March 31, 2013

Sustainability in Action

Bolivian Law Grants Nature Equal Rights With Humans

By Beth Buczynski.

The Bolivian government has proposed a ground-breaking new law that would grant all of nature equal rights to those of the human race.

Earlier this year, Bolivia passed its own la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, or “Law of Mother Earth,” as part of a complete restructuring of the Bolivian legal system following a change of constitution in 2009.

The Law of Mother Earth is the world’s first piece of legislation to grant the planet absolute protection against those who would seek to exploit or destroy its resources or ecosystems.

The new law establishes 11 new rights for nature. They include:

the right to life and to exist;
the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air;
the right to balance;
the right not to be polluted;
and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.

The Guardian reports that the law has been heavily influenced by a resurgent indigenous Andean spiritual world view which places the environment and the earth deity known as the Pachamama at the centre of all life. Humans are considered equal to all other entities.

The Law of Mother Earth redefines Bolivia’s tin, silver, gold and other raw mineral deposits as “blessings” and seek to protect the planet from “mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities.”

“It is not clear at this stage how the somewhat abstract legislation would be implemented,” writes Olivia Solon for Wired. The state will need to be careful to balance the rights of nature with the regulation of industries (such as mining) that contribute a significant chunk of the country’s GDP.

Now, Bolivia is seeking to bring these principles worldwide with a United Nations treaty. The treaty, in draft at this time, would give Mother Earth the same rights as humans, including rights to life, water and clean air, the right to repair livelihoods affected by human activities, and the right to be free from pollution (SlashGear).

Critics of the law and its potential to inspire a treaty for UN nations say that it’s nothing more than an attempt by Bolivia’s socialist President Morales to “eradicate capitalism” and to force wealthy industrialized countries to “pay their environmental debt.”

Personally, I think that if the mega-corporations get to hide behind the legal protections of “personhood” as they pillage and pollute the planet, it’s only fair that she should be able to stand and defend herself with the same inalienable rights.

There could be no better Earth Day gift.

August 16, 2012

Marketing & Selling

Part 1: Selling Versus Marketing.

"While selling revolves around the needs and interest of the manufacturer or marketer, marketing revolves around that of consumer. It is the whole process of meeting and satisfying the requirements of the consumer." - Marketing91.

The following is adapted from Marketing91.


1. Focus is on sales volume and the needs of the seller.

2. Company manufactures the product first.

3. Views business as a goods producing process.

4. Different departments work in highly separate water tight compartments.

5. Selling views the customer as a "source of revenue" and there is only a superficial focus on customer requirements.

The selling based business approach, which is obsession with profit/sales maximisation at the cost of the customer is the reason so many companies are in shambles.

Indianblogger writes on Selling versus Marketing:

•Start and End of the Activities: Selling activities start after the product has been developed while marketing activities start much before the product is produced and continue even after the product has been sold.

•Difference in the Emphasis: In selling, the emphasis is on bending the customer according to the product while in marketing, the attempt is to develop the product and other strategies as per the customer needs.

•Difference in the Strategies: Selling involves efforts like promotion and persuasion while marketing uses integrated marketing efforts involving strategies in respect of product, promotion, pricing and physical distribution.

The following is adapted from Marketing91.:


1. Focus is on consumer requirements and satisfaction.

2. Company first determines consumer requirements/wishes and then designs the product/service.

3. Views business as a consumer satisfying process.

4. Consumer determines price, price determines cost/investment.

"A truly marketing minded firm tries to create value satisfying goods and services which the consumers will want to buy. What is offered for sale is determined not by the seller but by the buyers.

The seller takes his cues from the buyer and the product becomes the consequence of the marketing effort, not vice versa. Selling merely concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting the customers to exchange their cash for the company’s products, it does not bother about the value satisfaction that the exchange is all about." - Prof. Theodore Levitt.

The following is adapted from The Economist: Theodore Levitt

Born in Germany where his father was a cobbler, Theodore Levitt (1925-2006) emigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of ten. Levitt is famous for two things in particular: an article published in 1960 (“Marketing Myopia”); and his resignation almost 30 years later from the editorship of the publication in which that article first appeared—Harvard Business Review. The article, written only a year after he had joined the Harvard Business School faculty, can be seen as a turning point in the acceptance and respectability of marketing. It argued that companies had paid too much attention to producing products and too little to satisfying customers.

Quote “Marketing Myopia” by Theodore Levitt, Harvard Business Review, July–August 1960. :

"The failure is at the top. The executives responsible for it, in the last analysis, are those who deal with broad aims and policies.
Thus: • The railroads did not stop growing because the need for passenger and freight transportation declined. That grew. The railroads are in trouble today not because that need was filled by others (cars, trucks, airplanes, and even telephones) but because it was not filled by the railroads themselves. They let others take customers away from them because they assumed themselves to be in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business. The reason they deļ¬ned their industry incorrectly was that they were railroad oriented instead of transportation oriented; they were product oriented instead of customer oriented.



If you are a marketer in the true sense of the word, then your business will start selling itself automatically after a period of gestation.

A marketing oriented business will also be Resilient. Its marketing orientation, its deep working relationship with the market will enable it to adapt itself to changing circumstances.

The selling oriented business is not Resilient. It is a failure from day 1. Because the focus is sales, business goals, profit, and not the market and what it actually needs. The market will reject such a business and put an end to it. No matter how big the business is. It will be destroyed.

A quote by Theodore Levitt:
The difference between marketing and selling is more than semantic. Selling focuses on the needs of the seller, marketing on the needs of the buyer. Selling is preoccupied with the seller's need to convert his product into cash; marketing with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the whole cluster of things associated with creating, delivering, and finally consuming it.

A passage from Theodore Levitt's 'Marketing Myopia'.

Lag in Detroit

This may sound like an elementary rule of business, but that does not keep it from being violated wholesale. It is certainly more violated than honored. Take the automobile industry: Here mass production is most famous, most honored, and has the greatest impact on the entire society. The industry has hitched its fortune to the relentless requirements of the annual model change, a policy that makes customer orienta tion an especially urgent necessity. Consequently the auto companies annually spend millions of dollars on consumer research. But the fact that the new compact cars are selling so well in their first year indicates that Detroit's vast researchers have for a long time failed to reveal what the customer really wanted. Detroit was not persuaded that he wanted anything different from what he had been getting until it lost millions of customers to other small car manufacturers. I The Affluent Society (Boston: Hough ton Mifflin Company, 1958), pp. 152 - How could this unbelievable lag behind consumer wants have been perpetuated so long? Why did not research reveal consumer preferences before consumers' buying decisions themselves revealed the facts? Is that not what consumer research is for - to find out before the fact what is going to happen? The answer is that Detroit never really researched the customer's wants. It only researched his preferences between the kinds of things, which it had already decided to offer him. For Detroit is mainly product - oriented, not customer - oriented. To the extent that the customer is recognized as having needs that the manufacturer should try to satisfy, Detroit usually acts as if the job can be done entirely by product changes. Occasionally attention gets paid to financing, too ' but that is done more in order to sell than to enable the customer to buy.

Lastly a short video by Harvard Business Review that explains Marketing and Selling, by Theodore Levitt, Marketing Guru. His concepts are explained at the end of this blog entry.

Update: A wonderful video on 'native advertising', which is more abused than used.