WEEK 9: POWER"You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask of that old Lone Ranger and you don't mess around with Slim." - Jim Croce.
"In 2006, from endowments to and through his foundations, Carlos Slim donated $1.8 billion to charitable cause including giving away 95,000 bicycles to children of poor families to ride to their schools, 70,000 pairs of eyeglasses, and scholarships to 150,000 university students. "
"Add to it the fact that Slim's companies also employ 250,000 Mexicans. "
Some really powerful and iconic images to kick off with to show that this guy is REALLY in the big league. $1.8 billion to charity is huge but you don't get a real sense of the impact that has until the numbers of bicycles, glasses and scholarships are included. Wow! A serious impact as that is only part of what he has done! It gives a real idea about the serious power this guy wields and the impacts he can have on the wider community around him. Finally, American or Australian governments prop up failing businesses such as car manufacture when it provides around 4000 jobs or takes serious the voice of lobbyists at this number. But a work force of 250,000 is seriously impressive! Especially considering the part of the world these people live in and the opportunities that would otherwise not be available to them. This equates to a serious impact on the local and regional community and also helps to feed 250,000 families! That's quite probably over 1 million people! Now thats people power!
"Remarkably, Ms Zhang, after starting up Nine Dragons Paper just a few years ago, has become "the world's richest self-made woman, surpassing US talk show host Oprah Winfrey and J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author". Now here's the "kicker" as we say in the US. "Ms Zhang's listed company, of which she owns 72 per cent, buys scrap paper from the US and processes it in China for sale"."
"China's entrepreneurs are all first generation," said Rupert Hoogewerf, who organised the list, which competes with the Forbes ranking.
"The stories of these individuals tell the story of modern China."
"Everyone knows" that Oprah and J.K. are the richest women in the business world, but that in fact is not true and they are both surpassed by a woman who effectively recycles scrap paper and resells it. She takes a waste and turns it into not only a salable item but a highly profitable one! Her power comes from the waste and consumerism of America which is unlikely to slow down anytime soon thus ensuring her ongoing power base remains uninterrupted. It's also worth noting that like many of the other business people enjoying Chinas economic and international growth she is self made. It shows that although give practically nothing from her family or circumstances she has made a fortune beyond belief for most people. It really shows the power of an individual and what they can achieve.
"The Government today constituted a high-level steering group, headed by industrialist Ratan Tata, to draw up an action plan for promoting hydrogen usage, including commercialisation of technologies for vehicles based on alternative fuels. "
"An avid aviator, he often flies his own Falcon 2000 business jet around India. And in February he caused a sensation at the Aero India 2007 air show by co-piloting Lockheed F-16 and Boeing F-18 fighter jets."
"The 2004 purchase of Tyco International's undersea telecom cables for $130 million, a price that in hindsight looks like a steal, turned Tata into the world's biggest carrier of international phone calls."
Ratan Tata is more identifiable to a Western mindset as a modern multi-millionaire as he has built his fortune on highly technical and modern products and services. He is obviously very forward thinking with his venture into alternative fuels and the purchase of undersea telecommunications cabling especially considering the increased applications of such cabling through the internet and other technologies. Due to this purchase he is able to effectively let the money come in from his service as the consumer pays for the use or time share of such a technology and so frees up his time for other pursuits. His ability to pilot very expensive and very fast aerocraft is also appealing to and impressive to a western male outlook and so increases his perceived status which is another form of power which he wields.
All three hold vast fortunes in their grasp and not through family connections, inheritance or exploitation but through honest hard work, forward thinking and risk taking. All three are from nations that the Western World would perceive as being "a developing nation" or a "third world country" in the language of the 80's. Yet this old idea must be abandoned! They are quite clearly above the average standard of their respective countries but also above even the elite of "developed nations". Their fortunes come from sources which one might not instantly recognise as so profitable but obviously that is one of the reasons why it is so profitable, as no-one else has thought of it. Their power lays more in their innovation and resourcefulness than their vast monetary reserves.