Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Forget For-Profit, let's talk about For-People

Imagine if the worlds largest corporate entities existed as non-profits. Capitalism doesn't need to die, but the modern corporation does. The modern corporation is our new God. We live in a consumer culture because our Gods are consumers. They consume wealth. Wealth in the form of people, land, products, ideas and power. If we can kill off the modern Consumer God and replace it with a Producer God, we can create a producer culture. If we make it not a legal, but a moral and ethical crime to consume wealth, we can direct all the powers and energies of our Gods to doing Good instead of Evil.

Imagine you have a company that builds washing machines.
In our consumer culture, this company MUST do all it can to be the top dog in its industry. It must consume its competitors, it must consume all innovation in its field, it must consume the wealth of its customers, (if the customers do not have the wealth to purchase the product, it will loan the wealth, and it will consume its customers) and it must never stop in its quest for more and more things to consume. It MUST reduce its costs to increase its profits. It lays off employees, cuts wages and benefits, evades taxes, exploits cheap labor markets, cuts corners in employee safety, in costumer safety and in environmental safety. It is a machine of destruction. And those profits, those profits get doled out to the stockholders, the CEOs the Boards of Directors. An incestuous bunch of rich sociopaths; the sycophants of the Consumer God.
In a producer culture, this company has one only one imperative. To produce. It MUST produce washing machines, it must produce an environment that can purchase its product, it must produce an environment of innovation, it must produce healthy competition with its competitors, and it must never stop. It has no need to reduce its costs by exploiting the environment, or the labor markets, or the health and safety of its employees and consumers. It has no need for profits. It has a need to produce a labor force capable of purchasing its products. A labor force with a high enough wage and a high enough standard of living that it can afford the luxury of a washing machine. A labor force that is not buried in debt, that has no worries about food, shelter or medical care. The more the Producer God invests in its community, the more its community is capable of investing in its Gods. Strong schools, vibrant communities, healthy infrastructure and healthy people will lead to a stronger company.

The Producer God has a symbiotic relationship with its populace, the Consumer God has a parasitic relationship. We can choose which Gods we worship and which ones we cast into the annals of History. Now more than ever, we must look within ourselves, we must imagine the world we want to live in, the world we want to raise our families in, and we must create that world. We cannot ask for it, it cannot be given to us, but we must provide it for ourselves. If we worship a Producer God, if we strive to cultivate our self, our community and our environment (themes I will visit upon in greater detail later) we may finally have a chance to create the type of society we will be proud to pass on to our descendants. But if we continue to worship at the alter of Consumption, than we are doomed to perish from the face of this Earth.

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