Profit and its illusions – who is really profiting and at what price?

Profit – from Latin profectus ‘progress, profit’, from proficere ‘to advance’.

We seek as humans to advance. To make progress. This is a healthy impulse.

But at what price? And is it acceptable that one person profits at the expense of another? Or of the community? Or the ecosystem?

It is only in the last 60 to 100 years that we have developed ‘Global” problems. This new Global awareness started with WWI and escalated with WWII. Prior to this time our awareness of our effects existed purely at the local and perhaps national level. Now we have such serious Global issues that they cannot be denied. Climate, economic, disease, water and food security, air cleanliness, resource supplies.

These issues cannot be solved by one country alone, but by many countries co-operating. They cannot be solved by one business, but by many businesses choosing to change to business as unusual.

Into this mix of Global awareness let us throw man’s desire to profit.

Show me where there is profit in a model that forces another human, or other elements that we share as humans (water, land, soil, air, oceans etc) to suffer so that someone, some company can pretend that they have profited?

If we used an all in accounting measure…where we looked at the cost and effect to the whole, then most of the top companies in the world will be broke, in the red. It would become obvious that they cost too much for the world to keep them.

If we looked at a barrel of oil, and tallied the all in accounting cost to create the oil, starting with mother nature millions of years ago, and moving to cost of extraction, refinement, delivery etc…..then we simply could not afford to use oil in the way we do, if at all.

This opens a world of opportunity….how do we profit…how does a company, an individual, a nation, the world…advance….without costing the Earth?

If we can get man to the moon in under ten years…we can certainly answer this question…if we dared and have the will. And that really is all it comes down to. Do we have the will?

 

Photo credit; Creative Commons License joiseyshowaa via Compfight

 

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