The Obama Administration means well, no question about it. They simply do not know what they do not know, and no one within the US Intelligence Community appears capable of speaking truth to power.
The truth that needs to be spoken is that Washington lacks both integrity and intelligence (as in thoughtful holistic decision-making). Washington lacks a strategic analytic model, it lacks a commitment to eradicating the ten high-level threats to humanity (terrorism is ninth, a traffic accident, nothing more), and it lacks a process for harmonizing budgets and behavior across twelve core policy domains as illustrated below.
This book is a work of genius and integrity, with the potential to catalyze Wall Street into fulfilling the promise of moral capitalism and community ownership.
Here are some highlights from my flyleaf notes:
+ America is no longer an ownership society–financial intermediaries “own” everyting and the individual owners are passive
+ We can find the wisdom and will to restore moral capitalism
+ Earnings have been manipulated and misrepresented.
+ Executive compensation plus lax accounting and the fiction of quarterly earnings versus actual cash flow have hollowed industry out.
+ Profound conflict of interest exist across all fronts
+ Fund managers have siphoned off one fifth of the gross value of the funds.
+ Our business world chose the wrong bottom line, and ignored the importance of sustaining human, social, and community capital
+ Stock options aqre out of control.
Seven specific Conference Board suggestions:
1) Corporate citizenship
2) Separate ownership from management
3) Fix the stock option mess
4) Pay on performance not peers
5) Return to long-term focus
6) Let sunlight shine on accounting
7) New mindset for Board (aggresive stewardship)
Page 103: “Investment America went wrong, then, because in the contagious enthusiasm of the day, financial engineering and manufactured earnings became the coin of the valuation realm, accepted by corporate managers and investment managers alike. What is more, the emphasis on short-term price came to overwhelm the reality of long-term value, as investors failed to honor the distinction between investment and speculation drawn by John Maynard Keynes six decades earlier.”
I am personally committed to the non-violent legal ethical overthrow of the existing pathologically inept federal government and its politcal leaders in both Congress and the Executive who lack morality, intelligence, integrity, or conscience. Dick Cheney, not George Bush (a village idiot) is their poster child. I find it truly gratifying that a man of such financial stature as John Bogle now articulates and inspires the remorse that Wall Street must feel for running the Earth into the ground.
Below are other books I recommend as a reading list toward November, five about the bad, five about the promise: