TED Conversations

Chris Zimmerman


This conversation is closed.

Is "sustainability" even possible under our current monetary paradigm? I submit that it isn't. Our monetary system demands obsolescence!

There is a lot of talk about "Green Business" and "Sustainability", but here is the thing - our whole financial paradigm is based on CONSUMPTION. "Sustainability" is just that - a dynamic rooted in a steady state or sustained equilibrium.

I don't believe we can make much of an environmental impact without seriously examining our monetary system. What do you guys think?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jul 13 2011: Thanks Judge!

    Consider this - let's say that I have a business that makes cups. Do I make the "best cup possible", one that lasts virtually forever? (Which is well within our current technological capability by the way)

    No, I will not. First I evaluate the cost of production, and I can only afford to make the cup that can be produced for less than what I sell it for.

    Thus "sustainability" can not be the primary concern here at all, but rather "profitability".

    Moreover, in this example, if I were to make a "perfect cup" that never needs replacing, I have no need to produce more, and therefore I am out of business. My bills and expenses keep mounting long after my profits have stopped.

    The only way I think it can happen for us is if we demand sustainable goods and services from our providers, while socially embracing the TRUE cost of sustainability - and that is, collectively assuming financial responsibility for the great men and women that can provide our world with these goods and services.

    If we continue to leave these people at the mercy of our economy, they will be forced to continue providing us with sub-standard technology...for a profit! :-)
    • thumb
      Jul 13 2011: Would you sell that cup in Ethiopia ?
      Because that perfect cup won't come cheap. Some probably could afford it but in the spirit of profit it's cheaper to IGNORE the entire market than to maintain an office there. Those people do not exist in the economy world you're depicting anyway. They will value sustainable product more than you and I.

      Another thing.. sustainability is focus on human. It's about sustainable human life.
      That perfect cup of yours my guess is with current technology will be made of either plastic or alloys. Both environmentally UN-friendly and in long term will threaten human's life. So that perfect cup of yours is NOT a sustainable product.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.