Sunday, December 5, 2010

Men Can Govern Themselves without a Master

" I have no fear that the result of our American experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master." -- Thomas Jefferson

I have no fear that the result of the democratic-business experiment  will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master.

Friday, November 26, 2010

From Guevara and Marxism to Morales and Democracy

 In Latin America, the armed revolutionaries of yesteryears have been replaced with the ballot-box revolutionaries of today. The buzz words and icons of Latin America have changed from Marxism and dialectical materialism to solidarity and indigenous rights & from Che Guevara and Fidel Castro to Evo Morales, Lula Da Silva, and Rafael Correa. The democratization of Central and South America, has unified Latinos and is revolutionizing their standard of living.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

U.S. no Longer Part of Top 20 Least Corrupt Nations

For the first time in the index's 15 year history, the United States was removed from Transparency International's Top 20 Least Corrupt Nations. United States' drop in the index (to 7.1 out of 10) was in part due to political funding disputes, the subprime mortgage crisis, and the disclosure of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The Top 20 Least Corrupt Countries include Denmark (1), New Zealand (1), Singapore (1), Finland (4), Sweden (4), Canada (6), Australia (8), Switzerland (8), Iceland (11), Hong Kong (13), Ireland (14), Germany (15), Japan (17), United Kingdom (20). The United States ranked 22nd behind Chile (21).
To see the interactive map click here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Democratize Public Education

Public schools are suffering from a dearth of good teachers and good curriculums. Extracurricular activities, the arts, physical education programs, and the love of learning are disappearing from public schools. Home schooling, "hybrid" educations, and charter schools are moving to the mainstream. The consolidated control of public schools into bureaucratic structures has stifled education, progress, and creativity. If we are to save the public school system in America, we must deconsolidate and decentralize control down to the local level and involve parents more.

The mass consolidation of public education has occurred alongside the mass consolidation of banking, media, and business in the United States. In 1932, there were 127,531 independent school districts in the U.S., many of them operating a single school. By 1990 there were only 17,995 school districts left. As a result of the 80's and 90's obsession with consolidation, we have suffered the collapse of consolidated banking institutions, the poor reporting of consolidated media, the diminishing quality of our food supply, and the failure of public education.

Deconsolidated and decentralized school districts were the aims of an American education from the founding of this country. Thomas Jefferson proposed "to divide every county into wards of five or six miles square;... to establish in each ward a free school for reading, writing and common arithmetic; to provide for the annual selection of the best subjects (i.e., students) from these schools, who might receive at the public expense a higher degree of education at a district school...for defeating the competition of wealth and birth for public trusts." (Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1813. ME 13:399) Jefferson argued that small school districts were "necessary for better administration of our government, and the eternal preservation of its republican principles." As Jefferson points out, small, school districts uphold the principles of republican democracy; i.e., trust, local ownership, and equality.

Deconsolidation and decentralization give control to parents to make the best decisions for their children. In general, no one looks out for the interests of children better than parents. Data shows that there has been an increase of 74 percent in homeschooling over the past 10 years and much larger increase in "hybrid educated" students. A "hybrid education" means choosing from a menu of educational offerings including online classes and public school courses. In addition, from 1999-2000 to 2007-2008, the number of students enrolled in charter schools, in the United States, more than tripled, from 340,000 to 1.3 million students. This unparalleled rise in homeschooling, charter schools, and "hybrid educations" indicates that parents want to have more choice and greater influence upon the education of their children.

Whether your concern is political, educational, or ethical, deconsolidation and decentralization of public school districts is the answer. We can continue to consolidate power over public schools through programs like "No Child Left Behind" and more recently "The Race to the Top", or we can return to our "republican principles" that have served us so well all of these years. Our decision will determine the success of our children and our country.

(Sources: & &

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Father of Economics Believed That Employees Should Own the Company

Adam Smith, the father of economics, pointed out in his book The Wealth of Nations,

"The directors of such [joint-stock] companies, however, being the managers rather of other people’s money than of their own, it cannot well be expected, that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private copartnery frequently watch over their own.... Negligence and profusion, therefore, must always prevail, more or less, in the management of the affairs of such a company."

In other words, when ownership is separated from those who manage the company, the managers will inevitably neglect the interests of the owners, leading to imprudent decision making within the company.

(Taken from

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Tree of Liberty Must be Refreshed

Thomas Jefferson said, after Shay's Rebellion,...

“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people, which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.”

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ricardo Semler: Revolutionizing the Business Model

Ricardo Semler is a revolutionary in the business world. For centuries we have improved and evolved our government, technology, science, etc., but the structure of businesses has hardly changed at all. All of that changed when Ricardo Semler proved to the world that he could create a democratic business with record profits, record growth, and happy workers.

