True Cost Meme

True Cost Meme

The “true cost” meme as established by Paul Hawken and other leaders in ecological economics (such as Herman Daly) is an analytic concept that is embraced by Phi Beta Iota and should be clearly understood by all who wish to associate with or claim affiliation with Phi Beta Iota.

Exxon, to take one example, did not “earn” $40 billion in profits in 2007.  It externalized $12 in costs for every $3 gallon of gasoline it sold in the USA (and equivalent amounts everywhere else).  In other words, Exxon's leadership oversaw the theft of $40 billion in just one year of  Earth resources and services, including clean air and water, stealing this money from the public commonwealth and future generations.  Since changes to the Earth that used to take 10,000 years now take three years, the public urgently needs to achieve a World Brain and EarthGameTM so as to “get a grip” on “true costs” at every level in every clime and place.

War is a form of theft as well–its steals blood, treasure, and spirit from the commonwealth of nations, while enriching the few at the expense of the money.  General Smedley Butler, in his time the most decorated Marine in hitory, has denounced the use of the military as “enforcers” for banks that make bad investments and corporations that aspire to loot emerging communities that lack the ability to resist organized predators.  Here also public intelligence in the public interst is the ethical, legal, non-violent means of confronting, resisting, and ultimately vanquishing those who seek to destroy and deprive.

Phi Beta Iota explicitly and passionately subscribes to the principles of non-violence as so ably represented by Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela, among others.  Public intelligence in the public interest is how we ethically, legally, and peacefully achieve “truth & reconciliation” among all individuals, groups, and organizations.

The related memes of “biomimicry,” “green to gold,” “cradle to cradle,” “zero waste,” and “sustainable design” are helpful in crafting solutions, but the immediate and continuing public intelligence challenge–the challenge that Phi Beta Iota and its affiliated human minds strives to address–is the credible, documented, replicable calculation of the “true cost” of each and every product and service on the planet.

Examples of “true cost” include, for a designer cotton blouse with high-tech color designs:

  • hundreds if not thousands of liters of water (e.g. from Bangladesh in growing cotton)
  • toxic chemicals in the coloration and cleansing
  • sweatshop labor including child disease and mortality
  • tax avoidance


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