When asked about my inspiration for the envisioning of Project Integrity International, I answer with the rhetorical question, “What isn’t my inspiration?”
I find such a question to be very peculiar, and perhaps it is my personal understanding that at the center of the human experience lies the drive to seek a purpose greater than oneself. Perhaps the materialistic, superficial understanding of society and world that I witnessed throughout my life left me feeling emotionally hollow, mentally blank, and spiritually starved. Perhaps it was that which uninspired me that inspired me. An equally relevant question has been asked, “Who inspired me?” The answer? Everyone! Famous persons who have accomplished great humanitarian feats as well as the unknown among us who have been the quiet helpers and healers in their daily lives. Because the PII vision is premised on two concepts, I will mention the great humanitarian architect who coined the terms—Buckminster Fuller. He not only envisioned and invented housing structures designed to protect their inhabitants from natural disasters, but expressed deeply in his writings the importance of “synergy” and “ephemeralization.” Synergy means the creation of a whole greater than the sum of its parts. He coined the term Ephemeralization, which is the ability of technological advancement to do "more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing.” Project Integrity International was built upon these two principals, as it is ever so critical to match the rapidly accelerating pace of planetary degradation with equally ambitious restorative efforts in an “empheralizative” approach. PII, being an all-inclusive enterprise that invites all peoples and professions to participate in the manifestation process of its vision, celebrates a global community that will be ever so greater and grander than the sum of its parts. Many great thinkers, activists, and innovators have stressed these critical concepts throughout the ages, and it is the goal of PII to maximize synergy and ephemeralization in its own approach.
How are my three books related?
Project Integrity International, What is Wealth?, and Feel Wheel Emotional Wellness Strategy actually express the same basic vision despite their differing literary genres. While my first book, Project Integrity International, focusses more directly on the socioeconomic systemic flaws and corresponding systemic solutions to those glitches, Wealth digs deeper into the more psychological aspects of the Great Human Condition facing humankind in the 21st century. One essay in Wealth, “The Five Fingered Fist of Fascism,” for example, posits the notion that fascism in our world national governments are mirrored and perpetuated by the other institutions of society: family, military/police, religion, and corporate consumerism. In fact, I had written the series of essays in What is Wealth? in order to shed light on the more deeply human factors contributing to our world’s epidemics and tragedies. Upon completion of this book, it dawned on me that for the members of my audience to go beyond merely reading and reflecting on my vision towards its concrete implementation would prove contingent upon their individual and collective psychological wellbeing. This epiphany led me into a period of deep personal introspection upon my own traumas and triumphs. How exactly did I overcome my own traumas that were often downright debilitating and build the strength, motivation, and stamina to innovate the PII vision and write my "trilogy?" It hit me that writing played a big part in my healing process, and thus, the Feel Wheel Emotional Wellness Strategy was born.
The success of Project Integrity International, then, lies in the effective collaboration of individuals from all professions and personal backgrounds who are emotionally, physically, and mentally healthy enough to implement the vision.
Why Project Integrity International?
(PREFACE TO PROJECT INTEGRITY INTERNATIONAL: PHILOSOPHY & PLAN FOR A NEW ECONOMY)
THE REVOLUTION OF REVOLUTION
Many great steps forward were taken in the twentieth century to address the world’s epidemics. Freedom fighters, conscientious objectors, and their civilian anti-war allies organized independence movements that resisted the brutal invasion and occupation of their homelands by foreign imperialists driven by power and profit. Challenging horrific working conditions were organized laborers who demanded better wages, shorter work days, and safer workplace conditions. Civil Rights activists who battled against hundreds of years of slavery, racism, and discrimination began to achieve greater social and economic status. Chiseling away at millennia of male subjugation, misogyny, and unequal treatment were women who called out for equal status and rights. Psychologists, sociologists, social workers, and others challenged child abuse and domestic violence while environmentalists rejected the toxic lifestyle of addiction-driven consumerism that depletes rain forests, the ozone layer, and fresh water. Seeking alternatives to both fundamental religion and secular materialistic lifestyles, both of which left little room for creative expression and individuality, were spiritualists who dared to stretch their consciousness beyond the status quo way of life. Entrepreneurs started sustainable businesses and charitable non-profits that fostered social justice and a healthier environment. Millions of people throughout the world made great changes. Despite reactionary governments, greedy corporations, and mass indifference, the progress fortunately continues.
Today more than ever, we must accelerate these critical changes. Our current global economic systems are failing to safely and affordably feed, clothe, house, transport, and educate the world’s population. Obesity gobbles down toxic treats as famine scrambles for a few grains of rice. Privilege speeds by in fancy sports cars, while poverty cups her hands hoping to score some spare change. Public transportation systems deteriorate beneath a melting sky as governments dole out welfare to wealthy automobile corporations. The economic imbalance between individuals, sexes, races, and nations is all too apparent on every street corner, in every town, and in every nation. As consumerism—the new global culture of shop-’til-you-drop—rampantly spreads across the planet, so do pollution, labor abuses, and human misery. Landfills overflow while rivers dry up. The automobile industry expands along with the hole in the ozone. Wars are waged in the great rush for more and more, while acres of rain forests become less and less. Pop culture replaces all others as the masses turn to an excess of junk food, alcohol, television, and drugs to fill in the void.
People lurking on the edges of society try to bring sense and harmony to a crazy war- torn world. These souls traipse through the darkness, spreading light where illumination is desperately needed. The voice cries out for peace, truth, wisdom, harmony—justice! Some shout it in the streets, while others stream it online. But as the poignant progressive voice bellows out from between the creases of cyber space and Roman time, something shifts ever so slightly within the frequency of my perceptive faculties. The voice, still powerfully profound in its ideas and sentiments, now fails to grab hold of my mind and spirit as it once so has. Yes, the truth still rings true—and the epidemics still clutter the landscape of so-called Democracy.
But a quiet epiphany reveals itself in profound whispers. A new kind of progressive. A revolution of revolution. The ideas, epidemics, and sentiments of the progressive ideology still reflect the same in the mirror of truth, but the light in the mirror begins to refract at that trajectory where problem meets solution.
The traditional progressive movement has focussed its efforts, resources, and manpower on countless nonprofits, nonviolent resistance, consumer boycotts, worker strikes, and charitable drives. The anti-corporate movement has taken front and center stage in the saga of justice, shedding light on environmental, consumer, and labor abuses committed by many large companies across the globe.
Perhaps the greatest conundrum perplexing the progressive movement lies in this anti/ pro-corporate debate. The corporate world provides the majority of our jobs, consumer products, and luxuries that comprise the lifestyle that we have grown accustomed to since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution and subsequent Information Age. Despite obvious and prolific corporate abuses, our survival has become directly contingent upon many of the products, services, and jobs provided by corporate entities across the globe.
Where these corporations leave off, many nonprofits start up, attempting to either undo damage to labor bodies and the natural environment; or by picking up the slack of corporations that fail to adequately provide for basic needs and a livable income. Many focus on providing direct charities to low income persons, while others provide job training and affordable education to such underserved groups within the greater demographic.
Still, the corporate military-industrial dominated world continues to triumph despite countless “nonprofit sector” attempts to feed the hungry, employ the jobless, and otherwise help the helpless. It is at this trajectory, that crossing point between status quo driven global epidemics and status quo global “solutions” where the light in the mirror of my mind’s eye begins to sharply refract. It is at this very juncture where the truth is revealed in the mirror: that, while many terrific solutions have been implemented by incredible people to help combat a myriad of social ills across the globe, the paradigm itself has never truly changed. Worker strikes drive corporations to outsource domestic jobs to foreign countries. Numerous nonprofit organizations are modeled on for-profit corporations with top-heavy bureaucracies and highly paid directors, often with little charity left over for the intended recipients. Charities that assist people with job training and education prepare the next corporate work force that led to gross economic inequalities in the first place. And although many of these organizations raise awareness of so many issues, the mainstream media chimes out at a much higher decibel than fringe podcasts and progressive radio stations morse coding the globe.
How many anti-corporate protests will we march sporting shoes, t-shirts, jeans, and accessories provided by and purchased from such companies? Anti-corporate activists like to point to the very structure of the corporate legal entity as being the root cause of modern day secular evils. Anti-corporate proponents argue that the “corporate personhood” and Limited Liability aspects of the legal entity itself allow for corporations to commit environmental, consumer, and labor abuses without consequence. But if we can see the basic legal entity as an empty bowl, we can begin to realize that it is not the bowl but its contents that bring about pollution and abuse. If we fill the bowl with products, services, advertisements, and marketing strategies that deliberately manipulate our addictive tendencies, emotional vulnerability, and instinctual impulses, the bowl becomes as toxic as its contents. On the other hand, if we fill that same bowl—the corporate legal entity that allows for limited liability and so-called personhood—with green products, healthy lifestyle marketing, and “be your own boss” entrepreneurial opportunities in the sustainable market place—we can begin to actually take advantage of that limited liability and corporate personhood towards the maximization of our efforts.
