45 Great Moments in Black Business – No. 29: Ariel Investments’ $16 Billion Milestone

Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments

This year BLACK ENTERPRISE celebrates the 45th anniversary of its roster of the nation’s largest black-owned businesses—The BE 100s. To commemorate the significance of this collective’s widespread impact on black business and economic development as well as American industry over four decades, we have presented 45 milestones moments. We now resume this tribute with the continuation of our yearlong countdown.  

Today we reveal No. 29 in the web series “Great Moments in Black Business.” 

2003: Ariel Investments, No. 1 on the BE ASSET MANAGERS list and the first black money manager to launch a family of mutual funds, achieves an investment milestone when 17 major corporations select its mutual funds for their 401(k) plans.

Led by Ariel founder, CEO, and Chief Investment Officer John W. Rogers Jr., the firm broke new ground with that landmark achievement despite a hypercompetitive environment and greater compliance pressure from the newly enacted Sarbanes-Oxley legislation. Due to the relentless efforts of Rogers, Mellody Hobson, the firm’s president, and the rest of the team, Ariel snared new accounts while applying a value investment style to produce hefty returns for individual and institutional investors. The results: Assets under management grew in 2003 to $16.1 billion, an explosive 58% increase from the previous year.

(John Rogers, center, with Mellody Hobson. Image: File)

 

Rogers, listed among BE’s Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street, has broken barriers in the nation’s asset management industry and helped paved the way for other African Americans to gain entry into a business dominated by non-diverse firms.

A New Approach to Investing

 

Like the tortoise of Aesop’s fable, he took a slow-and-steady approach to investing in undervalued small and medium-sized companies over the long term and has built wealth for investors, including millions of African Americans. It was an approach that was in contrast to many of his growth-oriented peers as Rogers would recount in an April 1992 BLACK ENTERPRISE cover story.

The journey for Rogers began in 1983 when he launched Ariel Capital Management, now Ariel Investments. In that 1992 BLACK ENTERPRISE article, Rogers, who worked more than two years for the brokerage firm William Blair, used a connection to gain his first account: $100,000 investment from the Howard University endowment fund.  He also developed The Patient Investor, a newsletter describing his stock-picking philosophy —complete with a picture of a tortoise and the “slow and steady” tagline gracing its cover. Due to his performance, assets under management grew to $2 million by 1986.

(John Rogers. Image: File)

 

As Rogers built his mutual fund family—the first was Ariel Fund—he brought on Calvert Group Inc., a financial services company, in 1986 to serve as the distributor and transfer agent. Yet eight years later, in a bold move to gain independence, he paid $4 million to separate from Calvert and assumed responsibility for all operations. “We went from managing $2.3 billion to $1.1 billion over a short period of time, and it was extraordinarily uncomfortable and frightening,” Rogers told BE at the time.  

Steering Through the Great Recession

 

Ariel persevered through such rough patches and learned valuable lessons from business volatility and severe market downturns, including the financial crisis in 2009. Rogers, an investment icon and former captain of the basketball team when he attended Princeton University, has repeatedly demonstrated his resilience. In 2010, Crain’s Chicago Business reported Ariel emerged from the financial crisis with its best performance ever.

The firm’s flagship Ariel Fund rose 56% for the past 12 months, beating the 38% average rise for rivals, according to investment rating firm Morningstar. Most recently, as of Sept. 30, 2017, the Ariel Fund produced an annualized return of 11.34% since its Nov. 6, 1986, inception date, according to Ariel’s website. That compares with the same period for the Russell 2500 Value Index, a 10.86% return for the Russell 2500 Index, and a 10.32% return for the S&P 500 Index.

With offices in New York and Sydney, the Chicago-based Ariel offers investors six no-load mutual funds and nine separate accounts, and as of Feb. 28, 2017, the firm reported assets under management of $11.5 billion.

