world.”  It “…is operated by an individual using StairMaster-like pedals to draw water from as deep as 20 to 25 feet underground or from lakes or streams….It’s estimated that a total of three million pumps have been put to work on small plots of land, primarily in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.  These three million treadle pumps are now generating new net income of more than $300 million per year for one-acre farmers who live on less than a $1 a day—not a trivial sum to any but the very largest businesses on Earth.”

Step by step the authors explain how to go about designing such products; I encourage anyone with a practical interest to explore this chapter completely, as well as the rest of the book.  The path to prosperity in Heaven on Earth depends on such actions.

The chapter, “Zero-Based Design in Practice: Low-Cost Drip Irrigation” is a case study of how drip irrigation for small acreage was developed.  I will not retell the case study—I urge you to read the entire book; but the chapter has this “Takeaway,” “Design for extreme affordability rarely comes easily.  Making anything both workable and cheap may take years of careful, incremental adaptation and revision.  But it can be quite rewarding.  During the past two decades, the area under drip irrigation and other micro-irrigation methods has risen at least six-fold globally, from 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) to more than 25 million.  Gains in China and India have been the most dramatic.”

The “Design for the Market” chapter explains how hard it is to solve the technical problems and has this “Takeaway,” “Designing a branding and marketing strategy and a last-mile supply chain that will put your product or service in the hands of millions of customers is three-quarters of the design challenge.”  This chapter explains how the treadle pump was marketed successfully.  I encourage all to read the whole of it.  “Every key player in the distribution chain has to make an attractive profit…[Paul Polak, co-author] doesn’t work with any technologies unless the customer can get three times his money back in the first year by using the technology.”

The “Zero-Based Design in Practice: A Cautionary Tale” chapter gives a case study of a well-intentioned attempt of a MIT-conceived solution to the use of wood charcoal in places like Haiti.  Such use “…results in devastating soil erosion—a major contributor to the hundreds of lives lost every year due to mudslides and flooding—and can also lead to…degradation of aquatic life along the coasts of Haiti…[and]causes respiratory problems in children and increases the risk of cancer.”  I will leave this case study to you to decipher, only to say that “The fatal flaw in the project was that no one on the field team understood marketing.”  The author gives a final assessment of what might have been done and I agree with them that succeeding in these ventures requires, “…a whole lot of work.”  But if you do it right—over time—you can become a pathfinder toward Heaven on Earth.

Prosperity and World Order

BY • ON Monday, December 28th, 2015 • UNDER Politics. feed.

Kissinger entitled his book World Order, and immediately the book addresses the nonexistence of a real world order. After reading/reviewing/analyzing his book about five and a half times, I agree. I also agree with Kissinger about the desperate need for a world order in our society today.

We have been operating under a system that was devised after the Thirty Years War, which has broken down multiple times. As a result, sovereign nations have ruled from within by any means possible.

This system needs to be fixed. The way to do this is to move away from military balance and power, and instead move towards engendering business, sound banks, loving, spiritual entities, charities, and charitable foundations – striving for prosperity worldwide along with free, fair trade and free enterprise will move us toward world order.

Moving from the current non-world order to stable, robust, prosperous democracies in a non-violent way must involve a de-escalation of arms, especially in North Korea and Iran. Many will argue, “How does the world de-escalate globally while avoiding war?” Look to Gandhi’s non-violent methods as well as President Reagan’s tact.

No matter what, the United States direly needs to improve its economic situation. We desperately need a pro-business, nation-wide federal government, as we now have in thirty states guided by Republican governors.

President Reagan wanted to lower debt, but he was faced with a tax-and-spend Democratic Congress. He managed to lower taxes, but spending created a deficit. His deficit, however, was nothing like the one that President Obama has caused.

I disagree with the anti-American, anti-colonial thinking of President Obama. He has harmed us with onerous laws, regulations, and wrongful use of the Executive Branch, including the use of the IRS to win re-election.

REVIEW Part III: The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

BY • ON Friday, December 18th, 2015 • UNDER Book Reviews, Politics, Uncategorized. feed.

The Business Solution to Poverty:

Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

By Paul Polak and Mal Walwick

Review By John E. Wade II

Part III

 

Part One

Only Business Can End Poverty

 

I agree quite fervently that only business can end poverty, not only in the Global South, which is the subject of this book, but that premise applies globally.  The authors describe examples of poor rural people; reading this is a must if you intend to get a serious idea of their life. There are a few general characteristics—“The poor just get by,” very much in a survival mode, “The poor receive little news.  Most of the information poor people receive comes by word of mouth from families, neighbors, and friends, and occasionally by radio, filtered through a village culture little influenced by national and global news.”

 

“The poor rarely travel.” They are isolated and are “…rarely aware of the new ideas and new opportunities that surface so frequently in today’s fast-changing world.”  “The poor have few choices.” The modern world is out of reach.  Instead “…one out of five of their infants die of preventable illness…They’re vulnerable to whatever else comes along in the village where they live, whether it’s inferior health care, substandard food, dangerous transportation, or illegal activities by the police or village officials.”

 

“The poor live with misfortune never far away.” Things from uncertain rainfall to children’s bouts of severe diarrhea surround the poor.  It’s not just because income is limited, but “…because what income they receive is irregular and unpredictable.”

 

The book provides some serious wisdom about this poverty in the chapter, “What is Poverty?”  “It’s shocking.  After the world’s rich nations invested more than $2.3 trillion over the past 60 years to end global poverty, billions of our fellow humans remain desperately poor…Top-down development programs administered by governments, international agencies, foundations, or big NGO, [Nonprofit Government Organizations] rarely work because they’re so vulnerable to government corruption, bureaucratic inaction, the distance between the planners and the supposed beneficiaries, and both distrust and a lack of interest on the part of people who live at the grass roots.”

 

“Giveaways breed dependence and self-doubt instead of change.  Philanthropy isn’t the answer, either.  Despite the severely limited funds available, they’re squandered on a great diversity of uncoordinated, small-scale efforts to address every problem under the sun.  We can’t donate our way out of poverty.  Even Bill Gates, with $70 billion at his disposal, has referred to his wealth as a drop in the bucket in our $70 trillion global economy.”

 

It is estimated that 925 million people go to bed hungry at night globally.  “Poor people as we have come to know them in the Global South typically experience un- or underemployment; encounter barriers to opportunity based on their gender, race, ethnicity, or religion; lack some or all of the basic human needs, including clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing, and shelter; and all too often, lose hope and lack even the most basic self-esteem.”  Surely we can do something about this.  The light at the end of the tunnel is, in my opinion, this book, and its application with determination and persistence.

 

The next chapter is, “What Can Government and Philanthropy Do?” Since World War II global GDP went from $4 trillion to $70 trillion in 2012.  The authors explain that the main improvements have been in public health and primary education.  And it is true that the percentage of the planet’s people living below subsistence level has decreased from about a half to thirty-eight percent.  But in absolute numbers of desperately poor people, there are more today (2.7 billion), than sixty years ago (2.6 billion).

 

United Nations aid (about $5 billion in 2012), non-military U.S. aid and other aid has had significant effect in particular places, but “their net effect on the incidence of global poverty is nil.”  The author’s Takeaway is “The most obvious, direct, and effective way to combat poverty is to enable poor people to earn more money.”  “Building infrastructure—the World Bank’s longtime favorite mission—allows top government officials to award construction contracts to their families, friends, and supporters, often with kickbacks in return.  Unfortunately, massive foreign aid is often diverted to armies and police forces to preserve the power and hidden bank accounts of ruling elites, to the disadvantage of the country’s poor people.”

