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June 28, 2007


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I wonder what you would find out if you took up the question for real instead of as a rhetorical device. On the surface, jobs are better than charity, but only if they are good jobs that pay a living wage and have adaquite health and retirement benefits. What if your giving plan involves more investment in common assets than outright charity? How does that change the evaluation of investments when the return accrues to the entire community.

Well, I am very happy he is increasing his proportion of gift, I hope he spends it well. I would encourage him to also evaluate the social impact of the 47 billion still invested in economic enterprises. What if an investment of this scale was managed for sustainability, with a double or triple bottom line? What if each of the enterprises in his portfolio led its sector in ethical practices, environmental standards and fair labor relations? That would have an enormous impact.

I've recently been reading the piece I'm sure I got from you by Jed Emerson, et al "The Prudent Trustee". I bet the long term performance would be better when investors and fiduciaries improve in these dimensions. Charity would not be necessary but for the damages the predatory businesses and outright corruption inflict on the world, and only the other businesses of a sector can drive out the bad players. Active consumers are an asset to good companies, and they can even offload costs by supporting their consumers in peer-producing product information. Marketers just need to put out the information in a transparent forum, and interact in those forums to know how to fix and improve their products and services.


bUM fREee in comments elsewhere on this blog suggests that the corporate form be revised, not unlike the B-Corp, to make it mandatory that corporations have an operative social conscience, or like a human psychopath, be treated as mad. The issue is not whether we will have socially conscious business forms, but how those who are socially irresponsible will be punished, reformed, or liquidated. That is the question that will raise hackles. Once we measure two or three bottom lines we have to apply those standards across the board and penalize the profit line to compensate for the red ink on the social benefit line. Talk like that makes you sound ridiculous. When it gets serious, though, it will be hard. The ill-gotten profits, or the premium beyond a just or socially sustainable profit, buy a lot of philanthropy, lobbying, and litigation. In fact they could buy a pretty good private security force. We need a level playing field between pathological companies and socially responsible companies, and we can't let the pathological ones profit at our expense, even if they and their owners dabble in philanthropy.


With sufficient transparency, the crooks are exposed and bad behavior is punished by the market itself. At that point they can only resort to force, but then the jig is up, isn't it. It's already happening in spite of a corporate owned media intent on publishing only the owner's side of the story, no matter how corrupt or how blatant the lie.

I really don't understand how reluctant commercial enterprises seem to be in the self-regulation of their economic sectors. Why don't fishermen band together to protect their resource from industrial fishing technology that destroys ecosystems? It is their livelihood that is being destroyed. Why do the owners and operators of small and medium sized businesses allow the lobbyists for the mega-corps to own the "business friendly" debate?

I think one reason is the fundamental corruption of the justice system. Small or large, an organization fear regulation because they could be enforced arbitrarily or as punishment. Therefore less is more, but they fail to realize they are being sold more and getting less from their government all the time. That the crazy radicals in power ever sold themselves as "conservative" is a study in the corruption of the arts of communication as well.


It's the liberals, Gerry. Godless, ironic, unpatriotic, bending over backwards for the so-called "minorities." It it the sixties, which destroyed our country's morals. Now that the Supreme Court is conservative we can get back to how things used to be, when things were good on Main Street, and we had our own businesses, and good jobs. It's the liberals who messed it all up, and the Muslims. Build a wall around America and keep us from falling down into the hellhole of our inner cities. We are not like them.

JJ Commoner

Phil has it right, IMO .. things started going to pot (so to speak) when for a few misguided years the PTB let "others" do and say stuff that was basically not supposed to be on the agenda during America's march towads exceptionalism and triumphalism.

That godness .. no, thank GOD, that things are now back on track. The SCOTUS has been quite helpful of late .. at least it's clear now that the educational system will be moving back towards the day when the "others" were treated as they should be.

Transparency, Gerry ? It would not be such a thorn in the ass if it weren't for Al Gore having invented the Intertubes. It should be handled neatly over the next decade, and with a few decisions here and there the term "net neutrality" will fade into the background like a faint bad odour.


