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January 02, 2006

We were nice people (for two weeks after 9-11) 

I often enjoy Mike Bawden’s writings at Much Ado About Marketing, and today’s was no exception.
   Mike cites David Wolfe from the Ageless Marketing , who believes need to be , and more are making the shift.
   But, he validly notes, ‘1st world , primarily Americans, need to stop consuming so much and leave more on the table for the rest of the world.
   ‘But can we afford to pay the price and do the right thing?’
   Taking a trip down memory lane, I agree some shift needs to take place. At the beginning of each decade—1980, 1990, 2000—someone says the next 10 years would be less selfish than the last. Each time, that person has been wrong.
   I admit that the 2000s have seen some of the conscientious people come forth—the internet has made us visible. But the shift hasn’t changed in habits, at least not in a sort of way.
   There are a few things that can make it happen: (a) we cease companies on their share prices, and instead value them on their ; (b) this will impact on the state and could result in . If Danone of France, for instance, was rated on how many consumers it could serve in the third world, helping their communities build themselves up so they could be fed, its immense power—it owns most of the food buy, for instance—could push its home country to lower trade barriers. The host country might do the same.
    would tell you that trading increases wealth in both nations.
   But this still seems like a dream, because most of us in the first world remain trapped in keeping up with the Joneses and in high consumption patterns.
   The only time when we all were united and became more caring was between and 25, 2001 (though some of my Arab–American friends would disagree). For a while there, we were less bitter, more inclusive. The person sitting next to you was a person, not ‘black’, ‘white’, ‘yellow’, etc.
   On or around the 26th, according to a friend of mine who was a waiter in in those days, everyone turned into a bastard again. They began demanding service as rudely as they ever could.
   Does it take a disaster to make us better? I would hope that the goodness we could find inside us could come out without jets hitting buildings. In some places, we are like that. But in many other countries, we seem to believe that the behaviour on shows like or (being conniving and big-mouthed wins), or (where self-confidence is actually , rather than ), is “normal”.
   What’s it going to take to make the shift?
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