• T. Mark Mangum


A much-needed event in the world today

Photo by Chris Curry on Unsplash

Jeremy Hershtein once read to me the words of Albert Einstein.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

Jeremy said, “These words echoed in my mind and haunted me from an early age.”

In his youth and in College, he mixed, mingled, learned, lived, and loved with the children of the wealthiest people on the planet. After college, he traveled the world meeting the world’s poor where they lived. He met with government officials when he could and advocated for a change of heart and mind.

Jeremy’s mother and grandmothers were kind souls, coming from humble beginnings. Grandpa Harold, his mother’s father came from a family of dirt farmers and had a multitude of wealth compared to his humble beginnings when he died. These three people had the greatest impact on Jeremy. They along with the words of Einstein were the catalyst behind the man Jeremy Hershtein, who upon his death was called the most generous man on earth.

I became his friend well after his College education which was as you can guess Harvardish, most elite, expensive, and in his words, “Grotesque in its extravagance.” He conveyed to me on one occasion, while he and I were visiting the Peruvian ruins of Machu Picchu, He had chosen a tour that would have us camping out and cooking meals over an open fire; he once told his father that they should do more to help fix the homelessness problem of the city.

His father had said, “That is the purview of government. Our job is to create greater returns for our shareholders”.

They never saw eye to eye on things of the heart. Mr. Hershtein was a mirror image of Grandpa Hershtein, who once had led a group of military men in breaking a strike at the Hershtein manufacturing plant.

Jeremy argued with his father, “If that were the case then the corporation ought to pay its taxes not work hard and spend money figuring out ways not to pay taxes.”

His father's response, “It is our responsibility to retain as much wealth for the shareholder as possible.”

Jeremy was an intelligent man so he followed the rules set by his benefactors, learned the ropes, and did as they instructed. He waited, and planned, and worked. Then finally his father passed. Jeremy inherited vast wealth. He sold off the seven palatial estates his family had around the world, the yachts, the airplanes, and several skyscraper office buildings, and with the massive accumulation of cash, he bought out the shareholders, fired the board of directors, appointed a board of trustees, and changed the attitude, direction, and purpose of the company. They stopped employing armies of lawyers and accountants to create ways to not pay taxes. They just paid taxes and advocated for a fair, equitable, appropriate level of taxation.

After ensuring that his mother was cared for in the best of ways and ensuring that he and his future family would not ever be in want of the things necessary for a full life. He gave the workers raises, ensured they had benefits and opportunities for leisure. Don’t get me wrong now, he ran the company the way a company ought to be run. High-quality products, appropriate pricing, add campaigns aimed at maintaining brand loyalty. Automation where appropriate. Well sourced raw goods. He capitalized on the good the company was doing for its employees, and the suffering. Jeremy gave, and gave, and gave and formed coalitions with others who thought helping raise the standard of living for all people was the best way to do things.

Many economists, capitalists, and tycoons predicted the demise of Hershtein Industries. Amazingly enough, the company continued to do well and the Hershtein’s were never in need or want of anything. Fewer people were homeless, hungry, suffering from addiction, suffering without appropriate care of mental illness. Other companies as they could, would change the way they thought of the world as well.

“Change is not difficult, it is constant. Change for the better, change that benefits more rather than the few, change that benefits the common good, is the change that requires a desire, a director, and intent.” Jeremy said in a commencement speech.

“When we think of a good life, it ought to include our families, neighborhoods, communities, cities, nations, and the world. If you hope for a job that pays well and affords you leisure time and disposable income to enjoy that time. You ought to hope for that same kind of job to be available to all people.” Jeremy said in front of the United Nations General Assembly.

In his book, “A better life,” he wrote, “If you are not aware of those who are suffering on this world, may shame visit you in your dreams and lead you to a different set of thoughts.”

Jeremy never once supported a pro-war candidate for any public office. He supported Third Parties and protests against military conflicts around the world. He spoke as often as he could to world leaders about peace and the option of peace over conflict.

“If you believe war is the only way, you lack imagination and quite possibly you are mentally ill,” Jeremy said to the nation, on the debate stage, the one time he ran for public office.

Along the way he purchased another company here and another company there, changing it the way he had changed Hershtein Industries. He advocated for laws that limited the extent of automation and AI.

“Unless we as a society are willing to create a Basic Income for all, we better be willing to advocate for laws that restrict the automation of industry for the purpose of ridding the workplace of humanity.”

When Jeremy passed, he left his people well off and full of love for the world. His son would say, “Next on the list of things for the Hershtein’s to do, changing swords into plowshares.”


© 2021, T. Mark Mangum

T. Mark Mangum, a product of the unimaginable worlds of Star Wars, Star Trek, Conan, and the Lord of the Rings. Lover and writer of fiction tales. He is a Veteran, a father of six, and a game enthusiast.


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