Moments of truth and conviction....
Like every other asset based model of value, the recycling business is being crushed by the market. An economy hypercharged by super-consumption collapses on itself when the collateral funding the borrowing for such items collapses, sucking down with it the markets for recycled materials. This is basically the premise behind a New York Times article on the piling up of recyclable materials due to the collapse of the recyclables market. There was one excerpt in the article that really stood out.
“Before, you could be green by being greedy,” said Jim Wilcox, a professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. “Now you’ve really got to rely more on your notions of civic participation.”
Much of the social entrepreneurship movement has been predicated on appealing to our worse instinct. Hardly inspirational and does lack the leadership that one expects. That said, I will acknowledge that it is highly pragmatic, and that is something that one has to consider. We are human beings, not saints, so we need to appeal to our self interest, but a life based exclusively on self interest is neither realistic, it lacks a certain humanity. No one in the market wants a child that is sick or handicapped, but it happens. We take efforts as a society to do things, because we realize there are values to be upheld for there to be a society. Though this economic crisis makes me think that we may be saying, "We're all Hobbesians now." (by which I mean this not that).
Perhaps, failing to recycle could be recategorized as a mortal Sin, of which I like the following definition
a sin committed with a clear knowledge of its guilt, with full consent of the will, and concerning a grave matter; where circumstances allow
I have always believed that economics can temper our policy but it cannot define our policy. In the end, circumstances of life dictate that we do not live lives exclusively of our choice. Greed is not an environmental policy.