foreclosure

I Versus We, Me Versus You

For three full decades we’ve seen wrenching social dislocations in America’s rust belt occur when an unleashed, unchained, and morally unregulated private sector picks winners and losers. Today, roughly 23 million Americans are currently unemployed or under-employed, more than five million American homeowners have suffered foreclosure since the 2008 start of the financial “Great Recession” and, as Katrina vanden Heuvel reports in her recent “Extremism in defense of Gilded Age privilege” opinion piece, “the top 1 percent of Americans captured a staggering 93 percent of national income growth in 2010.” Statistics emerging from 2011 and 2012 threaten more of the same.

As a pathway back from this wealth inequality abyss, the Fall edition of the Harvard Business Review, “Managing Your Stakeholders,” stands out as an intriguing oxymoron in a shareholder-centric, “we built it all ourselves” economy that rewards practicing global labor arbitragers with oversized private equity fees for services rendered. The most original piece, “CEOs Must Engage All Stakeholders,” by Venkat Ramaswamy and Kerimcan Ozcan, highlights technology-induced “structural shifts in value creation” platforms that propel successful companies to “engage the individual in both defining and delivering” what really matters to “business-civic-social ecosystems.” According to the authors, these “experience-based,” “co-creative” engagement platforms (“assemblages of people, interfaces, processes, and artifacts”) reach outward rather than inward, embrace the synergistic global creative village rather than glorify just one leading individual, and represent the “new engines of capitalism” with a “more holistic wealth creation process” as their natural outcome. (more…)

Homesteading for the One Percent

(AFP/Getty Images)

Inherited merit is perceived as un-American and justifiably so in the land of supposed equal opportunities. Historically, the “Far West” belongs to the enterprising and courageous pioneer, the indentured servant who paves his or her own way after voluntary conscription, the “failure is not an option” entrepreneur, the hard working immigrant, the colonial self reliant.

Tragically, America’s current housing crisis makes a complete mockery of this vision. More than a policy day late and a refinancing dollar short, now we have turned our underwater homeowners into Katrina-like refugees, disenfranchised in their own land.

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