Monday, February 28, 2005

Saint Businessman

Saint Businessman

Robert A. Sirico
November 15,1999

"What do you think of when you picture a 'saint'? Someone like Francis of Assisi, perhaps, who gave up his worldly goods. Or a Mother Teresa, making her life's work the rescue of India's outcasts. One type that does not come to mind is an entrepreneur. But think about this for a moment: Is there any law that says a saint cannot hold a regular job, excel in marketable skills or build a business?

"We forget that the apostles in the New Testament were fishermen first, who learned about hard work and diligence in a market setting. We forget, too, that for many centuries, and even today, monks have had to market goods like wool and honey to the outside world to support their lives of prayer, reflection and contemplation.


"Toussaint became a wealthy benefactor to Catholic charities in New York. He and Juliette Noel, the woman he married when he was 45, took in homeless immigrants and other unfortunate people to live with them.

"Toussaint paid for the reconstruction of St. Peter's church after it burned and helped raise money for the construction of the old St. Patrick's Cathedral in lower Manhattan. None of this protected him from being turned away from the cathedral one day in 1836 by an usher who didn't like the color of his face. A scandalized trustee of the church heard about the insult, rebuked the usher and apologized to Toussaint. When Toussaint died on June 30, 1853, the New York press devoted numerous respectful obituaries to him."

Thanks to Anita Campbell's Small Business Trends blog by way of last week's Carnival of the Capitalists at The Raw Prawn.

Comment contributors at Small Business Trends make some excellent points too, particularly Chuck, who notes that "Self employment and the practice of a trade have historically been associated with freedom from servitude." Still are as far as I'm concerned.

(Never thought I'd be citing Forbes....)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Joel Makower: Two Steps Forward: No Nukes Are Good Nukes

No Nukes Are Good Nukes

Joel Makower demolishes the love-letter to nuclear power published in the latest Wired (which was a pretty darn cool magazine ten years ago):

"Wind, biomass, and other renewables are “capital- and land-intensive, and solar is not yet remotely cost-competitive,” claim the authors, while nuclear power is -- well, not quite “too cheap to meter,” a hollow promise the industry made back in the 1950s, but mere pennies a kilowatt-hour, they swear. That’s true . . . if you don’t count the high security costs of protecting nuclear plants, the environmental damage of uranium mining, and the incalculable costs of safely storing nuclear wastes -- something we haven’t yet figured out how to do. It’s like saying that the real price of gas is whatever we pay at the pump."

R.I.P. Hunter S. Thompson

MSNBC - Writer Hunter S. Thompson commits suicide : "Thompson was found dead Sunday in his Aspen-area home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff’s officials said. He was 67."

Now when we need him more than ever.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility

Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility

"As architects, we are responsible for one of the most expensive parts of the prison system, the construction of new prison buildings. Almost all of us would rather be using our professional skills to design positive social institutions such as universities or playgrounds, but these institutions lack funding because of spending on prisons. If we would rather design schools and community centers, we must stop building prisons. Please join members of Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) in pledging to not participate in the design, construction, or renovation of prisons."

Friday, February 18, 2005

About bloody time!

Quark Gives First Look at XPress 7
Quark discovers Unicode, promises to enter 21st century.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Little Green Men

Exclusive: NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars: "What Stoker and Lemke have found, according to several attendees of the private meeting, is not direct proof of life on Mars, but methane signatures and other signs of possible biological activity remarkably similar to those recently discovered in caves here on Earth."

(Thanks to L.S. Russel!)

Managing with Aloha

Values of Managing with Aloha: A native Hawai'ian take on business (and life) values.

1: Aloha.
Aloha is a value, one of unconditional love. It is the outpouring and receiving of the spirit.

2: Ho'ohana.
Working with intent and with purpose.

3: 'Imi ola.
To seek life. Our purpose in life is to seek its highest form.

4: Ho'omau.
Perseverance. To continue, to perpetuate. Never give up.

5: Kulia i ka nu'u.
Achievement. Pursue personal excellence. Strive to reach the summit.

6: Ho'okipa.
The hospitality of complete giving. Welcome guests and strangers with your spirit of Aloha.

7: 'Ohana.
Those who are family, and those you choose to call your family. 'Ohana is a human circle of complete Aloha.

8: Lokahi.
Collaboration and cooperation. Harmony and unity. People who work together can achieve more.

9: Kakou.
All of us. We are in this together. Learn to speak the language of we.

10: Kuleana.
One's personal sense of responsibility. I accept my responsibilities, and I will be held accountable.

11: 'Ike loa.
To know well. To seek knowledge and wisdom.

12: Ha'aha'a.
Humility. Be humble, be modest, and open your thoughts.

13: Ho'ohanohano.
Honor the dignity of others. Conduct yourself with distinction, and cultivate respectfulness.

14: Alaka'i.
Leadership. Lead with initiative, and with your good example. You shall be the guide for others when you have gained their trust and respect.

15: Malama.
To take care of. To serve and to honor, to protect and care for.

16: Mahalo.
Thank you, as a way of living. Live in thankfulness for the richness that makes life so precious.

17: Nana i ke kumu.
Look to your source, find your truth.

18: Pono.
Rightness and Balance. The feeling of contentment when all is good and all is right.

19: Ka la hiki ola.
The dawning of a new day.

There's a blog too.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Watching America

To see ourselves as others see us...
Foreign press articles about the United States in English translation.
(Thanks to Mitch Ratcliffe.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Evil Corporations?

What is it about (some) big corporations that makes us hate and fear them?

Most of us, I think, aren't against producing, buying and selling—against business per se. Are we? I mean, we support small farmers, locally-owned shops, craft businesses, small publishers, etc. Don't we? And each of us has to make a living somehow, without all going back to subsistence farming, right?

Is it a matter of behavior? Pushing dangerous products, brainwashing our children, destroying the environment, corrupting our political system? If so, are there also good corps? Ben and Jerry's, Working Assets, sustainable-technology manufacturers? Is it just a question of sorting the sheep from the goats, and boycotting the goats?

Or is it sheer size? Does any organization inevitably become inhuman and oppressive once it gets too big? If so, what happens if one of our friendly neighborhood small businesses becomes successful? What if national and international markets begin to take an interest in some nice environmentally-sound product and the business really starts to take off? Do we want to prevent... success? If so, where do we draw the line, and how do we go about it without discouraging people from developing new products, services and techniques in the first place?

Or is it the notion of limited liability? Investors risk only the amount of money they invest in a company, however heinous the company's misdeeds. Should we put people in jail for owning shares in companies that kill?

Or is it something else?

(This is a copy of a message I sent to the Alliance for Democracy mailing list five years ago. I received a few comments but no real answers.)

Friday, February 11, 2005

Idealistic but not naive, realistic but not cynical

Idealistic but not naive, realistic but not cynical: I'm not about to put up the button till I know what his actual positions are, but I can heartily endorse the principle.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Star Wars: Episode III

Star Wars: Episode III is scheduled to be released on May 19. My entire generation is saying, "please don't suck, please don't suck!"

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Catallarchy » Carnival of the Capitalists

The latest "Carnival of the Capitalists" is at Catallarchy

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Election in Iraq

As a card-carrying damnlibrul I suppose I have to get in a snarky remark about the Iraqi elections: too bad the officially countless war dead can't vote. I fear "success" of the Iraq invasion almost as much as "failure," because it would serve to legitimize military solutions — and not just by relatively benign powers like the United States.