An effort in this direction can be seen as a Middle Way Solution for World Economic Success. Not only do people begin to access what they need immediately to survive in a holistic, healthy way, but the paradigm itself changes altogether. The push and pull between the world of corporate dominance and nonprofit philanthropy transforms into a world where new independent, sustainable enterprises gradually replace existing, toxic military industrial entities—but too, greatly diminishes the need for charity itself. In the new paradigm, beggars become buyers, corporate employees become independent entrepreneurs, and coworkers, supervisors, and managers simply become startup partners. The Mother Company is a corporation—a People’s Corporation—and merely functions to consolidate, and thus reduce, redundant bureaucratic activity while protecting the liability of individual companies. It is the Middle Way, the way of moderation—a fluid catalyst moderating between two warring polarized ideologies. It is the same bowl, filling with the pure elements of common decency, common sense, and common cause. A Middle Way, taking front and center stage in a healthy world with countless opportunities and endless possibilities. A world, not perfect—but perfectly progressing.
By providing an economic platform that welcomes individuals from all personal backgrounds and professional disciplines, Project Integrity International will support the technological, ecological, human rights, multicultural, and spiritual movements brewing today throughout the world. PII will foster a healthier world by more intelligently utilizing the abundant resources of Planet Earth. Because PII will shelter many individuals under one umbrella, it will strengthen the movement at large by eliminating the wastefulness of redundant bureaucratic activity and by continually re-circulating resources, capital, and profits back into its own economy. Finally, PII focuses its efforts upon creating new businesses rather than challenging or attacking existing ones. PII does not propose to violently overthrow the current government. Nor, unlike other revolutions throughout history, does it call out for a mass labor strike or for the boycott of goods and services. Thus, PII will avoid creating a social and economic environment filled with contention and contempt.
The success of PII will depend on the harmonized efforts of many individuals of all ages, races, genders, nationalities, political leanings, and professional disciplines. As an international movement, PII will evenly disperse its business entities across continents so as to maintain a critical balance of political, economic, and military power between nations. By not upsetting this critical balance, PII will be able to advance all the more smoothly and effectively across the world to accomplish its mission.
So, what are we waiting for? Why shall we suffer on state or corporate assembly lines while we can be flourishing in our own gardens and holistic shops? Why not abandon the dusty union halls and recycle the tattered old manifestos in exchange for independent businesses and collective sustainable spaces? Let each become his own man, let each be her own boss—and put an end to the infantilism we all suffer in the 9 to 5 careerist agenda of the stale old elite establishment. We need not stay fleeing, fighting, or frozen in this age old conundrum one moment beyond now. The time has come to give birth to a fresh outlook, a more effective economic system, and an emerging era in which individuals, communities, and nations survive and thrive together. Let us collaborate to restore our sacred rain forests, to grow splendid gardens, and to build more viable infrastructures that benefit both human beings and the greater natural environment. Let us put an end to the tragic bloody struggles between sexes, races, generations, religions, political parties, classes, and nations—and begin to appreciate the beautiful differences that we all share in common. The time is now. Project Integrity International welcomes all!
What exactly is Project Integrity International?
(INTRODUCTION TO PROJECT INTEGRITY INTERNATIONAL: PHILOSOPHY & PLAN FOR A NEW ECONOMY)
THE MISSION OF THE VISION
Project Integrity International intends to create the kind of global society that can tackle the critical issues facing humankind at the beginning of the twenty first century. But how, exactly? PII proposes the plan for an international franchise of environmentally sustainable worker-owned cooperative businesses. These business enterprises will not only bring economic independence, environmental health, and critical survival necessities to their co-owners, but help to resolve the world’s issues and epidemics. Unlike random small businesses, PII bridges individual cooperatives with a unique franchise model designed to provide a sturdy, structured, and well organized support system for its members.
