The best occupation prevention measure
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2011-10-23
The Occupy Wall Street Movement has gone global. Greedy commerce/capitalism, as it has been often described, is lucky that it had not yet reaped a more violent reaction from a world that’s reeling from hard times.

The worst reaction that greedy commerce/capitalism can have to the Occupy Wall Street Movement is that it’s merely a fad and will eventually dissipate. That reaction suggests that greedy commerce/capitalism does not acknowledge the damage its greed had inflicted and therefore feels that there is nothing to reform.

A worse case scenario can easily emanate from the current movement that could lead to further social and political instability. Notably affected by the recent financial crisis are many from the middle class, historically the instigators of change.

The Great Depression of the early 20th century facilitated major revisions in many national political landscapes. Bitter hard times make people yearn for a knight in shining armor and this was filled by the likes of Italy’s Benito Mussolini and Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler.

The Occupy Wall Street Movement spread rapidly all over the globe because of two factors. One factor is that people suffering from hard times empathized with the movement. The second factor is the facilitation provided by information technology, especially social media. For these two factors alone, the capitalists all over the world should worry. Escalation from mere occupation can be easily mounted via social media.

President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) hit it right when he told businessmen to practice CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) in order to prevent being occupied. At no time has Mahatma Gandhi’s famous line - “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed” - been more relevant.

The effects of climate change, a factor that was non-existent in previous economic downtrends, have aggravated current economic difficulties. Man-made environment degradation has limited our options. Oil is running out. All societies cannot simply leave it to their respective governments to address economic difficulties. Every person has to share the burden.

At no time too has the new economic paradigm of the Economy of Communion (EoC) become more relevant. From a culture of greed that got the world into its present mess, EoC promotes a culture of giving and sharing. Not as dole-outs but as a dedicated commitment to release every person from a state of poverty.
Release from poverty requires more than just money placed in a poor man’s pocket. More than the lack of gold in his pocket, it is a man’s way of thinking, lack of values and level of education that determine socio-economic stature. EoC does not merely focus on raising funds with which to help the poor - it fosters the development of a meaningful relationship between the people in need and the benefactor.

By creating a fraternal kinship and a caring environment, EoC companies inevitably become harmonious workplaces. The core values of EoC, the communion of the haves and the have-nots under a climate of openness and reciprocal respect and love, ensure the harmony under which greater wealth is generated.

This is how the Economy of Communion (EOC) works:

1. EoC ensures the right of the investor to make a decent return on his investment. The investor freely takes from the net income of the company his targeted return on investment be it 20 percent, 25 percent or 30 percent. That is a reward due him and the company’s stockholders for investing and taking a risk in the venture. He may also allocate for himself a salary from the operation. It’s his option whether to just earn a salary, make a return on investment or get both.

2. The residual profit is then divided into three parts intended for the following:

The first part is for further reinvestment in the company. This can be in the form of capital equipment to replace aging machinery or money for expansion so that more economic opportunities are created. The benefits of the workers and their share of the profits also increase with business expansion and growth.

The second part is for the lesser privileged in the EoC community so that their standard of living can be raised. The EoC community is the circle of people covered by the profits that can be shared. Foremost logical beneficiary is of course the worker. Then this circle can include an adopted poor community. The gap between the haves and the have-nots are thus reduced and this fosters unity and harmony in the community.

If a community has already achieved a desired distribution of wealth, this part can be shared with other communities in the world, which then makes the communion global.

The third part is for the creation of structures for the new man. It is a realistic need that value formation comes with attendant costs.

There are no set rules for determining the three parts as these may be equally apportioned or one may be greater than the other two. No two industries are alike and the EoC recognizes the need for flexibility. The spirit of communion/sharing is not bound by dogma but is exercised in freedom.

EoC has chalked up a track record of success with over 750 companies in five continents where the Focolare has spread its mission of unity. The Focolare is present in over 180 countries including Muslim states like Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Libya, Jordan, Iran and Algeria. EoC may appear to have been crafted for the third world countries and economies. However, there are many companies in the developed countries notably in North America, Australia and Western Europe who have also adopted it.

They saw the EoC as yet the most equitable system that delivers the following benefits:

1. The investors make their desired returns because EoC must ensure that the business should be profitable otherwise there will be no profits to give and share.

2. Being people-oriented, EoC assures the workers a fair share of the fruits of their labor. The firm achieves industrial peace and harmony. EoC companies enjoy production efficiency; wastage is very minimal because of high worker morale and reciprocal concern for the owners who take good care of them.

3. The EoC improves the standard of living of the poor members of the company and the EoC community not through a dole out but in a way where the beneficiary has contributed to his benefit. This is the essence of communion one person brings his surplus while the other brings his need into the relationship.

4. The EoC ensures the further growth of the venture by the profits that are plowed back for reinvestment.

5. Because values are the underlying foundations of the EoC, the laws are followed to the letter, taxes are dutifully paid, and the environment is protected, among other good practices.

It’s sheer folly to address poverty after a social explosion has already reached your gates. It’s an act of self-preservation for the haves of society to consider EoC.

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