Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Hunger Banquet

St. John’s Memorial Church
Ramsey, New Jersey
Invites you to attend a
Hunger Banquet
On
Friday, January 16th
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

What is a Hunger Banquet?

A Hunger Banquet is an interactive educational activity that dramatizes the inequality that perpetuates poverty in the world. Guests are assigned roles as they enter, representing different income levels around the world. What each person receives for dinner depends on the role they are playing. The banquet presents an opportunity for people to see and feel the effects of poverty and to work together to generate solutions.

Why Should We Hold a Hunger Banquet?

Poverty has many faces. Unfortunately, many of them are children’s. According to NetAid, approximately 850 million people worldwide are undernourished. This constitutes 14% of the world’s population. Over 95% of these people live in the developing world. Hunger is least likely to be caused by lack of food. Instead hunger is the result of many factors contributing to food insecurity. Some of these factors include disease, access to water and sanitation, health care, distribution of food, politics, and access to resources. One billion people lack a clean water supply and over two billion people lack adequate sanitation. These two factors are major causes of disease, a leading cause of hunger.

Is there a Solution to Chronic Hunger?

There is enough food in the world today for every man, woman and child to lead a healthy and productive life. Over 30 developing countries have managed to reduce hunger by 25% since the early 1990’s. Hygiene measures resulting from access to water and sanitation can significantly reduce the number of hungry and undernourished people as their bodies are better able to process food.

The solution to world hunger requires a global response. Lets be part of the solution.

You Tube Video: Feed The World

January 15, 2009 Posted by | Millennium Development Goals, poverty | , , , | Leave a comment

G20 Mulls State of the Globe

The leaders representing the largest world economies will sit down this weekend to plot some strategies to deal with the global economic crisis. The challenges confronting this group is extensive and vast. Inflation, deflation, credit markets, energy prices, political stability, capital markets, exchange rates, balance of trade, and the slowing growth of the world economies are problems that will require more then a weekend meeting to solve. The Economist Magazine has some thoughtful insights into the extent and depth of the problems, some possible solutions and potential roadblocks to implementing them.

One point The Economist raised for consideration is the conflict between the global reach of capital market institutions and the national based sovereign regulatory bodies that are responsible for governance and oversight. This glaring challenge came to light last month in the EU when national banking governors were forced to enact national solutions to Pan Euro Zone banking problems. Regulators are concerned that savvy global banking institutions will engage in a type of regulatory arbitrage to skirt national governance laws. The global banking system has surpassed the constraints of national regulatory laws and it is a principal challenge that the G20 must address. Indeed during the height of the credit crisis national regulators were hard pressed to explain why it was in the best interest of the countries taxpayers to bail out foreign banks and to share credit facilities with other central banks repo desks. The supranational nature of our economic and political institutions is a difficult pill for some to swallow. Country Firsters will certainly use this as an opportunity to beat the isolationist and nationalist drum.

This G20 meeting is likened to the Bretton Woods agreement that adopted fixed currency exchange rate and formed the IMF and IDRB. These initiatives foreshadowed the Marshall Plan and were key to the ascendancy of American economic dominance in the post WW2 era. Though many are playing down the similarities of the two events this meeting comes at a time when the American economic colossus has lost its groove and whose preeminence is now being challenged by the EU, China and a slew of Third World confederates that are demanding more equitable distribution of world resource and a chance at sustainable economic development.

The conference is certain to adopt some classic Keynesian solutions to stimulate growth. Indeed the activist interventionist actions the world central bankers have employed to deal with the crisis, like the TARP will become more widespread. This will certainly raise the debate about protecting the sanctity of free market capitalism against the creeping socialism advocated by the proponents of the Keynesian approach to stimulate growth. Here it is necessary to remember that this is not about an ideological debate concerning the righteousness of conservative or liberal political dogmas. The global economic crisis is real and it is creating political instability and economic hardship across the globe. For many in the Third World this crisis has acutely spiked their struggle for survival as the barest subsistence levels are not being met.

As the G20 makes the big decisions to patch the broken world economy we believe that the real business of the G20 should be a careful examination and implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

The Millennium Development Goals provide an opportunity for the world leaders to unite behind a program that promises to offer the potential of long term sustainable growth, prosperity, peace and a commitment to our shared humanity and respect for life. This I believe is the the real business that the G20 men and women need to address this weekend.

