This is the one subject that gets people riled up and the one subject that I hesitate to talk about, but I can’t remain silent any longer. If you’re Left, Right, Middle, I don’t care, I want to see you and hear you and I hope you will respect me with the same. Continue reading
In the business world today ‘I do well and you do well’ seems like such an alien concept. A lot of businesses appear to be obsessed with gaining more and more money, working longer and longer hours, and all of it in a bid to out-do and beat the competition.
However, more now than ever, people are beginning to realise that the old business methods are harmful, not just to our economy, but the planet, and to our health, and in some cases these methods are failing altogether. We all know about the financial crisis, we hear about big companies, banks and shops, closing up and down the country. We have all heard about the thousands of jobs that have been cut, and we all know about the financial crises happening all over the world.
Our capitalist economy demands that we spend and spend, but all that spending is consuming more and more resources. The government encourage this spending in order to help businesses grow, but is this really going to work for the long term future? It might be a quick fix for the present, but what about the future? What about our great grandchildren?
The bottom line is, in order to have customers, those customers need to be doing financially well themselves. If they’re not doing well, they wont have the money to spend on the products businesses are trying to sell, and if those businesses can’t get enough profit, then it is our jobs that are in danger as a direct result. Every person who has a job no matter what it is, is directly dependent on the success of others around them in order to have their job.
However we have a problem, everything seems to be getting so much more expensive. The price of our items, even chocolate, seems to be growing faster than our own wages. Poorer people seem to be getting poorer and the richer people seem to be getting richer. On top of that, the world’s resources are being used so quickly, we’re faced with the real threat of running out. That means no resources to make everything, clothes, petrol, even our smartphones and laptops. If we can’t make things, especially fuel to run our cars and the wires which give us electricity. Then the capitalist economy will come to a stand still. There simply won’t be anything people can do, and this spend, spend, spend mentality will eventually fail us all.
So what can we do about it? Firstly we can take the time to think about and distinguish between what we truly need and what we want. Can we hold on to our smartphones for five? ten? twenty years? or do we really need to replace them every year? If we could use less things, or make things last longer then this would help the environment. I know what you’re going to say, ‘but if we don’t buy them, then surely those businesses will suffer and jobs will be cut, and thousands of people will end up worse off?’ This could be true, and this is why businesses need to re-address their responsibilities too. It is no longer enough just to push for the biggest profits and beat down the competition. The business owners need to look at how their business affects the world; Where do their products come from? How were they made? What components are required to be mined in order to make their products? What are the impacts of the mining on the society surrounding and working in those mines? What are the impacts on the environment and world? How can we improve the conditions for everyone, not for just those who work in the mines, but for everyone every step of the way, from the product being made, to being transported, to arriving at the office and then being sold on to the customers? And finally, how can some of our profits be used to help the people who are not involved in our business? Because at the end of the day, they are our potential new customers.
The human population will continue to grow and there is no need for anyone to suffer. There needs to be a balance between helping all businesses grow and looking after our planet. There is no way we can swing from one extreme to the other, and if we did, it would probably be disastrous if we did it too quickly. Hence there needs to be a combined effort on everyone’s part, big businesses need to stop being so greedy, and all businesses need to re-address their responsibilities. We as the customer need to be more selective and not so compulsive, we do not need to run out the house and spend money needlessly. If we have something that works, it doesn’t need replacing just because the next model happens to be slimmer, or a little bit faster, or it has some variation of wireless technology that our old one doesn’t. Stop and think about what you’re spending and why, do you really need it? Stop and think about where your product comes from, who pulls your food out of the field? who mines the minerals and metals that make up our wires and circuit boards? who pulls up our fuel which heats our homes, cooks our food, and provides us with electricity? Are those people happy? And are there any alternatives, could we save some money aside and use it to be more renewable and reduce our carbon foot print? Could we use our money to help those working in terrible conditions? Could we turn the spot light on those big companies that are exploiting cheap labour? Are we going to stand for it, are we going to allow our fellow human beings to be treated in such ways? Because If they don’t do well, then we won’t do well.
Our society would like to tell you there are no alternatives, but there are. Even planting a tree in your garden (away from houses of course) can help reverse the pollution in our world. Yes you’re only one person, but imagine if hundreds, thousands, no millions of people all did the same? Individually we must change.
There are already businesses out there who are taking small and big measures in order to help people and the world. The shoe company and brand TOMS, ‘each pair of shoes you purchase = a pair of shoes for children in need’. There are many, many more, you can check out some B Corporations here http://www.forbes.com/sites/annefield/2014/03/19/new-list-reveals-92-b-corps-with-the-most-impact/. There really is no excuse, we can all do better, businesses can help the world and make profits at the same time.
So the next time you see someone who seems to be unhappy, ask yourself if there is anything you could do to help them? The next time you go looking for a new smartphone? Ask yourself, who are all those people responsible for getting this phone to you, to this store, right now? Are they happy? If you’re a business owner, I implore you to help people, your employees, the people who bring you your products, and even those people who have nothing to do with your business. If you help people and other businesses, you are helping yourself too. I do well and you do well, make this your motto.
– Thank you for reading.