I attended a conference last night on Ethical Investing, sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. It was held in an incredible room at the Mary Baker Eddy library in Boston. Panel was comprised of managers for “green” aka “socially responsible” fund companies: Templeton, PAX, Domini, etc. and was moderated by an editor from the Monitor. I sat and had a question formulating, which regrettably did not gel until I was driving home. If those in attendance think that Ethical Investing is difficult, they should try Ethical Marketing. There is no truth in advertising. We live in a culture that has been hijacked by Business. There is “reality” and “image” and marketing organizations are only interested in promoting image. In truth there are no happy meals, no friendly skies. Being surrounded by sexy women is not guaranteed by drinking beer. And life fulfillment – be it mine, or that of the slaves who produce them – will not be attained no matter how many pairs of shoes I have in my closet: trainers, hikers, walkers, winter boots, mud boots, cowboy boots, slip ons, felt clogs, dansko clogs, black dress shoes, loafers, sandals, water sandals, aussie farm boots, and 3 or 4 pairs of casual shoes. Perhaps I need to ski, snowboard, golf, bike ride and play tennis or soccer for me and all of Southeast Asia to reach Nirvana. There was much discussion on Tuesday night about filters and thresholds for determining what makes an enterprise socially responsible: workers’ rights; safety in the workplace; pollution; diversity in the boardroom; and no sin: armaments, tobacco, alcohol. There was argument too about “Well, paying workers in
absence of talk about corporate messaging, their co-opting of our government and the falseness of an economy based on lifestyle, not product. If businesses were to tell the truth and revise their advertising strategies, then we may experience a shift from a society suffering from affluenza to one practicing voluntary simplicity. A dichotomy exists between desiring ROI from a successful company and exerting pressure to encourage responsible marketing. What effects would there be on world markets should the demand for goods as we know them dry up, causing said businesses to Re-Organize [with upper-case seriousness]?