In 2012 Eco Brooklyn Inc. made a conscious choice to NOT grow. As a for profit corporation this may seem a bad business choice. But ironically we see this as thinking BIG. Peoples’ obsession with growth is such a massive part of us and it is illogical and suicidal.
Especially in speed crazed NY is this obsession rampant. I meet people on the street and ask them how things are and it’s so often, “Oh things are great, I’m so busy. Got these great jobs. Just hired another employee….”
What people forget is that cancer is a growth. Mold is a growth. Tumors are growths. Obesity is growth. Just because it is full of growth doesn’t mean anything. It could be good, it could be bad.
And yet in capitalism no growth means death. If you aren’t growing, expanding, taking over the world then you are not a successful company.
Eco Brooklyn is really one person, me, Gennaro Brooks-Church. Certainly I have employees and all sorts of people who make Eco Brooklyn shine, but in the end it is my vision. When I write “we” it isn’t a group of people sitting at a conference table. It is me sitting at my deck with a gold fish bowl next to my monitor.
And I have seen enough businesses to know that no matter how big they are, it usually is only one or two people working very hard. Yet they portray themselves as so much bigger than that, like puffed up roosters.
The temptation to grow is great. Yesterday I visited two clients. One wanted me to replace their front metal fence. The other wanted me to sheet rock their cellar. I talked them out of it. The fence was fine – it needs some paint and new footings. The cellar was fine. The beautiful brick walls just need a little patching and a coat of paint.
Again, it may seem strange that I am doing this. But I honestly think this is the most intelligent business move I could do. I will be fine financially. Getting less work will not break my company. I’ll just get more work elsewhere. Yet I saved a lot of materials yesterday. I also saved my clients money. Money is energy. Energy is resources. There is a connection with that money and the ecology of the planet.
So all this is to say that I found a term for this kind of thinking. It is called Degrowth and it is very self explanatory.
Next time you meet somebody in the street resist the low self esteem temptation to appear successful. Instead say, “I’m doing my best to not do much. Today I’m taking the day off from work and just wandering.”
The trick to all this is to lower your needs. In a world where we are educated to need and expect so much from life this is hard. It takes a lot of undoing. And until you pay off your debts it is not easy. But it is a valiant goal and one that will give you more happiness that anything I can think of. Happiness isn’t everything but it sure beats a life full of pointless business.