 

There are more than five million citizen-based organizations globally which attempt to fight poverty.  While these efforts are earnest, admirable and effective, these organizations “…tend to be scattershot and are almost always on a small scale.  Scale is the overarching issue for the citizen sector.”  From time to time these groups develop effective ideas such as one which CARE introduced, a micro savings and loan program “…based on savings rather than debt and is managed by members of the community rather than professionals…These ‘village savings and loans’…now serve some six million people in 58 countries.”

 

Worldwide, microcredit is now considered “…one of the most favored methods undertaken to fight poverty.”  However, it appears that many in the “$70 billion microcredit industry, practice fraud, demand usurious interest rates (sometimes even greater than those of moneylenders), and in at least two celebrated cases have made huge fortunes for their investors at the expense of their clients.  In some countries, the results have been tragic: poor people overloaded with debt and nothing to show for it—and even, in one extreme case in India, a wave of dozens of suicides brought on by aggressive debt collectors.”  Even in Bangladesh—“home of the microcredit movement and the country where it has expanded the most”—the country has gone down on a UN measure of poverty from 136th in 1991 to 146th twenty years later.

 

But not all is bad news.  In health care, “The eradication of smallpox and the near elimination of polio, plus recent efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, have saved millions of lives and captured the public imagination.”  The authors laud the efforts of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in donating major sums of money to improve health care, “But so much more needs to be done!”

Education has been largely a success with literacy increasing significantly “…in recent decades in every region of the world.”  UNESCO estimates that world literacy went from about fifty-six percent in 1950 to eighty-two percent in 2000.  The authors explain, however, that schools in the Global South pay their teachers a pittance and have high teacher absenteeism.  These children do learn how to read and write in some fashion though.  The book encourages further efforts by governments in education, as there has been success previously, but states that better teacher salaries in the Global South would be helpful.

 

Other possible government advancements could be “…upgrading the legal system, expanding physical infrastructure, and improving business conditions.  In practice, making police and the courts accountable would be a big step forward.  Building more all-weather roads would help a lot, too.  And the thickets of often obscure laws and regulations that make establishing a business a months-long nightmare in many countries should be streamlined.”  Continuing, “in countries where they’re permitted (or can function under wraps where they’re not), citizen watchdog organizations can make a big difference by publicizing corruption, systematic uses of violence to stifle dissent, and other sins of government.  International organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Transparency International, and Amnesty International are excellent examples on the global scale.”

A New Approach to Assessing Candidates

BY • ON Monday, December 14th, 2015 • UNDER Politics. feed.

So much—almost all—of the news about the Presidential campaign is about national and world issues. The irony is that from January 20, 2017 to January 20, 2021 our president will face unknown issues and widely varying issues from those known now.

So if we cannot judge a candidate based on their opinions on national and world issues, how then do we choose? My solution is to assess candidates not so much on their speaking ability or their position on the issues, but rather look at their lives, how they lived them, and especially their character and what they accomplished.

Scott Walker was a winner, having three gubernatorial victories in Wisconsin, one being making U. S. history as the first governor to win a recall election. Unfortunately, he dropped out of the race. I see this as a great loss for the Republican party and our nation, as I believed he could have followed in President Ronald Reagan’s footsteps.

Our nation can’t be strong militarily if it is not fiscally sound. We have a bloated federal government and entitlement that must be reformed in order to prevent us from evolving into a “Banana Republic” with such things as a currency crisis, inflation, and a Federal Reserve that has to print up money to avoid deflation and depression-like conditions.

Issues matter. But more important is to have a president who can solve these problems and who calls solving complex problems “fun.”

Though the challenges that Reagan faced are far different than what our country faces today, he is still an excellent role model for current presidents.

Issues matter. Electability matters. Governing matters. But wisdom, character, courage, leadership, innovation, life experiences—the whole life of all the candidates—matters more.

REVIEW Part II: The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

BY • ON Friday, December 11th, 2015 • UNDER Book Reviews, Politics. feed.