"The last shall be first, and the first shall be last," it is of that prophecy that our leaders live in fear.

Zeina El ASMAR

Att : M. Carlos Slim

Cher Monsieur,

Je me permets de vous écrire aujourd’hui pour vous féliciter non pas pour votre fortune mais pour la réussite que vous incarnez.

Etant moi-même de Jezzine ville de vos racines et faisant partie d’une association d’architectes urbanistes, je viens par la présente vous demander d’accepter que notre association « ADU » (Association du Développement Urbain) fasse une demande officielle auprès de la Municipalité de Jezzine afin que la place principale du village porte le nom de « Place Carlos Slim ». Cette demande est faite sans contrepartie. Monsieur Slim, le pays, vous le savez passe par une crise sans pareille et Jezzine en particulier étant située au Sud du Liban connaît un marasme sans pareil. Ce n’est pas l’argent qui manque, ni les idées mais un changement de l’image négative en une image pleine d’espoir et de futur.

Monsieur Slim, vous incarnez cette image, permettez qu’on l’utilise pour donner un coup de pouce à la terre de vos ancêtres. Je sais que par le passé vous avez été sollicité pour des participations à des projets fictifs. Je comprends votre méfiance. Mais une fois de plus je vous demande de prêter votre image pas votre argent.

Sachez M. Slim que vous êtes le bienvenu si vous le désirez chez nous sur les pas de vos aïeuls. Je me mets à votre disposition pour de plus amples renseignements.

Zeina Touma El ASMAR

ADU - Association du Développement Urbain

Zeina Touma El ASMAR

P.O.Box 298 Hazmieh Liban

Tel : 961 05 45 98 98
Fax : 961 05 45 90 99
Mob: 96103 87 96 86
Email : [email protected]


Godless liberals did not kill off their fisheries. Godless liberals are not destroying the middle class economy and shipping their jobs to Asia. The corruption and narcissism of the ruling classes is digging a big hole for all of us.

They can keep playing their think tank games with fake ideas to fool a gullible public, but they cannot protect themselves from the devastation that such ignorance will bring on. Environmental havoc will not stop at the boundaries to their gated communities.


They can get their money off shore, await the collapse, and buy us out cheap. "In a depression assets revert to their proper owners," Andrew Mellon.


Newsweek educates us on the crisis of the superrich:

"The future of luxury will be about imparting real meaning into a product," says Elixir's Zauder. It's anybody's guess what the next generation of luxury products and services might look like. But if it touches a mogul's heartstrings, you can bet it'll be expensive.

At least it's a framework that makes THEM look like everybody else. But corporations are not people. Can they be educated?


Sure, green marketing, or marketing through philanthropic tie-ins, or touting a double bottom line is all the rage. The Common Weal in Dallas, the luxury condos supplied with Genius Grant Recipients as strolling minstrels, is already over-sold. The Medicis had great taste. Perhaps our new Aristocracy will as well. Not that I have yet seen indications of that. We are still at the Arriviste stage, that of The Great Gatsby on a grander scale.


The line between corporate hijacking of the languages of paideia and Maecenas marketing mummery on the one hand, and any demonstrable educative impact on the corporate form on the other hand, might be more clear if we keep in mind that so long as the corporation is talking, producing, and meeting its bean counters' marks, it is probably not open to learning how to be something more than a corporation.


Incorporating Excellence. Engorging it. There is no "outside" of ownership.

a fundraiser

I posted an update on this story today on my website following Slim's interview with Diane Sawyer.


Thanks, blogged it.


I recently spent the weekend at the City of Children in Ensenada, feeding and giving Christmas presents to the children. Most of the funding for this very worthwhile cause comes from American churches. There is no funding from the Mexican government. Carlos Slim, if you really want to benefit the future of Mexico, give to the children! Help them become the leaders of tomorrow!!!!

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