The Breakfast Club: Metta World Peace Mentor Brother Polight Explains How The Great Recession Correlates To Slavery & Drug Dealing

| August 6, 2016 | 0 Comments

Words by Bonita

Metta World Peace has had an illustrious career as a professional basketball player for the NBA, having played for six teams including his championship run with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. The man formerly known as Ron Artest has been involved with his fair share of controversy along the way, but in recent years he has devoted much of his time and resources to mental-health awareness and his name change has been attributed to his personal journey of self discovery, interest in Buddhism, and a general desire to promote positivity and well-being.

Much of his spiritual development has been done under the guidance of and friendship with Brother Polight, a man who has authored over 90 books and is fluent in seven languages, according to his website. Both he and World Peace visited The Breakfast Club earlier this week (August 3) where they took part in an hour-long interview that touched upon an incredible variety of topics that ranged from basketball to the prison-industrial complex. It’s the latter’s appearance in one particular segment that truly stands out in that it elucidates the relationship between two topics that aren’t often mentioned as being intertwined: mortgages and prison labor.

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Around the 10:00 mark, the conversation begins to delve into financial education, not only for children but for people like NBA athletes who often come into a tremendous amount of money very quickly, without ever having received the proper guidance into investing and other complex financial practices. Charlamagne asks Brother Polight to explain the meaning of “Spiritual Economics,” a topic he lectures on frequently and which has become one of his central theoretical teachings. “Basically the precept we’re talking about is understanding that we need the time to meditate, we need the time to pray, we need the time to study, but our time is consumed by the material world – be it being materially obligated to our car materially obligated to our house, materially obligated to our phones.” That, he says, focuses our attention on attaining physical assets, which in turn prevents us from tending to our intellectual and spiritual development.

Polight then applies that line of thinking to capitalism, specifically in the United States and its economic system. “We obtain our spiritual freedom through entrepreneurship,” he says at the 10:39 mark. The key to self-determination, according to Polight, is education but alas, that is infinitely easier said than done, at least for the disenfranchised and oppressed. “For instance, with real estate. We have pre-K through 12th grade. That’s 14 years. No one teaches you anything about real estate. But school purportedly is preparing you for life,” he says.

It’s then that he goes into the intricacies of economics and its interconnections with other elements of society. “You have this thing called mortgage hypothecation and subprimes, where they do the analytics to anticipate what you can afford. And then in turn, because your debts are insured, they can actually insure your mortgage debt by way of what’s called mortgage-backed security, which is funded by people that’s incarcerated. So, it’s easier for me to give you a loan if I know that the loan is insured. So with the sub-prime crisis, what they’ll do is say ‘we know he can only afford a $150,000 home, so what we’re gonna do is work with him, get his credit up – overnight if we have to – and approve him for a loan [that he can’t afford]. And we know he’ll go into default, probably 3-5 years into his acquisition of the property.’”

Brother Polight takes his insight to its next logical step, explaining what motivation a financial institution would have in giving loans to people they know will default. “Well, when a person gets incarcerated, they’re going to have to sign a payment bond and a performance bond, which gets consolidated into what’s called a mortgage-backed security. The Corrections Corporation of America acts as a form of insurance and they pledge the labor of the prisoners and allocate the monies made from their ‘debt to society’ from the privatized prison system into the companies that back the mortgages. So now that you know the debt is going to be funded by prisons, you’re going to see a direct correlation between foreclosures and incarcerations.”

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According to Polight, that incestuous relationship is why U.S. prisons have such high occupancy rates and that the country is essentially “leveraging the incarceration of mostly Black men” to avoid going into debt. Shortly thereafter, he explains the relationship between commercial banks and investments banks as being similar to the “guy on the block pushing dime bags” and those “pushing the weight,” and it is eye-opening, to say the least. This particularly enlightening segment runs until the 15:00 mark or so, but the entire episode is well worth watching.

Brother Polight is represented by media veteran Dennis Byron. For interviews & speaking engagements, send requests to info@hiphopenquirer.com

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