The Business Solution to Poverty:

Designing Products and Services for Three Billion Customers

By Paul Polak and Mal Walwick

Review By John E. Wade II

Part II

 

Paul Polak, one of this book’s authors, wrote, Out of Poverty.  In it he explained how a market-driven nonprofit organization he founded in 1981, “…had lifted 17 million rural people into the middle class by rigorously applying practices they developed in the field in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Somalia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and new agricultural marketing practices—were revolutionary because they were market-driven and designed for and with $1-a-day farmers, and, not incidentally because they worked.”  There are approximately one billion people still living on $1 or less per day.  The authors spell it quite plainly, “…our primary concern in this book: a desire to eradicate poverty.”  I must explain that they are writing about dire poverty, $2 or less per day, not the comparative type of poverty which lingers in developed nations.

 

The authors explain, “…traditionally, capitalist approaches have exploited poor people and done irreparable harm to the environment.  But what we advocate is different: a way to achieve results on a global scale and solve your fundraising challenge without victimizing poor people or despoiling the environment.”  I’m not sure I would agree with the “exploit” statement, but I wholeheartedly agree with this book’s approach and premise of using business techniques to conquer world poverty.

 

The authors make a wonderful point—that this poverty involves “…a horrendous waste of human talent.  How many scientists, physicians, teachers, business innovators, gifted artists, and brilliant community leaders might emerge from the bottom billions if they were freed of the shackles of poverty?”  This poverty causes great environmental damage, which claims the most damage to the poor themselves as they “…over-farm already poor soils, cut down trees for fuel, use local fuels for cooking and heating, and compete for fast-shrinking supplies of water.  Lack of education, high infant mortality, and the need for more hands to increase family income lead to overpopulation, which adds a multiplier effect to the existing pressure that humanity exerts on our dwindling resource base…[with] practically all the projected increase in the world’s population between now and 2050…among people who live on $2 a day or less in the world’s poorest countries.”

 

There is a huge market potential with the emerging economies of the Global South making up approximately $12 trillion or eighteen percent of the globe’s total economic output.  According to the authors, “Global South”  transcends geography and “…refers to the generally less-developed, low-income countries typically classified as ‘developing nations,’ ‘underdeveloped countries,’ and ‘emerging nations—despite the fact that most of India, for example, lies north of the Equator, and Australia and New Zealand, which are by no means underdeveloped, lie far to the south of the line.”  Increasingly, global businesses are coming to realize that their opportunities in developed countries are limited and that it is a matter of corporate growth to seek to serve “…the New Frontier.”  I thoroughly agree with the authors as they wrote, “In business, life is change.  No well-managed corporation with global aspirations can afford to overlook new market opportunities.”

 

To understand the location of the world’s poorest people, the authors explain that most are concentrated in four areas across the globe: the Indian subcontinent (including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka)—900 million; Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines)—700 million; Sub-Saharan Africa (the dozens of nations that lie south of the Arabic-speaking countries on the Mediterranean coast)—roughly 500 million; and China—perhaps 300 million.  These four areas encompass about 2.4 billion with another 300 million spread around the world.

 

The authors sum up their premise, “The remedy we propose is to tap the mainstream capital markets to fund large-scale, global enterprises that address the basic needs of these 2.7 billion people: needs for clean water, renewable energy, affordable housing, accessible health care and education, and, above all, jobs.”  Their approach is founding businesses with a ten year goal of achieving a customer base of 100 million with revenues of $10 billion or more per year profitably enough “…to attract both indigenous and international commercial investors while minimizing its environmental impact to the greatest extent possible.”

 

***

 

The authors have a definite route that they call zero-based design.  The first element of this formula is to listen to the poor people, not through pity, but as customers.  Think like Steve Jobs and create markets.  Scale is an essential component of this plan.  That is, “Design for scale from the very beginning as a central focus of the enterprise, with a view toward reaching not just thousands or even millions of poor people but hundreds of millions.”

