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Financial Freedom through Responsible Capitalism By Kas Henry

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Financial Freedom through Responsible Capitalism By Kas Henry

When Adam Smith prescribed a modern economic framework to free the world of the oppression of Colonial Economy, he saw Capitalism as a process of wealth building for individual nations. He saw Labor as the true wealth creator and Capital as the seed money that was necessary in the process of converting raw material into finished products to drive the economic engine.  Regulation was seen as the referee to insure neither those investing the capital nor the ones expending labor had the upper hand, so as to maintain the required equilibrium for building the “Wealth of Nations”.  Responsible capitalism understands the need for equilibrium.  It uses regulations sensibly, to effectively utilize labor and capital in the pursuit of wealth creation.


  In our modern global economy, capital ought to be understood in its totality if we are to successfully seek our individual and collective economic empowerment.  Capital is not just money. Capital is assets that enable all economic activity.  Manufactured capital, financial capital, social capital, human capital and natural capital are all to be understood and synchronized in mindful economic pursuit. On our first show we talked about the importance of focusing on the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), Profit, People and Planet.  The successful pursuit of TBL requires the comprehension of capital in its entirety as illustrated here.


Educating members of society on how the economy works and how one could actively engage in the economy to shape their own economic wellbeing should not be optional.  Societies that value its citizenry view such an education as basic investment.  Home, school, and self-learning all have a role in laying the foundation for such an impactful knowledge pursuit.  This is the kind of knowledge that prepares a society for life, innovation and self-determination.


One does not need to start with financial capital to attain financial freedom.  I say this based on my personal experience.  I came to the US in 1995, as a working adult professional to earn my MBA.  I had accumulated 3-months of paid time off and withdrew my Provident Fund (Retirement Fund) to start a new chapter.  My employer, Standard Charted Bank, gave me the option, in writing, to come back if things did not work out or once I finished my MBA.  That was my social capital at work by an employer who valued its human capital.  When I converted my Sri Lankan Rupees to US Dollars, at the rate of more than 100:1, I knew how far my financial capital could go.  Not far enough for a full semester and not far enough in most American communities where education was 1/3 the cost while cost of living was 2/3.  I researched and found a University with the highest MBA accreditation but with one of the lowest cost of living in the US.


I chose Indiana State University at Terre Haute, Indiana, and started my graduate program in the shorter Summer Semester.  I put my financial asset to its optimal use. Then I demonstrated the value of my human capital to the Department of Continuing Education and negotiated a Graduate Assistantship in automating and managing the university Summer Session and Annual Continuing Education Program Budgets. That paid for my MBA and gave me a cost of living allowance.  When I graduated, AT&A hired me and moved me to the Chicago Market.  I relocated to Chicago in the car of my best friend, taking with me all my worldly possessions.  My books, a $9 used mattress I had purchased from a Chinese student and 2 plastic chairs I purchased from Dollar General for $10.  My real wealth was my knowledge, my social capital comprising of my lasting relationships and my deep appreciation for the collective human capital.  In the 20-years I have lived and worked in Chicago, I have been able to seek my own economic empowerment but it was not accomplished alone.  Countless relationships have helped me get here and I have kept the Triple Bottom Line and shared prosperity in perspective in building win-win partnerships.


Today, I educate others as a professor, consult for business as a practitioner, and volunteer through organizations as a responsible citizen to share my experience to help others seek their own economic freedom.  Our modern global economy is market driven.  That market has 75 – 100 Million of the world’s population at the top of the Economic Pyramid making over US $20,000 in a year; Over 4 Billion people are at the bottom of the pyramid making US $1,500 or less.  This tells us that the businesses that have a sustained economic value creation capability, over the long haul, are those that serve the 4 Billion at the bottom of the pyramid through responsible capitalism to give these people dignity and choice by delivering high quality, low cost goods and services in small quantities accessible through local markets.  This is a strategy formulated by Dr. C. K. Prahalad, taught in Business Schools and put into practice by global corporations like Unilever.  




Institutions like Grameen Bank, started by MBA students in Bangladesh, have given the world access to Micro Credit.  Practices such as these are enabling economic empowerment and social entrepreneurs across developing nations in Asia and Africa to make financial freedom possible to countless communities.  This model for developing nations can find application in various under developed communities of developed nations.   This model can be utilized by any community, to transform their economic status, through collaborative partnerships with businesses, local governments, non-profit organizations and motivated social entrepreneurs.




