Business failures are all over the place.
Some of the failures make national headlines. But it’s not the headline that you might expect. For example, a multi-billion dollar company releasing a much-anticipated new product.
Confused? It’s actually quite simple.
These businesses are borrowing too much from the future and calling it the GDP in the present. They are failing your children, and they are failing the planet that your children will inherent.
Heads or Tails
I rarely use the term failure. I feel that it narrows and distorts how we perceive situations and people.
It shines a dualistic lens on a situation: this bad thing is a failure, and this good thing is a success. Both of these attitudes are distracting; a success may make us complacent, and a failure may discourage needlessly. The labels should be dropped so the focus is on bettering ourselves or a situation.
However, I am comfortable using this term with big single-bottom-line tech corporations. When profit is the primary motivator, the corporation will do the bare minimum to treat people and planet well. These profitable businesses are failures. Greenwashed campaigns – “no bad press, we are diverse and very eco-friendly!” – might be a symptom of a failed business.
Their technology may have made your life more comfortable (or distracted). Without going to the fossil record, it is clear that humans survived for many years without so much technology. It is also unfounded to say that society will collapse without this technology.
The bottom line is this: there is a good chance that you would survive without this technology. The Earth will not survive if electronic waste continues to grow at its current pace.
That is a failure.
When you look at the image at the top of this post, can you place a cost on it? How would you even start?
The goal of every single-bottom-line business is to minimize quantifiable costs. When you hire people to optimize for this goal, emphasize this goal to your employees daily, you end up optimizing a business around only quantifiables. In the case of most businesses, this is monetary cost.
You cannot quantify the beauty of nature. You cannot quantify the warmth of a supported, well-developed community. You cannot quantify the needs of your children.
This single problem of optimizing for quantifiable items is perhaps why most social structures and entities are not aligned to basic human needs. If you need a litmus test, ask yourself why we do not have basic income, free universal health care, or free higher education. (The dualistic idea of “have” and “have nots” deserving and not deserving certain items is inappropriate here: this is another social construct that has biased and divided us. Observe citizens in a country with these social institutions and note that the citizens do not have a dualistic attitude about it.)
We can quantify the GDP. We do not even bother quantifying what we have lost by maximizing GDP. This is a failure.
Go Teal or Go Home
I have previously mentioned that Shift Sight is internally organized as Teal. While items are yet to be finalized, it is a form of sociocracy.
Why is Shift Sight going this way?
Teal encourages an emphasis on more than just the dollar. It takes courage. It brings clarity. It provides transparency. We are doing it because we believe that money should be used to better people and planet; the failed businesses I describe above do the opposite, worsening people and planet for money.
Shift Sight is standing head-on against businesses that threaten your children's future. Like any great effort, we start small. With your support, we will grow and empower you to be the change that the planet needs.
Some renderings will be posted on the progress page tonight. Watch for it on social media.
See you next week!
Ty is a Founder of Shift Sight, LLC.