Dear Business Leaders,
Have you noticed lately that the island of Manhattan is in the final stages of becoming an invisibly gated community for those people to whom money has been flowing like a torrential river for the past two decades?
Do you know that income disparity in the United States of America is sandwiched between Cote d'Ivoire and Uruguay?
Do you believe that the wealth of nations concentrated in the hands of the few while the majority scrambles to put food on the table is bad for business in a global knowledge-based economy?
Do you want America to continue operating as a going concern?
Are you worried that the nation is headed for Chapter 7?
Do you believe that your own business can continue to prosper if the middle class in America becomes a fond nostalgia for the upper classes to reference in political campaigns and advertising for BMWs?
It's really up to you now. A majority of the Supreme Court has drunk the right-wing's Kool-Aid. A few more decisions like Citizens United and Wal-Mart v. Dukes and the delivery of the nation's fate to the private sector will be complete. A private sector that is legally entitled - some contend obligated - to put profits above people.
We're interest-based negotiators here. We believe people serve their own interests first and sometimes solely. We know people can be called to their higher angels when necessary. And we know that collaboration, cooperation and enlightened-self interest create more mutual benefits for the whole - more for you and more for us - than competitive, me-first, zero-sum business strategies.
I'm suggesting today that you think about the social and cultural context that permits American business to thrive. And that you envision yourself doing business in the third world country America is fast becoming.
Then ask yourself where you want to live. Behind high concrete walls topped by concertina wire or in a community where you don't have to spend half your time and most of your money keeping your possessions safe from the lower classes.
We're asking you not simply to recognize but to act on the proposition that you are only as successful as your workers and consumers - including the woman who vacuums the carpet in your executive suite at 3 a.m., the public school teacher who is not teaching your children but is educating your workforce, and the cashier who is checking out your wife's purchases at Wal-Mart.
The government will not control you.
The future is in your hands.
What would you like to do with it?