This blog grew out of a crazy idea I started having years ago that really solidified while I was in law school. I started wondering what would happen if a person got really serious about giving up the profit of a successful business and instead spent that money on increasing salaries and driving down the cost of goods and services as much as possible.
The more I thought about it the more excited I got. Because there’s a lot of good you can do when you’re interested in other people.
I’ve always been an idealist. I remember the first time I read Les Miserables. I was captivated by the change that came over Valjean after Bishop Myriel gives him the silver.
But this idea only works if the person (or people) who make the decision to stop chasing profits do it willingly. It’s not a form of socialism, neither is it communism. Those political and economic theories are based on a fundamental ideal in which the government imposes restrictions—whether with a light touch or a heavy—on the freedom of individual citizens.
This idea depends on its participants freely making an effort to sacrifice some part of their capacity, their earning power, and ultimately their hearts, to making the lives of those around them better. It’s a radical change in attitudes that changes the lives of both those who make the change and those who benefit from it.
Dave Ramsey is a brilliant leader. He teaches millions of people how to get out of debt, often mountains of debt, using the most fundamental financial tools available. One of the most powerful elements of his radio show happens when his listeners call in to give a “debt-free scream.” I literally get chills every time I hear the passion in those callers’ voices. This part of his show is so powerful precisely because it convinces his listeners that the radical changes he preaches actually do work.
The changes I’m advocating for here are just as radical, and they demand every bit as much “gazelle intensity” as Dave works to inspire in his audience. No employer will rationally give up her annual profits in the name of paying the highest wages possible unless she is totally convinced of the intrinsic value of that decision. And no employee will recognize the true humility of that sacrifice unless he understands the commitment that leads his employer to give up what is rightfully hers to withhold.
In short, I’m out to change the world.
And that’s crazy.