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Presidential Advisor: Therefore, we must protect the middle class

John Hope Bryant is one of America’s most prominent businessmen and adviser to several US presidents. On Thursday, he lectures at the Business Day in Bastad.  Here he talks about leadership, police violence and poverty – and gives a sharp advice for Donald Trump.
John Hope Bryant comes to Business Day in Bastad.  Photo: Boundless meetingsJohn Hope Bryant comes to Business Day in Bastad. Photo: Boundless meetings

For several years, he believed that racism was dead, everyone had equal rights in the United States.

Then occurred the Rodney King riots, 1992.

Films were spread that showed how a group of police officers surrounded the taxi driver Rodney King after he had continued driving drunk. King was beaten rough – two police officers were sentenced, several others were acquitted.

Los Angeles streets boiled with frustration. During the riots that followed killed 55 people and injured thousands.

John Hope Bryant pastor persuaded Bryant to use his business talent to support the community. He arranged a bus trip through Los Angeles and offered a loan at a pharmacy destroyed in the riots. With the loan was based charity Hope.
– I had a bad conscience, said John Hope Bryant.

Today, the organization supports including 4000 schools and carry out programs in South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

Bryant’s heart issues is how philanthropy and entrepreneurship to fight poverty. The aim is to highlight the need for “financial literacy”, which can best be translated into financial knowledge. On the business day in Bastad he will talk about sustainable leadership.

You have been an adviser to several US presidents: Clinton, Bush and Obama. What is the common advice that you gave to all of them?
– No president can handle more than three or five questions at the same time. And there are thousands of issues to deal with. Suddenly something happens emergency, crisis or a terrorist attack, which allows the White House will put the others aside. My advice has been to focus on the main thing, says John Hope Bryant.

And what is it?
– Financial Literacy. To teach about money. To see who is left outside of society, the poor and unemployed. Getting them to create their own life.

In connection with your book “How the Poor Can Save Capitalism” are you talking about the need to care for middle-class dream. Why is it important?
– Because the middle class do not riot. There has never been any middle class riots in American history. For they do not want to rebel, they want to go shopping!

John Hope Bryant laughs, but then becomes serious.
– As soon as you have education and a steady job, you tend to vote and get involved in civil society. You do not if you are starving and struggling to survive. The middle class is the backbone of any society. You have to let it grow and make it stable. When a society is very rich and the very poor, but no middle class, gets the problem.

Hope you started in the wake of the Rodney King riots. Similar riots occurred in the year, where the police are accused of racism and to harass minorities. How is it that there is still a problem for more than twenty years later?
– Because it has not resolved the core issue. Gun violence, racism, injustice … Everything is acute symptoms of it. The underlying question is, why is it just poor people who do riot?Because they lack basic security.

What can politicians and the business community do to work towards tolerance and diversity?
– They may, like the Princess Sofia and your previous Prime Minister, support the dialogue it in Bastad. Do not build walls. Let social responsibility, CSR, become a part of your business plan and not a temporary campaign. Understand that what you do contributes to the long term growth of the country. You grow your next generation of customers, the taxpayers.

– I try to connect philanthropic philosophy of creating sustainability. Quite honestly, I am surprised that my brothers and sisters in Sweden do more. In terms of value are you so far.

Sweden probably have a tradition of relying on the state to create wealth.
– It’s an important point. But stealing from society. By having high taxes and transfer the funds to the state, empty the society resources to solve the problems themselves. Most of the economy is driven by entrepreneurs free. We must teach young people and immigrants that they can become one of them.

And those who do not succeed?
– Most people will not succeed. But it is about creating a community of leaders, a people who have a “do not give up” attitude, which is sustainable.

It sounds like you are talking about a mentality. What characterizes a good leader according to you?
– A combination of Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton …

Only men?
– A reasonable objection. Angela Merkel in Germany is a role model. If women had ruled the world in the early 2000s, we had probably not gone into the economic crisis. They would have had a “bumper” to the masculinity in politics. But all the leaders have in common that they are transformative for society.

In the United States soon elected a new president and world leaders. What advice would you give to the Republican candidate Donald Trump?
– Jump in, I would say. He’s an idiot.

Do you want me to write you, verbatim?
– Yes. That’s true.

And Democrats Hillary Clinton?
– She’s brilliant. Over Qualified, in practice medpresident during her husband’s time. I would advise her to focus like a laser beam.
– I respect and admire Obama, and is proud to have served him. But if I were to give any constructive criticism, it is about the choice to focus on health care before the jobs. The next president must focus on the economy and extend it to all. To spread money as a Social must first act as a capitalist.

John Hope Bryant:

  • Born in 1966. Growing up in Los Angeles, California.
  • Founder and chairman of the charity Hope.
  • Advisor in the finance issues for several US presidents: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush.
  • Author of a dozen books on management, finance and entrepreneurship.
  • Current lecturer at the Business Day in Bastad, August 4, where he will talk to former Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

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