April 16, 2009
Mr. Sean G. Rush
President and CEO
Dear Mr. Rush:
JA is positioned to make an important contribution to the economic literacy needed for reform with the mission, the infrastructure, and the motivation. My work can help with the curriculum about the alternative to the economic system that has devastated the world’s economy. The alternative is democratic capitalism but it has no visibility in education and for that reason Wall Street has been free to dominate and destroy. After 25 years as CEO of NYSE companies I spent 20 years analyzing the economic-political system. My curriculum is the product of that work that stimulated the attached testimonials.
In the 1990s I gave JA $25,000 in support of the integration of democratic capitalism into your curriculum. In August of 2005 I met with your predecessor, Jack, and other JA officials for further discussions. My efforts with colleges and universities to get an interest in democratic capitalism were not successful consequently I developed my own curriculum which begins with the “Introduction to Democratic Capitalism” on website www.democratic-capitalism.com Also announced recently is an essay contest with five $500 prizes that could be used as a motivator for your students around the world.
My background with JA began with teaching in the lower east side of New York, member of the New York Board, member of the National Board for many years, and efforts to stimulate interest in democratic capitalism. This time. I am not presenting theory about an alternative, but rather a curriculum that could be used and improved by JA . Besides the Introduction there are many other materials on the website including a DVD with 16 six minute segments, my book Democratic Capitalism, the Way to a World of Peace and Plenty, and other books and articles for deeper study.
Liberal Arts education sensitizes students to the human condition but does not present the economic system to improve it. Economics and Business Schools were both distracted by the short-term and greedy capitalism in which the price of the stock was dominant. Most educators treat generic capitalism with contempt and discharge democratic capitalism as an oxymoron. Students do not learn how to neutralize the lobby power of Wall Street, and journalists do not learn how to inform the public.
I hope that you and Jack can read the 17 articles that make up the “Introduction.” They can be modularized for elementary, middle, and high school. For example, students first view of Adam Smith can be the man who wrote about social cooperation, not an apologist for greed. Robert Owen left his home in Wales at age ten to “push his fortune.” His later quotes on the system that can eliminate material scarcity by investing in people in contrast to the brutal treatment of 8 year-old kids on the night shift can provide clear understanding of the conflict in capitalism. Similarly, that integrator of Enlightenment knowledge, Condorcet, wrote eloquently about improving the human condition while waiting to die during the Reign of Terror. An understanding of Marx’s visions, and why the Marxists could not implement them, can counteract the superficial treatment of political-economic theory that has grid locked both our government and our intellectual community.
Your powerful international infrastructure can present capitalism with the moral basis of worth of the individual and an environment of trust and cooperation. Young people from all cultures can be stimulated by an end to material scarcity through a moral system that can harmonize capitalism and democracy. Idealism will be reaffirmed by their growing recognition that economic common purpose can reduce and then eliminate violence.
The key premises in this curriculum are:
- Performance improves in every human association by providing the opportunity for each to reach for full development in an environment of trust and cooperation.
- It is mutual assistance in this environment that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts.
- From this coupling of individual ambition and the instinct for social cooperation democratic capitalism maximizes the building of wealth.
- From ownership opportunities democratic capitalism distributes wealth broadly and counteracts the damage from concentrated wealth.
- Democratic managers can harmonize capitalism and democracy if integrity is the first principle.
- The educational process does not present this form of capitalism although it is regularly verified by the best companies
- Each generation of democratic managers have to re-discover the economic and social logic of democratic capitalism.
- Unless students’ economic literacy includes an understanding of this conflict in capitalism the reform will be inadequate and Wall Street will continue to write the privileged rules.
- The Carey Center curriculum is a beginning to fill this vacuum but must be challenged, tested, and improved by JA.
Let me know if you and Jack wish to explore the use of my material further. I am convinced that citizens are mad enough this time to sustain demand for real reform, and JA could lead the way.
c. Jack Kosakowski