A home for the Conscious Business community in the UK

Enough is enough


I came across a really neat little report today – “Enough is Enough” – that summarises in just ten pages the reasons why we need a steady state economy, and what we need to do to get started on creating such a thing.

It was produced by two British non-profit organisations: CASSE and Economic Justice for All, and is based on work at the first Steady State Economy Conference held in June last year.

The ten straightforward proposals seem very much aligned with what we are trying to do with Conscious Business. In fact, so much so, that I have added links to relevant past posts in the list below. The ten proposals include:

  • stabilising population – sensible in a finite world, but what a challenge to achieve and maintain this;
  • reforming the monetary system – if you thought stabilising population was difficult, imagine successfully reforming banks, bankers and all that;
  • changing the way we measure progress – something so deeply entrenched in establishment thinking, and in the education system itself;
  • improving global co-operation – vital to balance the needs of countries where growth is necessary with developed countries like ours, but an immense political challenge;
  • engaging politicians and the media – another daunting task; but there are always early adopters in these groups.

And five in particular standout as of specific relevance to business:

  • limiting resource use and waste production – this, to me, is the only sensible route in a finite world, and business as a huge user of resources and producer of waste clearly has an enormous role to play in this;
  • limiting inequality – lots of practical things we can do here and are already exploring – like limiting the gap between the highest and lowest paid; and introducing new models of business ownership;
  • securing full employment – this requires a change in the way we think about employment – for example, to allow us to reduce the working week. I have written before about the real, underlying challenges of this;
  • changing consumer behaviour – we have the technology, and probably the know-how; but do we, collectively, have the will: this means, ultimately, changing ourselves?
  • rethinking business and production – the key here for me is changing the primary goal of business towards developing the people in the business – helping them become more conscious and happier.

All of these things are difficult individually. And overall the list of 10 priorities can make the whole exercise seem overwhelmingly hard. But two things strike me:

  1. We are already some way down the track on many of these things. I know more about the business elements than the others but I know we have been experimenting – going around the loop of failure and success – for many years. Conscious Business itself is already a broad and growing church.
  2. What an exciting and amazing overall goal? A true Big Hairy Audacious Goal – something stimulating and exciting for a whole new generation of younger business people. Young people who in many cases aren’t held back by the attitudes and outlook of their older colleagues. People who are happy to shake up the status quo and challenge “Establishment” thinking.
Game on!

Author: Pete Burden

New ways to organise and lead - for people with 'purpose' #leadership #inquiry #noticing #complexity #communication

2 thoughts on “Enough is enough

  1. Yes, this does identify well the more obvious symptoms and the causes of our current unsustainable world system, which are becoming more and more evident to some people.

    A problem we have, when being part of a system, is the reluctance to get off the ride when we have adopted behaviours that make us a player. Typical thoughts are that my life is short, my immediate needs are more important, there is no alternative and it will sort itself out.

    To replace one complex system with another, there needs to be an embryo alternative system performing and growing alongside, which demonstrates in action not words, that it is more suitable for now. But, to then attract the people from one merry-go-round ride to another will need a combination of dissatisfaction with the current system and a powerful attraction of the new one.

    So, for the transition to happen, the new ride should be being prototyped and evolved to demonstrate its inescapable suitability to today’s conditions. Also, lifeboats will be needed to transport people from the sinking current system to the new one. And then it just remains for the stories of how people have left the current system and joined the new one, which provides an irresistible means to shift systems.

    I do feel that there is a fundamental component missing from the hypothesis, which is crucial in accelerating an acceptance by people and a transition. There needs to be a powerful organising principle that succinctly encapsulates why the new system is needed and why now.

    I think this organising principle could be that we on Earth now operate in a world focus and not a local tribe/country focus. This is seen in socio-economic relationships between peoples now being global, with near instantaneous chains of exchange of both physical goods and communications. Technology and practice have laid the pathways for this behaviour. The dynamics of living on earth is now based more on instantaneous interdependencies, the system has moved from a particle to a wave model. The key to ensuring an optimum system is in focusing on and improving these interdependencies.

    The problem is, is that people are still acting like local tribes, with responsibilities restricted to our physical locale or country. If both the mindset and also the socio-economic infrastructure can be widened to a one world framework, then the transition will accelerate dramatically.

  2. Yes, I agree.

    We certainly need prototypes of alternatives – that is a clear practical contribution I can see businesses making. Proving how this can work at a micro-level.

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