John Hope Bryant on financial literacy and fighting poverty

Uploaded by thedavosquestion on 27.01.2008

Hello the You Tube community. Very, very cool community. And I'm not just saying that cuz
I'm here in the cold Davos Switzerland. We're here at the world economic forum, I'm a young
global leader. My name is, I'm sorry, a member of the young global leaders, we will not want
to suggest that I am a leader. Here at the WEF. My name is John Hope Bryant and I'm founder
of operation HOP, which is America's first non profit central investment bank. I'm also
vice chairman of the President's council on financial literacy in the United States. As
executed by the President on this past Tuesday. Which speaks to the question, what's the one
thing that companies and governments, that organizations, that individuals like you,
can do to make the world a better place? I believe in one person can change the world.
And when you think about people who changed the world, with all due respect to all the
great people who are here, man y of those people had no titles. Jesus Christ was a carpenter,
Mother Theresa was a nurse, Nelson Mandela for 27 years was a prisoner, Martin Luther
King Jr was a southern preacher, my friend Andrew Young, my mentor, civil rights leader
and reverend. But one person changed the world. So what's the one thing that we should do?
What's the one thing we could do? I think we need to move from civil rights to ciliary
rights. I think that we need to empower people. It's not to give them a hand out, but a hand
up. To not to not focus, as a lot of bad colabority is on, a lot of government services are focused
on giving a man a fish but teaching him how to fish. I remember Martin Luther King Jr
told Andrew Young a story that really wasn't made public back then, it wasn't politically
correct. He was on the Jericho road in Israel and the media kept saying Martin you remind
me of the goos samaritan on the Jericho road. Dr. King said to Andrew Young, he said Andy
we need good samaritans. I respect good samaritans. I want a good samaritan to be in my community,
but I don't want to be a good samaritan. [pause] The Jericho road is dangerous. [pause] I don't
want to pick up my people, sitting like a victim, sitting on the edge of the Jericho
road anymore. We need to fix the Jericho road. We need to pave the Jericho road. We need
to put street lights up along the Jericho road. We need to build community development
and home ownership and small business and entrepreneurship along the Jericho road. We
need to create entrepreneurs and educated people along the Jericho road. Andy, we need
to fix the Jericho road. And when he was killed, Dr King was killed, in 68, April of 68, he
was focused on the poor people's campaign. And that was about poor whites, there's more
poor white people in America than anybody else. Poor blacks, poor Latinos, poor Asians,
poor Indians, poor African Americans, poor Latinos, moving all up the economic ladder.
He said this, you can not educate goodness and you can not pass a law to force someone
to respect you. The only way of social justice in a capitalist country is economic parity,
ownership. There's nothing more appropriate than this Davos conversation, then looking
at the least of these God's children, looking at the fact that we integrated the lunch counter
in 68, 62, 1960 in the U.S., but we never integrated the dollar, or the euro or the
zen dollar. Whatever it is, the currency you're dealing with. In Swiss it's frank. I think
that the thing that we can do is to teach people about civil rights. To teach them about
financial literature. Teach them about free enterprise and capitalism and ownership. If
you're living in a little shanty town in south Africa, you're living in Alexandria, South
Africa, you don't have running water, you don't have lights, you don't even have solid
walls. But on every street corner is a black woman doing hair. That's an entrepreneur.
On every corner, in every block, there's a little kiosk selling cell phone and cell phone
minutes by little cards that have cell phone minutes on it. Those are entrepreneurs. We
are natural entrepreneurs. Poor people are natural entrepreneurs. People don't realize
that Sam Walton, Wal-Mart, was an uneducated, poor, white male from the south who realized
that poor people wanted good products at a good price. And well on now you have the largest
retailer in the world. Poor people have made most the fortunes in the world. We've got
to stop making fortunes on the back of poor people and start making fortune developers
out of poor people. That's something that all of us can do. Teach financial literacy,
tech dignity. Go in your community and understand you can not be a leader unless you are there
to serve. All around this world we've got to continue the work of Dr King, big An, and
launch a global civil rights movement. If we do that you won't have to worry about more
aid for South Africa because you're giving people a hand up. Africa or the African continent,
or Latin America, or poor places in Asia, or poor places in Latin America, the 6 billion
people in this planet. Half of which are living on a dollar day. That's not sustainable, that's
not dignity, that's not what we deserve. What people want is an opportunity to succeed or
fail on their own merit. And if you want to feel good about yourself, help somebody help
themself. And if we do that, if we create a generation of entrepreneurs in Africa, they'll
become tax payers, they'll become job producers. Africa will not be the dark continent. It
will be a place of opportunity and prosperity because it's an amazing beautiful place. That
will take it's place as one of the leaders in the 21st century. And you can help make
that a reality. Everybody can help make a difference. You be that one person.