Am I wrong?

December 30, 2005

I read this blog entry – written by Douglas Rushkoff, a mainstream journalist/writer, and it’s made me wonder if I’m going about things all wrong.

The entries’ title was Business is Good and talks about how the current form of business can be bad, but the idea of business is not. As he starts it off, “Business is not the enemy. Not in itself, anyway.” Bush is not a “marionette in a drama puppeteered by the true power elite: corporations” but rather “people in business are simply trying to keep their companies alive in a global economy and cultural landscape increasingly dominated by these beliefs.” The beliefs he’s referring to are Bush’s and the conservative right’s ideals of a free marketplace, the “manifest destiny of America to rule the earth.” It is those ideals that frustrates me the most about the conservative way of thinking and why the left side of the equation is so appealing to me.

To me, the left preaches a way of life that is comfortable and idealistic. We can all be rich, live happy lives, all be educated, etc. I liked this way of thinking. I wanted to help out my fellow citizens of the world, because we are all in this together. I wrote all of this out in an earlier entry here but I want to quote this passage:

I’ve always felt there is a reason for life, and there’s a reason why humans only use a small percentage of their brains. Maybe humans are all progressing towards a state of unity, where eventually all our energies will be shared with eachother. This makes sense to me, because when we mourn over the death of a relative/friend, we are missing their energy presence, mourning the fact that they won’t reach this unity in spirit with everyone else. Or when we are connected with someone sexually, we are taken to a “higher place,” or when a child is born, we feel energized- another potential person to be in unity with, more energy to add to the world.

But then I read this from Rushkoff’s entry:

Most businesspeople watch on in powerless paralysis as the corporations they work for destroy lives, the environment, or even their own future profits in the name of short-term revenue. Meanwhile, those of us in more activist circles watch with horror as the goliaths of industry appear to wrest resources from those who need them, and bend law to serve their own purposes. It tends to make us all see commerce itself as a necessary evil – something we only want to touch when it’s absolutely necessary to get a magazine published, a record released, or a few lentils on the table.

…I believe that commerce, enacted mindfully, can liberate itself from the neocon mythology that it currently serves, and instead turn both our labors and economy toward serving needs instead of a central authority that-quite frankly-does not exist.

While yesterday I thought competition is something to avoid in our journey to uniting the human species, I’m thinking I had it all wrong. All species of animals are competitive in their pursuit of survival. Why would humans repress this natural instinct? We wouldn’t want to supress the urge to procreate, or to eat, or to sleep. It seems kind of foolish to try and eliminate this basic urge if we can use it to our advantage. The problems with corporations stem from the CEOs being paralyzed with the realization of how much power they have. They are unable to see the destruction they are causing the world because they are so focused on the dollar signs at the end of the day.

As Rushkoff writes about in his article, there are good business models out there that use organic items, use local agriculture, make quality products, etc. They are still designed to create money, but they go about it in a noble way that is opposite to the way most corporations are operating today. If in the next twenty years, corporations revamp their practices to continue to innovate and create quality products, doing less harm to the environment and becoming more morally responsible to the people of the earth, isn’t that a good thing? Corporations are the real outlets of spreading wealth in the world. They create jobs, create demand for products that are imitated on the streets, use local items, local advertising agencies and focus groups, etc. All things that put wealth back into a community from somewhere else.

If we harness that creative energy found within the corporations and help them clean up their acts, instead of damning them to Hell and wanting to destroy them, then maybe global progress to a better life will actually happen. Instead of protesters smashing buildings and distracting corporations from creating good, they should band together and work towards a solution that will limit environmental pollution, mental pollution (through advertising) and create products that all citizens in the world can use.

On the other side of this, the private sphere and not the public one, is my behaviour. I’m continually being bowled over by people because I’m too kind to them. I’m too patient with their tauntings of me and I just let it all happen. I don’t know if this is because I am a pacifist and don’t want to upset people, but whatever the cause, it’s not doing any good. I need to pick up some of the competitve nature found in business and start to fight for my life, for who I am, and what I want. If I see something I want, I need to stop analyzing the situation to death and learn to just take the chance and see what happens. I’ll still have my brain stopping me from doing the real stupid things (say grabbing an attractive woman’s breast in public without knowing her) but that’s probably for the best.

In this coming year, I’ll try hard to be more agressive in life and take a stand against the things I am in disagreement with.

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2 Responses to “Am I wrong?”

  1. […] To achieve this dream of having an impact on an audience, I’ve started to look towards not the arts, but business. Business has always felt wrong to me, but that all changed last month after reading David Rushkoff’s blog entry about “Business is Good .” I discussed this back then in my entrybut I missed a point in it. I read it today, thanks to another blog entry, Gumption’s reflection on the same Rushkoff entry. This is what inspired me to write all of this: “Making money should really just be a happy result of contributing to the world what you do best…” […]

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