Financial freedom through economic empowerment is possible, with the shared transformational journey in one community at a time.  For communities to seek this economic empowerment successfully, the women and men in the communities should be equally empowered.  This week, I will engage Jonathan Gripe, Financial Advisor from Edward Jones, in a conversation of how individuals and families can build their way to financial freedom.  Financial freedom has to start with being open to learn, grow, pay ourselves before paying others and re-thinking the definition of capital and market in our modern global economy.  Individual and community transformation is needed for this journey, with an approach of all hands on deck.  The good news is, together we can do it!  Please join me in exploring how we can take the necessary steps towards this financial freedom!

More Here!

Meet Damien and Charles: A Corporate Philosopher and Banking Practitioner Who Believe Money Can Be Put To Good Use

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Meet Damien and Charles: A Corporate Philosopher and Banking Practitioner Who Believe Money Can Be Put To Good Use

With the launch of Building Banking on Values, a new VoiceAmerica radio series I’m hosting that goes behind the scenes to tell the stories of the people, passion and positivity within the values-based banking and financing sector; I thought to introduce you to some of our guests. Listen to the show episodes right here!

Meet Damien Walsh,  Managing Director,  Bank Australia, Whose Motto is ‘Money Should be Put to Good Use’

Damien became Managing Director of Bank Australia on 1 September 2011, after serving as General Manager of Corporate Services for eight years and also being Company Secretary. Damien has over 25 years of experience in the mutual banking sector.

Damien has worked primarily in the financial services sector, having spent time at Enterprise, Esso Employees, Outlook and Members Australia Credit Unions.

Damien is responsible for and manages the bank’s operations. He works with the Board in setting strategy, monitoring performance and budget, and ensuring the bank adheres to all prudential, legal and compliance matters.

He has been instrumental in shaping the bank’s response to sustainable development. A highlight was his presentation at the 2005 UNEP FI Global Roundtable at the United Nations, New York.

Damien is a Fellow of CPA Australia and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He holds a Bachelor of Business and a Masters in Business Administration.

As Australia’s first 100% customer owned bank, Bank Australia see the business of banking a little differently to their competitors. Being sharp on price, and making a profit is important but Bank Australia believes money should also be put to good use, creating positive social, environmental and cultural outcomes. A kind of mutual prosperity for all.

Not being bound by the demands of investors means the bank acts in the best long term interests of their customers. Put simply, as a customer and part owner of the bank, they are answerable only to customers. ‘We respect your point of view, which is why our customers each have an equal say in how we go about our business. Customers have been banking with us since 1957 and today nearly 130,000 people and community sector organisations choose to bank with us. Our profits are reinvested in the bank to provide fairer fees, better interest rates, and the responsible products and services that our customers expect. And be reassured, we have to meet the same prudential standards that apply to all Australian banks, so you can be certain that banking with Bank Australia is safe and secure.’ Learn more.

Meet Charles Hampden-Turner, Management Philosopher, Researcher and Advocate for Values-based Corporate Cultures

Charles Hampden-Turner is a British management philosopher, and Senior Research Associate at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge since 1990. He is the creator of Dilemma Theory, and co-founder and Director of Research and Development at the Trompenaars-Hampden-Turner (THT) Group, in Amsterdam.

In his latest book, Nine Visions of Capitalism, Charles examines the values essential to wealth creation and some of the movements, people and banks leading the values-based way to economic success. Nine Visions of Capitalismsuggests that a marriage of East meets West corporate cultures holds the clue to competitiveness. While many economies have only one cultural context, the most successful economies have two and can switch between them. Context switching is vital to commerce since the views of producers and consumers, owners and operators, management and labour are far enough apart to be considered opposites.

Charles received his masters and doctorate degrees from the Harvard Business School and was the recipient of the Douglas McGregor Memorial Award, as well as the Columbia University Prize for the Study of the Corporation.

He won Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Ford Foundation Fellowships and has worked as a consultant for Shell, BP, Digital Equipment, The Economic Council of Canada, the BBC, Philips, Nissan, DSM, Dow Chemical, AMD, Sematech and Apple computers among others.

He has conducted research throughout Europe and North America and is the author of nine books, including: Maps of the Mind, MacMillan (1981), Charting the Corporate Mind, Basil Blackwell and the Free Press (1990), and Corporate Culture: Vicious and Virtuous Circles. He has worked with Fons Trompenaars onThe Seven Cultures of Capitalism, Mastering the Infinite Game, Building Cross-Cultural Competence and 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. Learn more.

Read the THT Blog.

Watch the video. Nine Visions of Capitalism.


Don’t forget to tune into Building Banking on Values. My VoiceAmerica radio show airs on Thursdays 15:00 PDT on the Business channel. Learn more.

#BankingOnValues @CatalystWarrior @bankingonvalues @VoiceAmBusiness @thtconsulting  @bankaust













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