Fierce Diversity Advocate

 

When not operating Ariel, Rogers and Hobson have been active in the business, philanthropic, and social fronts. For instance, Rogers, a board member of McDonald’s Corp. and Exelon Corp., and Hobson, who serves on the boards of Starbucks Corp. and Estée Lauder Cos., can be found on the BLACK ENTERPRISE Registry of Corporate Directors. As such, they represent some of the fiercest advocates for diversity in corporate governance.

black directors

 

Despite the milestone that Ariel achieved some 14 years ago, Rogers is still actively fighting for greater opportunities for black firms to gain access to opportunities to manage corporate, pension fund, and endowment dollars. According to a 2015 Wall Street Project Asset Management study released at the annual summit created by civil rights leader Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, minority firms have been unable to gain a foothold in a sector in which assets under management totaled a whopping $68.7 trillion and profits grew to $93 billion in 2013. Using data from the BE ASSET MANAGERS list, the study further revealed that top black firms manage a total of $118.4 billion in assets—a mere 0.3% of the total $36 trillion in domestic institutional assets under management. Rogers believes greater boardroom diversity will make the difference in the creation of a more equitable asset management selection process.

It is fitting, however, that Ariel has been able and will continue to break barriers in asset management, in great part, due to Rogers’ vision, tenacity, and investment prowess. In 2013, he was featured with legendary investors Warren Buffett, Sir John Templeton, and Benjamin Graham in the book, The World’s 99 Greatest Investors.

 

 

 

Source: Black Enterprise

Membership Libraries / Exclusive playgrounds for book lovers

The Mechanics' Institute Library in San Francisco

Books used to be such rare and wonderful things. I’m not talking about centuries ago, either. As recently as a couple of decades ago, when I was in school, I felt awestruck every time I visited the large public library downtown. It was amazing to me that as an ordinary citizen—a kid, no less—I could walk in and borrow nearly any book, no matter how old, famous, or important it was. Searching through endless card catalogs seemed like a mysterious black art, and I was always slightly surprised to find that a book I was looking for was actually on the shelves. Wouldn’t everyone in the city want to read this?

I’m equally amazed at the profound changes that have taken place in the last ten years or so with respect to how people think about books. On the one hand, there seems to be an increasingly common assumption that all useful knowledge exists in digital form, or is at least catalogued that way. Where once a search for information would begin at the library, now it seems that’s the last place many people look—if it isn’t on the Web, how important can it be? On the other hand, despite the ever-increasing numbers of books being published and mega-bookstores like Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com, the meme of borrowing books from a library has lost a lot of its vigor. You can pick up any book you might want on the way home from work, or order it online with one click. For a certain segment of modern western society, going to a library for books is now seen as a sign of lower, rather than higher, class.

Be that as it may, libraries remain the primary repository of a huge portion of the world’s knowledge, ready to be uncovered by seekers of all kinds. But there are libraries…and then there are libraries.

Members Only
Public libraries funded by taxes are a relatively modern invention, dating back only to the mid-1800s in the United States. Before that time, members of the general public who wanted access to a large collection of books had to pay for it. One very common form of library required patrons to pay monthly or annual dues in exchange for access (which may or may not have included borrowing rights). When public libraries began to catch on, these membership libraries (also called subscription libraries) began to dwindle rapidly; there are now just 18 still functioning in the U.S.

One such library is the Mechanics’ Institute Library in San Francisco, of which I’m a member. The library was founded in 1854 as an educational resource for “mechanics”—that is, anyone in an engineering or technical field—providing not just books but classes, lectures, and cultural programs. By 1906, the library’s collection had reached nearly 200,000 volumes, but they were completely destroyed by the fire resulting from the great earthquake that hit the city that year. Within four years, however, a new building was erected for the library, and with a number of generous donations, it was back in business—this time, with a more general collection to appeal to a wider and less technically oriented audience. It also added a chess room, home to one of the oldest chess clubs in the country but available for use by all members. Today, the Mechanics’ Institute Library is still going strong, with an up-to-date and ever-expanding collection of books, periodicals, CDs, videotapes, and DVDs; high-speed wireless internet access; and a very popular series of cultural events. It’s one of my favorite spots to do research, write, or just get away from the noise and chaos of the city.

