Shop Ferguson and Dellwood This Weekend

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Sorry I’m so late on this. This sounds whiny, I know, but I have a really involved week at work this week. Sorry. Crap always seems to work out this way, though. When there’s a great need for Tea Party services, I’m tied up with work obligations. Something has to give, and it’s usually the thing that doesn’t generate revenue.

But we all have work to do. Ferguson businesses and families are still struggling with the effects of the riots. The demonstrations didn’t break their windows or steal their inventories. Rioters did. Looters did. And the shop owners in Ferguson and Dellwood weren’t rioting. They were watching their American Dream of owning their own lives go out through broken windows.

Everybody shops on Labor Day Weekend. All we’re asking is that you consider doing that shopping in Ferguson and Dellwood.

HERE’S A LIST OF FERGUSON/DELLWOOD SHOPS AND RESTAURANTS

The greatest damage was sustained along W. Florissant between the Schnuck’s/Target plaza (aka Buzz Westfall Plaza) and I-270. There are shops and restaurants–all the chop suey you could ever wish for. There are meat markets and liquor stores and my favorite beauty salon, 911. There’s a great nail salon in the same mall as 911 Beauty Salon: 9193 W Florissant Ave, St Louis, MO 63136, Cross Streets: Between Ferguson Ave and Canfield Dr.

I will post a muster time and location on FRIDAY. Sorry for the short notice. Please watch this Facebook Event for details.

PLEASE PROMOTE THIS EVENT

Twitter hashtag #FergusonBuycott

Follow me on Twitter.

Here’s local and national coverage:

The Daily Signal:
http://dailysignal.com/2014/08/25/area-residents-take-streets-ferguson-reason-think/

http://dailysignal.com/2014/08/21/neighbors-headed-ferguson-today-reason-will-warm-heart/

The Unablogger:
http://theunablogger.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/lessons-from-ferguson/

Hennessy’s View:

http://hennessysview.com/2014/08/21/why-st-louis-tea-party-went-to-ferguson-to-shop/

The Blaze:
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/27/after-hearing-what-a-tea-party-group-recently-did-in-ferguson-you-likely-wont-be-surprised-that-you-havent-heard-about-it/

Rush Limbaugh:
http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2014/08/26/quick_hits_page

 

Why St. Louis Tea Party Went to Ferguson To Shop

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You can’t change the world in your living room.

That’s why a small band of (mostly) white people from (mostly) West County drove to Ferguson (and Dellwood) to shop tonight.

We targeted the small businesses that were hit hard by violence–violence committed (mostly) by out of town agitators, criminals, vandals, and hooligans.

We drove to Ferguson to make two statements with our actons: 1) Ferguson is OUR community, and 2) Ferguson is open for business.

I met Dellena. Dellena owns the 911 Beauty Salon on West Florissant in Dellwood. Her landlord got foreclosed on, which meant she lost her home, just before the riots. So she moved all her inventory from her house to the store. Then the riots happened, and they took her inventory.

God bless Dellena.

I insisted on buying something–all the people in the salon were so happy and kind. She didn’t have much for white guy gray hair, but she took the time to pull together some gift bags. Then she didn’t want money, but I made her take it.

A gentlman (my age) in the salon (husband?) asked who we were with. I told him “St. Louis Tea Party.”

“Tea party?” he said. “You bad boys,” and chuckled. Then he looked at me, very serious. He said, “The tea party came up here to do this?”

“Oh, yeah,” I said. “we don’t want to see Ferguson go south.”

He laughed. And he looked at me. Then he was quiet, lost in thought for a minute. When he came out of it, he was like our best friend. Laughing, giving us crap about stuff, telling stories. He admitted baseball can be like “watching grass grow.”

In that moment of reflection, I’m sure he was trying to reconcile “tea party” with what he was seeing–four white people, ages 18 to 50, laughing, spending money, empathizing.

That moment made the whole event worthwhile.

In other shops, we’d get hard stares when we walked in and shopped. Once we told them “we’re with the tea party, and we’re here to shop,” these people actually shouted. “Thank you, thank you, thank you so much.”

The greatest statement an organization or person can make is to say with actions, not words, “what unites us is stronger than what divides us.”

This wasn’t a big win in breadth, but it was monumental in depth.

Dellena rocks.

I don’t know, yet, how much money we spent. I don’t even know how many people participated, but it looks like about 40. It was the hottest day of the year (so far). And it was an area that’s now known for rioting.

But the Ferguson Buycott was more successful than I could have dreamed.

I have much more to say, but had to say this much before going to bed.

Why did we go to Ferguson? Because Ferguson ain’t goin’ anywhere.

Next Buycott is Labor Day Weekend. Ask your Missouri State Rep and Senator to pass emergency legislation for a Ferguson Sales Tax Holiday during the veto session.

Very special thanks to my friend Marty Bennett who was one of the first to put his boot down in Florissant tonight–and the last to lift his boot from W. Florissant. God bless you, Marty.

Thanks, too, to Dottie Bailey, the best PR specialist and getaway driver St. Louis Tea Party could ask for.

Ben Evans, who join the movement on September 12, 2009, in Quincy, Illinois, continues to make himself indispensible.

And Alex Cohen. He’s like 18. America’s future is cool if Alex is any indication of the Millennials.

Everyone who came to Florissant tonight, thank you, thank you, thank you. Include Senator Claire McCaskill who magnanimously join the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition’s BUYcott of Ferguson. Here’s the video.

Conscious Capitalism:The One Book Every Conservative Must Read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The motivating force behind the first tea party protests of February 27, 2009, was , in part, crony capitalism.

Across the country and on the steps of the Arch in St. Louis, signs and speakers denounced bailouts for failed businesses.

Rasmussen found that 68 percent of Americans believe Big Business and Big Government work together against the rest of us.

I think they’re right.

Since then, crony capitalism has only grown. Obamacare and Medicaid Expansion. Quantitative Easing. The government takeover of General Motors and Chrysler. State and local tax subsidies for businesses, like China Hub here in Missouri.

At least part of the reason we’ve failed to separate corporation and state is a conservative economics fallacy first articulated by our favorite economist, Milton Friedman.

Milton Friedman’s Error

In 1970, Friedman wrote a New York Times op-ed titled: The Social Responsibility of Business Is To Increase Its Profits.

Conservatives love the simple brashness of Friedman’s statement:

There is one and only one social responsibility of business— to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud.

On the surface, it makes sense, and business academics took it to heart. In 1976, two business professors, Michael Jensen and William Meckling of Simon School of Business, took Friedman’s theory one step further: the sole purpose of a business is to maximize shareholder value.

The Downfall Of Business Ethics

As Steve Denning wrote in Forbes last year, this is “The Dumbest Idea in the World.” The results of maximizing shareholder value have led to a popular mistrust of business. And it’s led leading proponents of so-called agency theory to question the idea that all’s fair in pursuit of profits.

In 2011, I had a chance to sit down to dinner with Harvard Business School legend Paul Lawrence just months before he passed away. Dr. Lawrence spent the last decade of his life undoing a lot of the damage he felt he’d done at Harvard.

After hearing great stories about John Wayne, whose Arizona ranch shared a mile long fence with Lawrence’s brother’s ranch, I asked him why he’s working so hard on advancing Four-Drive leadership when he should be enjoying his retirement.

“I watched a news program about corporate scandals around the time of Enron,” he said. “I realized that most of the men who were on trial for cheating and lying were former students of mine. I had to correct the thinking that led us here. I had been part of the problem.”

The Answer Is Conscious Capitalism

John Mackey’s vision of Conscious Capitalism might surprise his conservative critics. In his new book, Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business, Mackey mirrors the idea behind the 5,000 Year Leap:

In the long arc of history, no human creation has had a greater positive impact on more people more rapidly than free-enterprise capitalism. It is unquestionably the greatest system for innovation and social cooperation that has ever existed. This system has afforded billions of us the opportunity to join in the great enterprise of earning our sustenance and finding meaning by creating value for each other. In a mere two hundred years, business and capitalism have transformed the face of the planet and the complexion of daily life for the vast majority of people.

And he gives us a remarkable litany of free-enterprise capitalism’s higher purpose:

This is what we know to be true: business is good because it creates value, it is ethical because it is based on voluntary exchange, it is noble because it can elevate our existence, and it is heroic because it lifts people out of poverty and creates prosperity.

The idea that business is good, ethical, noble, and heroic is breathtaking. I promise you, they don’t teach those ideals in most business schools today. They teach profit maximization and meeting Wall Street analysts quarterly expectations instead.

But people are human, not machine. We all want to serve a higher purpose, save for the five percent who are true psychopaths.

Mackey’s vision of business as good, ethical, noble, and heroic would lead the most idealistic person toward the pursuit, while the idea of maximum profits invites the selfish and the greedy.

