Wall St. and Business Wednesdays: Black Electorate Economics University

Next Monday we start classes for the first semester at Black Electorate Economics University. We have spent almost countless hours in discussion with economists, journalists, academics, money managers, activists and a "focus group" of BlackElectorate.com viewers over what the most important elements of economics are and what should be offered in a course that will have as its students - avid readers, politicians, college students, Wall St. financial analysts, web surfers, hedge fund managers, and yes, other economists. What can you offer to a mixture of both "novice" and "expert" students? What can we offer that will help people learn a subject perceived as complex; make better professional decisions; and understand culture and politics deeper than ever before?

The answer we arrived at in one word is "better reality" - a realistic view where the principles and practice of the "dismal science" coincide and depart in the real world of governments, communities, and businesses, every day.

We think that we have found the answer in the appropriate mixture of history, principles, and application. With that type of balance, it is easier to arrive at the relevancy and insights that make it easy to grasp and become increasingly enthused about a subject that some describe as part science, part religion, part philosophy and part magic.

Having been "self-taught" on the subject of economics, I think I have been able to identify the reasons why people are simultaneously intimidated by and attracted to the field - in general conversation, academic course work and political decision-making. Everyone knows economics affects them but are usually not sure how or even why? This general sentiment is compounded within the Black community where the subject was held back in education and where the profession has few role models. As I frequently ask several of my Black friends: how many economists attended your last family reunion? I haven't gotten an affirmative answer yet.

The key to gaining comprehension of this critical subject and getting excited about what its insights mean for our ability to understand life and prosper, in my view, is being educated by people who operate within the dialetic of principle and practice. People who can write an academic textbook as quickly as they can explain to a world leader how their policies produce poverty and prosperity; explain to an entrepreneur how to thrive and jump-start a business in a recession; and help a money manager place his or her money in the appropriate investments.

At BlackElectorate.com we have been blessed to have established relationships with some of the most brilliant and influential of economists in the discipline, all of whom have experience, to one degree or another in advancing economic ideas in the media; advising business owners about bottom-line decisions; persuading policy makers who make laws; instructing money managers responsible for billions; and teaching people economics who previously had no real understanding of the subject.

Over the past three years, our viewers have gotten familiar with several of these individuals and through the access we provide, engaged them in discussion and dialogue.

The first semester of the Black Electorate Economics University takes that experience to the next level. Over the next 10 weeks we will be presenting a one-of-a-kind format of weekly lessons, recommended readings, e-mail and chat room dialogue that will give each student access to the course facilitator, other students and our eminent guest professors.

We hope you will join us for a unique and empowering educational process that will bring together, in 10 weeks, more knowledge, wisdom and understanding of economics than is available anywhere on the Internet.

Here is the week-by-week course description:

Week 1: The Ecology Of Wealth. The focus of the introductory week deals with the "eco" in the word economy - the unity and connected nature of the process of the production, consumption and distribution of wealth. Before there is labor or capital, wealth is present, and the manner in which human beings value, utilize, desire and need "wealth" is the basis of economy. The discussion includes a focus on the creation and destruction of wealth in its pre-existing, natural and artificial forms and the question of responsibility, free-will, self-interest and ownership regarding resources. Do businesses need to integrate economic, biologic, and human systems to create a sustainable method of commerce, as author Paul Hawken asks?

Week 2: Capital Development And Matching. What is capital? Have the great economists Keynes, Marx and Smith accurately identified it and explained it to the world? Has it been understood in a way that allows its most productive organization? Here we look at the identification, accounting, valuation and marriage process of human, physical and financial capital and the sources of capital that are generally available in every society. How has the Black community in America developed - politically, commercially and culturally - along these sources of capital and the access to such granted and denied? Why is it possible to better understand the current affirmative action debate when discussed from the perspective of capital sources? The guest professor for this lesson is Reuven Brenner. Reuven Brenner holds the REPAP Chair in Economics at McGill University's School of Management. He is the author of seven books, the most recent of which is The Force of Finance (2002). Dr. Brenner has also consulted and undertaken studies among others, for Violy, Byorum & Partners, Repap Enterprises, EEN (Education Entertainment Network), Shell Oil Co., C.D. Howe, The Fraser Institute, the Economic Council of Canada, and the Quebec Ministry of Justice. He has written articles for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Le Figaro Dow Jones, and Asia Times. Fluent in English, French, Hebrew, Hungarian, and Roumanian, Dr. Brenner presents his work at conferences and seminars around the world.

