Sunday, 23 February 2014

Conscious Capitalism; think

I know a lot of you, including myself, want to make the best impact on the world as possible and help change it for the better. That abstract and vague goal is hard to put into practice though. What do we do? Buy local, organic produce? Volunteer at a soup kitchen? Help an old lady across the street? All of these are great ways to help make your community united, healthier, and a more loving and nurturing environment for everyone involved, but are they enough? All these practices are fantastic and I don’t discount them as vital to our local community, but in addition what can we do to help our extended community? What can we do to help the human community all over this magnificent planet?

I usually see mentions of Capitalism in a context similar to homophobia, racism, etc. ; it is hated and looked down upon. I do not deny that the way Capitalism has evolved is detrimental to just about every living being on this planet. All you have to do is open your eyes and you will see the effects of its power. Many people ask, in defense of Capitalism, what’s an alternative? Any answer you give will have its pros and cons learned from previous experience. Many say an entirely new system is needed, but where do we start?
I recently became aware of the movement Conscious Capitalism. It’s based on the idea that we do have power in this system that seems so hopeless. This system may fall and we may be left with anarchy, but until that crash, let’s try to take our power back. Let’s give a blood transfusion to rejuvenate the way the system flows. We provide the fuel that runs it, the blood that keeps this machine pumping; money. Where we put our money has an enormous impact on the entire business community, we conduct the currents which give big tidal wave companies power.

We have all seen how the hype about “going green” has produced an onslaught of green products, recycled products, environmentally friendly products, etc. etc. While those words sure seem great while you’re standing in the aisle, how can we be sure these companies are really making a positive impact on the environment they operate in? In that moment we are not asking ourselves some important questions, I am entirely guilty of this too. For starters, what does being green mean to them? How do they treat their employees? Where do the import their products from? What are the living conditions of the wonderful individuals working long days to get this product to our stores? Do they have enough food for the family? Can they send their children to school?
Being green and environmentally friendly should mean more to us than recycling cardboard or yogurt containers. It should mean more than feeling good that we did our part in our purchase. It should mean from source to market, every living being involved in production has the opportunity to flourish and prosper because of our purchasing decision. When we give our money to a company in exchange for their product, we are saying, “I support you. I support your business practices. I support whatever costs you have to cut in order to give me the lowest price possible at whatever expense.” You could even say any wrongdoing is just collateral damage.

I ask you to research just a little bit. Google Conscious Capitalism. Learn where your products are grown, learn about the people nurturing them until we are able to consume them. If you are not happy with the way the process is being run, put your money elsewhere. I’m not asking you to endanger yourself or your family by spending more money on products you can’t afford. I am asking you to learn and understand how your product ends up in your hand. You can choose where to go from there, but the knowledge is truly power. We are demanding a new way of life all over the world and we have a right to know what is the cause of our dissatisfaction.

“We need red blood cells to live (the same way a business needs profits to live), but the purpose of life is more than to make red blood cells (the same way the purpose of business is more than simply to generate profits).”


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