Forging Change: Soft Power – Clean-up or ‘Adios Amazon’

Go Lean Commentary

Speak softly and carry a Big Stick – West African Proverb pronounced by the 26th US President, Theodore Roosevelt

Speak softly and carry a Big Payroll – Modern New Twist 

Welcome to the concept of “soft power” … 2018 style.

There are a number of ways to forge change on a society; military power or hard power is perhaps the most effective. “Leading by the sword” is not in dispute. Anyone willing to protect their life, family and property will comply. But leading by Money Matters is also extremely effective. The prospect of acquiring money or losing money can be a great motivation. This “soft power” is now emerging as the preferred way to forge change on society. We are seeing clear choices presented to different communities:

Clean-up your societal defects or else … face the loss of some economic bonanza.

This is the situation right now in Atlanta, in the US State of Georgia. The issues are so blatant that it is bordering on a “soft power” reality.

Soft power is the ability to attract and co-opt, rather than by coercion (hard power), which is using force or giving money as a means of persuasion. Soft power is the ability to shape the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is non-coercive; the currency of soft power is culture, political values, and foreign policies. – Source

“Hard power” = involuntary; “soft power” = voluntary.

See the full article here, wherein the Big Tech firm Amazon is weighing Atlanta’s values and community ethos to attract or repel Amazon to consider that location for their Second Headquarters and 50,000 high-paying jobs. See the story here:

Title: ‘Adios Amazon:’ Tech giant sparks Georgia Capitol debate
 Ben Nadler, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — With Atlanta among the 20 cities on the short list to become the home of Amazon’s second headquarters, the corporate giant’s name has become a contentious rallying cry inside the conservative Georgia Capitol.

Lawmakers and lobbyists in Georgia are viewing various pieces of legislation through the lens of how they will affect the city’s chances of winning Amazon’s business — and the estimated 50,000 jobs expected to be generated by the new headquarters.

Two flashpoints have been a “religious liberties” bill — viewed by some as anti-LGBT — as well as a trio of bills that opponents have dubbed “adios Amazon” because they’re related to immigration issues.

“It’s putting a target on our back,” Democratic Rep. Bee Nguyen said of the immigration-related bills, which she said would draw unnecessary scrutiny from the Amazon selection committee.

Amazon has yet to publicly release specific criteria it will use to judge the 20 finalist cities, but its initial call for proposals lists “Cultural Community Fit” as a priority, noting it requires a community with a “diverse population.” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is a big-time donor to pro-LGBT causes and has given large amounts of money to fund scholarships for young immigrants.

The potential cost of legislation perceived to be discriminatory can be huge. North Carolina faced months of scrutiny and criticism after the passage of its “bathroom bill,” which effectively blocked the city of Charlotte from allowing transgender people to use restrooms aligned with their gender identity. An Associated Press analysis revealed backlash to the law would cost the state an estimated $3.76 billion over 12 years in business lost from Paypal, the NBA, Adidas, Deutsche Bank and other companies and organizations scuttling planned projects and events in the state.

But some lawmakers are skeptical that state legislation would have any effect on Amazon’s selection.

“It is a smart tactic to create this boogeyman of, ‘Oh, we are going to lose out on economic development,'” Republican Sen. Josh McKoon said. He said there was “zero evidence” that conservative policies make a state less likely to attract employers like Amazon and that state legislators should not be swayed by out-of-state companies that may not share the same values as the people of Georgia.

“Perhaps we should just have their board of directors come down and sit in our seats in the House and Senate,” McKoon said sarcastically.

McKoon is a sponsor of a resolution that would prevent the state government from issuing written driving tests and other official documents in any language other than English. That is one of three measures that opponents have dubbed “adios Amazon” legislation. The other two measures would require a special driver’s license for non-U.S. citizens and would tax out-of-state wire transfers, which are widely used by immigrants.

McKoon is also a supporter of another piece of controversial legislation that some people worry could derail Atlanta’s bid: a “religious liberties” bill that opponents say would allow individuals to deny services to LGBT people based on their religious convictions.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a similar measure in 2016 after pressure from corporate giants including Coca-Cola, a major employer based in Atlanta. But conservative legislators are pushing the measure forward again this year.

The veto highlights another important aspect of the Amazon debate: It’s not just Republican vs. Democrat.

In the run-up to November’s elections, conservative Republican legislators are pushing hot-button social issues that can win votes in rural parts of the state. But the party’s more centrist, business-friendly arm is worried that could turn off Amazon by seeming to be anti-immigrant or anti-LGBT.

Republican Sen. Michael Williams, who is running for governor, said in a statement to The Associated Press that he supported the “religious liberties” bill because his constituents support the measure. “I’ve made it clear that I’m not beholden to the establishment, Party leadership or big corporate,” Williams said.

But Republican House Speaker David Ralston told WABE Radio that he was interested in “growing economic opportunity for every part of Georgia” and that legislation such as the “religious liberties” bill didn’t fit into that plan.

“To the extent that any debate … creates headwinds for that, then I don’t have any interest in doing that, frankly,” he said.

William Hatcher, associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Augusta University, said that many of the bills being introduced will appeal to conservative voters, even if they don’t have much chance of becoming law. “There is a lot of symbolic politics going on,” Hatcher said.

