Abstract: This article offers an informative economic and environmental wakeup call to action by demanding the evolution and maturation of commerce needed for the transformation of society into a sustainable and restorative one.
SLAPPED BY THE INVISIBLE HAND by Barry Tishler
That slap in our face was the “invisible hand” of free markets self regulating the economy of the world or was it? First, did we deserve that slap, well, yes we did! As the markets ragged and we all frenzied to reach the climax of material satisfaction, especially some very greedy CEO’s, but we all could not have been feeling better getting as life was pretty good. But what we were all actually feeling was the “high” from a free-fall, and we still might not have hit the ground, to what we all hope becomes a global balance towards responsible commerce, quality, renewability, sustainability, corporate responsibility, and hopefully new and restorative way of life. We all need to grow up, evolve, the buzz words and the management flavor of the month are DEAD along with corporate lip service of “who we are” hiding what we actually do.
What is needed now is a hard look at the big picture, us. This focus on quality and systems is nothing new as Dr. W. Edward Deming taught his principles to the Japanese, Toyota, which evolved into Total Quality Management TQM and Six Sigma, that nearly put the US out of the car business entirely. Made in Japan Japanese junk transformed into the best selling largest car manufacture in the world because they listened, evolved, transformed and because they built a better quality car all based on Dr. Deming’s fourteen principles of quality systems. We were not listening in again in 1991 when Dr. Deming addressed Congress and informed them that government could add quality if it were willing to transform itself which would require a total change in the way government thought and acted. To which Newt Gingrich replied “we must now study and learn.” So are we listening now? The Japanese are now ahead of us on sustainable and renewable goods; yes cars that will be recycled or decompose are being thought up and grown right now. The process has begun, being a slow paradigm shift towards quality which involves the long term commitment by corporations instead of the short term bottom line as Ford and GE finally realized. One that reduces costs, limits waste to our environment and resources by corporations by becoming responsible for their products from beginning to end, which means after the product has lost all utility and is thrown away. This is a decision to not take scarce resources, let alone use up or destroy an entire ecosystem, without returning the products we create back the environment without harm and is a shift that might solve everything. Which up till now has been a choice but in reality is a global necessity. The road less traveled is the only road left if we are to continue to leave any footprints behind at all than they must not be visible or yes they might disappear all together. But are we awake yet to the fact that our linear systems are not a part of the natural process of nature? The creation of life from energy, a system more powerful than anything man will ever dream to create, in the cyclical system of nature is returned without harm and in fact recycled back into the same system to be used again. Nature can create life without the destruction or harm to anything. No we are not awake and that is what has got us in so much trouble, our irrational thinking that our resources are unlimited and that there are no costs for the externalities created by corporations in the production of goods, For which they spend billions on to sell us but have cleverly forget to show us in their ads the world they have left behind?
It is not the invisible hand of the market economy or government who will fix everything and make us all better; no it must be a global maturity and every one of us who lives on this tiny mostly blue planet. An epiphany, and yes we did need this recession with its harsh impacts and hardships to finally realize that if things kept going the way they were with the demand that our needs be meet instantly, regardless of the harm our impact has done, to profit at all costs is in fact infant like and it is time to grow up. Let me remind us all that there is no one is coming to save us; it is up to mankind to make the decision whether or not we will change our lives, what we eat, who we are, and who we want to become, and the way in which corporations, governments, and countries conduct their business. Yes this all sounds extreme but there is not enough time in this short article to outline the severity of the issues of the time in which we live in as the economists and politicians continue to disagree on what to do and who to do it too. So as the world is being destroyed by big business, unethical cooperation’s, governments, and by popular demand, yes we participate and condone this sociopathic behavior that allows the rich to profit by way of economic/ecological destroyers and policies, we the planet become sicker and become even poorer. How can this happen? Why else would corporate fines and legal bills for environmental disasters and punitive damages be allowed to be written off as an expense by corporations? Why are there never any criminal charges for the death and destruction of people and civilizations caused by the day to day business practices of your favorite item or brand name? It is time to change the way we do business and without sounding cliché for the future of mankind. Paul Hawkins said “that it is not the environment that needs to be saved it is business” and he is right. In order to turn this thing around there must be demands for change in the way corporations are allowed to operate in the US and aboard.
is to be done? What can or should be done? Well to begin with a company should only be allowed to operate if there is a benefit to society and one that comes without destruction and harm as corporations were once chartered to do. Do we rely on the free markets to stabilize or ignore the problem because everything will be ok? Or leave it to government (big business) to save us, and make us more dependent? No, there must be a catharsis among us to demonstrate and demand change. After all “no own is coming to save us”… We are not simply in a climate of economic downturn or climate of global warming these are symptoms, like the latest Ponzi scandals and market dips, these are symptoms that demonstrate we are out of control. Powerless, but with all the power we will ever need, this world will require everyone of us to dictate what is fair, right, and human so we can then begin to resolve our dilemmas. We must redefine the right to do business which must include a mandate that in its business practices businesses will operate for the benefit of all and not just for the few for who right now profit at the expense of the many. It is time to embark on the restoration and preservation of the globe by saving business.
and sustainable business systems, a natural system that leaves behind no waste or damages that if businesses and companies would be a part of would create more profits and long term growth then they ever could imagine. Business must now be an active part of the solution and be who they say they and stop white & green washing us. In doing so many jobs will be created to begin solving the problems by creating solutions to a sustainable business model. Corporations should be required to state how long there product will last, be responsible for the externalities of what they make and by being held accountable for the life cycle of a product till its death and its return to the natural system will create opportunity and a better business model for all. For example, if the quality of a product comes into questions such as the warranty then the item should be replaced and or the part fixed for free, if not then that company should receive penalties, fines, or an eco-tax for selling a product that did not meet up to their projected or promised life cycle. We have purchased and thrown away far too many items that not only did not last as long as they should have or break before the warranty was up only to find out that the labor or part itself was more expensive, inconvenient, or even unable to be fixed and that it was actually cheaper and easier to purchase an entirely new replacement product. This is inefficient profiting that creates unnecessary waste which is filling up our landfills and emptying our bank accounts. Energy that could have been used to create a product that provided long-term quality without damages and waste rather than the benefit of the short term bottom line? Do you think this must be a parameter to even allow a company permission to operate otherwise who is going to stop the greed and destruction? We have all been a victim to the endless list of products like grills, microwaves, coffee pots, lead toys, and exploding laptop batteries, adnausiam, which did not last past their limited warranty and needed to be replaced. Plus, most of these appliances of convenience and necessity are not being recycled in any way or claim to be more eco friendly then they actually are which is greenwashing. Nor is any one held accountable or responsible for a product once its utility is completely used up. This is all true since our current business system is a linier one and not a cyclic one that is out of balance with the flow of nature and continually takes where the only promise of return is waste. If we are to evolve and save business then we must begin reinvestigating our global business systems, business processes, production, best practices, and the current state of bad and unhealthy is cheap (subsidized) and good and nutritious is expensive (unsubsidized) or if not than we will continue to participate in the destruction of our race and the place we call home, the earth, which is the only home we all have. Business must accept responsibility for its impact on society and our environment and deliver on its promise of quality and services from the products it produces as a right to do business or if we are not very careful we will approach the carrying capacity of our small planet, when the planet cannot sustain us any longer. This article is not a domes day the sky is falling warning it is clearly happening as seen by the depletion of our resources, the fight over them, the extinction of species and cultures along with the rape of them, add the negative impact to our environment and economy, which corporations have been very good at blinding us all to for a long time. Unfortunately, as far as we have come this is the only time in history when the earth might in fact die do to the effects of just one species, man, who not only had the power but the intelligence and resources to do something about it, to stop it. We as a dying race must stand up and not allow our rights, along with water, air, seas and land to be taken away from us or left for our children to suffer with without our consent, our knowledge, or in the name of the bottom line, market share, or short term gains. It is time to fix it, us, and to evolve, to see and make a future to find our way back to the path without the empty political promises or shallow corporate vision of who we are instead of the truth of what we do. Business must become a part of this planet as everything that lives on it is affected by it and what we do. Wake up and see that the hand that just slapped us was not the “invisible hand” it was our own…
© Barry Tishler 2010
Barry Tishler received his Bachelor of Science degree from Nova Southeastern University and is currently a graduate student seeking an MBA from the Wayne H. Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship. After twenty years of service in the retail management, that included patenting and marketing an invention in 2001 to a national audience, Mr. Tishler now plans to open an innovative and healthy fast food concept, one that is sustainable and restorative, in the 2010. Through his academic research Mr. Tishler contributes business and economic articles related to current topics and trends. Mr. Tishler resides in Ormond Beach, FL with his wife and two children.
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