Friday, April 24, 2009

Transparency and Limited Power Stop Corruption

"The Church committee (named for Senator Frank Church) looked at a period starting with Franklin Roosevelt and running through Richard Nixon...In every single administration you had failures of control by all the presidents and misconduct by the intelligence agencies...Under all the administrations—six different administrations, both Republican and Democrat—there were misuses of power...(that were) inconsistent with the law and the Constitution.

"The single most important finding of the Church committee was that, if during a time of crisis we ignore the wise restraints that have been put in our constitution and laws to keep us free and keep us strong, we are not only going to make ourselves less free, we are going to make ourselves less safe.

"We’ve slipped as a country into not being as open as we historically (have been) and instead into more and more secrecy, and I think that is one of the underlying root causes (of corruption) that needs to be examined and dealt with." -- Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr. (Chief Counsel to the Church Committee)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Deepest Global Recession Since the Great Depression"

The International Monetary Fund is forecasting the global economy will decline this year for the first time since the Second World War. On Wednesday, the IMF said the global economy would see a 1.3 percent decline in what it called “by far the deepest global recession since the Great Depression.”

(Quote taken from DemocracyNow!)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Business that is Run Like a City

"Most of the forces that shape the structure of business, including capital markets, business schools, economic theory, a variety of laws, and even our own upbringing trains us to assume that at work you're either an employee or a boss, but never a citizen. So at Equal Exchange we understand why workplace democracy seems such a novel concept. We simply don't accept it." --Equal Exchange President Rob Everts

Equal Exchange is a 23 year-old, $34 million employee-owned firm that is run like a small city where employees act as citizens and the employee-elected Board acts like a City Council.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bribery is a $1 Trillion Dollar Industry

Daniel Kaufmann, the institute director of Governance at the World Bank, estimates that $1 Trillion of bribes are paid worldwide in both rich and developing countries; One out of every 30 dollars in the world is spent as a bribe.

The World Bank's research "shows that countries which tackle corruption and improve their rule of law can increase their national incomes by as much as four times in the long term, and child mortality can fall as much as 75 percent."

Interestingly enough, the most effective tool to fight corruption has been identified by the World Bank as transparency;, freedom of the press, freedom of information, and asset disclosure.

Democratic businesses have found, like the World Bank, that being proactively transparent with all financial information fights corruption, creates efficiency, unity, & understanding, and causes employees to be paid for what they are worth and not for the amount that companies can acquire them for.

Now, if only we could force the World Bank to be transparent...

If you want to help democratize the world, and increase corporate transparency, visit, enter your salary, and browse the salaries of others within your company and around the world.

(Quotation taken from

Friday, April 10, 2009

Voters Champion Free Market But Want More Regulation

The American people intuitively know that there is something wrong with American capitalism, but they can't quite put their finger on it.

Rasmussen Reports released a seemingly contradictory report on December 29, 2008--just after the economic crisis began. It seems that 70% of voters believe that a free market is better than one managed by the government; yet, 52% of voters believe that there is a need for more government regulation of big business. However, 65% agree that government and big business often work together in ways that hurt consumers and investors.

Intuition has brought the American people this far, but what are the facts. Nationalization is not democratic because government control is simply a new layer of management on top of the excessive, burdensome layers that already exist.

The way to maintain free markets and regulate corporations at the same time is to truly democratize corporations. Corporations that practice financial transparency, have few layers of management, and offer stock-ownership to all employees are held accountable by the employees themselves and have very little need for government oversight.

(Statistics taken from

How Will You Measure Your Life?

I recently read this article by Clayton Christiansen out of Harvard entitled, “How will you measure your life?” It is what he tells his students on the final day of his class.

One of the items that he mentions sticks out to me. It reads as follows:

“One of the theories, . . . . . how to be sure we find happiness in our careers—is from Frederick Herzberg, who asserts that the powerful motivator in our lives isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements. I tell the students about a vision of sorts I had while I was running the company I founded before becoming an academic. In my mind’s eye I saw one of my managers leave for work one morning with a relatively strong level of self-esteem. Then I pictured her driving home to her family 10 hours later, feeling unappreciated, frustrated, underutilized, and demeaned. I imagined how profoundly her lowered self-esteem affected the way she interacted with her children. The vision in my mind then fast-forwarded to another day, when she drove home with greater self-esteem—feeling that she had learned a lot, been recognized for achieving valuable things, and played a significant role in the success of some important initiatives. I then imagined how positively that affected her as a spouse and a parent. My conclusion: Management is the most noble of professions if it’s practiced well. No other occupation offers as many ways to help others learn and grow, take responsibility and be recognized for achievement, and contribute to the success of a team. More and more [people think] that a career in business means buying, selling, and investing in companies. That’s unfortunate. Doing deals doesn’t yield the deep rewards that come from building up people."

I’m sure you can see why it sticks out.