John Hope Bryant




The real vision, mission and purpose for the 2nd annual HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit was actually quite simple — to break the traditional cycle of poverty through empowerment; expanding, deepening and broadening the true level of opportunity for all. Simultaneously, the goal was to show senior corporate, government and non-government leaders how, in mutually benefit ways, the poor can help to save capitalism itself. Finally, our goal was to help create an environment where we inspire a new generation of future C-Suite leaders in the world, embedding within them a more human, dignity-centered and sustainable form of capitalism itself. For the purpose of this writing, I will call it simply 'open-source capitalism.'

Open-source capitalism is the same exact thing that made early America a successful nation to begin with. With the notable exception of the oppressive and exclusionary treatment of black slaves, during the American aggregation age, the small business environment experienced by most in the 1700 and 1800s was farming. This early period of America's development and growth involved what I would call a broad, deep, wide, and engaged exposure to the levers of free enterprise in this country. Even in the 20th century, again with the notable exception of African-Americans (because of slavery and Jim Crow laws), a sense of 'opportunity' was reasonably well dispersed, broad-based and accessible. Fact is, even the noteworthy national youth training organization Junior Achievement, originated from farmers in the aggregation age who were interested in finding a way to teach their children how to grow up and run their business (the traditional farm).

It was average, extraordinary American citizens and American immigrants that created what we now call Bank of America, and the Coca-Cola Company, and UPS, Federal Express, CNN, and countless other companies that are now well known American iconic brands — subsequently hiring thousands. But they all started small, and they all started with very small amounts of capital, by individuals who were mostly written off as 'non-serious' at the time. In other words, they were not a part of the traditional power clubs, but they quickly got on the roads of promise.

But in the last few decades the roads to prosperity in America seem to have narrowed. If you are middle class in America, you more often than not actually feel poor.

Read the complete Huffington Post article here.

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