Julian's blog: TED session 8: Adventures in Fairness

July 16th, 2010
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Tim Jackson, Sustainability Scholar

A terrific talk. We can be prosperous without growth, the endless pursuit of novelty. Driven by anxiety (Adam Smith’s ‘life without shame’ is what we seek) we spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need to create impressions that won’t last on people we don’t care about! But there is another way – like the Ecosia search engine, which saves rain forest (please use or install this!) – business built on common citizenship. A new definition of prosperity is: ‘flourishing as human beings within the ecological limitations of a finite planet.’

 

Jessica Jackley, Microlender
This slip of a girl went to Africa, realised people needed loans to kick start their businesses, came back and launched a website called Kiva to connect Western lenders with third world entrepreneurs. That was five years ago. Last year the site flowed $150 million in loans from 200 countries, crucially connecting the lenders with the businesses – they get monthly updates – and creating dialogue and relationship. Moving, inspiring and humbling. A standing ovation for this one.

Auret van Heerden, Labour Rights Activist
This man has been imprisoned and tortured for his principles, and his integrity shines through. Chocolate needs some image therapy after this TED: not only is it full of bugs, but 80% of the cocoa using child labour in Cote d’Ivoire. Worse example: the Uzbek government shockingly closes all the schools for the cotton harvest each year and the children a forced wot work in the fields. Regulatory systems don’t work: the only thing that does is the contract with the Western customer company, with checking. Auret is making this happen: 4,000 companies have signed up to be part of his Fair Labor Association.

 

Peter Eigen, Founder – Transparency International
A great man, responsible for turning back the tide of corruption (western companies bribing corrupt third world officials). $1 trillion was paid each year in bribes, until he perdsuaded the companies in Germany to stop bribing all at the same time. (It was tax deductible until then.) He has created the Corruption Perceptions Index, which reveals the worst offenders. Transparency International is taking on oil, gas, mining – and creatin real openness.

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