Aquilino Flores is another Peruvian who started out washing cars 40 years ago. He had no capital. Today, Flores is the most important textile businessman in Peru, heading a company called Topy Top with annual sales of more than US$100 million. As Daniel Cordova writes in his contribution to the book, "Šthe story of the Flores family and Topy Top is one of tenacity, determination and intuition." Didn't we used to teach such things in American schools before class warfare, envy and penalizing the successful?
The story behind Nakumatt, Kenya's largest supermarket chain, could have been written in America. Google Nakumatt for details.
In Nigeria, a clothing design industry has been created to produce and sell adire attire, traditional in the Yoruba culture. There are thousands of adire workers, most of them women with little or no education, but they have "an entrepreneurial drive to make a living and create wealth where there was previously only misery," writes Thompson Ayodele in his essay. "These entrepreneurs receive no government aid. In fact, through action or omission, the government has placed and continues to place many obstacles in their way. Yet they have been able to combat poverty much more effectively than foreign aid and official poverty-reduction programs."
Please re-read that last sentence. Government aid impedes success and creates dependence, while entrepreneurs create success and independence.
In countries with far less capital and opportunity than America, people haven't sung songs about overcoming. They have overcome through tenacity, risk-taking and self-reliance.
During the presidential campaign, each time Barack Obama focuses on misery and the need for more government spending, John McCain should trot-out American stories of the formerly poor and let them tell how they made it so that others can too.
Llosa says Spain is "particularly interesting and instructive for those who think that certain nations are doomed forever by virtue of their culture. In the past two decades, Spain, whose culture was once inimical to notions such as self-reliance and individual initiative, has experienced an economic and social transformation."
If Spain and the poor in Peru and Africa can do it, what's stopping America and poor Americans?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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