Putting Your Best Book Forward
Why would I pay to go to the Mechanics’ Institute Library when there is a perfectly good public library in town that’s much larger, closer to where I live, and free? That’s a bit like asking why I’d eat at a small, out of the way, expensive French restaurant when there’s a perfectly good mall food court nearby. In other words: you get what you pay for. When I go to the Mechanics’ Institute, I know that I will be walking into a clean, quiet, beautiful setting filled with great books—as well as intelligent and thoughtful people who, like me, care enough about the quality of their library experience to pay for it. Both patrons and staff take books very seriously—much more so, on average, than what I’ve seen in public libraries.

Plus, for all my facility with internet searches, there’s still something deeply satisfying about finding a piece of information buried in a book or magazine on a shelf in a library. Membership in the Mechanics’ Institute Library is not terribly expensive, but it does give me a certain sense of power and status to be able to swipe my magnetic card and gain access to rooms full of books that most members of the general public have never even heard of. That makes those discoveries of information all the more rewarding.

And there’s something else: reference librarians who are positively itching to help you find information. I always have to avert my eyes when I walk by the reference desk. If I make eye contact, I invariably get this guilt-inducing “why-aren’t-you-asking-me-where-to-find-old-periodicals” look, and I just can’t bear it.

Membership libraries are somewhat of an anachronism; strictly speaking, no one needs them anymore, because there are other (and, usually, cheaper) ways of obtaining almost any kind of information you may want. Yet the Mechanics’ Institute and the few other institutions like it are, to all accounts, thriving nonetheless. In part, I believe it’s because they don’t just offer information; the seriousness with which they treat their books and their mission imparts a sacred sense of knowledge as power. That reminder alone is worth the cost. —Joe Kissell

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More Information about Membership Libraries…

This article was featured in Carnival of the Infosciences #43.

A concise history of membership libraries can be found on the Redwood Library Web site, which also lists all the surviving membership libraries in the U.S.

For more information on the Mechanics’ Institute Library, visit their Web site; you may also want to read about it in reasons to be stoked you’re in san francisco. The library offers free weekly tours that include a photographic history of San Francisco.

Among the other membership libraries in the U.S. are The New York Society Library and The Providence Athenaeum in Rhode Island.

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limpeza de pele profunda profissional

limpeza de pele preço/natural/limpeza/profunda

Cleaning the skin (limpar a pele) can be one of the most important, but neglected aspects of our daily lives. We’re are often times so busy, that we don’t have time for simple skin treatments(tratamento de pele). However, we need to take care of skin cleaning (fazer limpeza de pele) on a regular basis.  If this is not done, your face will get clogged with dirt and we all know it can be hard to get rid of those pesky black heads.

Rejuvenation of the skin is actually easy to pull off, and it is often made overly complicated with face cleaning home remedies that don’t even work. The product that I am recommending to you is something that I’ve tried personally, and I can honestly tell you it’s great for tightening the skin. It is also a great mousiturizer.
It is a skin cream that you will apply once a day. It’s also a all natural skin cream (creme natural) and so there will be no harmful side effects from chemical products. Cleaning your face (limpeza no rosto) is not harmful, because this product is made with natural face cream ingredients.  This will make your skin tighter, smoother, and more vibrant.
I personally didn’t pay much attention to regular skin care. (cuidados com a pele)  It wasn’t until I started doing some home videos that I noticed all the blackheads and pimples that I had neglected over the years. This skin cleaning product (produto de limpeza de pele) is both easy and affordable. You know the best part? It is a free trial, so if you decide that you don’t like the product, you can ask for a refund.

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If you woud like to try this special skin cream today and decide for yourself visit our site.

As a thank you for reading this article I will provide share tips for facial skin cleaning and wrinkle removal.

