Start-up and decline, the new paradigm?

The title of the article will appear ironic, paradoxical or provocative. How can we reconcile the entrepreneurial spirit and the observation that we are living on a finite planet with limited natural resources? As long as our capitalist economic system is based on infinite growth, the plundering of natural resources, the production of waste, the extreme liberalisation of the markets and financial speculation, what is the sense and deeper purpose of a start-up today? Do we still have the time and luxury to create fast-growing innovative concepts while all the signals are telling us that we should, right now, significantly slow down our life- styles if we want to leave a chance to future generations to be able to live as sustainably as possible?

Wouldn’t it be a good idea to encourage start-ups that promote the common good? Those which will bring long-term solutions to the challenges faced by our civilisation? Those who see ethics and financial system will support each other and benefit collective contribution? Those whose ecological and social contribution will supplant selfish profits which lead to ecosystem decline?

If you want to play your part in a responsible way towards a joyful, fertile and abundant new world, I’m happy to share with you a quote which has been the guiding principle in my life as an entrepreneur, as a father and as a permaculture trainer-designer.

“A sustainable system is any system that, in its lifetime, can produce more energy than it takes to establish and maintain it.”

If start-ups offer sustainable services or products, their purpose should be support- ed and encouraged. Otherwise, doesn’t the term start-up belong to the old world?

Jean-Cédric Jacmart, Founder of the Desnié organic farm, permaculture trainer-designer, change enthusiast

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