Monday, August 31, 2009

Is Harvard Cribbing From Me Again?

I'm just kidding about the poaching of ideas, b/c in actuality they are more like memes or thought viruses spreading and taking hold to approach the necessary issues of the day, but the Harvard Business Review is starting to seriously address the issue and impossibilities of forever growth:

Economists describe this new model in many ways. One way is to use human cellular structures as a metaphor for economic growth. Call it cellular economic theory.

What do cells tell us about business? Well, consider that cells that grow continually and exponentially (like we've been taught our economies should grow) are a form of cancer. We know intuitively and logically that continuous growth can't be sustained in living things. It's likewise unsustainable (and undesirable) in business.

and the relevant examples:

For example, a brewery in India is using cellular economic thinking to grow its bottom line without producing and selling more beer. Instead it's using chaff and grain detritus to create fertilizer and biofuels--regenerating resources to lower their own production costs while widening the life cycles of their inputs.

KATIKA, a Swiss wood furniture maker, is reforesting at a rate greater than their production, using profits from their sales today to ensure the availability of resources later. In the meantime, their reforestation projects create local jobs and other sustainable benefits (home for wildlife and food, CO2 reduction) while increasing the value of formerly degraded land holdings.