Sustainable Economy: Can we change how we do business?

Sustainable Economy Discussion links: Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Continuing our discussion of the Sustainable Economy, last time we talked about the position of workers. Today we’re going to focus on the business side of things. How business practice is structured in such a way that it’s very difficult to be sustainable, and how it might be structured to make it easier run our economy in a way that doesn't kill us all.

3 Steps to a Sustainable Economy?
In our new book, Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources, we argue that … we can build an economy that meets people's needs without undermining the life-support systems of the planet. Big changes are needed to achieve such an economy. Some are fairly obvious, like limits on resource use and waste emissions to ensure environmental sustainability. Others are less apparent (but equally important), such as limits on income inequality to improve societal health. There is a growing consensus that these changes are needed, but less consensus about how business would function in an economy where the goal is enough, not more.

The shift to an economy of enough requires business to change in three critical ways:

The Wisdom or Madness of Crowds

Nicki Case made another social game. Let's play the game together and see what we learn!

The Sustainable Economy: What is Owed a Worker?

Sustainable Economy Discussion links: Part 0, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Since we’re talking about the economy here at the RO Studio, we probably need to talk about the ways in which each of us derives value from the economy. In short, we are paid, what does that mean for how we live in this economy?
The list of issues below is probably not complete, what other issues are a part of the labor every person contributes to society?

Job = Social Status?
Our jobs are our income, our income is a measure of our worth. The kind of job we do is also a measure of our worth in the eyes of society. Our income and job type seem to be the main measures of our status as an individual. The only other indicator that seems nearly as important is whether or not you are married.
What are indicators of status in society?
How much does your job or income factor into this status?

Fair value for labor
What is fair value for labor? How does this get calculated? Not all labor is the same, either.
Our society makes a distinction between blue-collar and white collar labor, but what actually are the kinds of labor we find in society? Are they worth the same?
Should some people’s labor be valued differently? How should that value be calculated?

For example, which job is more important to a hospital, the cleaners, the nurses or the doctors? Which, if they went on strike, would affect the hospital most? Most quickly? Most in the long term?