Market forces and private enterprise--not government intervention are key to healing America's inner cities, said Rebuild Los Angeles Co-Chair Bernard W. Kinsey in a speech to more than 100 gathered at Cabot House last night.
Kinsey, a former Xerox executive, said competition is the solution to the economic difficulties and broader social problems that plague urban areas.
"In inner cities there is no economic activity," Kinsey said. "Businesses can charge you high prices for a poor product and unsatisfactory service because there is no competition."
Rebuild L.A., established in the first weekend after the April 1992 Los Angeles riots, is an organization intended to match community needs with private organizations resources, Kinsey said.
To date, the organization has arranged for $500 million in private sector commitments to invest in Los Angeles inner cities.
Kinsey said the model for repairing inner cities should be the suburbs, where there is heavy economic. activity and where corporations are not afraid to make investments.
Kinsey Stressed that competition must be combined with efforts by American youth to solve society's problems. "The future has to rest with our youth, because we adults have generally messed if up, "he said.
Kinsey received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech. Kinsey said that when government isn't involved in solving a problem, private companies must step in.
"Private industry has a responsibility," said Kinsey. "You've got to be customer-driven, you have to know what the market wants.
When the government Isn't there, private companies must come forward. And when they do, we won't need the government to solve our problems.
"This is all about investment not charts. Kinsey added.
At the end of his remarks, the Harvard Radcliffe. Black Business Association presented Kinsey with the first annual H. Naylor Pitzhugh Memorial Award for has work in helping African "Members advance economically.
Kinsey was also presented with a special commendation from the Harvard foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations