BLACK DEVELOPMENT MANIFESTO
Volume 1, Chapter 1
Begin With Black Enterprises
Most development books go something like this: a little girl or boy living in extreme poverty in Bangladesh or somewhere in Africa. The narrator then explains how this child must walk for miles to filch water and even further to attend school in some decrepit building or tent. At this point images of your own child reminisce your thoughts and you wanting to help by contributing a few dollars each month to world vision or UNICEF, or some other reputable charity become your goal and only solution. After all you are a good person and wouldn’t want that for your own kid much less some poor African child- and, you will be right. However, not once will you think what's causing this situation and how can it be ended. More importantly, you must free your guilt by donating a few dollars each month to a far-off charity in order to ease the anguish and move on with your hectic daily routine.
Fortunately, this book doesn’t start that way, nor will you be encouraged to send a check to . More importantly, it’s not about the child in East Timor or Somalia. This book is about your own child or children, or that of your niece or nephew or a cousin living across the city or state from you. In fact, perhaps it about you or a friend or sibling who future is at stake because inequality and poor government policy here in the US and in many nations around the world has place them in a permanence underclass, or working-class. Debt from housing, car loans, student loans and credit cards are keeping them caged in a world we hardly understand. charity
This book or the series of books that is to be The Little Black Books begins in America. Not in New York or Washington DC or some swanky downtown metropolis, but at an unusual place, Bayboro in St. Petersburg, FL. Just around the bay, along the beautiful shimmering waters the divides the two cities: Tampa, home of the and Buccaneers, and St. Petersburg, home of the annual Firestone Grand Prix and The Saints baseball team that plays its home games at the Tropicana Field. Here just along the shores of the bay, the high-rise from the downtown of both cities are noticeable, as do the upscale homes along the waters, bushes of beautiful plans and trees that line the edges of the waters for miles. Apart from New York’s Battery City in downtown New York, one of the nicest neighborhood communities in Manhattan, built from dirt that was excavated from the first Twin Tower sites that became the bedrock for the reclaimed land that made that enclave community possible, I have seen very few places this beautiful. The trees, flowers and walkways are as pristine as the homes and building that creates an oasis of peace and quiet, something missing from most downtowns. Lightening
I had been invited this one-of-a-kind community for dinner. The sprawling downtown estate as well as the host of the dinner are from The Bruderhof Community, one of the few Christian sects that practices communal living. The 30 plus resident living and working at this estate, and their lovely children, are shuffled around their 21 other communities located around the world: England, Germany, Paraguay and upstate New York, where the rest of their other 2900-members reside, raising their children and running their schools and businesses. Everything here is free for its members: food, clothing, healthcare, education, electricity and even laundry services. Since the late 20s, this pacifist group which started in Germany by a humble man name Eberhard Arnold as a result of Germans prosecution and their conviction to live like the second century church, has grown by metes and bounds. They escaped Nazi concentration camps and may their way to England and have been living together and providing for each other, those in and round their communities and the hundreds of guests which visit from time to time out of suspicion or curiosity. at
Its January 2019 and I'm nearing completion of my final manuscript on global development. By now my life-long research had taken me everywhere in such of why some nations and community are rich and developed and others are poor and underdeveloped. I have visited many places, born in Liberia, lived in The Ivory Coast, resided in Ghana’s refugee camps and now the United States. I had visited London, Paris, and even stood over the grave of the legendary Pan Africanist, Thomas Sankara in Burkina Faso. In I had lived in Ohio and New York, Newark, NJ, Atlanta, GA and Orlando Florida and watched the stark contrast between one part of America with great fascination. I had read almost every bestseller book on development, from Adam Smith Wealth of the Nations to Dambisa Mayo’s Dead Aid, and Jeff Sacks The End of Poverty. I had studied the Great Aqueduct of the Roman Empire and learned how Germany’s and south Korea overcame its post-war inflation and infrastructure challenges. I have watched and listen with intensity to some the most brilliant economists of our time, Joseph Stigler, Milton Freeman and Thomas Sowell and even post development question to President Ellen Johnson-Serleaf, the first democratically elected female president in Africa; but this day, nothing had prepared me for what I was about to discover. America
What appeared to be a small group of people, living modestly and unassumingly together had a lot to teach me about what I had spent my entire life trying to understand: business, development economies of people and nations. In many regards, barring the use of their own currency and like the tiny Vatican State tucked inside of Italy, but functions independently, Burderhoff is like its own country within the United States- although, they shy away from participating in politics. Nonetheless, their members are free to vote in local and national election, according to Eric, the St. Petersburg’s director and my host. His lovely wife Dora has since been great friends of mine and I visit the Bayboro ever more consistently. and
By now It was almost , just before the sun disappeared over the beautiful Florida horizon. After being graciously greeted by a lady who introduced herself as Elizabeth, I elected to sit on some racking chairs along with Bill Goodwin, a friend who had in fact told me about this unique group of people upon his return from a two-week’s trip at Woodcrest, one of their other communities located in upstate New York. When it was dinner time, we all set side-by-side on their huge front patio along with the rest of the group's members and their kids, overlooking the estates manicure lawn and the bay as passerby's neighbors taking their evening strolls yell or waved “hi” with contentment. Then the singing began shortly after hymnals were passed around just before dinner. Their voices, even that of the kids, filled the air with adoration and thanksgivings that could be heard several feet away, if not from miles. Although, I have never heard any of the songs before I managed to hymned along delightfully. As pleasant as the singing and the sincerity of their welcome and acceptance, the food was even more for filling. Eggplant harvested from their community garden was served along with fresh salad and cheeses, reminiscing of a five-star corporate dinner. At the conclusion of dinner, Ben the group's Pastoral leader read a few biblical passages and for the next few minutes the group expand and exchange ideas about the passage and its's relevance today. Although the weather in Tampa was warm and beautiful, the north, Chicago was experiencing a blizzard and several homeless people had frozen to death. I thought this would be a good time to charm it and made it known my discontent for the doors of churches being closed and only used for Sundays services when people are living on the streets. Why are churches even building elaborate building and using those buildings for only Sundays or midweek services, what a waste I continued. Bruderhof has no official church building or chapels. The warmed-heated exchange ended with thanks and gratitude of my being there. We talked more for a little while until a little after seven or so and was dismissed for the evening as the kids had to prepare for bedtime. Eric and Dora invited Bill and me for drinks to their upstairs patio where we were offered some wine and beer overlooking a modest pool and their property's beautiful grounds.6pm
The atmospheres by now was much more . Erica, one of the other residences of the community who help prepared the delicious meals each day brought some pies and joined us as we talked about life at the community, but mostly we talked about what was going on in America: the social and economic challenges many are faced with. I asked more questions about their community and how is it possible to sustain, feed and house this many people, every day. Judging by their modernity, the way their women dressed- simply plain or flowered dress extended beyond the knees and headscarf. The men were also modestly looking, their simple jeans, khakis and checkered shirt is far from extravagance by contemporary standard. Another thing, although the homes and common areas are warm and comfy, it too is minimalist in every sense of the word. Simple handcrafted chairs, tables and other basics household items adorned the homes and common areas. Cell phone or other ubiquitous gadgets, which today kids and adults find impossible to live without were hardly seen; used only to conduct business and the all seen please as more time is spent talking and interacting with each other. This was evidence on my third and fourth visits when I joint Eric and his kids: Michael, Rachael and his 11-year-old daughter, Doriothy, to shoot some hoops in the community large driveway, something I have wanted to, but haven't find the time to do in years. All in all, this community worked: economically, paying for what they need and more. It also works socially, or as well as if not better than most cities, towns or households across America. While work is an essential part of the community life, like any place, rising at the crack of dawn, the group endeavor to have at least one meal a day together, usually outdoors if weather permits and reserving the rest of the evening to spend time with family and each other, unlike our busy world today. There is a half day of work on Saturday and short meetings on Sundays.informer
Long before coming to knowledge that such place as existed or was even possible, I had concluded from the research of nations and already incorperated into my writings that there are five elements responsible for development and wherever or whenever these elements where present, regardless of the place size, population, race, geography, etc., development was bound to occur. But what is development and how is development measured? Development is measured by The Human Development Index or HDI between 0, least developed to 1, most developed. This is essentially a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators. Every state, nation, community or individual has an HDI ranking (known or unknown). I had concluded that the individual and collective ranking is the most effective way to measure and compare different countries, community and states; although most government including the US does not want its people to know this since such knowledge places a much greater responsibility on politicians and the privilege few. A country or community scoring a higher HDI simply means lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the income per capita (The gross domestic product or gross revenue of a place divided by the number of people living there) is also higher.
The development Index and the Inequity Development Index which I will touch on later was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, with help from Gustav Ranis of Yale University and Lord Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics. Today this is the leading measurement of development across the world and used by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to measure human development in countries around the world.
I had come to quickly believe that if Bruderhof’s HDI was calculated it would receive one of the highest scores it America and possibly
I would have to make a trip to upstate New York to observe Bruderhof businesses and their other communities in order to extrapolate it’s HDI score. A few weeks later I received a reply to visit Woodcrest, NY. I couldn’t be more pleased.couldNorway, which currently holds the highest HDI score in the world. However, in order to complete this task and perform that calculus as best as I
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