Week 3: Markets And Trade. The discussion moves into a lesson on the exchange and market-making process. What is a market and what has been the quality of answers provided to that question over the years? Beginning with the incentives and societal norms that are the genesis of "market"; the discussion moves into the motives and incentives that attract and marry capital and talent within the de facto and de jure market place. The reality of the existence of "free-markets" is also explored. The lesson includes a unique history of government trade policies in the Western and non-Western world and their little-known impact on economic fortune and misfortune. A critical look is also taken at the interest groups that develop around markets and seek to manipulate them for their benefit.

Week 4: Public Finance And Fiscal Policy. What is public debt? Why is debt incurred by governments? Are deficits and debts good or bad? Do they affect savings, borrowing and interest rates in capital markets? What forms of taxes are there? Are some better than others for raising revenue? How do taxes on capital affect economic growth and capital accumulation? Is there a rate of taxation in every society that produces an optimal amount of tax revenue? How do tax policies affect the capital-to-labor ratio in the global Black economy? How do public finance and fiscal policy affect the supply of and demand for money? All of these questions and many, many more are answered by guest professor, Jude Wanniski, chairman of Polyconomics Inc. As an associate editor of The Wall Street Journal from 1972 to 1978, Jude Wanniski repopularized the classical theories of supply-side economics. His book, The Way The World Works, became a foundation of the global economic transformation launched by the Reagan Administration. Some have called it the greatest economics book since Adam Smith's The Wealth Of Nations. He founded Polyconomics in 1978 to interpret the impact of political events on financial markets, keeping institutional investors informed on U.S. and world events that bear on their decisions. His network of long-standing relationships with members of the Executive and Congressional branches, the Federal Reserve Board and leading opinion makers augments Polyconomics`analysis. Mr. Wanniski, and Polyconomics, Inc., have achieved recognition worldwide for the efficacy of the supply-side political-economic model. Mr. Wanniski holds a B.A. in Political Science and an M.S. in Journalism from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Week 5: The Jewish Economy. What is it that has made the Jewish community excel at matching capital with talent? Why have Jews risen to the top of the business and professional world in numbers staggeringly out of proportion to their percentage of the American population? What are the principles that serve as the bedrock of Jewish financial success? What can the Black community in America learn from the Jewish economic model? This lesson is provided by guest professor Steven Silbiger. Mr. Silbiger is the author of The Jewish Phenomenon andThe Ten-Day MBA which has sold 300,000 copies worldwide. Mr. Silbiger worked as a certified public accountant for Arthur Anderson LLP and received his Master's Of Business Administration from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia. His lesson explains the cultural economics of why, as of the year 2000: 1) Jews make up only 2% of the total U.S. population, yet 45% of the top 40 of the Forbes 400 richest Americans are Jewish 2) One-third of all American multimillionaires are Jewish 3) The percentage of Jewish households with income greater than $50,000 is double that of non-Jews while on the other hand, the percentage of Jewish households with income less than $20,000 is half that of non-Jews 4) 20% of professors at leading universities are Jewish 5) 40% of partners in leading New York and Washington D.C. law firms are Jewish and 25% percent of all American Nobel Prize winners are Jewish (all statistics are from Mr. Silbiger's research contained within The Jewish Phenomenon).

