editorials - This global business was set up in 2001 to advance economic
development anywhere through the support of business investment projects - not the
political or economic manipulation of markets by government intervention.
Regardless of good intentions, politicians and government bureaucracies
demonstrably create harmful market distortions and then accept no real
accountability for such bad outcomes. Markets weed out failures,
instead of rewarding, expanding, and prolonging them into larger and eternal
2009 - Investment in China - The
global recession presents a fork in the road for the direction of economic
change in China. It's time to take a fresh look at investment
commitments and planning assumptions, and explore strategic alternatives.
20, 2008 The Obama transition team is already being lobbied by economic
development organizations with a huge
Christmas wish list to cash in on any new stimulus plans. Be
careful what you wish for. It's not without costs.
19, 2008 - Governor Blagojevich has
decided to fight. His continued arrogance and poor judgment in office
is staggering. more>
Even in Illinois, where political corruption is rarely
regarded as newsworthy, this is a disgraceful affront to the ethical
standards which should be expected of even the lowest public official.
He should resign now, with no plea deal. If he
continues this fight, there should be no mercy. He can reconsider his
judgment over many years in jail.
24, 2008 - Bailing out the Big Three
and other failures
What is "too big to fail?" Too small to rescue?
Why can't government reinforce the market to restore confidence, rather than
A modest proposal - give the money to people who can
actually afford to buy new cars now, and leave them free to choose which
brands (foreign or domestic) and models in which to invest. Their good
credit can leverage the investment to have a far greater positive impact on
the whole industry.
|The purpose of
this editorial page is not to offer daily commentary as in newspapers or
blogs about the hot topics of the day, but rather to periodically offer
commentary about issues of enduring importance to sustainable
economic development as driven by corporate growth and investment decisions.
2008 - updated for the election results. October 2,
2008 - Why the founder of this small business supported the
McCain-Palin ticket in the 2008 US
presidential election. Many peers in the economic development
profession favored the Democratic party and their liberal government social
programs and industrial policies which, despite good intentions, produce poor results at
unjustifiable costs. The road to waste and more economic problems is
paved with good intentions and increased government spending.
Too bad that he lost
This doesn't mean "green"
topics or partisan political debates. The focus is on things which can
be done to have an enduring and positive impact on the people and world
around us - whether in our own local communities or in places so remote that
we hardly even learn of their existence in school or in news reports unless
there is a disaster or crisis.
In short, the focus will be on finding solutions rather
than complaining about problems as though they were insoluble or always
somebody else's fault.
The focus is on good news about which we want to share our
own observations in the hope that they will contribute in some way to
18, 2008 - Support the Central
Asia Institute - why this is important as a long-term strategy
rather than a short-term crisis response.
first called attention to this organization several years ago, before the
earthquake which devastated many villages in northern Pakistan, and before
the popular book came out about their work.
If you have ever seen the popular movie, "Charlie Wilson's
War", you may have noticed the message at the end about the fact that the
USA quickly went back to ignoring Afghanistan and Pakistan as soon as the
Soviet forces withdrew - after more than a decade of war and misery in the
region for millions of innocent people and refugees. We spent a
fortune on weapons, intelligence, and military responses but walked away
from the "end game".
We are at risk of making the same mistake again. It
took generations to create these problems, and we need to keep our focus on
how to fix them for future generations - not just until the next crisis.
Please support the good work in rural northern Pakistan and
Afghanistan by the Central
Asia Institute. www.ikat.org
In general, this website is not intended to become a forum
for the presentation of views by others, nor to publish comments about our
views (such as the typical "letters to the editor" or blog reply function).
In short, we will selectively share content which we feel
advances economic development as a positive force in the world, but
publishing articles is not our real focus. Our focus is to help good
things happen by working directly with corporate executives on the growth
plans for their companies.
links: see our prior comments repeated below about the Nobel Peace Prize
as awarded to Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank of Bangladesh in 2006, and to
Wangari Muta Maathai in 2004. These comments were published within
days of their selection to help draw attention to their work as an example
The nature of their local work to
empower ordinary people to work together to improve their own lives is very
analogous to what Greg Mortenson has done by listening, learning, and
working with villagers to support their own school projects and other local
initiatives rather than imposing solutions on them.
If you haven't read the remarkable book "Three
Cups of Tea", about Greg Mortenson and his work setting up schools in
remote villages, you should do so.
Buy the book.
Tell your friends about it. Get your library to feature it - not just
store it. Tell your children about it, and how they can help other
children. Tell their teachers and friends about it.
We maintain a selective
Humanitarian, Charitable, and Philanthropic Community Services directory
for convenient reference. This is not an endorsement by us of their
work, or vice versa. It is just a tool for sharing information about
many useful resources.
includes many reference directories for specific regions, including
South Asia. Please inform us of any obsolete links or other
directory changes, and suggestions for relevant additions are always
The book is inspiring, but please keep in mind that this is
not crisis response work. It needs to be sustained to transform lives
over time - long after the book sales and publicity may fade away.
|For those who
may not yet be familiar with The Christian Science Monitor, it is an
excellent objective source of independent global reporting. We have no
affiliation with it, but respect it highly.
Green Belt Movement : Kenya
Congratulations to 2004 Nobel Peace Prize
Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai of Kenya for her contributions to
sustainable development, democracy and peace.
Her inspirational lecture was also broadcast
through the Worldview program of Chicago Public Radio, where an
audio clip is available, which is well worth hearing to capture the
passion of her many years of commitment to this cause. It is an
exceptional lecture on development and the linkages between
environmental issues and democratic governance and peace. A full
transcript is on the Nobel website.
Congratulations : to Grameen Bank, Bangladesh - and to economist
Congratulations to 2006 Nobel Peace Prize
Laureate Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank he founded to promote
local economic development and alleviate poverty through
These enabled small groups of poor people in
Bangladesh to access unsecured loans in very small amounts for
their own self-help business efforts which would not be possible
through the traditional bank loan processes. This made it
possible for many poor people to find their own path out of
poverty through their work and savings, rather than rely on
high-cost sources of capital or continuous government aid, social
programs, or charity. This development model has been repeated
elsewhere as an effective approach to poverty reduction
challenges, and adopted by various non-profit charitable
organizations as a way to leverage the economic impact of their
Lecture by Muhammad Yunus in December 2006 was a very
interesting presentation on the larger theme of how we can create
the world we want rather than accept problems such as poverty as
though they were inevitable and insoluble. Similarly, the
was very inspiring when Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai of Kenya won it
for her Green Belt Movement's contributions to sustainable
development, democracy and peace. It is noteworthy that in both
cases women have taken the lead role in transformation of the
societies around them by small-scale initiatives at the local
level which have had a great cumulative impact by unleashing the
potential of people who governments and businesses have not
adequately respected or served.
One of the interesting concepts promoted by
Muhammad Yunus and others is the idea of "non-loss" companies with
a clear social purpose as their main objective. In short, they
are managed like for-profit business ventures, but are not managed
for profit maximization, but rather to maximize the desired social
impact of their work.
This differs from the typical nature of "non
profit" organizations, which may similarly focus on trying to
achieve good social outcomes, but perhaps more from the
perspective of raising and distributing money or other benefits as
charity rather than by managing the process for demonstrable
results as in a business venture.
In other words, a non-profit may measure
activity (how much it has given away and to how many) rather than
results (what has been changed to achieve sustainable social or
economic progress beyond immediate crisis-response). This concept
of business-like social ventures has started to catch on with
philanthropic business leaders who want to achieve lasting
results, as reflected in some of the resources listed in our
Humanitarian / Philanthropy directory.