On the surface, the notion of ideological purity carries a certain cache; it is, “those people” would say, the reason that conservatives have so successfully pushed the political standards of we the people so far to the right (whether the actual standards have followed suit is a matter of debate.) But what of reality?
One week ago today, Keith Olbermann recorded his last words as the host of Countdown. The very minute he left frame, the blogosphere and Twitter world caught fire as millions expressed shock, sadness, anger, and for the conservatives of the nation, delight. Conspiracy theories raged across the ether as corporate giant Comcast, whose merger with NBC technically started that day, was assumed to have ordered K.O.’s firing. Supporters quickly drew a line from Olbermann’s axing to Comcast and thence to the Citizen’s United ruling by the Supreme Court one year prior. Boycotts of MSNBC and NBC were planned and indeed demanded.
ut what is sustainability really? Is it a part of some communist conspiracy, is it a bad idea by well-meaning but naive environmentalists, or is it the future of good business? For years, U.S. business theory has been grounded in the teaching that earning profit is the number one moral responsibility of any business. The notion has been part and parcel of business school teaching for decades, and is ingrained in the mindsets of most of today’s top managers. Increasing shareholder value is the mantra that is still preached in schools and lower level management meetings across America. At first blush, it would appear that changing that mindset is an impossible task; but there is a common ground emerging.
At this moment in America, the United States Chamber of Commerce is fighting regulations on the handling of lead in older buildings. Once an umbrella group for millions of small businesses in our nation, the Chamber has become a magnet of irresponsibility and heavy industry excess. What is worse, for the Chamber, is that they are no longer on the leading edge of anything. They don’t fight for Mom and Pop businesses, nor do they represent anything resembling a coherent strategy for national business success. The Chamber of Commerce waits in the wings until their leadership hears what their masters in the conservative movement tell them to do.