The phrase is difficult, but everyone’s talking about the concept of sustainable economy: to preserve is to take care of something. You might want to preserve your kids from frenetic scrolling. Maybe you think they’re supposed to play board games. From a different perspective, sometimes you find yourself in the supermarket. You don’t have children, so you observe this little guy asking for chocolate. The mother explains: “no, we’re taking your cereal, which already has chocolate in it, so that’s it.” And of course we all love chocolate. But will everyone start going to Google to see who the main producers are? Maybe someone wants to find the place of manufacture and investigate working conditions. That’s what they did with Mondeléz.
For a company who has around 29 billion dollars in revenue every year, the stakes are high; but besides the African story linked above, they’ve suffered a loss with the Ukrainian conflict. It seems they have plenty to worry about: reports of working conditions have led to unionizing in the US, and the response from the company was to fire the organizer — which was reported by Reuters as illegal. Just when you thought you knew enough about cookies. I don’t know about you, but I think 30B is a lot of money for snacks.
Mondeléz is most famous in Brazil as the maker of cookies like Trakinas.
The mother in the supermarket wouldn’t teach her son or daughter about the economy, but maybe later in school, they’d have to look at sustainability in the environment. They’d have to analyze a global picture, and maybe names like Greta Thunberg would come up in the debate. A social media icon with appearances on television and many events devoted to climate change debate, she’s gained popularity — and so has the cause. A sustainable economy, however, will drive the conversation back to how dependent we are on fossil fuel.
You can pick any topic: crypto, fintech, phone manufacturing, programming languages, remote learning, dating apps, AI. All of these things seem very up-to-date, but maybe they don’t reflect our reality. Brazilians need to learn how to discuss a new economy. First, it seems logical, they would need to learn about the global economy; then, look at strengths and weaknesses, and follow their passion. That can be a beautiful story, and maybe that’s how Facebook came to life, with Eduardo Saverin as co-founder.
It seems we need to be looking at the future with less distractions and a more sharp focus. Even if that means a drop in our quality of life, we’re going for bigger issues. People talk about freedom of speech, but look at what these kids in Ghana do for a living. Shouldn’t it concern us, as human beings who love comfort and safety? We can talk about sustainable economy, sure. But if economic models include exploitative conditions, we should prepare for a fight. And a lot of people are looking at tech this way.
But it’s not just the tech. This blog has talked about the frustrations of being an English teacher in a country where 5% are fluent. If Brazil wants to present solutions to the world, it’s not just a biodiversity question, or solar energy; in terms of culture, the language alone plays an immense role. Our music, literature and urban language have peculiar characteristics that people need to know about. And so everyone thinks about tourism. I’d love to talk about my latest trip to cities nobody’s heard about, like Brno in the Czech Republic, Wrexham in Wales, Lelystad in the Netherlands or Bethel Park in the United States. I can’t. Can you guess why? Because my lifestyle is not sustainable.
Maybe we should think about what’s compatible, instead of sustainable. The lemonade thing. Squeeze me and I’ll say good things about my country. I do have an interest in finance, but not to the point where I can’t miss a fresh analysis of whatever the basis points mean. The idea of investment is more related to my time than my money, for very obvious reasons. And so we should all normalize that: stop thinking everything’s a big deal. In the end, you got bills to pay, and you feel a certain way.
But when we’re thinking about the context of work, I’ll give you my version: I’m currently not on Facebook. I do use Instagram, and also WhatsApp; just not the blue thing where my family posts regularly. I’ve decided not to participate in the family group on WhatsApp — I thought that was the ultimate, most blatant invasion of my privacy. And so I’m looking for alternatives. When there’s nothing else to eat but chicken, I like to make some risotto with vegetables I can find. I always put too much salt, and feel like a useless human being. Then I remember I can just buy some cookies.
The problem is that I buy cookies with change. I’m unemployed right now, just posting blogs because I want to reach people — so badly. But my reality is: this company makes 30 billion dollars selling cookies. I collect coins to buy a pack, the cheapest one, for 2 real. Not two billion, obviously, not two million, not two thousand. 2 real. Cents that circulate among beggars in the street, addicts and so on. Just to remind you, 30 billion dollars is 150 billion real as of December 2022. And isn’t it crazy how these numbers are always changing?
I think I’ve focused so much on this task of educating people with media that I sort of became an edible chocolate bar. Not healthy, doesn’t actually feed you, but feels so good to get out of your routine. Unless you think this is all crap. Maybe I should stop talking about rich people. But you see: we’re supposed to care about how sustainable the economy is… for whom? We’re supposed to take care of ourselves! And the tech issues I mentioned are just an example. Think about relationships. Trust, affection, true love, care, bonding, getting to know each other, small acts of kindness. Then you have distrust, talking behind one’s back, lying, cheating, abuse, aggressiveness, games. Cookies aren’t gonna help. Your relationships should be sustainable, healthy, beneficial. And then I think to myself that it’s nice to eat at a restaurant with your significant other.