Girls in Your Community Want You to Mentor Them

mentor

Ann Fudge, a successful corporate executive who was a recipient of Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year Award and is often written about in the pages of BLACK ENTERPRISE, is retired—sort of.

“I serve on several corporate boards and do a lot of traveling,” she told me recently. “So, it’s hard for me to say, ‘I’m retired.’”

 

Mother Caroline Academy

 

In addition to remaining involved in the corporate space, Fudge is pursuing a long-held dream: to volunteer in girls education, specifically with low-income girls of color.

Through a friend, Fudge learned about a remarkable school in Boston that’s making a great difference in the lives of young women during the critical middle school years: Mother Caroline Academy.

Rooted in the Catholic tradition, Mother Caroline Academy educates about 80 girls of all faiths in grades 4–8. Many live in Dorchester and hail from immigrant families.

 

Professional Teachers, Engaged Parents

 

The school is led by Ed Hudner, who professionalized the teaching staff, ending the school’s dependence on volunteer teachers to enable the pursuit of academic excellence. The difference shows. With professional teachers now making use of assessment data to inform their instruction, the students are being accepted into competitive high schools, including boarding schools as far away as California. They are truly making good use of their performance coach skills.

Fudge also told me about the Parenting Journey, a mandatory program. Developed by Karen Dottin-Ricketts, the program helps parents support their daughters and become more invested in the school’s success. As a result, there is 100% parent engagement from those who complete it.

“The parents work as a team for their child’s success,” Fudge said. “Once a week they get together.”

 

Irrepressible Girls

 

Fudge has worked to get speakers to come to the school and provide other opportunities for greater exposure. After reading Hidden Figures, she told the school about it. Then, one of the English teachers developed a unit study, which involved the girls writing from the perspective of one of the human NACA computers.

Mother Caroline Academy enjoys a 100% graduation rate; 82% of its graduates enroll in college, and 78% of them graduate in four years. (According to Complete College America, only a minority of students graduate on time.)

Fudge is impressed with the girls’ intelligence and confidence. In the U.S. poverty is often a barrier, but people like Hudner, Dottin-Ricketts, and Fudge are helping these students to leap over it.

Fudge urges others to get involved, as well. Dorchester isn’t the only community that has bright, low-income girls—or boys. “Find a way to get engaged in your community,” she said. “Even if you mentor just one child, it’s huge.”

For more, visit the Mother Caroline Academy website.

Source: Black Enterprise

Brain Machines / Blinking your way to relaxation

A Brain Machine

I love gadgets. A quick glance around my office, living room, or Web site would probably make that pretty clear. In particular, I seem to have the gene that favors small, battery-powered boxes with blinking lights—my iPod, PowerBook, cell phone, digital camera, and PDA, for example, all meet that general description. Even so, I only buy gadgets that I think will actually perform a useful activity or make my life better in some way. Tempted as I was by that watch with the built-in Global Positioning System receiver or the current selection of electronic book readers, I had to admit that these things would not in fact be valuable as part of my lifestyle. It was therefore with a mixture of gadget-crazed glee and circumspect puzzlement that I first looked at a device sometimes known as a “brain machine” a number of years ago at a Sharper Image store.

Relaxation in a Box
That it was a small box containing batteries and blinking lights was enough to induce me to pick it up; it also had cables running to a set of headphones and what appeared to be sunglasses with a bunch of LEDs mounted on the inside. The marketing propaganda said that the device was supposed to promote relaxation and “synchronize” one’s brain waves, whatever that meant. Out of idle curiosity I put the apparatus on and pressed the button. The LEDs on the glasses started blinking and synthesized sounds poured out of the headphones. I only used the device for a minute or so, but I was almost immediately struck by the sensation that I was somehow moving into an altered state of consciousness. To be quite honest, it was a bit freaky—fascinating, sure, but not something I really cared to experience standing in the middle of a store. I thought it would be well worth about US$50 to take home and experiment with, but the cost was quite a few times that, and I really couldn’t bring myself to spend hundreds of dollars on a box that made sunglasses light up.

