The game is stacked. Unless you go into certain fields and maneuver a golden parachute, expect to watch the rich get richer and the poor poorer. According to September 11, 2013 Associated Press article, “the gulf between the richest 1 percent and the rest of America is the widest it’s been since the Roaring 20’s. In 2012 the income of the top 1 percent rose nearly 20 percent compared to a 1 percent increase for the remaining 99 percent. That statistic makes me cringe.
In the generation of the Robber Barons, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Morgan, and others believed their ruthless, but huge economic successes , achieved by unethical, and perhaps illegal means based on today’s standards, was part of a Divine Endorsement. Yet, we remember and even idolize their homes and think kindly of their charitable works, ignoring the lives they literally destroyed.
Why is it that many of us fail to embrace, showcase, and teach our children that it is simply wrong to maneuver others to turn over their time, products, concepts to a few , rather than justly compensate all?
Where are our social entrepreneur heroes and heroines in history? Can you find Martha Matilda Harper, Madame CJ Walker, and others as top examples of inventive poor women who decided to bring along others with their success and to insist that success had to be based on principles?
I love business. I know how hard it is to create a business, hire , motivate and support people to form a successful team. I believe risk-takers should be justly compensated. But, how much is enough? I think we need to begin at early childhood, rewarding and encouraging our children and grandchildren to be kind, inclusive, sensitive, along with bold and brave. We need to acknowledge that our role models need to change as we reboot our values and truly walk the talk of being an admirable society. We have those models; we just need to dust them off from history and spotlight them. We can make societal difference; we simply need the will. Are you ready?