What would happen to the assets of the JW organisation if the cult went into meltdown?
dogon - "...here will always be a hard-core Jim Jones hangers-on."
Actually, there aren't any hard-core Jim Jones hangers-on...
Finkelstein - "Being that the WTS is probably ten times richer than it was a decade ago due its selling off many of its branches around the world, highlighted by its sales in Brooklyn, the WTS isn't going to fade away any time soon."
You know as well as I do that wealth generated from assets (liquidated or otherwise) is not the same as wealth generated from revenue flow.
Outlaw - "The ASS-ETS Would Have To Find SOME PLACE ELSE TO DANCE.."
* snicker *
Personally, I could care less where WT loyalists would "go" if the Org collapsed... just as long as the Org collapsed.
Do I think it will collapse, though? Probably not.
Decline, however? Sure.
Fade away to a whispery shadow of its former self (like the Hare Krishnas)? A distinct possibility.
Still be here 100 years from now? I'd be surprised. Said loyalists would be long dead by then.
The JW religion will exist only as long as it succeeds as a business.
For a business to flourish it must have an income larger than its outgoings and it must grow.
Both of these criteria are under threat. The numerical growth is in the third world but the decline is significantly in the first world.
The initial defensive measure would be to sell off assets to meet immediate cash flow issues; clearly that is being done by selling off property but the matter of growth means spending money in poor countries yielding a much reduced income in the future.
The JW org financial outlook is not rosy, not a good long term investment but any business with such a large customer base which deals in billions on a yearly basis, looks like it still has plenty of fat to live off before it dies.
I reckon the GB would love to create floating city , it would fall under no national treaties truly independent. The ultimate power with the enforcement of death penalty for crimes against their rules and my god there would be no end in rules. Every corner of this floating apparatus would have judicial rooms. They could just throw the apostates overboard.
I don't foresee the actual "Meltdown" ever happening, it would have happened by now if it was going to.
I foresee the continued sale of assets, and the "Churning" business with Kingdom Halls, plus donations etc keeping them hobbling along in the Scam Religion business for a good while.
When they finally cease trading, it will simply be a case of "Where did all the money go?".
Scrutiny of the JW leadership's assets at that time will be interesting.
(Not just the GB, but the other, behind the scenes, leaders, Lawyers, Accountants and Spin Doctors etc)
As a non-JW, and approaching this from the perspective of a shrewd CEO, or a Wall Street venture capitalist, it might actually make sense to shut it all down on a financial high-note. It wouldn't be ethical, and probably wouldn't be legal within the US, depending on where the assets ended up. But, I'm sure that the WT Society has their own version Dick Fuld (former chairman of Lehman Brothers), or Bernie Madeoff, who 'Made-off with other peoples' investments. Such a person could be calling all the shots behind the scenes. I don't think this would fall under a conspiracy theory either, since we've seen this time and time again.
The Governing Body, from what I've seen so far, don't appear intelligent enough to handle the financials of such a large real estate empire.
It wouldn't surprise me if a group of tight knit individuals who hold the org's purse strings, suddenly take their winnings and escape to an overseas tax haven. In some island/countries, such as Dominica, a passport & citizenship can be easily bought. That's just my two cents.
" It wouldn't surprise me if a group of tight knit individuals who hold the org's purse strings, suddenly take their winnings and escape to an overseas tax haven".
If they are going to do this, it had better be sooner rather than later, liquid funds are diminishing fast.
They have enough funds and assets to cover themselves a really, really long time. First thing to go would be the printing presses all across the world in favor of electronic distribution, then they would drain any congregations of remaining funds.
Then, turn up the squeeze, those donations are nowhere near the maximum points for any congregation, most churches get at least 3-5x as much as an average JW congregation (I think we used to average $50/month/publisher, churches often have "tithes" of $100-500 or more per month), with a bit of pressure I'm pretty sure you can probably get a decent $1B/month worldwide from the meat-assets. Not to mention people leaving their entire net worths to them.
How much does it cost to run a website with a few copywriters, translators and a board of directors? Maybe $10M/month depending on how you run things, if things get really tough, they can probably get rid of the translators and distribution for the least profitable languages/areas.
The JW organization won't fail anytime soon. As pointed out, they can simply transfer any assets to another entity and bankrupt the original WTBTS if the legal pressure overtakes them, just like they did in Russia. The US Government would have to completely collapse and Russian or Chinese take over and Europe would have to be completely Muslim-controlled before they would be in any danger of government control.
The JW empire as we know it is collapsing but it's not going to go away, it's going to have to adapt and it will in order to stay relevant but there will always be hardcore adherents, just like there are still Bible Students and pretty much every other religious sect the Russelites have spawned.
Higher ups would keep it going if only to take salaries, shameless extravagant spending, etc until nothing left then dissolve