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Preaching by: John J. Malone, Sr - JABSBG*

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African Venture: Greed Kills - Comments (0)

Printer Friendly Category: Behind the Lines,Venture in Africa
Author: John Malone
Date: 22nd June, 2006 @ 10:44:54 AM

You hear success breeds success. I don’t agree.

Success breeds moral failure, certainly.

Greed and envy are two ugly monsters that, when they rear their heads, slime all over things.

In planning the venture, we didn’t talk about it a lot, but we placed barriers in the MOA and our organizational arrangements so that greedy, jealous men (read “faculty”) couldn’t get their slimy paws on the venture.

Outside management was essential. The management was privately held and on my side. Diamond Systems was written into the MOA as the management entity. Savvy people in investment understand and commend this.

Foolish people – such as US State Department personnel – do NOT understand, even though the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) REQUIRES private management in a joint venture with a foreign government to qualify for financing. We did not use OPIC. At the time of our arrangements, it was closed for Kenya.

I am persuaded no one does more harm to university institutions than lazy, money-grubbing faculty. From the outset, there were faculty and lesser administrators hanging around the program like vultures waiting for carrion. If none appeared, they’d kill something just to eat it.

As soon as the loaf appeared, greedy people in the university began to eye our half. They complained about management fees allocated to Diamond Systems, and got them reduced. They complained about the testing fees and “franchise” fees going to the university, and got them raised.

My managers did not have my instincts about trouble, and troublesome people. Over many years of LOTS of trouble, I have seen compromise with bad intentions does not deter them, but encourages them.

Whenever you see malignity and ill-will, you might as well oppose it from the outset, and get the thing over with. That lesson is either learned cheaply from someone with experience, or expensively by paying tuition for your own experience.

Being a weenie never pays in the long run. I say use a scholarship if you get one.

When you hold your ground from the start, at least people will respect you the next morning. At the end of the day you only have your reputation anyway. Money comes and goes , but the person you become is the one you live with.

If you begin to give in, in order to get along, you are actually operating on a different principle – expediency – which is really no principle at all.

So my managers were good ones, but did not oppose the small marginalizations with the vigor they should have. Instead, they made small compromises, and took small hits against our side of things in every case without good reason. This merely whetted the appetites of the petty crooks who, by the way, make and keep African institutions as useless as most of them are.

This has become easier for us to understand, as petty little people become our own leaders in institutions here in the states. Unprincipled men and women of lesser character, when faced with a moral choice, immediately apply their own narrow, self-serving agenda to whatever circumstance comes their way. They are those who direct victims to the gas chambers, and tell them to “have a nice day.”

While they predominate in some places – such as the State Department, political staffs, and pulpits – there are so many of them elsewhere that increasingly we will see our institutions of government simply crumble and collapse, imploding as if shape charges were placed at their foundations.

Our operant principle has become expediency.

Not all my managers were so mean. Some were. In some cases, they cashed me out – for sex or money – before I could cashier them. That’s the problem with remote management. All management is, to some extent, remote.

My role in life, it appears in retrospect, has largely been as a touchstone for others, especially Christian others. My entire investment in Kenya grew out of a Christian relationship that developed with a Christian brother who, when I delivered the Scriptures to him, immediately received them with great joy, and gave himself to study.

As he developed solid understanding of the Scripture, he grew in business.

But he was tested , as are all believers, with God’s three tests: persecution, the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches. It was the latter that got him, and he traded the Word of God – the true riches – for the ersatz ones, and a pittance at that!

He compromised, ending up replaced by a new manager who needed to learn many of the lessons for which we, as an organization, had already paid.

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