TED Conversations

Yuguo Zhang

Student , High School


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Which factor will be considered more in the future? Profit or benefit?

Although the technology is growing at a staggering rate, some is still curbing the progress. For example, people won't give up their big oil companies which can make astronomical profits even though renewable, green energy can be well utilized. (If I were the owner, I probably wouldn't give up either.) Also, lots of great ideas eventually turn into an ugly business and lose their originality. So which factor will be more dominant in future? Are we able to move on much more efficiently without personal pursue of huge profits?

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    Aug 4 2012: It think profit or benefit might be poor choices of word. Profit is benefit. Overall, much more profit will be generated as small green technology companies swallow up big oil. The oil companies are actually using the government to suppress both profit, and benefit. Often the two go together. The most expensive way to do something, is often the best.

    The very definition of benefit, I assume, would include a sustainable, and healthy standard of living... Look at the price of organic food... It's far more profitable per piece of fruit. Often we associate profits, with corporate profits, but they are not one in the same. There will be much more profit, when we live our lives for more benefit. The profit will just be distributed better.
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      Aug 4 2012: Thanks for pointing to my bad choices of words. But you get my point. They do go together. I am just sometimes frustrated by the way people are not actually supporting advanced technology because they are sticking to the old ways for money.
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    Aug 2 2012: The trend as it is now seems to be monetary gains first, then other factors considered. It seems almost anything can be justified as long as it increases finances.

    However, as the awareness of the numerous disadvantages of industrial pollution and environmental degradation increases, there is likely to be a paradigm shift in future; from the emphasis on monetary gains, to what is benefitial to the environment and community.
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      Aug 3 2012: And that's what I am expecting, too. We now focus too much on the financial aspect of certain things, therefore eliminating creative ideas at early stage because of the lack of the capitol or inadequate source to gain profits. This trend should change for good.
  • Aug 7 2012: Benefit by those presently chasing profits.
    Profits by those currently receiving benefits.
  • Aug 3 2012: BENEFIT to others and to self.
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    Aug 3 2012: IN MY VIEW:
    Consideration is always given to necessity but how we view and define necessity changes constantly. Currently profit is given consideration in order to make saving and living a relaxed life in later stages. There can be several other motivation as well such as acknowledgement, gaining power etc. The feeling of insecurity is very high in people specially regarding their future hence all they can think of is generating profit cause they believe it benefit them. Even though we aim profit we are doing so for our benefit. However our such action has blinded us from the holistic view of benefit. We focus on our profit and short term benefits but what we should do is focus on overall profit and long term benefit. I think in future people will understand the long term goal and will act accordingly
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    Aug 2 2012: Lemme clarify that I interpret benefit as beneficial to society. I interpret profit as making more money.

    I'd like to hope that we become more "benefit"-oriented and "profit" becomes secondary. I've seen guys who make humongous profits from one business and then retires and do whatever they want in terms of philanthropy or whatever.

    There's only a certain point when one doesn't need more money. Like why the heck would someone need a mansion that takes up 10 blocks in the neighborhood?

    I'm a strong believer in good moral values and I really hate corruption. Money should be secondary, not primary.
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      Aug 2 2012: same opinion in 1200:
      there is a certain point when one does not need more money. like why the hack would someone need a 1000 sq ft house, 2 horses, personal gardener and maid, 3 pairs of shoes ...
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    Aug 2 2012: Profit as ever - there are not enough selfless people in the world (and none in power) to ever put mutual benefit first.
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    Aug 2 2012: what is the source of profit?
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      Aug 2 2012: Greed and nothing else!
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        Aug 2 2012: how greed transforms into profit?
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        Aug 2 2012: how much is needed? our ancestors lived on 400 dollars a year, and they were quite okay, they composed operas and built cathedrals. would you recommend going back to 400 dollars a year? even that is way more than needed.
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          Aug 2 2012: I have my doubts that they were quite ok and just a view extraordinary talented people composed operas and those were usually supported by the aristocracy, which knew how to obtain profit. So did the church, and instead of building appropriate houses to celebrate their believes, they build palaces. I think with this extra money spend on hospitals, schools, kindergarten and charity, those $400 would have become much more to live on.
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        Aug 2 2012: still, people lived. so it was clearly enough. hence my question: how much is enough, and why? is it a strange coincidence that "enough" is roughly defined around your income? maybe it is just a limited scope of yours. maybe we have way more to go, way more dissatisfaction to ease. we could reduce work hours, eliminate diseases, and so many other things. maybe that "more than needed" is just an arbitrary decision with no factual basis of any kind?
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          Aug 2 2012: I would define 'enough' based on a given average within a closed entirety. Like we do with the IQ, the intelligence quotient. So if you train hard you can become smart above average or stay below if you don't. As greed is self-propelled by its nature - as there is never enough one could possess - it should be controlled by all the people and measured to the scale of their average. This way one could still be above average for those who need this incentive to finally get to work yet it would be limited to avoid perversion which would affect the majority negatively. The advantage would be, that the average was no constant and could rise as a result of the community to level up their standard of living.
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        Aug 2 2012: so the reason why we have all the things we have is people who wanted more than "enough". because if you define "enough" as the average, our great ancestors in 10000 BC should not aspire for agriculture, because it was "more than enough". luckily, they didn't understand that concept back then, marx was not corrupted their minds, so they invented a lot of things for us.

        in the name of our children, i call for continuation for this process. i want them to see us as one grade of the ladder. and not the ones that lazily stopped improving things.
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          Aug 2 2012: Because you avoid the greyscale your category of thinking always end up in extreme white or black.

          Our children and our childrens children have to bail out the failure of the given system which is constantly producing the same mass over time. I don't call this progress as we could be way better off if we would not have to start over and over again due to the faulty system.

          I like society to progress, as a whole and it could be done if we would start learning from the mistakes we made.

          Creativity and Innovation is immanent in the human nature and does not need incentives out of any proportion to inflame. Most inventors, engineers and scientists I know earn slightly above average and all of them do what they do because they like it and not for the money only.

          For example, the MP3 format for music compression was released freely to the market and how much did it change the consumer electric industry? It goes all the way up to the modern icons of handheld devices - the ipod and the iphone which may not have been invented without it.

          So if Marxism is the only thing which comes on your mind if I talk about improvement of the common good and a rich and creative public domain, you are still entangled within cold war paradigms.

          As a society we should evolve from that stereotype thinking and start to improve what proofed harmful to our economy. And at the moment I see many things to work on. This is called social evolution but I can understand why it frightens old neoliberalistic views on this world.