Dear Mike Rowe,
The market for human value is not properly protected. We discard hard workers in the same way we ignore a homeless veteran. Something can be done to fix it.
I am the founder of Local Common Wealth. This is a business networking organization very much like the first Junto group founded by Benjamin Franklin. The Junto group met every Friday night to discuss morals, politics, and natural philosophy (science). They also created the first library and helped to improve citizens by the use of their institutions. Business networking organizations have never matched this first original model. Like the Great Pyramid, the blueprints of its original design were lost. Let me explain.
In 1905 business owners in Chicago rotated from office to office to conduct networking meetings. This formed into Rotary. Within 20 years Rotary changed to a service organization and adopted the motto “service above self.” In 1915 Kiwanis formed in Detroit as a business networking organization and later changed to a service organization with a motto, “serving children of the world.” In 1917 Lions formed first as a business networking organization called The Business Circle and then latter changed into a pure service organization with a motto “we serve.”
These organizations once attracted many but they are now struggling to retain their numbers. Why? Because they have lost touch with their market, namely human value in their community. They once focused on business networking to build wealth in their businesses and now they give service to others outside the community, mostly to those in foreign countries. When it comes to real value, we have lost site of conserving value in our local market.
Even chambers of commerce are dying across the country, all because they put real business networking to preserve value locally aside in favor of luncheons, lectures and costly administrative overhead. The chamber model is a hierarchy of power and politics that always looses site of the real market, specifically the conservation of labor that we offer each other in our businesses and in our lives. If there is one reason why we do not teach our youth skills in the trades, it’s because of how we organize locally. Today we organize into political bodies of power and control without concern for the real market of human value we live in, which functions best in an open body of free expression void of overbearing power centers and absent of political controls.
It is getting worse. We now have franchise-owned business-networking organizations (if you can believe that) plus for profit CEO/Leadership services, both pulling vital wealth and autonomy from the community. Like chambers of commerce, they are hierarchical and prone to political posturing. They thrive on manufactured scarcity and disregard the conservation of value in their local markets, which is true abundance. The true potential of a business network as a rising tide that lifts all ships has been lost.
Every time we organize into political hierarchies or scarcity organizations, we lose site of real value in our local markets. A case in point is Stuart. Stuart is a 42 year old roofer and an American citizen born in the Philippines. He is looking for steady work in my community. He has been tossed around from one roofing company to the next, and eventually discarded with the rise and fall of market needs. Recently he was found living in a tent with his wife down by the river. I hired him and trained him to install a new aluminum roofing product. He is the hardest worker I know and quickly picked up the new skill. He can withstand long hours in hot July temperatures, a really dirty, sweaty and difficult job. If you can believe this, he was discarded in our community. Stuart is the real value we should protect because he is the real wealth generator in our community, and yet we discard people like Stuart all the time.
The purpose of business networking is to build wealth first in individual member businesses, and second in the organization itself. Building wealth allows us to accomplish greater things. The problem is we never conserve that wealth in a closed system.
Imagine a balloon within a balloon. This is an example of a closed system, a larger ballon conserves the helium within the smaller balloon. A community that preserves value within its own system is a vibrant culture. The result is more abundance and less scarcity. When Americans begin to see how abundant their local wealth truly is, they will quickly begin to stop the leaks happening everywhere. I dare call this leakage capitalism. Free enterprise is different. It works by principle of conservation and not scarcity. Anyone who says that capitalism is an abundance principle really does not understand the conservation of value within closed systems.
For example, a great business knows how to run as a closed system of abundance. It returns wealth to itself, to its employees, and to further improve its value. This is the very meaning of genuine optimism, it’s a cultural energy conserved in a closed system. It is more akin to free enterprise, which adds value, than capitalism, which is the acquisition of value.
After 100 years, the organizations above have no wealth to show for all their effort because they have forgotten the higher principle, which is to conserve value within a closed system for the benefit of all those in their market. This is why they are failing. They have forgotten the value of human beings in their own markets.
For the reasons above, Local Common Wealth was founded, a business networking organization with a simple motto, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Local Common Wealth is different. Each chapter is run by common consent (like a micro republic), thus we have no political hierarchy to constantly centralize wealth and power to itself, which leads to social protectionism and bloated costs. Essentially, we are headless.
Second, groups meet twice a month to discuss relevant issues in business and community. We pass referrals and we pitch each others businesses. We do not allow members to sell or pitch/hawk their own businesses. We do that for each other.
Our first Local Common Wealth chapter, The Dixie Business Network, meets twice monthly. This chapter is an independent 501c3 organization. In 2016 we passed over $160,000 in referrals with just a few members. In 2017 we are on track to pass $1,000,000. We have electricians, plumbers, contractors, insurance agents, nutritionists and more in this first group. Due to our organization, we have realized a problem and a solution that we hope will help people like Stuart.
We are launching a business called 3 Skills. Anyone in the community looking for a job can apply and when they have three skills passed off by members in the network, they can be employed with a better guarantee of constant work. Here is how it works.
I know contractors in many trades that want to grow but they cannot afford to hire someone full time, and consequently nobody can afford to work just part time to learn a new skill. Here is where three skills comes in. As a general contractor, I select to hire a worker on Thursday and Friday to roof, and another contractor gets the same worker Mon-Wed to frame or do concrete. Once someone learns three skills, and once each skill is verified by a member in the network, that person is put on the list for work.
Contractors then pay 3 Skills and 3 Skills pays all workers comp, liability, insurance etc. It is very much like www.upwork.com but for local work only, thus conserving value locally and giving both business owner and employee an easier way to grow business or get trained in more skills to maintain employment.
The only way this can be done is within a business networking organization where men and women meet often and where they combine their efforts to do something bigger that no single person could do. This something bigger conserves energy within a closed system and lifts everyone’s boat. This is only the beginning of this visionary challenge. The tech side of this venture will be truly disruptive and amazing.
The best achievements in humanity stem from businesses organizing to build wealth together. From the Charter of Liberties to the Magna Carta and from the Iroquois Confederacy to the Declaration of Independence, all resulted when business leaders organized to serve each other equally. Wealth in many hands but held within a closed system and in common is exponentially greater to the community than wealth in the hands of political entities outside the community.
I have Stuart hired for two days this week. A friend in our network has him hired for a third day. I need more growth in the network to get him hired for a full week every week. With more growth many more can be trained and hired. And with more growth in the network we can become a rising tide nationwide, a thousand points of light and not just one city on the hill.
I just wanted to let you know a call to action is happening, a movement to preserve the value of hard work and open the door for more to become hard workers. If you know of any parties interested in helping make this launch across the country, I am open to talk. I need help with funding a minimal viable tech product to help people organize fast and without the cumbersome politics of power. This is a true revolution rising from people and without any need for existing governments or institutions, or any vertical hierarchy of any kind.
I hope this inspires as your mind, as you have inspired my heart.
Keith R Kelsch, The Genuine Optimist