Years later, I stumbled upon a much lower-tech (and cheaper) version of the device in another store, and I decided the price was low enough for me to satisfy my latent curiosity. Once again, the literature stated that it aids relaxation, promotes mental clarity, relieves tension, improves creativity and learning ability and so on—all rather vague and unfalsifiable claims. I took it home and tried out several of the programs.

This Is Your Brain on a Machine
The first thing I noticed was that the blinking lights—which you see through closed eyelids—produce a subjective impression of complex patterns, colors, and motion, even though the only things that vary are the rate of blinking and alternations between the lights on left and right sides. Depending on which program I chose, the pattern of blinking differed significantly over a period ranging from 10 minutes to an hour. All the while, a wavelike drone of white noise came through the headphones—a distinct disappointment compared to the higher quality (and more interesting) synthesized tones of that first unit I tried. I could have just plugged in a CD player and listened to whatever I wanted, but I was hoping for an integrated audiovisual experience.

Using the brain machine was indeed relaxing, though some sessions were more successful than others. On a few occasions, I had the distinct impression of viewing a scene before me—such as a room full of furniture—even though my eyes were closed and the only visual stimulus was the blinking LEDs. And once or twice, I spontaneously felt a very strong emotional response, almost like the terror of falling, that I could not attribute to anything external. So clearly the device had some effect, though precisely what it was doing I can’t say. It’s also not clear whether my experience would have been the same with other models; it seemed the particular device I chose was designed rather sloppily, without any real attention to the underlying principles of how the brain works.

That Syncing Feeling
And what are those principles? The idea behind brain machines is relatively straightforward and scientifically sound (as far as it goes). For many years, medical researchers have known that there is a correlation between the frequency of people’s brainwaves and their mental states. Higher frequencies are associated with normal waking consciousness; progressively lower frequencies correspond to relaxation, sleep, and deep meditation. The brain also has a tendency to synchronize its frequency with external stimuli such as lights and sounds, in much the same way as a tuning fork vibrates when exposed to a sound of the right pitch. The brain’s synchronization process is called entrainment, and it is exactly what the brain machines aim to produce. In theory, at least, by blinking lights or playing sounds at certain frequencies, the machines can encourage the brain to fall into sync, inducing very relaxed, meditative states.

Every brain machine on the market—and there are many different varieties—claims to aid relaxation, and used properly, they usually will. Other claims are somewhat more dubious. For example, I’ve read in several places that by using a brain machine, you can achieve meditative states that would take a monk or yogi 20 years of training to reach. I have to wonder about that. It’s a claim that’s tough to verify, since the brain machines don’t include an EEG to produce a record of the actual state of your brain or provide biofeedback. But even if it is true that one’s brain is operating at the same frequency as a Zen master’s, that by itself doesn’t mean much; the same could also be true of someone on drugs. I’m not sure it’s fair to say that simply reaching a certain brainwave frequency is somehow equivalent to the experience of spending years of disciplined training in meditation. On the other hand, unlike drugs, brain machines are legal, safe, and nonaddictive—which must count for something.

Making Light of It
In addition to the standard “light and sound” brain machines, there are several audio-only programs that purport to have approximately the same effect. You can also buy machines that eschew light and sound altogether for a more direct approach: delivering tiny electrical pulses through electrodes attached to your head. Supposedly this accomplishes the same thing, but I find the idea of zapping my skull a bit off-putting.

Without question, not all brain machines are created equal, but there is no good way to evaluate competing models objectively; you have to try them out. Unfortunately, they’re all far too expensive for what they do, so experimenting with a range of models is not a reasonable prospect for most people. Still, the experience of using a brain machine is one worth having, and depending on what type of machine you have and how you use it, you may find its value in promoting relaxation or reducing stress well worth the price. As for me, I’ll be looking on eBay for a high-end unit whose owner says he’s selling it because he’s achieved enlightenment and wants money to give to the poor. —Joe Kissell

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More Information about Brain Machines…

This article was featured in The Synapse, Issue 1 and All in the Mind III.

