Cleveland, Tennessee (TFC) – Ryan Holmes is a young entrepreneur and revolutionary activist concerned with the emerging economic climate, and how businesses are being run around the world. He seeks to change the way business is done through a non-profit transportation company encompassing the entire transportation industry. He is a passionate philosopher and freethinker, radicalized by the current state of the economy and public policy.
John: What is your plan to transition from a privately owned capitalist model of used car sales to an entire industry run in a ‘non-profit’ capacity?
Ryan: The only way to transition from a for profit model to a non-profit model is simply by the consumers’ power of choice. Quite essentially people need to buy from me exclusively. What I am proposing is a non-profit monopoly on used car sales. Think a business model similar to Carmax but with no owners. It would give the consumer more access to different models, allowing people to drive exactly what they want. It would operate as a normal used car lot initially until enough profit is made to begin expansion. As the network grows, the efficiency as a whole improves. There are a lot of “fluff” expenses in a normal dealership, advertising being the largest. A non-profit model could combine financing, maintenance, and insurance into a single payment for the consumer. The problem with the used car market is it is essentially a popularity contest, with the most popular dealer getting the most traffic. I’m seeking to win that contest once and for all, and to give away all the money.
John: Define what you mean by non-profit? Where will the proceeds go specifically?
Ryan: A non-profit business is any business where the profits made go to the mission of the company instead of stockholders or owners. The mission of my company is to provide sustainable food for free in every location in which it operates. The margins for the business will be run such that they cover the salary of the employees and the general cost of operation, in addition to paying for the setup and maintenance of the food. The costs will be largely reduced through economies of scale as the operation grows and through the ceased need to advertise.
John: Is the business going to be worker managed? Will the pay scale be percentage based, or wages arbitrarily set by the founding investors?
Ryan: In the current model, the managers only exist to train the salespeople on how to more effectively manipulate the consumer into buying today, and paying too much. In my model there is essentially no need for much management. People want to buy cars and performing the transaction is a simple process. There will likely need to be someone to manage the show at each dealership, although the focus of the manager will shift to ensuring each customer is taken care of with top notch service. Managers will be chosen based on their interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. They will be the oil that greases the machine. Workers will be payed either hourly or salary depending upon their position, and reflect market rates for now. I’d like to pay employees above market rates eventually. Salespeople could still be performance based. One thing I’ve noticed about the car business that strikes me, is that there are a lot of ministers and ministers to be that come in and out of the sales force. They often do well because they are often trusted people in the community. It would be a good job for these people as car sales is just a big popularity contest, and the most loving ministers are very popular people (for good reason).
John: Knowing the legacy of the White non-profit industrial complex, how do you make sure this doesn’t simply benefit the CEOs and ad execs? How will you ensure that it actually is giving to the projects it purports to help?
Ryan: I will be the CEO and will cap my salary at a reasonable amount determined by a board. Basically I’ll take the decision of how much I make away from myself and give it to others who aren’t invested in my salary. A market like this should not require much advertising, save word of mouth, so there should not be much need to pay ad execs. Also, I would reduce the number of CEOs in the used car business by an enormous factor. From how many there are now to one, all of which currently make a lot of money. This plan also drastically reduces the finance charges banks make from the purchase of used cars. Eventually all sales would be dealer financed and appear to the consumer more like a lease than a purchase. I would also like to bundle insurance into the deal, reducing the overhead for driving a car even further. Basically I want to piss off dealers, banks, ad companies, and insurance companies all in one fell swoop.
John: Will the entire operation’s finances be open and transparent?
Ryan: I have no problem with financial transparency. I want people to see where the money goes.
John: What about people who seek to nationalize the transportation industry?
Ryan: Nationalizing the industry would essentially do the same thing, but give the control of all that money to politicians who have a tendency to blow it up. I’m putting it to good use with this plan and see no need to involve the government. It’s time that we, as a nation, stop waiting for our elected officials to create the change we want. We can make the change through the only power left to us, the power to choose who we spend our money with. They don’t have a good reason to stop me from selling cars, and they can’t make me keep the money.
John: How do you respond to those who claim this monopoly would be bad for the economy and individual choice?
