Friday, September 12, 2008

Rewriting the Dictionary

I've recently come across an intriguing concept -- that of zero waste. In a zero waste society, everything is made to be reused, repaired or recycled. Nothing is thrown away. Sounds fantastic in theory, but what effect would that have on business? If we reuse, repair and recycle items, then who is going to buy all the new goods being produced? Most businesses are based on the idea of continuing consumption. If we don't continue to consume at current, if not higher, levels, won't businesses go under?


The bottom line of business is currently "maximize profit." No matter the cost to the environment. No matter the depletion of resources. No matter the waste. No matter job loss. Profit -- first, last, and always. And as long as we define business as a means to maximize profit, businesses would, in a zero waste economy, go under. But who determined that profit would be the bottom line? Who is defining us and the institutions of our lives? Why do we let them do it? Why can't we redefine business, not as profit machines, but as the means to produce quality goods or provide needed service? Isn't it time to rewrite the dictionary?

The truth of the matter is that we cannot continue to consume at current levels, much less higher. We are going to have to change our ways sooner or later. Why not now?

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