Email Our Editor

Join Our Mailing List

View Our Archives

Search our archive:

The Last 20 Days' Editorials

Email This Article  Printer Friendly Version

Wall St. And Business Wednesdays: Black Electorate Economics University - The Business Semester

On Wednesday, October 8, 2003, classes will begin for the Business Semester at Black Electorate Economics University. The 10-lesson course includes an all-star roster of guest lecturers and in-depth coverage and analysis of the subject, and yes, science, of business from unique angles - looking at business from the perspective of the economist, historian, industry analyst, entrepreneur, small business owner, and ethnographer. We think the result is valuable insight and education that marries principle and practice

Here is a course description:

Lesson Number One: "The Science Of Business". What are the systems of business? And how are these systems related to principles of human behavior and laws of nature? This lesson provides a comprehensive outline of business; seeks to define it with precision; and places it in the context of other human "sciences" and paradigms of social organization. A clear distinction between business and "capitalism" and "socialism" is made in this lesson.

Lesson Number Two: "An Introductory History Of Business In The West." All business activity emerges from a combination of the elements of ideas, networks and a medium of exchange. Moving from the "East" to the "West". This lesson captures the evolution of trade, commerce, banking and industry over the last millennium. The marriage of the genius and brilliance of entrepreneurs and investors is juxtaposed with some of the greatest speculative failures of recorded history. The result is an interesting and entertaining look at how all "industry" is the result of the dynamics of preparation, spontaneity, and opportunity under girded by creativity, faith, trust and ambition. In addition to looking at the world of business from the perspective of both talent and capital, the lesson includes the constraining and liberating role that politics, religion, war and science have played in business.

Lesson Number Three: "Markets, Competition And Innovation." Guest lecturer, Reuven Brenner. The man some have called the best in the world at what he does returns for the business semester, to present a formidable challenge to conventional economic and business theories regarding economic equilibrium, markets, competition, price, and the decision-making of enterprises. By putting the entrepreneur, professional manager and corporate decision-maker at the center, Professor Brenner provides a powerful new view of the behavior of enterprises, the organization of markets and the structure of industries. Course facilitator Cedric Muhammad provides a comment on Professor Brenner's lecture.

Lesson Number Four: "Monetary Standards, The Unit Of Account and Price." What is the relationship between the value of a currency and the price of goods and services in an economy? This lesson provides precise definitions of inflation and deflation, as monetary phenomenon and relates that view to the art of pricing and the goal, for many businesses, of price inelasticty. A look at the impact of the recent monetary deflation is conducted, across industry, and is combined with a challenge to conventional wisdom regarding the explanatory power of price indices.

Lesson Number Five: Industry Analysis: The Music Business. This lesson applies all of the learning of the semester's first four lessons to a specific industry - the music business. Course Facilitator Cedric Muhammad provides a schematic of the evolution of the music business and its current state - which some have described as one of "upheaval" and "chaos". The crisis of distribution that most agree the music business is enduring is explored from a broad perspective, as well as a narrow look at the impact on the Hip-Hop genre. The impact of technology, culture and Wall St. on the industry is explored including the file-sharing and mixtape phenomenon, and the break-up of Vivendi Universal.

Lesson Number Six: "Business Diversification And Multiple Revenue Streams" Guest Lecturer, Damon Dash, CEO, Roc-A-Fella Records. The man who presides over a Hip-Hop empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars and spanning across several industries, articulates - with candor and plain words - his sophisticated business model. Damon Dash, articulating his aggressive pursuit of multiple income streams, explains where the highest profit margins are in the Hip-Hop industry and where he thinks the music business is headed - at the distribution and retail levels.

Lesson Number Seven: "Branding, Brokering And The Art Of Deal-Making."Guest Lecturer, Russell Simmons, Founder Of Def Jam Records and Phat Farm Clothing and Chairman of The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. The man referred to as a "godfather" of the Hip-Hop industry and its quintessential mogul, provides an exclusive view of his approach to deal-making, branding and line-extension that have caused billionaire businessmen, multinational corporations and politicians to seek his counsel and guidance. Included is his thinking regarding negotiations, political compromise and boycotts. "Professor" Simmons also gives his view of what strategies the music industry is going to have to pursue if it is to recover, and offers his intriguing explanation of why overall Hip-Hop sales have declined. Mr. Simmons provides a clear explanation of the unified worldview that guides his thinking and behavior as an entrepreneur, political activist, and social philanthropist.

Lesson Number Eight: "Why Most Small Businesses Fail" Guest Lecturer, Michael Gerber, Chairman, E-Myth WorldWide. Why do 80% of all small business fail? In plain language, small business consultant and best-selling author Michael Gerber gives a powerful answer. Michael Gerber describes the properly-motivated Entrepreneur and what separates him or her from the "qualified" but deluded Technician and Manager who masquerades as an aspiring businessperson. Mr. Gerber describes the three elements in all of our personalities that contribute to a successful start-up and business organization and the precise planning that is required to keep a new business in the black and out of the red.

Lesson Number Nine: "Black Business and Access To Capital." Why are Blacks 50% more likely than others to attempt to launch a business? This lesson looks at the anecdotal and empirical evidence supporting the increasingly recognized phenomenon of Black entrepreneurs, where they are appearing and how well they are doing in obtaining financial capital - through debt, equity and business opportunities in the public and private sector. The political and economic paradigms of the popular concept of "access to capital" are explained in detail as well as the implications they have for the economic future of Black Americans. An intriguing look is provided of the juxtaposition of the "plight" of Black business districts and traditional "mom and pop" businesses on one hand; and the "success" of Black-owned companies that have obtained venture and equity capital in financial markets (and those that have been "bought-out" by corporations), on the other. A look at the position of Black entrepreneurs in the wealth distribution, and the condition of the Black-publicly traded firms and Black-owned banks is included.

Lesson Number Ten: "Pain, Suffering And The Entrepreneurial Mind." Is suffering the mother of invention? Using history, science, anecdotes, scripture and a unique view of "wealth" and "capital", Cedric Muhammad provides powerful evidence that the seeds of business success and personal fulfillment are indeed watered by adversity and dissatisfaction. In looking at the frustrated corporate professional, discriminated minority groups, and "criminals", a case is made that most creative thoughts are baked in the furnace of affliction. What is it about dissatisfaction that leads to experimentation and revolutionary change - not only in business but in a variety of other disciplines? And is there a spiritual dimension? This lesson looks at the relationship between "purpose", "talent", and the process by which they are converted into "commerce".

Note: You can enroll for classes in the Business Semester at at:

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

To discuss this article further enter The Deeper Look Dialogue Room

The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of or Black Electorate Communications.

Copyright © 2000-2002 BEC