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[GreenYes] Re: The need for respectful diagreement / attitudes toward capitalistic economies
Roger, et al.,

I would like to reply to your two major points, although I am not trying to
contradict your desire for some decorum here.

1.  Search on Google for "george bush shrub" and you will get 12,700 hits.
"molly ivins shrub" turns up 1990 links, mostly to the following book.

Shrub: The Short but Happy Political Life of George W. Bush 
by Molly Ivins & Lou DuBose 
$8.99 from B&N at

Ridicule is rhetoric; it isn't necessarily sophomoric.  Since I'm posting on
City time for business purposes, I would not use such language myself, as
long as I didn't allow myself to get carried away in response to some
particularly egregious bit of idiocy committed by the enemies of
sustainability (whoever they happen to be at the time).  OTOH, it doesn't
bother me to see the honest response of foreign nationals to American
leaders and institutions, as long as they are related to our subject and

2.   Regarding corporate behavior, I can't think of any really useful way to
look at corporations except as essentially amoral profit maximizers, perhaps
distorted in their behavior to some extent by the contrary self interests of
their managers.  Every time a company like Interface comes along I have to
cheer, but that's mostly because they are so rare.  I agree that self
interest is a great motivator when it leads to desirable ends; zero
discharge successes are a good example here in Silicon Valley.  But zero
discharge was only in many firms' best interest after government regulation
had made the storage, use, and disposal of toxic solvents and other
chemicals so expensive that alternatives became cost-effective.

It may be that addressing corporate structure and governance is a necessary
step in achieving a sustainable economy.  Having said that, I will offer an
alternate source of information and suggest that people interested in this
subject check it out.

Skip Lacaze
Civic Services Manager
Integrated Waste Management Division
Environmental Services Department
777 N 1st Street, Suite 300
San Jose, CA 95112

voice:	408/277-3994
fax:	408/277-3669
100% San Jose. Recycle where you Live, Work and Play


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-----Original Message-----
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 10:58:38 -0500
From: "Roger Guttentag" <>
1. I do not think it is appropriate ... 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 ... maintain a prefessional decorum in their
remarks and do not stoop to ridicule through sophomoric name calling....

2. I also often detect in many remarks to this list... a
simplistic, broad-brushed characterization of corporations and those who
lead them as mindless profiteers as the principal explanation for their
actions and policies....

To view these organizations as immoral profiteers is unhelpful for two
reasons.  First, private companies are set up to make a profit.  ...
Second, calling what private companies do immoral ...
deflects out attentions away from the real
issues and course of action that needs to be pursued.

...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.

Roger M. Guttentag
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