Tag Archives: recycling

Resolving the Growth Dilemma: Quality not Quantity

Endless growth on a finite planet is impossible. Yet endless growth of the economy is the reflexive goal of almost every government in the world. This defines the existential crisis into which humanity is blundering.

Yet even many people who are alert to the problem struggle to prescribe a remedy, or even to give the remedy a name. Various terms float around, like no growth, steady state, degrowth or postgrowth. There are two fundamental problems with these terms: they don’t define what they are talking about and they just keep the focus on growth.

George Lakoff wrote the book called Don’t Think of an Elephant. What did you just do? You thought of an elephant. Don’t think about growth. Oh. You just did. If I want you to think about flowers, I need to talk about flowers. Let’s stop and smell the flowers. Ah, that’s better.

Growth of what, exactly? Steady state what? Well, when the political mainstream says ‘growth of the economy’, it really means ‘growth of the Gross Domestic Product’, the GDP. GDP is the sum of all activities involving money, adjusted to avoid double counting. But what about good activities that don’t involve money, like staying home and loving baby? And is everything involving money, everything that is bought and sold, a good thing?

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Lessons From a Radical Industrialist

[My previous post, and many before, featured the example of Interface Carpet Inc.  The founder and guiding spirit of that exemplary new-paradigm company, Ray C. Anderson, died in 2011.  The world is much the richer from his bold and inspiring presence.  Here, from a free download, is the foreword from his recent book  Business Lessons from a Radical Industrialist.]

In memory, Ray C. Anderson

As I sit down to write this foreword, I have a lot on my mind. My company, Interface, Inc., has just marked an important milestone—ten years until our target year for Mission Zero, for zero environmental footprint, a goal for which we have set 2020 as our deadline. I’m immensely proud of Interface, and encouraged about our future. At the same time, I have spent the last year dealing with cancer, thankfully holding my own—barely.

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