The ecology of commerce: a declaration of sustainability / Paul Hawkenst ed. p. cm. . human systems to create a sustainable method of commerce. As hard. The Ecology of Commerce. By Paul Hawken. Harper Business, New York City pages, $ US. By Ivan Handler. Networking for Democracy. The world has changed in the seventeen years since the controversial initial publication of Paul Hawken's Ecology of Commerce, a stirring treatise about the.. .
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PDF | This article identifies Paul Hawken's The Ecology of Commerce (TEoC) as a foundational work for scholars interested in the greening of. The Ecology of Commerce outlines the environmentally destructive aspects of many current business practices, and offers the vision of businesses adopting new. The world has changed in the seventeen years since the controversial initial publication of Paul Hawken's Ecology of Commerce, a stirring treatise about the.
This is a powerful, evocative book, engendering and in my case, reinforcing dark, cynical thoughts about the large corporations to which we wilfully assign so much power.
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It is precisely because of this that he argues they have a duty to recognise and account for what they have and continue to do; it is foolish to deny that they are the world's most powerful institutions, but their impunity must now end. In order to accomplish this, he proposes a 'restorative economy', in which the more damaging products are priced as they should be - to encompass i. Herein lies a common misconception which I held until reading this book - that cost and price are the same thing.
This is not the case.
Is the terrible and irreversible cost of utter annihilation of our ancient woodlands reflected in the price of cheap clear-cut timber? No, it is not.
In downloading products indiscriminately, in making un-informed decisions, we are endorsing the terrible behaviour in which our businesses engage - as he states - the till is the polling station of our world, and to willingly download battery eggs marks you as uninformed, or a wicked, worthless piece of shit.
Through the central section of his work, Hawken gives some important lessons regarding the nature of economics and this commerce-dominated world which we have wrought, demonstrating the astonishing accomplishment that businesses truly are, being the most efficient form of human endeavour ever conceived, however terribly flawed they may be.
He demonstrates that the instinct to engage in commerce is just as intrinsic to our nature as is the desire to protect and nurture.
Corporations are incapable of engaging in the latter, not because they are specifically wrought as institutionalised evil though this is what they sometimes become , but because their design is intended to generate a single outcome: profits.
In such an environment, a large business cannot be expected to take into consideration externalities such as environmental damage, because such things are simply irrelevant to their stated goals.
Businesses are creatures of the marketplace, created and fed by its fluctuations and demands. If customers demand the cheapest possible product, a business is required to pursue whatever path is necessary to achieve this.
Even if it is environmental mutilation. If, however, the market demands ethically-sourced eggs, then business shall provide.
The problem, then, is not that business must be annihilated for us to continue, but that business must be fundamentally reorganised in order for us to continue.
This entails us, the human beings of the world, thus far driven into a silent serfdom, taking command of the marketplace and the world of business through the instrument of government, and making just a few fundamental changes. The most significant of these is that we must ensure that customers pay the full cost of the products that they download, which means environmental damage is incorporated into what we pay, thus giving business the incentive to reduce the damage that they cause in order to reduce costs - and thus, prices.
The end result is that the least-destructive product will always cost - and be priced - the least - a profound contrast with our present situation. Herein lies the core of Hawkin's philosophy - that we must not try to change our very nature, but that we must employ it in better ways. My feelings regarding large corporations when I started this book were that they must be utterly annihilated in order for humanity to restore the world that has created it. My belief was that corporations are intrinsically wicked, destructive entities, and the people who engage in their management and propagation are nothing more than despicable criminals.
The tonnage of new publications on environmental degradation and what to do about it reflects increasing concern, but rarely has that concern been so productively expressed. Essential reading for all who care about our planet. If Hawken is right, and he's got a good track record, the environmental perspective is the only way business will prosper, and business may be the only way to achieve a healthy planet.
This goes beyond the revolutionary to the essential.
Must reading for eco freaks and pinstripes, and anyone else who cares about living. Habitats can endure over millennia, but it's practically impossible to calculate the sustainability of specific fisheries, tracts of land, and actual forests.
We have also probably already passed the point where present planetary resources can be relied on to support the population of the next forty years.
Any viable economic program must turn back the resource clock and devote itself actively to restoring damaged and deteriorating systems--restoration is far more compelling than the algebra of sustainability. Why do we hand business a blank check and exempt enterprise from the responsibility for maintaining social values?
One reason might be that. We have no [way to] accumulate the overall image of cumulative destruction. Furthermore, their actions are defended--I daresay have to be defended--because most of us are dependent upon them for our livelihood.
Even a declining General Motors still employs nearly , people. A supermarket chain such as American Stores employs , or more. The companies profiled in Everybody's Business Almanac employ or support one-fourth of the U.
The average large business is 16, times larger than the average small business. And since much of the population is now employed by these large corporations, they naturally see their interest as being linked to the success and growth of their employers.
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Such fealty resembles the allegiance that sustained feudal baronies; the vassal serfs believed that the lord who exploited them was better than the uncertainty of no lord at all.
But in the competitive world of modern commerce, loyalty to the system prevents an objective examination of how market capitalism can also work against those who serve it.Business believes that if it does not continue to grow and instead cuts back and retreats, it will destroy itself. Paul Hawken. The ecologic economic system will mimic the cyclical processes of nature in which waste from one stage is food in another stage.
Devoted to business himself, as committed to capitalism as a person can be, Hawken admits that planting trees and printing annual reports on recycled paper cannot come close to making the economy sustainable. Third , we must create systems of feedback and accountability that support and strengthen restorative behavior, whether they are in resource utilities, green fees on agricultural chemicals, or reliance on local production and distribution.
[PDF] The Ecology of Commerce Revised Edition: A Declaration of Sustainability (Collins Business
Being environmentally aware is usually more expensive and since this does not help the profit position, it is usually not adhered to. Ecologists believe that if business continues its unabated expansion it will destroy the world around it.
The Ecology of Commerce outlines the environmentally destructive aspects of many current business practices, and offers the vision of businesses adopting new practices to promote environmental restoration. To live in that future, we require a design. I like to think of myself as environmentally aware of industrial pollution, but you have opened my eyes to the real problem of economic degradation of our environment.
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