You Tube Video: Charlie Chaplin, Great Dictator Globe Scene

You Tube Music: Bob Marley and the Wailers: One Love/People Get Ready

Risk: global economy, sustainable development, political stability, peace

November 15, 2008 Posted by | Bush, economics, jazz, Millennium Development Goals, politics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SME Development Bank

Over the Labor Day Weekend Sum2 announced The Hamilton Plan. The Hamilton Plan is a ten point program to foster the development of manufacturing in the United States by tapping the entrepreneurial energy of small and mid-size enterprises (SME). The plan’s 10 points address sustainable business models, GRC best practices, capital formation initiatives, SME banking, labor union stakeholder empowerment, association syndication, cooperative formation, support for public education and cooperative learning.

This is an introduction to The Hamilton Plan, why it’s needed and the call for the creation of an SME Development Bank (SDB) to facilitate capital formation to achieve the goals of the program.

The Hamilton Plan, named after the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, proposes a ten point program to develop small and mid-size enterprise (SME) manufactures. The Hamilton Plan invites business owners and executives, industry associations, chambers of commerce, banks, capital market participants, labor unions, academia, non-profit organizations and governmental institutions to join forces in a concerted effort to support the reestablishment of the manufacturing infrastructure of the United States.

The vital national interest can be served by institutions representing business, labor, local communities and government to join together to foster optimal conditions to incubate and develop SME manufactures. SMEs are a natural strength of the US economy. SME represent largest most vibrant sector of the economy and by combining the entrepreneurial drive and creative energy of SME’s with the pressing need for innovative manufactures; America can reestablish its ascendancy as a preeminent power in the global economy. The Hamilton Plan is designed to provide incentives and encourage the formation of support clusters to develop SME manufacturing.

The Hamilton Plan:

1. Adoption of World Business Council Standards for Sustainable Business

2. Establish Incubators for Targeted Growth Industries

3. Adopt Sound Governance, Risk, Compliance Practices (GRC)

4. Formation of SME Development Bank / Capital Formation Initiatives

5. Partnership Lyceums for Government / Business / Academic Institutions

6. Labor Unions as Preferred Stakeholder / Association Syndication Unions

7. Establish Cooperatives for Technology / Licensing / Commodities / Energy

8. Superfund for Progressive Tax Code / Universal Health & Benefits

Infrastructure Investment / Brownfield Remediation and Reclamation

9. Expand Public Education Funding & SME COOP Program

10. Support Millennium Development Goals

Capital Formation Key to Success

The Hamilton Plan in its entirety is designed to respond to the compounding economic and political crisis that is confronting the United States. The credit crisis, energy dependence, industrial stasis, trade deficits, geo-political instabilities, aging infrastructure and climate change are the result of long term systemic problems that government and industry has failed to address effectively. The Hamilton Plan advocates the adoption of the program to squarely address these pressing issues with the full understanding that it will require the concerted cooperation of all stakeholders to assure the continued development, security and prosperity of America.

The Hamilton Plan requires concerted focus of investment capital to fund development and to make sure that assets are allocated to channels that will assure optimal returns and that equity participation of stakeholders is protected and rewarded. The establishment of an SME Development Bank (SDB) is a structured investment vehicle and corporate institution that will focus, manage and administer capital formation initiatives to incubate and develop SME manufactures.

At its core, The Hamilton Plan seeks to preserve the free flow of investment capital to finance national economic development and empower SME manufactures. The Hamilton Plan is not a substitution nor in any way seeks to supplant the American free market system. The Plan is designed to unleash, pool and focus investment capital. The Plan leverages regulatory capital, compliance and governance. The Plan seeks to achieve strategic economic goals, build wealth and prosperity in US and realize broader goals and objectives to assure sustainable economic growth, nurture innovation,  ecological balance and global competitiveness.

SME Development Bank (SDB)

The SDB would be chartered to assure that capital is deployed to meet appropriate program projects and assure effective stewardship of shareholders capital. The SDB would be the repository for economic and regulatory capital. It would maintain capital adequacy ratios in conformance with Basel II directives. The SDB would serve as a fiduciary to distribute capital through local community banking channels. SDB governance would assure that program objectives, ownership equity, credit requirements, capital allocations, shareholder rights and income distributions are made to SDB shareholders.

Government funding of the SDB would consist of share purchases financed by capital from a national development Superfund. The Superfund would receive tax receipts from a progressive national tax program, budget allocations, licensing and royalty receipts, dividend reinvestment’s and capital gains proceeds from the sale of assets.

