May 25, 2023

Good profit, bad profit

The idea of ‘de-growth’ is often presented as a backward step for us, a return to a life that would be ‘nasty, brutish and short’.  What would happen if we no longer had industry making new stuff, or businesses could no longer make profit?  It all seems pretty negative.

No wonder people aren’t rushing to change their ways.

So I was really pleased to read Ari Weinzweig’s newsletter today, in which he splits ‘profit’ into ‘good profit’ and bad profit’.

Good Profit, I will now say, appears when multiple ecosystems are all benefited at the same time:

  • Our inner ecosystem
  • The ecosystem of the organization in which the profit is produced
  • The ecosystem of the community of which that organization is a part 
  • The greater ecology of the planet”

As I’ve said before, we had businesses, markets, and profits before we had capitalism, and for sure some of those profits were bad. I’m not advocating a return to feudalism.

But what this tells me is that there is a way to think about addressing the climate crisis that can fit with our needs as small businesses.

Simply strive always to make Good Profits – that actively benefit as many of these ecosystems as we can.

I thoroughly recommend Ari’s newsletter.  The Zingerman’s Community of Companies is an inspiring and interesting ecosystem, that has thrived by going their own way.

Discipline makes Daring possible.