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*A Book Review*

How the Poor Can Save Capitalism

By John Hope Bryant

by Michael C. Gray

January 8, 2015

How can the poor save capitalism? It seems the poor is the last place to look to improve our society.

According to author John Hope Bryant, the poor offers a huge potential for economic contribution. By helping the poor to progress and join the middle class, we can build our consumer base. The U.S. has seen growth in the upper class and the lower class, and a contraction in our middle class. Since ours is a consumer economy, increased consumer spending is healthy for our economy. The upper class spends a smaller share of its income on consumption than the other classes and the lower class doesn't have much income to spend, so the best thing for our economy is to rebuild the middle class.

Through Operation Hope together with corporate partners, like Gallup, Inc. and Union Bank of California, John Hope Bryant is building a path out of poverty and helping struggling lower middle class families improve their finances. He calls his initiate Project 5117. By 2020, he hopes to reach the following benchmarks:

  • Five million youth will become financially literate through financial dignity education programs that have already been successfully taught in 3,500 schools across the country. These programs are designed to create smart consumers and demonstrate that it's cool to stay in school.
  • One million of the students will become future entrepreneurs and local job creators through HOPE Business in a Box academies, sponsored by Gallup, Inc. Two thousand of these academies are already planned across the nation in rural and urban communities.
  • One thousand bottom-up branch banks will be established to provide poor families with access to banking so they don't have to access credit at high interest rates at check cashing centers and will learn good financial habits like having checking and savings accounts.
  • People earning $50,000 or less annually will be targeted to increase their credit scores to a bankable level of 700.

John Hope Bryant is the founder, chairman and CEO of nonprofit Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies. He currently serves as chairman of the President's Advisor Council on Financial Capability, Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment. Previously he served as vice-chairman of the President's Council on Financial Literacy by President George W. Bush.

Mr. Bryant's plan seems to be a practical one that we all can benefit from and should study How The Poor Can Save Capitalism and support this effort through donations and volunteering to help as role models, mentors and teachers.

Buy it on Amazon: How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class.

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The 4-Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferriss, could help you devote more time to your family and personal relationships, even if you're an employee.


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Michael Gray, CPA
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