Shareholders in the SDB would be community banks, institutional fund managers, state/local/federal government, private equity firms, business owners, company management, associations, labor unions, employees, academic institutions, non-profits organizations. Different forms of capital would be recognized and used to purchase shares in the SDB. For example, local governments can purchase shares in the SDB with tax credits or land grants or infrastructure improvement projects; labor can purchase shares with sweat equity, academic institutions with intellectual capital etc.

Securitization of SDB shares can be created to trade on public exchanges. Any secondary market listings would occur after underlying assets have been properly seasoned. Shares in the SDB would offer terms of extended time frames for investment lockup and share redemption.

Community Bankers as Risk Managers and Distribution Conduits

Community Banks have a critical role as an SDB equity partner. The community bank is the primary channel by which equity and credit capital is provided to the SME. They are front line risk managers and advisors for portfolio companies. Community banks are astute relationship managers. Community banks understand local market conditions and can link assets and service providers to build support clusters and expanded value chains for SMEs. Community bankers will help SMEs focus on capital allocation strategies and support efforts in encourage growth and profitability.

They will provide help in the following areas:

Corporate Governance
Risk Management
Business Promotion, Acceleration and Development
Corporate Advisory Services
Information Services
Performance Evaluation Services

Community banks will be offered regulatory capital relief through its equity participation in the SDB. Community banks will form a joint back office (JBO) to address regulatory capital requirements for its participation and share ownership in the SDB. Community banks must continue fulfill capital requirements for retail banking and other lines of business in accordance with regulatory requirements of its governing agency. State regulatory agencies relating to SME banking regulation, enforcement and inspection would conform to a unified national banking regulatory agency.

Community banks will share in the equity appreciation of the SME and any distributions, dividends or corporate actions the Board of the SDB effects. The differentiation of credit and equity capital participation will be accounted for at the SDB level. Administrators for hedge funds and other Alternative Investment Vehicles have developed sophisticated partnership and shareholding accounting capabilities that can address questions of share class ownership, tranche construction and attributes, asset valuation, distributions and returns.

The community bank in working in conjunction with the SDB will help SME’s effectively manage risk, improve stakeholder communication, implement effective corporate governance that create sustainable business practices to assure long term profitability and growth.

The Hamilton Plan lays the foundation for SMEs to seize market opportunities. SMEs in partnership with community bankers must assess products and markets, business functions and critical success factors. Sufficiently capitalized by the SDB, the SME and local bankers will execute an action plan to support the corporate mission in line with the larger goals of The Hamilton Plan to build wealth for its shareholders and assure the future prosperity of America.

Song: Average White Band: Work To Do

Risk: manufacturing, small and mid-size business, global competitiveness, middle class, national prosperity

September 3, 2008 Posted by | Hamilton Plan, hedge funds, manufacturing, Millennium Development Goals, pop, recession, SME | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Seven Lost Years

The World Bank ended its spring conference with a clarion call for world leaders to take urgent action to deal with the “Rice Crisis”; the dramatic rise in food prices and the political instability it is causing.

World Bank President, Robert B. Zoellick called for a “New Deal on Global Food Policy.” Zoellick is urging governments to provide $500 million in emergency funding to deal with the Rice Crisis. Failure to find a solution to the problem will result in “seven lost years” in our fight against world hunger. The prospect of New Dealers emerging from Bush’s inner circle is a bit ironic and may cause the Neo Cons to express dismay, but the urgent need to act is clear. The Rice Crisis is the greatest threat to global stability. Aligning and mustering the resources of the G7 Group, United Nations, IMF and World Bank to deal with the Rice Crisis is the best use of their institutional power.

Neo Cons can find some comfort in Zoellick’s proposition that funding to achieve forgotten Millennium Development Goals be provided by Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF). Governments won’t have to add to the burden of future taxpayers by employing a Keynesian deficit spending strategy to fund their commitment to stabilizing the global production and distribution of food.

The mammoth SWFs are becoming the lender of last resort as they again are asked to ride to the rescue to salve the world’s economic wounds. It’s almost like a form of world communism has emerged to support the stability of state capitalism practiced by the developed world. A portion of the surplus value accumulated in the SWFs are now being returned to maintain fluid markets and political stability.

Risk: Political; Social; Economic; Inflation

You Tube Video: Hunger Awareness Video

April 16, 2008 Posted by | Millennium Development Goals, social unrest, sovereign wealth funds | , , , , , , | Leave a comment