Favorite quotes:
"When you look at your past and my past and anybodies past and say, 'When did I actually learn something' it was when you were very interested at the exact moment and there was somebody who was passionate on the other side--never in any other situation."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Detroit: The Perfect Example

My interest in Detroit peaked after a recent trip by my parents-in-law to the "Motor City" for the 2010 Ford Convention. To them, Detroit was like nothing they had ever seen or could put into words. They told us that no one walks on the streets alone and that you can see the desperation in the faces of everyone you meet. Since then, I have done some research of my own and found that Detroit's devastation and ruination did not begin with the latest economic downturn, but has continued for several decades, and it is not over. 77 parks will be shut down this month and demolition crews are planning to tear down 10,000 residential buildings over the next four years. Yet, the best way I can describe Detroit to you is with the latest TIME magazine pictures of the city's ruins: 
Detroit is the end result of a global economic system where employees have no say in the way their businesses are run. The same employees that built these corporations have been denied a piece of the ownership and thus the wealth that they created. These corporations have uprooted and moved across the planet in search of cheaper labor and lower working, pollution, & corruption standards--taking their pillage with them.

Ironically, only now that these oligarchical coporations have turned their backs on Detroit are real, local solutions being implemented. With the city’s current leadership hypnotized by what they see as a civic death spiral, new leadership is coming from the place it always does in the end–from the bottom up. There are now eight hundred community gardens on abandoned lots, peace zones for public safety, green retrofitting of empty houses, new open source media projects and an exploding hip hop and poetry scene. 500-1000 young people come to Detroit every summer for the Allied Media Conference where they create new ways to use participatory media as a strategy for social justice organizing. From June 22-26, as many as 10,000 people from around the world are convening in Detroit for the US Social Forum to discuss solutions for Detroit and the U.S. that include sustainable urban planning departments, student environmental organizations, food security, renewable energy, green building, new media, and alternative currencies.

The problem that remains is that this progress is likely to be pillaged again by oligarchical corporations. When money returns to Detroit, oligarchical corporations will take root again and the cycle will start over. Until the people of this nation and the world understand that oligarchical corporations within democracies do not yield democracy at all, we will continue this cycle. We must change the organizational structure of the corporation. If all we did was demand employee ownership, decentralized decision making, and financial transparency, we would eliminate the majority of our economic problems.
(Information from and

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bill Moyers' Last Broadcast

The long-standing PBS anchor, Bill Moyers, signed off yesterday (May 3, 2010) for the last time. During his final address, he spoke of democracy and the state of our union.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bolivians to Reforest their Country...Without Money

What would happen if every person in the world walked outside and planted one tree? The effect on atmospheric CO2 levels would be greater than any multi-billion dollar, government project. According to, in one year, an acre of trees can absorb as much carbon as is produced by a car driven up to 8700 miles.

This week, Bolivia hosted the World Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change. Among other resolutions, Bolivians decided that on Earth Day 2011, they would each plant one tree in order to reforest the country. Bolivian President Evo Morales, in an interview on 4/23/2010, spoke of the peoples' plan:
In Bolivia, we are going to begin reforestation...We are going to begin to plant them as of next year on April 22 (Earth Day). We will plant ten million trees. What does that mean? That a Bolivian, whether a child or an older person, will plant a plant or a tree--and we are ten million, and there will be ten million--without any international contribution. This would just be an effort by Bolivians to reforest our country.
What would be the effect if every person in the world planted one tree on April 22, 2011? Or two? Or three? Is there a better example of democracy, in the world, than the people of the world solving the problems of the world themselves?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Most Democratic Workplaces of 2010

WorldBlu is a non-profit organization with the goal to inspire the formation of 20,000 democratic organizations by the year 2020. Each year WorldBlu recognizes, on it's website, the most democratic organizations in the world. Check out this year's achievers!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Union Cab of Madison Is a Democratic Business

I believe that one day, the majority of businesses will be run democratically because the standard business model will struggle to compete.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm a Podcaster Now!

I just signed up for Odiogo's ( free service that converts your blog posts into podcasts, automatically. Now is a podcast! Click the "listen now" button in the top left hand corner of this post to listen.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beyond Borders' Emergeny Efforts in Haiti

Beyond Borders is a democratic organization who's sole purpose has been to assist the people of Haiti--since the late '70s. Beyond Borders has the trust & support of the Haitian people. I can think of no better organization to donate to in order to help the people of Haiti, at this time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fascism= The Marriage of Big Business and Big Government

On January 22, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that any corporation or union from any country in the world can spend as much money as it wants to win in any political campaign. Corporations can now recruit and finance, openly, its own candidates with however much money it is willing to spend. If, for example, Exxon Mobil decides that it will spend one percent of its earnings on it's own candidate, it will have spent more money on a Presidential Campaign than any candidate in history.

If left unchecked, this will be the straw that breaks the back of democracy in the United States. The sadest part is that, once again, the Republicans & Democrats are too busy fighting with one another to see that our country has just been hijacked.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vote With Your Money

Move your money from Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs to a local bank. Vote with your money. Your choice of bank is much more powerful than you electoral vote.Enter your zip code at this website below to find high-rated, local banks.

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.