 

“Ruthless affordability” requires designing products and processes “…not just 30 to 50 percent less than First World prices but often an order of magnitude less, or 90 percent.”

 

Another crucial key is “private capital.”  It is important to reach generous margins of profit “…which will play a central role in expanding any venture—drawing from a pool of trillions of dollars in private capital rather than the millions typically available for philanthropic; or government-sponsored programs.”  This is a vital point and the key that’s missing in other approaches.

 

The next element is “last-mile distribution.”  Because so many of these potential customers are in isolated rural areas, it is not only critical to plan for the last mile, but often the “last 500 feet.”

 

The authors’ list “aspirational branding” as the next element.  This one surprised me.  We are used to sophisticated branding in the developed world.  But the authors explain this is perhaps even more important with those in the bottom of the pyramid.

 

The final element is “Jugaad innovation.”  The term “Jugaad” is rooted in Hindu and refers to a creative or innovative idea that provides a quick, alternative way of solving or fixing a problem.  This involves working with what you have, and might even be called ingenuity.  Extensive testing and development are crucial.

 

***

 

Both social goals and profitability are important, “For example, if an enterprise adopts the mission of selling crop insurance to large numbers of poor farmers at an attractive price, embeds that mission into its DNA, and never wavers from it, transformative social impact is inevitable.  The real challenge is earning attractive profits while doing it.”  The authors refer to stakeholder-centered management which means that the business addresses the needs of customers, employees, the local communities, the environment and the owners.

Thoughts on the Middle East and Eastern Europe

BY • ON Monday, December 7th, 2015 • UNDER Politics, Wisdom. feed.

I’ve spent a lot of my free time reviewing the Middle East chapter in Henry Kissinger’s book World Order. And I’ve realized that the two spots in the world that are most at risk are the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Henry Kissinger states himself that the Middle East is very complicated both within itself and geopolitically, and I agree. Russia continues to threaten Eastern Europe mainly through the ego and aggressive nature of “President” Putin.

People around the world, including myself, need to improve and work toward wisdom and positive values.

The Middle Eastern radical Muslims have no right or excuse for their outrageous acts—particularly toward women and children. Can the radical Muslims improve, and Putin, too?

The road to peace in the Middle East, as articulated by Prime Minister Lee of Singapore, is to formulate a non-Muslim alliance to back the peaceful Muslims, who in turn would then root out the radical Muslims. As Lee stated, this would not be a quick solution, but of a long-term nature. In the meantime, it is incumbent on the United States to assure that Iran doesn’t get nuclear weapons capabilities.

As far as Russia is concerned, we must use economic sanctions to the utmost, possibly military sanctions, and what is needed to protect Ukraine. Here, it is best to take the advice of Senator John McCain and all our military experts.

Ukraine is a sovereign nation and should not fall into the tyranny of Putin, partly because if it does, he will not stop there. Putin is a murderer and cannot be trusted. He’s dangerous to the world order, but especially to the Eastern European order.

We need a containment policy for Putin. Hopefully and prayerfully, it could be non-violent, using diplomacy, sanctions, and protests, but if worse comes to worst, military strength to stop the tide of Putin’s aggression may be necessary. However, this is a last resort, and we should exhaust all other possibilities before going this route.

Love for oneself, others, and God must dominate our peaceful lives. Gandhi stated, “Violence begets violence.” I fully agree. But I also say that kindness begets kindness.

Love is basic, to within, to without, and to and from God.

Radical Islam is based on the “sword” of hate because the person doesn’t “believe” as that Muslim.

But I deeply believe it is what you say and do that counts with God. So killing, raping, or otherwise abusing people who don’t accept the Muslim faith—Sunni or Shia—is simply not in God’s plan.

Our values support our actions, and our spiritual beliefs support our values and our actions.

I don’t believe God Almighty has a big ego. What He/She wants is for us to do the right things. That would be motivated by love, love within, love without, and God’s enduring, steadfast love.

Love is kind—it says so in the Bible. And love is so much more.