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Tudor Jones, Revolution, and the End Of the World

A peek into Tudor Jones' nightmares--this one came at 4:14 am on 2/14/2015 (IMG: boston.com)

It's that time again--when another wealthy entrepreneur pops into the fore, steps out of the crowd of the top 1%, and wags his fingers back at them for the benefit of the media, attempting to distinguish himself from what he will peg as a mass of greedy, money hungry magnates who don't care who or what they destroy by dint of their various enterprises and actions.

This week it's Paul Tudor Jones, predicting a meltdown of "revolution, taxes or war" to offset the massive inequality in income in the world. This comes just in time for the Book of Revelations type psychedelia happening up in the skies: a March madness of overlapping solar eclipse, supermoon, and spring equinox that has got the end-of-the-worlders sure that the apocalypse is (no really..for real, the last time was a mistake and I know the world didn't end then, but my inner equation and messages from space were not based on the fullest amount of information available to me.. but this time I know it's for real, so stock up on batteries and water, and maybe some smoked oysters) coming beyond all shadow of a doubt. This coinciding of astral events has got the mystic world riled up and ready for some serious portal jumping.

Now back to Tudor Jones. 

I don't want to lump the guy in with the stereotype of his class-- he is in fact the founder of the well-known Robin Hood charity organization, he also founded and chaired the Excellence Charter School in Bed-Sty Brooklyn--both organizations erected to serve the needy and allow charitable donors to write some income off I mean give help to those in great need of assistance. 

In terms of his sold-out speech in Canada yesterday, Tudor Jones addressed his audience within the parameters of his TED TALKS series. In it he addressed the tremendous lopsidedness of income inequality between the rich and the poor, the top 1% and the remaining 99%, and encapsulated his thesis thusly: "This gap between the 1% and the rest of America, and between the US and the rest of the world, cannot and will not persist."

Essentially saying that he regards the current state of the investing playing field as the classic crowd of oblivious wealth dancing on a volcano (a saying made famous by Jean Renoir while making Rules of the Game... a film about the haute bourgeoisie in Paris partying and living the high life in 1939 just before the outbreak of WW2) "we're in the middle of a disastrous market mania," adding "one of worst of my life." Using history as his yardstick, Tudor Jones pronounces the following menu of destinations for the current situation in America:  "by revolution, higher taxes or wars. None are on my bucket list."

So how to work all of this out into a resolution that doesn't end in blood and thunder?

A redefinition of capitalism--a reworking of the concept via the integration of morality and responsibility .  .  .  and public oversight by the creation of rating criteria, monitoring those enterprises for qualities of decency and responsibility/morality. His TED blog goes on to explain:

“This gap between the 1 percent and the rest of America, and between the US and the rest of the world, cannot and will not persist,” says the investor. “Historically, these kinds of gaps get closed in one of three ways: by revolution, higher taxes or wars. None are on my bucket list.”

Jones proposes a fourth way: just corporate behavior. He formed Just Capital, a not-for-profit that aims to increase justness in companies. It all starts with defining “justness” — to do this, he is asking the public for input. As it stands, there is no universal standard monitoring company behavior. Tudor and his team will conduct annual national surveys in the US, polling individuals on their top priorities, be it job creation, inventing healthy products or being eco-friendly. Just Capital will release these results annually – keep an eye out for the first survey results this September.

Ultimately, Jones hopes, the free market will take hold and reward the companies that are the most just. “Capitalism has driven just about every great innovation that has made our world a more prosperous, comfortable and inspiring place to live. But capitalism has to be based on justice and morality…and never more so than today with economic divisions large and growing.”

This is not an argument against progress, Jones emphasizes. “I want that electric car, or the jet packs that we all thought we’d have by now.” But he’s hoping that increased wealth will bring with it a stronger sense of corporate responsibility. “When we begin to put justness on par with profits, we get the most valuable thing in the world. We get back our humanity.

Is this genuine, or is this simply more PR image-polishing by another magnate seeking to be regarded as one of those "good billionaires?" 

Since he seems to be willing to be putting his money where his mouth is, and hold himself and his organization to the same standards he holds the rest of capitalist enterprise, I suspect he is serious. The problem is that he needs--as he seeks to redefine capitalism for the rest of the world by adding the element of justness, responsibility, progressive humanism etc into its very substance-- the rest of for-profit enterprise to cooperate with him. 

The odds of that happening are, well .  .  .  slim. But--and this is a real big But--there is the ever so slight chance that the man's money pushing this arrangement actually gets a toe-hold, momentum builds (he would seriously need Occupy Wall Street/Blockupy-type elements to keep the velocity of the push moving along), the oversight is perceived to be a natural part of corporate assessment henceforth, and a genuine paradigm shift occurs.

But Tudor Jones would have to spend an enormous amount of his money to keep this "Redefine Capitalism" idea out there and squarely focused on until mainstream reporting elements feel it necessary to make the Just Capital Factor an obligatory element of reportage; but that won't happen until the news-gathering organizations of the world perceive that the populace expects that element to be assimilated into their business/finance/market updates.

That is one tall, grandiloquent order. Especially since, starting tomorrow, any of us left alive will be living down in bomb shelters after the apocalypse passes today. 

Preston Clive

3/20/2015***