There are numerous online articles about brain machines, such as What are Brain Machines? at BrainMachines.com and Sound-and-Light Show as a Stress Reducer, a New York Times “premium content” article available for US$2.49.

cover art

One of the largest manufacturers of brain machines is Photosonix, which makes several different models as well as glasses with every conceivable color of LEDs. Most Photosonix Light and Sound machines are programmable using your computer, and you can also download new patterns (called sessions) from their Web site.

Online stores that carry a wide selection of brain machines from a variety of manufacturers include:

If you want to build your own brain machine, you can order plans or a kit from Future Horizons. Let me just say, though…they’ve got some weird stuff there. Caveat emptor.

For an audio-only approach to brainwave synchronization, check out Centerpointe Research Institute. Their program (on cassette or CD) is extraordinarily expensive (just the first of 13 progressively deeper phases costs $159). On the other hand, I must say I found the free online demo extremely convincing. Your mileage may vary, of course.

The Sharper Image no longer sells brain machines.

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Now is the Time to Buy Real Estate and Create Significant Wealth

wealth

Despite the explosive outcry against the political sentiment and executive orders being pushed under the Trump administration, Shawn Baldwin, chairman of the AIA Group, says there are plenty of ways for African Americans to prosper in our current economic and political environment. In fact, Baldwin explained 4 Ways Black People Can Thrive Under the Trump Administration earlier this month. In a follow-up phone interview with Black Enterprise, the internationally renowned investor discussed how and why African Americans should purchase property while Trump is in office as a means to generate wealth.

“For most people, the acquisition of real estate is one of the best ways for them to become wealthier,” he told BE. “For the average person, their wealth is concentrated in their home and non-depreciating assets,”—unlike a car or “retail jewelry, which is purchased at a markup and not worth as much as fine jewelry. However, now is a prime time for people of color to invest in urban re-development, which he says will be a primary focus under Trump’s administration. In turn, this will create opportunities for people of color.

“The acquisition of additional real estate can create wealthmainly because [Trump] will try to make the focus of the development of communities a prioritythis is going to create two opportunities: One, to add to your balance sheet, [and] two, to create places where other people of color are going to want to come and live.”

According to Baldwin, rather than just applying for a small business loan, people of color should invest in property and then use it as a stream of revenue to fund their business ventures. “Systematically, we have been denied loans, but we can do other things that can create significant wealth,” he said. “It’s more difficult to get a bank to fund you as a business.”

He continued, “They’re not going to give us money that they deem is risky. [Banks] are going to want to give a loan that is based on collateral,” he said, adding that 25 percent of all bank activities are commercial real estate based. “Most of the time, the loans that most people of color can get is a home or real estate loan.”

Rather than applying for a business loan, he advises entrepreneurs to what he calls the “backdoor method.” After you accumulate real estate, he says you can mortgage it and use that money to fund your own ideas. “If you acquire a bunch of real estate and it’s cheap, then use it as cash flow by leasing it out to people,” he adds.

Baldwin also suggests that people of color focus on areas “where there have been significant mortgage defaults because the banks will have pressure to lend in those areas. They don’t have pressure to lend in development because it is incredibly risky.”

“We’re not going to get back to prices that there were set in 2007, but the prices will climb and if you can get the properties on a discounted basis, then you can make significant wealth doing that.”

Source: Black Enterprise

Lawyer Search Engine Optimization

SEO for attorneys is a promotional approach that launches law firms into new levels of community awareness. Acquire new clients while you are in the courtroom, sleeping, enjoying golf, and enjoying time with your loved ones. As a business owner and law firm owner, you understand the restraints of time. This web marketing strategy cooperates with time management! Discover more about how your business can benefit from Internet marketing. Lawyer SEO provides legal representatives with keyword optimized websites which draw a large number of traffic and potential clientele through Google and Yahoo searches. Provide your community with awareness of the services which you provide through Lawyer search engine optimization.