What exactly is an “international franchise of environmentally sustainable worker- owned cooperative businesses?” The term franchise refers to the right or license that is granted to one or more individuals to market a company’s goods or services in a given territory. A franchise business might be a store, restaurant, or other company that an entrepreneur owns and operates under a license agreement with the franchise founder, who in turn retains legal possession of the franchise’s copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Examples of iconic modern- day franchises are McDonalds, Burger King, Gold’s Gym, Blockbuster Video, and Hilton Hotels. Many successful sustainable franchises such as vegan fast food chains, eco-friendly cleaning services, and second-hand stores have cropped up in the last two decades. A chain of franchises may be small and regional, or span the entire globe. One feature that makes franchise chains successful is a strong emphasis on branding—that is, incorporating fancy logos, catchy tag lines, competitive pricing, and product uniqueness to distinguish one’s products and services from others. These branding tools are used to popularize goods and services that are consistently affordable, reliable, and convenient. As a result of spreading far and wide, successful franchises are able to exploit an economy of scale that allows them to offer the most competitive pricing. By spreading internationally, PII’s franchises will bridge individuals, communities, and nations that will work together to strengthen the new global economic system.
Most current franchises are characterized by traditional business hierarchies of owners, managers, supervisors, and workers. Alternatively, PII franchises will be structured as cooperatives—or businesses that are co-owned and operated by entrepreneurial team members who enjoy equal profits, decision-making power, and skill-building opportunities as earned by their collective efforts.
PII’s co-op franchises will provide ecosustainable goods and services—that is, goods and services that promote the well-being of both consumers and the greater natural environment. Examples of ecosustainable products and services include alternative fuels, certified organic fruits and vegetables, and goods made out of recycled materials. Many popular franchises such as fast-food chains play on human addictions, pedaling products that are unhealthy for consumers, workers, and the greater natural environment. PII’s brand name, “WISR,” was chosen because it is smarter for consumers to choose products and services that promote health. Rather than manipulating people to indulge in unhealthy products and lifestyles, WISR brands will foster a socioeconomic climate that encourages consumers to make informed choices that benefit everyone.
Although millions of small businesses open across the globe every year, a majority of them fold within a short time. Five unique features of PII will foster and secure the success of WISR Franchises. First, PII’s headquarters will provide training and assistance with all complicated administrative tasks. Thus, inexperienced entrepreneurs will be able to succeed without getting lost along the paper trail. Second, PII will create and utilize a series of maps to plot the locations where franchises will yield the most success, thereby eliminating the potential for business failure. Third, PII will provide an extensive training and intern program to prepare franchisees to effectively run their businesses. Fourth, PII will be a ”closed economy”—that is, an economy whereby capital generated by franchises is re-circulated back into the WISR economy by encouraging franchisees to shop at other WISR stores and by granting all franchisees shares in the greater PII establishment. Finally, WISR Creations motto reads “Global Brand, Local Flavor.” Unlike most global franchise chains, no two WISR Franchises will be the same. Although all franchises will distribute and sell WISR Creations retail products, franchisees will design and decorate their storefronts, market their products, and present themselves to the public in a way that is unique to their own personalities and cultural backgrounds. For example, all WISR brand restaurants will use the same high-quality, organic, fair-trade ingredients in their cuisine, but their individual menus will reflect the talents, preferences, and cultural backgrounds of individual WISR Franchisees. Like the greater natural environment, WISR Franchisees will celebrate endless, mind-inspiring diversity.
What a healthy alternative! PII will become the second home to the economically disenfranchised people of the world by welcoming all nationalities, disciplines, races, genders, age levels, and classes. Inner-city youth across the world can choose to earn a healthy living as a franchisee rather than seeking financial opportunity in gangs or the military, killing innocent bystanders and foreign civilians only to return home to suffer terrible aftereffects. Isolated housewives can reconnect to their communities and achieve economic independence by discovering their independent businesswomen within. Minimum wage and sweatshop workers who seek more meaningful jobs and higher wages can open franchises that provide endless financial and artisanal skill-building opportunities. People all over the world who find themselves bored and frustrated with their corporate careers can also make a fresh start as franchisees. Because PII is an international enterprise, citizens and residents of poor nations can open franchises that bring resources, services, and independence to their communities, neighborhoods, and nations while becoming less dependent on foreign assistance and local charity.
By its very structure, PII will deliver prosperity, equality, peace, enjoyment, and environmental health to all corners of the world. PII’s WISR Cooperative Franchise opportunities will be available to anyone who puts in the effort to achieve them.