“It really represents the conflict you have in the Republican party nationwide, but especially in a number of Southern states … between more economic conservatives and more social-religious conservatives,” he said.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: US News & World Report – Posted February 13, 2018; Retrieved February 21, 2018 from:

As related in the foregoing, Amazon HQ2 and the accompanying 50,000 high-paying jobs is the prize. Want it? Well, it will cost you! You have to … be nice.

You have to live … and let live.

This heavy-lifting burden is the price of the ticket … for consideration. Amazon has announced that their Selection Committee will be looking at cities with a “‘Cultural Community Fit’ as a priority, noting it requires a community with a ‘diverse population’.”

Wow, what an expensive price to pay. People in cities like Atlanta actually have to clean-up their societal engines; they have to try and get along or Amazon will not consider them. Plus, Amazon is only considering 1 city, so if a community double-downs on the effort to forge a pluralistic democracy – fair treatment to all despite diverse backgrounds and lifestyles – and they are not selected by Amazon, then they would have loved their neighbors … for nothing.

How sad! This satirical comment is the height of sarcasm, but true!

Companies prefer to inhabit a peaceful, prosperous community and they are willing to “put their money where their mouth is” to forge such communities. The business axiom is fully established: “Happy home life; happy work life”.

So as demonstrated here, the people of Atlanta are being urged to clean-up their society of all past bias, discriminatory practices and abusive behavior – towards minority groups – and there might be a BIG cash pay-out in the end. This is the premise of this recent series of blog-commentaries – from the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean – considering the momentum that Money Matters can have on forging change in the 3 societal engines of a community – economics, security and governance. The conclusion was that it is so much easier to lead and get people to voluntarily follow – to lean-in – through economic means rather than by any security and governing directives. Atlanta – a major Southern city with the de jure segregation past and a de facto segregation present – had been under pressure to widen out its inclusion. (See Appendix VIDEO below). Now with the stakes of 50,000, jobs they are now more willing to capitulate.

This commentary follows up from the 5-part series in consideration of these Money Matters. The other commentaries in the series were cataloged as follows:

  1. Leading with Money Matters: Follow the Jobs
  2. Leading with Money Matters: Competing for New Industries
  3. Leading with Money Matters: Almighty Dollar
  4. Leading with Money Matters: As Goes Housing, Goes the Market
  5. Leading with Money Matters: Lottery Hopes and Dream

All of these previous commentaries related “how” to persuade the Caribbean region’s stakeholders to follow an empowerment roadmap. It is logical to conclude that if we “dangle money in front of our subjects”, we will get their attention; they will buy-in and lean-in because Money Matters.

There is no greater motivation than a crying baby – when hunger sets in and there is no economic solution for food, parents are willing to put aside their prejudices; they would do so willingly. Is it the desperation or is it a learning curve? We have seen the desperation, time and again. We have seen people risk their lives, and that of their children, to seek refuge; think Haiti, Cuba, etc..

The book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – declares that Caribbean society is in such dire straits, we are flirting with Failed-State status; we are at the precipice.

If people are money motivated – and they are – then economic incentives should work.

The book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

Is the situation in Atlanta political or economic? (See Appendix VIDEO below). Politically in Georgia, the state is normally considered a RED state – social-religious conservatives – a Republican stronghold; but Republicans are normally also pro-business. Thusly, this conflict exists … in the Republican party nationwide, but especially in many Southern states … between more economic conservatives and more social-religious conservatives.

“Can’t we all just get along?” – Rodney King 1994

We can all get along … when 50,000 jobs hang in the balance.

The Go Lean book stresses this point; that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines is easier when economic benefits are the result. To be successful in our region, we must leverage our regional economy and collaborate on regional solutions. See this portrayal early in the book, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

So religious conservatives are less tolerant of diversity…

The only thing to transcend it – forge change – is The Almighty Dollar

This thought of ‘forging change’ is a common theme by this Go Lean movement. See the full catalog here of this one, plus the previous 10 blog-commentaries that detailed approaches for forging change, in reverse chronological order:

  1. Forging Change – Soft Power (Today: February 21, 2018)
  2. Forging Change – Collective Bargaining (April 27, 2017)
  3. Forging Change – Addicted to Home (April 14, 2017)
  4. Forging Change – Arts & Artists (December 1, 2016)
  5. Forging Change – Panem et Circenses (November 15, 2016)
  6. Forging Change – Herd Mentality (October 11, 2016)
  7. Forging Change – ‘Something To Lose’ (November 18, 2015)
  8. Forging Change – ‘Food’ for Thought (April 29, 2015)
  9. Forging Change – Music Moves People (December 30, 2014)
  10. Forging Change – The Sales Process (December 22, 2014)
  11. Forging Change – The Fun Theory (September 9, 2014)

As related in these commentaries, forging change is how the Go Lean roadmap will make our Caribbean homeland a better place to live, work and play. Change will come! One way or another, so we urge every Caribbean stakeholder to lean-in and embrace the change … as envisioned in this roadmap to elevate the societal engines of the region. 🙂

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix VIDEO – Atlanta: a segregated city –

Vivien Morgan
Published on Apr 19, 2017 – The suburbs of Atlanta stretch for miles around the city centre. The affluent black middle classes have chosen residential segregation. It is a strange phenomenon in the city known for its black consciousness roots, birthplace of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement.


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