Notable Thoughts


THE 4 BIGGEST REASONS WHY INEQUALITY IS BAD FOR SOCIETY T. M. Scanlon/TED

1. Economic inequality can give wealthier people an unacceptable degree of control over the lives of others …

2. Economic inequality can undermine the fairness of political institutions …

3. Economic inequality undermines the fairness of the economic system itself …

4. Workers, as participants in a scheme of cooperation that produces national income, have a claim to a fair share of what they have helped to produce …

Biology of Luxury

Despite the global economic crisis, sales of luxury goods are surging worldwide. Why? While marketing has contributed to the rise, the luxury market’s robust growth is actually rooted in biology. Discussions about the structure of human thought have long been dominated by the Enlightenment view that reality is composed of four elements: space, time, matter, and energy. But recently, a fifth element, information, has entered the debate. And information, it turns out, is crucial to understanding the fundamental drivers of luxury-goods consumption, and thus to predicting the luxury market’s future…..

Assymetric Information 

A situation in which one party in a transaction has more or superior information compared to another. This often happens in transactions where the seller knows more than the buyer, although the reverse can happen as well. Potentially, this could be a harmful situation because one party can take advantage of the other party’s lack of knowledge.With increased advancements in technology, asymmetric information has been on the decline as a result of more and more people being able to easily access all types of information. Information Asymmetry can lead to two main problems: 

1. Adverse selection- immoral behavior that takes advantage of asymmetric information before a transaction. For example, a person who is not be in optimal health may be more inclined to purchase life insurance than someone who feels fine.

2. Moral Hazard- immoral behavior that takes advantage of asymmetric information after a transaction. For example, if someone has fire insurance they may be more likely to commit arson to reap the benefits of the insurance.    (Prof Joseph Stiglitz-Nobel prize winner)…..

Circular Economy

The circular economy concept has deep-rooted origins and cannot be traced back to one single date or author. Its practical applications to modern economic systems and industrial processes, however, have gained momentum since the late 1970s lead by a small number of academics, thought-leaders and businesses.The Ellen MacArthur Foundation believes that the circular economy provides a coherent framework for systems level re-design and as such offers us an opportunity to harness innovation and creativity to enable a positive, restorative economy. Several models  … (System Innovation  – FL – Make an impact- Sustainable development) 

The Conundrum of Sustainable Development

(THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES: THE CONUNDRUM OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – MICHAEL MCCLOSKEY)

The Brundtland Report, however, did put forth a basic definition of sustainable development which broke new conceptual ground. Ithas been widely quoted and invites analysis. It defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  This definition of sustainable development is notable in a number of regards.

Most of us would like to embrace the theory of sustainable development. When the Brundtland Report (l987) enunciated its version of the theory, many of us wanted to believe that a formulation was at last in hand to reconcile the competing claims of economic development and environmental protection.1 Now that the applause for the report has died down, doubts are creeping in again. The consensus that emerged in some quarters seems to be unraveling. Is the term an empty hope? Does the theory have substance? Does anyone know what it really means in practice? The Brundtland Report uses the term “sustainable development,” to embrace two differing sets of concerns. In the first sense, the term was a label pasted over a loosely assembled group of ideas that included the concepts of rational development (or “wise use”) and some elements of eco-development. This assembly of ideas was poorly integrated and failed to deal with the split of opinion between the technological optimists and those who believe in a decentralized model of development based on alternative technologies….. (The Nature Of Values – FL- Fairness And Nature: When Worlds Collide)

Cradle to Cradle

Architect William McDonough believes green design can prevent environmental disaster and drive economic growth. He champions “cradle to cradle” design, which considers a product’s full life cycle — from creation with sustainable materials to a recycled afterlife. 

German chemist and visionary Michael Braungart went on to develop, together with American architect Bill McDonough, the Cradle to Cradle™ concept and certification process. This design philosophy considers all material involved in industrial and commercial processes to be nutrients, of which there are two main categories: technical and biological. The Cradle to Cradle framework focuses on design for effectiveness in terms of products with positive impact and reducing the negative impacts of commerce through efficiency.

Cradle to Cradle design perceives the safe and productive processes of nature’s ‘biological metabolism’ as a model for developing a ‘technical metabolism’ flow of industrial materials. Product components can be designed for continuous recovery and reutilisation as biological and technical nutrients within these metabolisms. The Cradle to Cradle framework addresses energy and water inputs.

• Eliminate the concept of waste. “Waste equals food.” Design products and materials with life cycles that are safe for human health and the environment and that can be reused perpetually through biological and technical metabolisms. Create and participate in systems to collect and recover the value of these materials following their use.
• Power with renewable energy. “Use current solar income.” Maximise the use of renewable energy.
• “Celebrate diversity”. Manage water use to maximise quality, promote healthy ecosystems and respect local impacts. Guide operations and stakeholder relationships using social responsibility. ….(System Innovation  – FL – Make an impact- Sustainable development) 

Creating Shared Value 

The concept of shared value can be defined as policies and operating practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which it operates. Shared value creation focuses on identifying and expanding the connections between societal and economic progress.

The capitalist system is under siege. In recent years business increasingly has been viewed as a major cause of social, environmental, and economic problems. Companies are widely perceived to be prospering at the expense of the broader community.

The concept rests on the premise that both economic and social progress must be addressed using value principles. Value is defined as benefits relative to costs, not just benefits alone. Value creation is an idea that has long been recognized in business, where profit is revenues earned from customers minus the costs incurred. However, businesses have rarely approached societal issues from a value perspective but have treated them as peripheral matters. This has obscured the connections between economic and social concerns.

In the social sector, thinking in value terms is even less common. Social organizations and government entities often see success solely in terms of the benefits achieved or the money expended. As governments and NGOs begin to think more in value terms, their interest in collaborating with business will inevitably grow. (System Innovation  –FL – Make an impact- Sustainable development)

Moral Philosophy

The moral philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)involves a merger of at least two apparently disparate traditions:Aristotelian eudaimonism and Christian theology. On the one hand, Aquinas follows Aristotle in thinking that an act is good or bad depending on whether it contributes to or deters us from our proper human end—the telos or final goal at which all human actions aim. That telos is eudaimonia, or happiness, where “happiness” is understood in terms of completion, perfection, or well-being. Achieving happiness, however, requires a range of intellectual and moral virtues that enable us to understand the nature of happiness and motivate us to seek it in a reliable and consistent way….Aquinas and virtue ethics…. (The Nature Of Values – FL- Fairness And Nature: When Worlds Collide)

 

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