cindy gallop has a bunch of very smart insights for like-minded entrepreneurs.

i’ve been asked, how i could be so critical of our capitalistic system and still think of myself as a social business entrepreneur. it’s actually not too difficult for a few reasons:

1) i do not think it is a capitalistic society, when our banks are too big to fail and bailed out by government. i do not want to advocate for more radical free markets, i just want to restate that what we have is closer to crony capitalism than anything else.

2) i believe in creating value, not money. and to create long-term (‘sustainable’) value, people and planet come first, and while profit should be part of the game, it is merely a means to stay afloat within the current environment. it’s important to remember that not everything of value is actually compensated through money. in fact, almost nothing of value is. the main problem i see in crony business is that profit maximization trumps everything else. that’s why i support yunus’ social business model.

3) i see business as the process of creating value (or utility), and making it accessible to people outside of your personal circles. i don’t think business needs to a handful of ruthless scrooges exploiting their people, maximizing externalities and elbowing away the competition; but creating meaningful value for everybody (not just those traditionally considered ‘stakeholders’), and a better future.

4) we need to change a lot of things in the world. i want to be that change because i think buckminster fuller is right in saying ‘to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.’ and i simply don’t know a task that is more exciting in life than imagining/inventing/building the future!

a recent video exposing koch industries yet again as environmental polluters: you can actually see steam coming from the water that is downstream from their factory in arkansas. the video shows several people suffering from cancer, which they claim to be a direct result of the polluted water.

what’s even crazier is that david koch actually had cancer himself, and even funded a cancer research center. but to stop pollution and get rid of a major source of cancer in the first place would probably cut too deep into their profits.

in case you haven’t heard of koch industries, it’s because they make it their business to stay out of the spotlight (probably with good reason). however, they are among the major air polluters in the US, as shown by this university of massachusetts study. even bloomberg, a fairly conservative medium, exposed koch industries’ sketchy business practices, including making illicit payments to win contracts, trading with a terrorist state, fixing prices, neglecting safety and ignoring environmental regulations.

koch industries is also a major cimate change denier, which is understandable as their wealth stems from the oil business. to say that they have oiled the denial machine is quite an understatement; it’s more like they were involved in building it:

[UPDATE: the koch brothers are also major supporters of the keystone XL pipeline, as naomi klein end bill mckibben recently pointed out. in case it’s unfamiliar to you, i blogged about keystone XL before]