189: Nadya Zhexembayeva, part 1: Sustainability is not enough

June 17, 2019 by Joshua
in Podcast

Nadya and I mostly talk about business and sustainability. She describes what she saw growing up in the dissolution of Kazakhstan, where she saw the opposite of sustainability.

I can’t describe what she saw, but you’ll hear the craziness of collusion, economic collapse, political collapse, and so on.

She talks about how business works best when sustainable. I tend to agree. Tangential to what Nadya and I covered, when companies influence government to distort a market — say with subsidies for fossil fuels, paying for a military to maintain supply lines that everyone pays for, roads that I agree I benefit from but don’t use nearly as much as others yet I pay for, and farm subsidies for meat, I could go on — unsustainable companies can profit.

So companies that pollute but the public pays to clean up, or for other reasons we don’t accurately account for their costs, can sustain themselves profitably while not have a sustainable business model.

As a matter of accurate accounting, a prerequisite for capitalism, I support taxing pollution and extraction. I can’t believe people who support capitalism aren’t clamoring for these taxes, while relieving taxes in other places — I’m not saying more taxes: accurate taxes.

Anyway, Nadya loves business, as she describes and she cares about environmental sustainability.

We talk about this sort of thing: accurately, mutually beneficially, creating value.

I’m glad she values meaning and how we can create it for each other in the style of Victor Frankl. She talks about how we treat sustainability as a chore. It’s not enough.

She talks about he we need to create meaning in everything, certainly our environmental action. I agree. That’s why I name this the Leadership and Environment podcast, where leadership means involving meaning, value, purpose, passion, joy — missing from the conversation, crowded out by coercion, compliance, doom, and gloom.

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