Ryan: Right now the consumer has two choices for a vehicle. Buy a new car, or buy a used car. We have a saying in the industry that there is no used car factory, meaning what’s out there is what’s out there. The consumer has to choose what they want to drive based on what’s available. The consumer can choose to buy from someone who is greedy and wants to load them up with as much debt as possible (how the dealer makes money), or they can choose to buy from a company that will operate with much greater efficiency and use what’s left over for the greater good. I don’t think that’s a difficult choice to make myself. As far as the economic impact, the consumer will save money not only on transportation costs, but food costs as well. Currently the biggest problem we face as an economy is the general public does not have enough money to spend on the things they need. When consumers stop spending, the whole economy grinds to a halt. Demand drives production. Saving the consumer money on both their transportation and food costs will allow them to have more cash to spend in other ways, boosting the economy as a whole. This model also eliminates a lot of excess spending that drives money into the pockets of the 1% like advertising and marketing systems.
Another way this can aid the economy is by the elimination of equity for the consumer in regards to automobiles. Through a monopoly the depreciation of automobiles could be more effectively managed on the back end. The depreciation curve could be flattened artificially, instead of the customer taking the complete blow for the depreciation and falling into negative equity. It could be evenly spread throughout the life of the vehicle. Although this is largely caused by the price dropping of new cars at the end of the year as the model year rolls over. This could be mitigated by coordination with new car manufacturers to better predict demand, further reducing waste. New car manufacturers would benefit through less fear of purchasing a new car because of the depreciation hit and through less overstock of unsold inventory. It would also allow for better destruction and recycling of worn out used cars. Keeping the average age of vehicles on the road at a lower, more environmentally friendly, number. What we really want as a society is for everyone to be driving newer cars because they are more efficient and produce less toxic gases. It could do away with the need for repossession. If a consumer could not afford to make the payments for the vehicle, it could be returned with no direct penalty. Simply adjust the individual transportation rating of the customer accordingly to account for these costs. Easy in, easy out for vehicles. Although doing this regularly will impact how much the consumer has to pay into the system. In this way the for profit competitive market of new cars can be balanced by a non-profit used car model that operates for efficiency.
John: What are your goals, outside this project, involving community building?
Ryan: I’d like to see this company expand into other industries I view as no longer benefiting from any form of competition. The pawn industry is my next target for restructure. I believe the pawn shop model would be a perfect segue to a more sustainable used goods marketplace. Think large scale recycling centers where the consumer can exchange goods for money and vice versa. We need to be shifting from an economy based on corporate profit to one based on efficiency and sustainability. The used goods marketplace in general is a good place to start with this restructure, as nothing is produced by these markets, providing no benefit from competition for a better product/service. Ultimately, I would like to see a society that provides the essentials for life for everyone without charge. There is no need to live in a world where children starve to death. I don’t want to live in that world. We can do better.
John: How do we deal with interpersonal sectarianism and build solidarity?
Ryan: I think the best way to combat any form of bigotry is through culture. We need to create a culture of kindness and consideration of others, apart from our differences. I think we can achieve this economically, as we all must participate in the economy at some level, regardless of our personally held beliefs. Shifting our economy from a profit driven (selfish) to a more sustainable model (cooperation) will aid in this effort. As we begin to help each other more and more, the boundaries separating us will begin to dissolve on their own. I also believe that the majority of our problems individually arise from a scarcity mindset. Too many people are so focused on only getting what they want, they cease to be considerate of how their actions are affecting those around them. In a more cooperative society these issues will begin to subside as the culture shifts.
John: Any last shout outs? Contact info?
Ryan: I’d like to shout out first to my parents, for teaching me that the only way to change the world is to give of oneself. That unconditional love means self sacrifice. Also to my economic hero, Elon Musk. He did an interview that stood out to me in which he said that he is basically working as a volunteer at this point. That he is worth enough now to have anything that he wants, and yet he still works. To me this proves that true innovation does not come from the profit motive, it comes from great men and women who have a vision of a greater world, and who are driven by their passion to see that world become a reality, not from greed. That’s the lesson we need to learn as a society. I can be reached through email the easiest at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my Facebook page Urth Transportation Solutions.