Tuesday, February 8, 2011

in pursuit of new markets

Just in case you thought the bicycle industry was the biggest and most offensive player in the quest to get more unsuspecting suckers to buy more crap, read this:


The thing that gets me is that the Bill Gates Foundation -- you know, the same foundation that wants to cure Malaria and send thousands of disadvantaged kids to college -- yes, THAT foundation -- is all over this like butter on waffles. So totally messed up it makes me want to bang my head against the wall. And the thing is, with so many major, truly major players involved, who do you even complain to?

(Thanks to decidedly NON-corporate food warrior Shorshiyut for the heads-up.)


EvoDavo said...

My belief, and please don't mess it up because everything is built on it, is that a capitalist entity fulfills it's selfish objectives by helping others fulfill their selfish objectives. Selfish objectives being things like having food to eat, a place to sleep, etc....

bikelovejones said...

I agree.

So do the rabbis of the Talmud, who teach that every person has both an inclination for good and an inclination for evil. Kept in check, each of these inclinations can help us to do great things. Our good inclination can inspire us to help the poor, heal the sick and comfort the bereaved. Our evil inclination is what inspires us to build a house, start a business or have children. ("Evil" inclination is how it reads in the original Hebrew, but seen in this light it's simply a healthy level of self-interest.)

When these inclinations aren't kept in a healthy perspective, the rabbis go on to say, then we can veer wildly to extremes, like giving so much of our wealth away that we become the very paupers we're trying to help in the first place; or by ignoring the needs of others as we acquire more and more wealth for ourselves.

I'm inclined to agree that it's mostly about finding a Good Balance, something our admittedly skewed version of modern capitalism neither promotes nor benefits from.