Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 21st, 2015

In the event of my death:  During this current wave of terror

An Israeli writes: “In the event of my death in the current wave of terrorism, in the event that a terrorist, male or female, runs me over or stabs me, I would like to announce in advance that my final words are:

Harry Fear shared this link October 18, 2015

“I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Really.

What took you so long?

Countless times, while passing a construction site on one of the city streets during the quiet, early hours of the morning, I’ve wondered why one of the Palestinian laborers there didn’t grab a drill bit or shovel, a saw or a hammer, and murder me.

“I have never believed in the myth of coexistence in this country.

I don’t believe in coexistence based on extreme inequality when it comes to human rights, social status and economic opportunities…

“If I get killed in a terrorist attack, I ask that the endless broadcasts loop of the report about my murder, as is the custom currently, be dispensed with.

It is not what I want.

It will contain no information that the public would want or need to know about.

It would just stir up hatred.

I would ask that my killers, if they remain alive, be told on my behalf that I apologize. I am reconciled with them after my death.

“And if my murderers also die, I apologize to them at this time, in advance; not because I deserved to die, and not because they have the right to kill me, but so my death is worth something, so it has some value, some significance, no matter how small.

I have no God. I don’t need the Temple Mount.

I have no problem living with the Palestinians as full equals in a binational state or as a peace-loving neighbors in my country and next to their own.

What use would I have for revenge on my behalf after my death?

I apologize for my paltry role in the injustice of the occupation. Even after my death.”

See More

Harry Fear's photo.

Do’s and Don’ts of Being a Roommate in Beirut (or anywhere else)

Did you go through these experiences?

As the saying goes: if you can make it in, Beirut you can make it anywhere.

Well actually nobody says that, but they should. This city really tests your survival skills, and the people you live with can really make or break the experience.

Being a good roommate is important in any city but even more so in a city that experiences persistent electricity cuts, political instability, and an overall Armageddon-is-coming atmosphere. Here are a list of Do’s and Don’ts of being a good roommate in Beirut.

DO offer a taste of the meal you made on occasion, it’s just common courtesy.

DON’T use your roommates’ groceries without permission. You may think it’s just one egg or a simple yoghurt, but there is something violating about missing groceries. (This is a critical excuse to express their displeasure of your presence)

DON’T make them feel bad if they lock themselves out or forget their keys. (Occasional reminders are in place: Some discipline is required)

DO be kind to their pets. (Why roommate with someone with pets if you cannot stand pets?)

DON’T expect them to take care of your pets when you go away on holiday or on a visa run.

DO knock before entering the washroom.

DON’T live-tweet everything that goes on in your apartment. (Don’t meddle with personal matters. This is family and behave accordingly)

DON’T talk about politics and keep the TV free of any political party channels. Try neutral TV stations that everyone agrees on, like FashionTV.

DO remember to keep the hot water on if they are coming home late.

DO pay the rent on time.

DON’T mix up the currencies when paying the rent.

DON’T act like the natour (concierge) is your personal servant.

DO put aside money for utilities even if the electricity company is on strike.

DO take care of your roommate if they are sick by bringing them orange juice and Panadol.

DON’T use the opportunity to tell them their excessive sugar intake has weakened their immune system. 

Do you have what it takes to be a good roommate?

Your fathers’ Capitalism needs modifications

Addressing major social problems as part of core business strategy.

Wealth gap has steadily increased since 1990.

In 2014, the average salary of a CEO is 373 fold that of an average regular employee.

Most middle-class Americans are barely $400 short of diving to a lower class (like a leaky roof investment)

In 2014 ,corporate profit margin climbed to 11.5% compared to 6% in 1990.

In 2014, share of company income going to employee decreased to 56.5% compared to 64% in 1990.

Delivering returns to only shareholders on short-term span is no longer sustainable. The new responsibilities of doing business have to add the stakeholders too (employees, customers, communities…)

Raising the bar on corporate conduct toward the environment, social and governance indicators is the new motto for long-term competitiveness.

Tending to social changes while making small profits is the way for sustained profitability.

Throughout history, addressing acute wealth gaps were resolved by higher taxes, revolution (civil war) or waging external wars.

Higher taxes didn’t work: the higher the tax bracket the worse is State inefficiency in spending generated revenue. And the higher the sovereign debt…

Deepak Chopra stated: “I have been going to Occupy Wall Street meeting. I saw the rage but failed to see any solutions

Short of these alternatives, a more “peaceful and step wise” solutions have been suggested and applied in the last decade.

