Think global but act local - Save the world

From Capitalism to Communism I am fast realizing that there is no specific economic ideology which will be completely sustainable into eternity, the root cause of which simply is human nature.

Take Communism at its purest is not a bad idea, everyone contributes, everyone shares equally, all are provided for, no one is hungry, everyone has a role and we live happily ever after... a perfect world, that is until I want a nicer car than what you have, and you want a bigger house than I have, the covetous human nature kills the potential social equality. Guys like Stalin live in castles while the commoners freeze in the streets.

Capitalism is based on growth, as long as everyone is buying and everyone is selling the economy continues and as long as there are new buyers and new sellers it grows, the major fault that I see though is that we as a planet are finite, there is only so much of our resources to go around. Eventually the oil, fresh water, arable land etc runs out and then what. In theory the rich are forced to pay higher prices for the goods they need from areas that did not previously have the ability to exploit the resource and thus the rich's wealth goes down and the poor's wealth goes up creating equality. In reality however, the rich exploits the poor area, taking the resource at minimum cost because the poor area is desperate. Creating bigger economic disparity. The base cause of which is the fact that the rich guy is not willing to sacrifice his standard of living for the poor.

So whats my point? If we as a capitalist culture intend to survive we need to reexamine our mindsets. I did a quick look at the Fortune 500 list and was surprised by the number of Food and Drug providers on this list. Does it not strike anyone else as somewhat wrong that some of the biggest most profitable businesses in North America are directly linked to the food we eat and the medical treatment we receive. I dont know about you but I am a bit scared for my food supply when the people making the decisions are motivated by balance sheets and not by my health. I am not saying that the guy in the corporation is a bad person he likely is good but when he is told to cut costs or lose his job whats he going to do, what would you do? You cut the cost, besides its only going to affect the nutritional value of the product by 1% so whats the harm, really its no big deal, so he keeps his job and his peace of mind and moves on, the problem lies in that next year the same thing happens and when profits are our main motivation it happens every year and we are beginning to see the cracks.

Whats my solution?

1. Put others first, when we stop placing our comfort above the comfort of others only then will we as a society be in a position to move  forward. When we honestly love one another the world is going to change in powerful powerful way. In business I believe this is the creation of more not-for-profit organizations or at least supporting for profit businesses that demonstrate a social conscience and responsibility and not just from what they tell you but what you see. (recently I marveled at how a major soft drink provider spent an enormous media budget on a campaign offering $1 million to community projects, I am happy they supported projects but seriously if you spend more cash hyping yourself than helping, you get no brownie points with this kid)

2. Think globally, there is a great big world out there and it is up to us to consider the implications of our actions. You might think you did something great by finding a bargain shirt for $5, but take a moment and consider the made in Taiwan tag, how much did it cost to ship it? how much was the material? how much did owner profit? now how much the laborer who sewed it make if you bought it for $5? 

3. Act locally - most importantly support businesses that are local. Consider this: you buy and item for $5 at chain store, if we are lucky $0.50 is retained in the community now consider that same purchase at a local shop, it may cost $5.50 but if it was grown/built/created here then most of the profits are going to stay here where it puts food on your friends and neighbors table not on the bottom line of a big corporation.

Sorry if this seems a little bit random and all over the place was more of a mental purge than an actual systematic reasoning. I promise the quality will be better as I get used to writing again.

Till next time... Plan to prosper! ;-)

David Whitrow, CMA
Royal Lepage - Regina Realty


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