Week 6: What Is Money? And The Federal Reserve. This lesson addresses the most basic and important of questions - what is money? What are its material and seemingly meta-physical qualities? A concise and fascinating world history of money, with emphasis on its development in the United States; its unique qualities; and how and why governments have obtained a monopoly on its issuance are explored in a unique way by Andrew Gause, guest professor, and author of The Secret World Of Money. Mr. Gause, the head of SDL Numismatic Gold And Silver Coins is one of the most respected monetary historians and contemporary experts on the American and international banking systems. He has been a regular and enormously popular guest on the Art Bell and Tony Brown radio programs. Getting into little-known facts about the evolutiuon of money and U.S. banking history, this lesson also explores the inner-workings of the Fedral Reserve System and the pervasive influence that it has on the international economy. Few, if any, have a greater detailed understanding than Andrew Gause of the nature of money and how governments and banking systems manipulate its supply and demand.

Week 7: Monetary Regimes In The Americas. In Week 7 we will cover in depth the subject of, "Monetary Regimes In The Americas," which will focus on the three types of monetary regimes and their application, particularly in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Our guest lecturer will be Dr. Steve H. Hanke, Professor Of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a Senior Fellow at the CATO Institute, and columnist for Forbes magazine. Professor Hanke is also a Principal of Chicago Partners, LLC, a Chicago-based firm that provides consulting and expert services on matters of economics, finance, accounting and risk management. He is a leading strategist in the markets for foreign exchange, commodities and a wide range of securities. London's Micropal recognized Professor Hanke's work as President of Toronto Trust Argentina by naming his fund the world's best performing emerging-market mutual fund in 1995, up 79.25% for the year. In 1998, Mr. Hanke was named one of the 25 most influential people in the world by World Trade magazine. Professor Hanke has served as advisor to many governments and played important roles in currency reforms in Argentina, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Montenegro and Ecuador. Professor Hanke has written 18 books (including Alternative Monetary Regimes for Jamaica with Kurt Schuler) and hundreds of articles on currency reform. Some of these can be found at the following websites:


Week 8: The International Gold Standard. This lesson explores the history of the international gold standard and why gold has uniquely served the world as its most monetary commodity. The history of the gold standard, the principles that undergird it, and the various shapes and forms it has taken in recorded history are combined with a look at where in the world the next gold-backed currency may appear. The writings of 1999 Nobel Prize economist, Professor Robert Mundell and his exclusive past discussions with BlackElectorate.com publisher Cedric Muhammad, regarding a pan-African and pan-Islamic gold standard are examined. The week also includes a special look at the ever-present "invisible" gold standard that exists between creditors and debtors and within contractual relationships.

Week 9: Slavery, Colonialism and Post-Independence Africa. Just what exactly was the impact of the trans-atlantic slave trade and colonialism, in terms of physical, financial and human capital? The economics of the massive amount of wealth creation, wealth redistribution, and wealth destruction involved in what took place from the 16th to the 20th century in the Western Hemisphere and Africa is examined from a variety of perspectives. How can it be repaired? The subject of reparations is taken up juxtaposed to the legacy of colonialism and slavery. A special analysis of Africa's post-independence economy is undertaken with an eye toward the historic economic integration of Africa through the African Union. What are the necessary steps to establishing the United States Of Africa?

Week 10: An Introduction To Islamic Economics. What are the core elements of the Islamic economic model? Is Islamic banking viable? Does the Muslim world properly understand riba or usury? Everything from Ibn Khaldun's take on tax cuts early last millenium to Minister Farrakhan's proposed Islamic gold standard in 1998 is examined. Special emphasis is placed on the economic practices and principles expressed during the time of Prophet Muhammad and the Caliphate. A look at the potential role of the Organization Of Islamic Conference (OIC) in promoting the Islamic economic model and unity among Muslim states is also deliberated. The latest ideas, theories and commentary on the future of Islamic economic practices are considered.

Enroll today for an enlightening, empowering and money-making education:


Cedric Muhammad

Wednesday, January 22, 2003