A few of the new trends have code names such as:

1. Compassionate Capitalism (Marc Benioff)

2. Conscious Capitalism (John Mackey)

3. Just Capital (Paul Tudor Jones)

4. Shared Value Capital (Michael Porter)

5. Inclusive capital (Lynn Forester de Rothschild)

Actually, all of these reforms are corollaries to the Conscious Capitalism applications

1) Michael Porter claimed that it shouldn’t be a Zero-Sum game anymore between the two purposes of profit and social degradation.  He uses two examples:

1. Jain Irrigation, a micro irrigation system or drip-watering. Founded in 1988, it improved the livelihood of 5 million rural Indians small farmers who witnessed a  3 fold increase in agricultural production. It is currently the second largest seller of this system in 1 16 countries.

2. Novartis bypassed traditional distribution systems for delivering medication. It brought basic medicines to fight diarrhea,  parisites, nutritional deficiencies and respiratory ailments to rural India.

Novartis also brought in physicians and raised awareness of the critical need for hygiene in preventive infection.

2) Conscious Capitalism is promoted by John Mackey through the Whole Foods Market chains shelving 25,000 organic items.

To be certified as an organic producer, the farmer has to satisfy guidelines on energy conservation, waste reduction and farmworker welfare.

Mackey position is that the dominant capitalist business theory of profit maximization has been a toxic ideology. Sure, if a business does not make profit it dies, but it does not follow that the purpose of a business is to just make profit.

The motto of Mackey: Create a pathway for people to follow and things then go a lot faster and easier.

Being impressed by Raj Sisodia “Firms of Endearment“, Makey launched a small market in Detroit with fewer items at low prices. This was a success story and small markets are rolling out from to Newark to Chicago South Side (areas where 40% live below poverty line)

3) The billionaire Paul Tudor Jones discovered that socially responsible investing (a $6 trillion industry) existed for decades. His purpose is to create a stock market Index that would drive capital to companies that treated well their employees and communities.

He founded the non-profit Just Capital to list 1,000 companies in 2016 according to a set of indicators. A short list of indicators would be: just pay for employees, giving back to communities, ethics of the top management, environmental sustainability, quality of product, transparency, flow of information…

A list of companies will be submitted to 40,000 consumers to rank according to their preference.

How Just Capital can be sustained? By selling software tools to companies in order to analyse their potential inclusion and top ranking in the list, and get a decal.

It is assumed that competition among companies to be listed will be driven by Main Street people instead of the short-term returns to shareholders of the Fortune companies.

Paul Tudor Jones  believe that higher taxes increases the known inefficiency of government in spending additional revenue.

He regret that the USA in in the bottom of the developed nations in quality of life, life expectancy, literacy, social mobility, sustainable income…

4) Another alternative is adopted by Swedish Cevian Capital, a $15 billion hedge fund managed by Christer Gardell. Gardell invests in viable underperforming corporations and acquire enough shares to install his people in the board of directors in order to act on decisions that satisfy conscious capitalism requirements. The investment are not for the short-term but for 5 years at least.

So far, 70% of the investment are in the USA, 15% in Europe and 10% in Asia-Pacific.

Note 1: In addition to the previous examples of Novartis and Jain Irrigation, I selected a few other corporations emulating the Conscious Capitalism trend:

M-Pesa (Vodafone and Safaricom): Michael Joseph made it possible for people lacking bank accounts to use their smartphone to save and transfer money, receive pensions, pay bills… Over 17 millions in East Africa (Kenya), India, Roumania and Albania use M-Pesa facilities to connect to the global economy. For example, 40% of Kenya GDP is transacted via M-Pesa system

M-Kopa: Provided 200,000 households in East Africa with solar-powered machines that generate electricity and that do not require installation or a bank account. And using M-Pesa Pay-as you-go facilities.

Novo Nordisk: This Danish drug-maker is targeting China 100 million diabetics (capturing 63% of China market share). It invested heavily in training thousands of physicians, in educating patients and investing in local manufacturing

Ecolab applied its 6,800 patents to aid major corporations reduce their water usage and reach a sustained water consumption. Saving 2.5 billion gallons of water last year. Note that it is forecasted that by 2030, the world will experience a 40% water shortage.

Ecovative relies on mushrooms, using mycelium roots from fungi to make biodegradable packaging for Dell and Steelcase.

Kickstarter enrolled 9 million audience to fund 100,000 art projects

Note 2: Mackey turned vegan and abstains from processed food after many inputs to consumers who challenged his intake of milk and animal products.

Here is a typical Mackey dinner: Homemade salad, oil-less, vegan Caesar dressing on the side, local summer corn, sweet potatoes, tofu, mushrooms, broccoli, tahini, avocado chocolate pudding with Vitamix, oats..

Note 3: Makey is currently a perennialist, which means believing, Not in faith and dogma, but that beneath all religious traditions there is a universal truth founded on spiritual experiences.

I share that feeling and contend that to claim to have faith without witnessing a personal spiritual experience is a faked faith.






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