Lawyers are employing SEO for attorney competence to provide them with essential marketing that targets Google searches about their specialties. This strategic marketing service is utilized to obtain new customers as they use Yahoo or Google to search for a service which is provided by their facility. Lawyer search engine optimization provides legal representatives with a strategically keyword optimized business website that uses the strength of the Internet to grow their law practice. This is a valid marketing technique in our modern society. Internet searches for local businesses are commonly performed daily through a variety of Internet-connected devices such as Blackberries, smart phones and laptop computers. This is a significant way to build your Law Practice.

Perhaps you have a website that you spent thousands of dollars on, but it is not producing business. This is ineffective and a waste of time and effort. That same website can be properly keyword optimized and registered through Google places. If you are a Debt-Lawyer, you will need to make sure the most popular keywords are sprinkled within your site.

The result will be a website that is active and producing new clients. This is a powerful marketing tool that is being utilized by many professional businesses including doctors, dentists, lawyers, and more. Each month a printout is provided displaying the activity produced through Lawyer search engine optimization. You can track how many individuals used keywords that connected with your Google places registration and website. You will also be able to track how many new customers are gained each month through Internet marketing. This strategy is efficient and productive. Not all Internet marketing is the same! Ask your expert to provide you with proof concerning his capacity to advance your business. Internet marketing evidence is measurable. New clients can be counted and the paperwork will show Internet traffic increasing to your site.

The sky is the limit when it comes to marketing through the Internet. A trained marketing expert will be able to provide you with insight about developing and maintaining strong community awareness via the Internet. Lawyer SEO is an invaluable resource for obtaining and maintaining new clients on a regular basis. Move your business to a new level of success and visibility within your community today.

 

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Home Insurance Information

When purchasing a brand-new house it is necessary to buy the kind of homeowner’s insurance coverage that you need. The amount and kind of protection you need might differ related to the location of your home and the surrounding area. Read this advice on the most effective ways to make the very best choice on acquiring insurance.

It is very necessary to keep in mind, that damage brought on by earthquakes and floods to your home is not usually covered by your homeowner’s insurance. If you will require to include unique protection provisions to your policy, you need to assess the likelihood of an earthquake or a flood in your location and determine.  Most home repair service providers work with insurance companies.  If you are in Wisconsin, check with a roofing Appleton WI company to see of you qualify.

Having a working alarm system that is monitored at a main station or can call the police immediately will help lower the cost of residential property owner’s insurance. It might decrease the rate by as much as 5%. You would have to show that you have the alarm linked at your house by offering the costs to your insurance provider.

Water damage las vegas nvIf you live in a flood-prone area, never ever assume that you can rely solely on federal disaster support rather than buying flood insurance coverage. In the first place, a large portion of all flooding incidents never ever get approved for federal disaster relief. You may pay more in interest for a federal catastrophe loan than you would pay for flood insurance coverage.

Document all of your prized possessions and keep the photos or videos of the items that you want covered under your home insurance coverage, in a fire-resistant lockbox. This will protect your files and make filing a case for the missing or destroyed products with your home insurance provider, much easier and quicker.

Keeping your records up to date can assist make your insurance coverage claim procedure much simpler if something should happen. If you have actually made any considerable restorations, let your insurance coverage company know about it.

 

See more at Las Vegas Home Restoration

Gross National Happiness / Bhutan's bottom line

by Morgen Jahnke

Although I don’t often give a lot of attention to news about economic indicators and analysis, preferring the much more enthralling subject of tax law to fill any spare time I have left to think about these kinds of things, I recently found out about an economic phenomenon that interested me greatly. I learned that the tiny nation of Bhutan, located between its gigantic neighbors, China and India, has a different way of measuring its success. Known as gross national happiness, this measurement of the quality of its citizens lives’ as opposed to their productivity, turns the usual economic indicator, gross domestic product (GDP), on its ear.

