[updated 2009-03-30].
We don’t seem to have an intuitive grasp of the concept of how much ‘enough’ is.

I think that when we succeeded in inventing the ‘corporation’, we enshrined this multiplicative effect of greed in its core ethos, which was simply to grow and profit, without end. And laws were drafted to protect and reward this multiplicative greed.

On the brink of economic (and possibly societal) collapse, brought about largely by this same greed, it’s interesting to watch our leaders trying to inject more money into our failing economies.

There’s even enough hindsight to make us want to shore up our banking systems, and there have been pledges to put in place standards for future financial instruments (most of which were based on pure fantasy).

Okay… I can get behind that.

However, our nation-states seem to have struggled to discover, or neglected to define and quantify for themselves, the concept of ‘enoughness’, so that we can write it into our ways of business and life once and for all. We’ve neglected to school not just individuals, but businesses and governments too, in ways of measuring and testing themselves against ‘enoughness’ benchmarks.

Why is enoughness such an abstract quantity? Why do we shun the very idea of it, so that nobody has ever bothered to study ‘enoughness’ as a discipline in its own right? What would be so wrong in doing that? It seems we would rather hunt for wormholes and Higgs bosons, finding such things far less elusive even than the concept of ‘enoughness’.

What I would like is for someone to stand up and say, “hey, what about a metric for enoughness?”, or, “What about quantifying or qualifying what enough is, in dimensions like, I dunno, environmental impact, cost to quality of life, cost in quality time, percentage of local and global wealth-to-poverty ratios, and things like that?”

Corporate entities aside, we do need to evolve some accultured ‘permissions’ that allow us to say “enough is enough. We’re rich. We don’t need anymore. Yes we could grow/expand some more, but we’re not going to.”

It needs to become okay for people to say “what I/we have achieved is enough”, and to celebrate such milestones instead of feeling like they’ve been eluded by success. Idealistic? Yeah, maybe… but then so is the the kyoto accord. Still worth trying, ain’t it?

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