The Evil Twins of Crony Capitalism and Regulation

The flip side of Conscious Capitalism is Crony Capitalism and government regulation.  On these points, John Mackey sounds like our speakers at the first tea party protests:

Crony capitalists and governments have become locked in an unholy embrace, elevating the narrow, self-serving interests of the few over the well-being of the many. They use the coercive power of government to secure advantages not enjoyed by others: regulations that favor them but hinder competitors, laws that prevent market entry, and government-sanctioned cartels. 16

Since the financial collapse in the 2008, crony capitalists and government have conspired to increase the wealth disparity in America to its highest levels ever. Obama’s rhetoric about level playing fields were hollow. His two most ambitious legislative victories—Obamacare and Dodd-Frank—all but competition and free enterprise from healthcare and banking. Obama didn’t reduce income inequality—he made it worse.

And he did so with a lot of help from big business and big banks. Dodd-Frank, you’ll remember, changed a lot because of testimony and lobbying from the finance and banking worlds. Same for Obamacare and healthcare and insurance corporations.

The corporate lobbyists did not push ideas that would keep you free and prosperous; they added provisions to put taxpayer dollars into their own pockets. 

 

Read Conscious Capitalism

There’s way too much great stuff in Conscious Capitalism for me to cover here. Whether you’re a business leader, entrepreneur, or concerned consumer, you’ll benefit from the ideas Mackey puts forward.

In the end, Mackey shows us two worlds. In the first, corporations use the coercive power of government to extract wealth from customers, employees, vendors, and taxpayers. In the second, businesses exist to create massive value that inspires people to buy from, work for, and trade with companies.

Which one would you trust? Which one won’t embarrass you? Which one would you happily defend?

If you believe in fair, open, and voluntary exchange, you’ll love Mackey’s book. If you don’t believe in those things, you need Mackey’s book.

NYTimes: Cubans Find Freedom Fun

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Since mass murderer Fidel Castro fired thousands of Cuban government workers due to the economic unviability of Obamanomics, those set free are enjoying their independence.  To the shock of the New York Times:

“I feel useful; I’m independent,” said Ms. Álvarez, who opened a small cafe in November at her home in this scruffy town 25 miles from the capital, Havana. “When you sit down at the end of the day and look at how much you have made, you feel satisfied.”

If only the NYT would explain the wonders of economic freedom to Fidel’s protégé in the White House.

What We Learned from Milton Friedman

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I am a big fan of Milton Friedman.  I’m also becoming a big fan of Creating Shared Value.  Some believe the two values are inconsistent, but I disagree.

milton-friedman-300x202In 2005, Reason Magazine posted an online debate between Friedman and Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey.  The debate coincided with the 35th anniversary of Friedmans’ famous The New York Times Magazine article entitled: : "The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits." 

Now, 2005 was before Mr. Mackey became the darling of the tea party because of his defense of privatized medicine in 2009.  At the time, I’m sure, free marketers took sides with Friedman. 

But in that debate, Mackey makes a compelling case for businesses understanding the long-term effects of their operations and decisions—and for learning how to articulate the benefits of capitalism to society:

Both capitalism and corporations are misunderstood, mistrusted, and disliked around the world because of statements like Friedman’s on social responsibility. His comment is used by the enemies of capitalism to argue that capitalism is greedy, selfish, and uncaring. It is right up there with William Vanderbilt’s "the public be damned" and former G.M. Chairman Charlie Wilson’s declaration that "what’s good for the country is good for General Motors, and vice versa." If we are truly interested in spreading capitalism throughout the world (I certainly am), we need to do a better job marketing it. I believe if economists and business people consistently communicated and acted on my message that "the enlightened corporation should try to create value for all of its constituencies," we would see most of the resistance to capitalism disappear.

Today, I have to admit, I agree with Mackey.  Milton Friedman’s 1970 article that the only social responsibility of the corporation is to maximize profits was not wrong.  It was poorly expressed. As Mackey points out, Friedman’s words have been (ab)used by leftists ever since—usually by leftists who’ve never read the article. 

Earlier in the debate, Mackey pointed out that Adam Smith’s less famous work focused, not on maximizing profits, but on maximizing value:

[E]conomists would be well served to read Smith’s other great book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. There he explains that human nature isn’t just about self-interest. It also includes sympathy, empathy, friendship, love, and the desire for social approval. As motives for human behavior, these are at least as important as self-interest. [hyperlink added]

We’ve learned many great ideas from Friedman, including the ridiculous cost of government hidden in a 32 cent pencil.  Free to Choose was the most important book on economics I read in high school.  I’m sure it was for many others, too. 

We also learned the importance of messaging from Dr. Friedman  by way of John Mackey.  We owe both men a debt of gratitude.  And we owe the great free market system our vigilance in promoting the political system that advanced humanity more than any.  By creating shared value, corporations keep the engine of liberty alive. 

On Friday, I’ll write more on the idea of Creating Shared Value.