Gross Domestic Products
Also known as gross national product (GNP), gross domestic product refers to the total value of goods and services produced by a country within a certain time period. This measurement is meant to show the size of a country’s economy, and is sometimes used to track the standard of living, as it is assumed that increased productivity translates into better living conditions for citizens.

There are some flaws to this approach, however. Since GDP does not discriminate between positive and negative causes of productivity, a natural disaster can add to the GDP (because of the resources and work put into counteracting its effects), although the event itself is hardly in the best interests of society. Similarly, environmental catastrophes (such as oil spills), the ravages of war, and medical procedures inflate the GDP while having an ill effect on human life and the environment.

Another deficiency of using the GDP as a measurement of national advancement is that it has an extremely narrow focus. For example, using the GDP measurement, the unpaid work of child rearing and housekeeping has no value, nor do non-monetary transactions such as bartering for goods and services.

In short, the whole sphere of human existence cannot be reflected using the GDP, and in fact, GDP distorts the picture because it counts all economic activity as positive, without the counterbalance of what has been lost in terms of environmental damage and human suffering.

For these reasons, economists have come up with another measure of economic growth—the Genuine Progress Indicator, or GPI. This indicator takes into account both the positive and negative effects of a country’s economic activity, in theory providing a much clearer picture of the well-being of its citizens.

WWBD (What Would Buddha Do)?
In 1972, the king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, coined the term gross national happiness (GNH) to describe the path Bhutan would take to economic development. Drawing on the spiritual tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, GNH is designed to balance economic progress with the well being of the Bhutanese people.

In the words of the Royal Government of Bhutan, “Gross national happiness comprises four pillars: economic self-reliance, environmental preservation, cultural promotion, and good governance. These four goals are mutually linked, complementary, and consistent. They embody national values, aesthetics, and spiritual traditions.”

This approach has had admirable results; not only has the wildlife and landscape of Bhutan been protected (including the endangered snow leopard, and much of the country’s forests), but its cultural traditions have been preserved as well. Its citizens have benefited in other ways, including an extremely high rate of government spending on education and health care (almost 18% of the national budget).

Not surprisingly, GNH has captured the attention of economists around the world, including those who advocate for GPI as opposed to GDP as an economic indicator. In response to this interest, there have been two international conferences on GNH: one in Bhutan in February 2004, and most recently in Nova Scotia in June 2005.

A Nepal-ing Situation
While Bhutan can be held up as a model for other countries to follow in creating a more humane economy, it has not been entirely successful in creating its own peaceful and productive society. The government’s concern with conserving the country’s cultural traditions, and restricting outside influences, has led to some measures that might not be tolerated by citizens of other countries, including restrictions on television and internet access and a traditional dress requirement.

Of more concern is the mass exodus in 1990 of 100,000 citizens of Nepalese descent in response to a government ban on the use of the Nepalese language in schools and colleges. Since 1990, these refugees have been living in camps in Nepal, while Bhutan, Nepal, and India have failed to agree on how they should be accommodated.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bhutan
Despite these problems, there is something very attractive about belonging to a society that views the pursuit of gross national happiness as its prime objective. It would be extremely interesting to see the same dynamic going on in other countries: how would our world change if the U.S., the European Union, and other large economies implemented this policy? Maybe we could take the snow leopard off the endangered list once and for all. —Morgen Jahnke

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More Information about Gross National Happiness…

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This article was featured in Carnival of the Green #42.

More information about Gross National Happiness:

  • Orville Schell, dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, writes about his visit to Bhutan in the article Gross National Happiness, found on the PBS Frontline Web site.
  • On the Travel Bhutan Web site, Gopilal Acharya provides some details about the first international conference on GNH.
  • Thinley Choden’s article, Bhutan’s Emphasis on Expanding “Gross National Happiness” on WorldandI.com describes how the Buddhist practice of jimba corresponds with GNH.
  • You can find more information about GDP, GPI, and GNH in the Wikipedia
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A classic of nature writing, Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard tells of his trek through Tibet in search of the rare cat.

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