on giving back
development and how to help communities where the percent of capital exploitation is high
|Jacob Chapman||Oct 3, 2019|
This post is written as a response to this:
Given enough resources, a good business leader would do the following from the perspective of "giving back":
1) be forthright with customers in broadening their perspective by informing them how you feel your services would fit into an ideal life
2) help clients in great need at least as much as you have earned through profit from these customers
3) request feedback from clients about which causes they would like to donate towards, and donate a certain percentage of profits towards those causes on behalf of clients
4) support the surrounding community by creating jobs and helping with civic affairs
Any other answers to add? What's the best way to organize these agendas?
I think #2 is a great start at solving a lot of inequality problems that are the result of "too efficient" global capitalism. But #2, #3, #4 are really closely related.
#1 is least important because it is taken care of already by meeting business needs: to create a product that is intuitively beneficial to the consumer.
#2, #3, and #4 are problems because they are externalities not built into the producer-consumer relationship.
#3 is perhaps the most important but it is partially solved by giving the poor more money (via employment, or lowering retail costs [#2]). With this money they can "vote" what goods are most important to them. Maybe they need more rice so instead of buying just 1 kilo they buy 2 kilo. But this problem is only partially solved for two reasons:
problem 3a: asymmetrical power structures of producers vs consumers
solution 3a: frequent user studies and market research. lower entry to management positions [#4], mentor locals [#2], increase transparency in decision making, allow for everyone to voice their opinion, read their opinions and ideas, create an open culture. don't rely on exploitation as a core business strategy.
problem 3b: customers don't always know what's best for them. maybe there is a new technology or maybe we learn that asbestos is bad, etc. producers and customers do not have equal knowledge
solution 3b: better product management and marketing. the sole purpose of product managers should be to identify which of the shifting opportunities are most beneficial to people and thus business. marketing needs to make relevant information salient in a simple and easy-to-understand way
problem 2 is especially important in the context of international transfer of all forms of capital (monetary, human, cultural, social). All international businesses benefit in some way or another from "extraction" of resources from one nation to another nation. If they didn't then there would be no reason for business to become international. Trade is rarely a zero-sum game because both sides benefit from it 99% of the time or there would have been no trade. Still, the issue remains that the topology of inequality is much different due to global or regional trade then what it would look like if all trade was localized.
All people benefit in some way from global economies but some people benefit a lot more than others... maybe value extraction isn't such a bad thing but there needs to be some equityI think the biggest thing we can do to give back is to ask communities directly what they want the most and help them build that. Not just at the national or regional level. We need development projects to be very local like Saemaul Undong or Sangguniang Kabataan
I feel like this quote is relevant somehow:
This idea of reverse reality distortion too, took me a while to figure out. Silicon Valley acknowledges the existence of the reality distortion field cast by the conjurers of new wealth. What it does not quite recognize is the reality distortion field that goes the other way: the theater of yes-your-plans-are-succeeding manufactured for the benefit of the leaders, so they continue trying to make the New Economy happen. It’s quite fetch.
Because the New Economy isn’t there yet. And building it is hard work. And signs that the plans aren’t working as smoothly as you think makes it even harder. The work needs cheerleading. Premium mediocre cheerleading suitable for Instagramming.
Because you see, while it is somewhat important that everybody drink some kool-aid, it is absolutely crucial that the leaders drink a lot of their own kool-aid. The geese who lay the golden eggs must not be killed by despair at the slow rate of progress. If they want to believe the wealth being created by the new economy is largely a consequence of their brave, individual, Randian striving, then that illusion must not be disturbed too much.
This little-recognized dynamic is why almost everybody gets the Episode of the Avocado Toast completely wrong. A clueless millionaire-next-door type, fooled by randomness into believing his own success to be a divinely ordained reward for grit rather than a matter of survivorship bias, thinks avocado toast is a substitute for home-ownership savings. This means the premium-mediocre illusion-crafting is working.