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RE: [GreenYes] Re: The need for respectful diagreement / attitudes toward capitalistic economies
Bravo Roger,
If this list moves toward a more professional exchange of practical ideas, I
will happily support it.  Otherwise, I will simply write it off as another
den of extremists who enjoy compaining more than making any substantive
contributions toward a sustainable future.  
-Not to in any way demean GRRN's recent coup with the BEAR report- very
impressive.
Jay Donnaway

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Roger Guttentag [SMTP:rgutten@concentric.net]
> Sent:	Wednesday, January 16, 2002 10:59 AM
> To:	greenyes@grrn.org
> Subject:	[GreenYes] Re: The need for respectful diagreement /
> attitudes toward capitalistic economies
> 
> I have been observing the exchange between Muna Lakhani and David Wollner
> on
> this list and offer the following comments:
> 
> 1. I do not think it is appropriate for Muna (or anyone else for that
> matter) to refer to the major political leaders of any country by any
> appellation other than their proper names, even if you detest their
> policies, as part of maintaining an atmosphere of respectful opposition.
> Here in the U.S., even extremely vocal critics of Bush economic and
> policies
> (Paul Krugman, a Princeton University economist who writes a column for
> the
> NY Times comes immediately to mind) maintain a prefessional decorum in
> their
> remarks and do not stoop to ridicule through sophomoric name calling.  If
> we
> are to consider ourselves professionals then we must maintain a civil
> exchange of ideas on this list.
> 
> 2. I also often detect in many remarks to this list, such as Muna's below,
> a
> simplistic, broad-brushed characterization of corporations and those who
> lead them as mindless profiteers as the principal explanation for their
> actions and policies.  I believe this characterization to be both untrue
> and
> unhelpful. It is untrue because, for any corporation to succeed, it has to
> have a valid business model, a rational plan for implementing that model
> and
> an effective organization of resources to carry that plan out.  This is
> far
> from mindless.  In particular, the American approach to corporate
> management
> and strategy is now being emulated within the European Union, Japan and
> other regions.  There are many who may not like (or even hate) this
> development but it wouldn't be happening if this type of business
> organization didn't work.
> 
> To view these organizations as immoral profiteers is unhelpful for two
> reasons.  First, private companies are set up to make a profit.  That is
> how
> private capitalistic enterprise works and there are enough people who like
> this form of economic organization well enough that it is not going away
> for
> quite a while.  Second, calling what private companies do immoral only
> attests to our reactions to what they do.  It may emotionally or
> rhetorically satisfying but deflects out attentions away from the real
> issues and course of action that needs to be pursued.
> 
> The core problem is that modern, particularly American style, private
> business has become too efficient and effective in delivering goods and
> services to large populations based on what we of this discussion list
> believe to be a non-sustainable production and distribution model.  There
> are two principal courses of actions that can be considered.  First,
> replace
> the current structure of the advanced economies, based on a mix of
> democratic government  and captialistic enterprise, with some other
> economic
> structure.  My short answer to that option is I don't think so.  The
> historical track record of alternative economies has not been too good.
> So,
> I think we are left with the second option which is to figure out how to
> route the current economic engine onto a different set of tracks, one that
> hopefully runs to a sustainable future.  The key to doing that is not by
> moralistic name-calling but by demonstrating how to "do well by doing
> good"
> (the corporate motto of  Interface, Inc. - one of the biggest corporate
> exponents of sustainable capitalism).  How that can be done and the
> strategies we need to adopt to make that future happen is what we should
> be
> discussing on this list.
> 
> Sincerely
> 
> Roger M. Guttentag
> 610-584-8836
> rgutten@concentric.net
> 
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