Hawken sets out to - as it says on the cover - demonstrate how business can save the world, and indeed, should. In order to accomplish this, he establishes a clear twelve-chapter plan in which he discusses the problems that we face, the nature of commerce and large businesses, and potential solutions, finally concluding in the magnificent crescendo that is the final chapter. This is a powerful, evocative book, engendering and in my case, reinforcing dark, cynical thoughts In this book, Mr. This is a powerful, evocative book, engendering and in my case, reinforcing dark, cynical thoughts about the large corporations to which we wilfully assign so much power.
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Hawken sets out to - as it says on the cover - demonstrate how business can save the world, and indeed, should. In order to accomplish this, he establishes a clear twelve-chapter plan in which he discusses the problems that we face, the nature of commerce and large businesses, and potential solutions, finally concluding in the magnificent crescendo that is the final chapter.
This is a powerful, evocative book, engendering and in my case, reinforcing dark, cynical thoughts In this book, Mr. This is a powerful, evocative book, engendering and in my case, reinforcing dark, cynical thoughts about the large corporations to which we wilfully assign so much power. Herein lies a common misconception which I held until reading this book - that cost and price are the same thing.
This is not the case. Is the terrible and irreversible cost of utter annihilation of our ancient woodlands reflected in the price of cheap clear-cut timber? No, it is not. In buying products indiscriminately, in making un-informed decisions, we are endorsing the terrible behaviour in which our businesses engage - as he states - the till is the polling station of our world, and to willingly purchase battery eggs marks you as uninformed, or a wicked, worthless piece of shit.
Through the central section of his work, Hawken gives some important lessons regarding the nature of economics and this commerce-dominated world which we have wrought, demonstrating the astonishing accomplishment that businesses truly are, being the most efficient form of human endeavour ever conceived, however terribly flawed they may be.
He demonstrates that the instinct to engage in commerce is just as intrinsic to our nature as is the desire to protect and nurture. Corporations are incapable of engaging in the latter, not because they are specifically wrought as institutionalised evil though this is what they sometimes become , but because their design is intended to generate a single outcome: profits.
In such an environment, a large business cannot be expected to take into consideration externalities such as environmental damage, because such things are simply irrelevant to their stated goals.
Businesses are creatures of the marketplace, created and fed by its fluctuations and demands. If customers demand the cheapest possible product, a business is required to pursue whatever path is necessary to achieve this. Even if it is environmental mutilation.
If, however, the market demands ethically-sourced eggs, then business shall provide. The problem, then, is not that business must be annihilated for us to continue, but that business must be fundamentally reorganised in order for us to continue.
This entails us, the human beings of the world, thus far driven into a silent serfdom, taking command of the marketplace and the world of business through the instrument of government, and making just a few fundamental changes. The most significant of these is that we must ensure that customers pay the full cost of the products that they buy, which means environmental damage is incorporated into what we pay, thus giving business the incentive to reduce the damage that they cause in order to reduce costs - and thus, prices.
The end result is that the least-destructive product will always cost - and be priced - the least - a profound contrast with our present situation. My feelings regarding large corporations when I started this book were that they must be utterly annihilated in order for humanity to restore the world that has created it. My belief was that corporations are intrinsically wicked, destructive entities, and the people who engage in their management and propagation are nothing more than despicable criminals.
Paul Hawken has succeeded in showing that business is just as necessary to our lives as government, and we must understand the natures of both as well as we understand our own proclivities in order to create the utopian world of a restorative economy, which is not the far-off fantasy which marketing groups, executives and corporate lawyers would like you to think.
If this book has one main purpose, it is to imagine and describe the ways business can act that are restorative to society and the environment. Restoration is not a business term.
But then, neither is degradation p. Hawken not only allows me to imagine Paul Hawken states: If capitalism has one pervasive untruth, it is the delusion that business is an open, linear system: that through resource extraction and technology, growth is always possible, given sufficient capital and will p. Hawken not only allows me to imagine the ways that business can act, but he has inspired me to become engaged in the process and to pursue a new career path: design.
Why "manage" existing systems when they are broken? The Ecology of Commerce opened up a new way of thinking that was unavailable to me in my recently completed public health training; training that relied on learning about existing practices and partial solutions; examples include, current regulation non practices presented in the context environmental "health" sciences coursework, and the limits of community organizing as presented in books like "No Safe Place" Patterson, Hawken continues: To restore is to make something well again.
It is mending the world. People have to believe there will be a future in order to look forward. To live in that future, we require a design. To pay the bills from the past, we need a means. To act we need a way to serve. For those who say that times are tough, that we can ill afford sweeping changes because the existing system is already broke or hobbled, consider that the U. In other words, we bought and sold the whole world in order to defeat a political movement. Hawken would say about our current war in Iraq?
Hawken for lighting the way.
The Ecology of Commerce
The Ecology of Commerce outlines the environmentally destructive aspects of many current business practices, and offers the vision of businesses adopting new practices to promote environmental restoration. The tonnage of new publications on environmental degradation and what to do about it reflects increasing concern, but rarely has that concern been so productively expressed. Essential reading for all who care about our planet. This goes beyond the revolutionary to the essential.
Taulmaran Jan 28, Kris rated it really liked it. To act we need a way to serve. But then, neither is degradation p. From the beginning, Hawken seems prone to a style of writing that focuses on creating series of extremely quotable one-liners with sufficient connective prose to allow some ease of reading. It is not an intrinsic characteristic of business in general. As a result, the book is preachy and annoying at best, and written for the dumbest among us at worst.
Meztigul Would this design still make sense if the companies themselves had to disassemble and re-use the components themselves? I have real respect for this man, and have seen him on the stage with the Dalai Lama. Still, I found some of his ecokogy difficult to accept. Rather than simply listing problems, Hawken began actually proposing some workable solutions including some novel takes on the concept of green taxes as well as the creation of utilities to manage common resources. A Declaration of Sustainability by Ecolgoy Hawken. Dec 03, Alex rated it really liked it.