A Magazine Capturing the Story of Health- For People, Environment, Economy & Habitat

The Tug of War between Capital Expenditures and Care

by Lavinia Weissman


Boston, MA

Yesterday, I had a delightful lunch with someone to work on our business plan for a launch of a new capacity building organization that combines all our talent.  There will be more on this through many many posts to come.

What made our conversation shaped with ease is a value we share – both of us have an understanding of how so much of what is implied by a need for “care,” in this complex world is the implications of  the rapid spreading harm that we are now learning about in Japan.

The Earthquake, e.g. Haiti and Katrina was a natural disaster. The BP Oil Spill was a man made disaster to health of the environment, earth, economy and people.

Now Japan is a combination of all of that a natural disaster complicated by man made harm; radiation exposure.  This harm is beyond an immediate danger, this harm like the BP Oil Spill will lead to generations of modified human genetics and natural mutations that lead to a rise in chronic systemic and neurological illnesses, cancer and more.

This will change the health of the entire region through which toxins of any kind blow into the wind.  It will challenge health of environment, people, earth and economy.

It moves the world into a state of uncertainty and building a response to  a need for care we cannot define let alone imagine and view an accelerated response. The March 16, 2011 column In Good Company: @vaultcsr’s blog – The Japan Crisis: What is the Role of Business in Disaster Response? tells the story of a Japanese man rumbling through the piles in search of people he employed out of care; care and respect for those who serves his business and clients.

Claire Mumford, CEO of the International Business Leaders Forum, gives this example in the context of examining business role in disaster response? This is a value that I believe was the original focus in many ways of CSR Frontier Leaders, e.g. Ben and Jerry, Jeffrey Hollender and Anita Roddick.

It is a value I hold dear.

Yet there is another value even more critical at this time. This value relates  to how we regard  health for the world and all beings who reside on earth. It is my belief we need to reshape how we think of capital expenditures that related to developing science and equipment to counteract global warming.

We need to formulate a new system of thought that values raising the resources we need to respond to a disaster or simply the accelerated response we need now to the harm that has been building for years.

Implied in this view is the need to foster a change through cooperation between competitors. Eric Lowitt and I, recently

shared a conversation in which he described his plan for   BOOK 2 . Book 2 is leveraged from Eric’s first book, The Future of Value. share an understanding of how the cost of research and science to generate new drugs, cures, accelerated response to harm of natural resources has become an obstacle t0 change for sustainable value.

We are both interested in building  a new forum or education and all that implies. The mission of this forum is to insure the accelerated action research  of to accelerate sustainable change.

It is my belief that the Japanese business man searching through the piles for people he cares about is a metaphor for the kind of attention we need to give to what so many want to deny because of the rising cost of investigation to generate research into applied learning for systemic impact.

Reader what do you think? Do you believe we need to give the same care and attention to how we organize capital expenditures as much as we do to people in the first stage of response to a disaster whether natural or man made?


Authors bio:

Lavinia Weissman is an sustainable market leadership coach, journalist, and publisher of As a speaker she describes the new emerging patterns of markets shaped by sustainable market leaders and the social networks they work with and employ.  As a coach, Lavinia works with all her clients to inspire professional development that assures a person the opportunity to embed sustainability as a leader into the network and culture of people they work with.



  Suzette van Aswegen wrote @

Hi Lavinia

I agree completely with you and Eric and it is my view that capital expenditure and even the traditional market place is not keeping up with rapid change. The latter still mainly focusses on Adam Smith’s theory formulated at a time when there were few people and unlimited resources. We are now living in a world quite the opposite, with a fast growing population and very limited resources. And our persistent ancient way of thinking in this regard is coming at a massive price.

The old Greek philosopher Aristotle was perhaps the first man on earth to grasp the principle of “the tragedy of the common good”, meaning that when something is freely available for common use, it will be gone in no time. Our natural resources and the earth’s atmosphere and ocean etc are examples of that, it is fast disappearing and if we don’t do something we may just as well draw a line through Homo sapiens as a species on earth.

For me it all starts with caring or compassion for human beings or society and not the best possible return on investment in the shortest period of time for one’s own selfish benefit.

So yes, we need a new holistic system that takes everything into consideration. We need to start quantifying human suffering, emotion and care etc. as much as we value the commodities on the market. And we need to move faster than we already are, our way of finansing research needs to change drastically.

  thestoryofmeaningfuluse wrote @

Suzette, welcome to The Story of Meaningful Use. I am very supportive and intrigued by the project you are leading in Perth, AU. I look forward to learning more.

Eric’s research and the research I do apart from ERic is invaluable and the activity of change is even far valuable yet challenging.

You might enjoy this other article that describes a conversation I had with another partner and friend, Christina Carvahlo Pinto….Publisher of Mercado Etico from San Paulo,Brazil.

Christine and I share similar value to you and are both active change agents. We both have a passion for change for health and recently looked at the capital expenditure of $350M that is an obstacle to getting young children the best cancer treatment for brain tumors.

Sidney AU is going to house a proton beam radition accelerator for AU, but the complexity that surrounds this installation is going to be a challenge both in terms of politics and how government, ngo’s and hospitals that treat cancer can devise a care system. I have already investigated this with my contacts in Melbourne and would love to mentor an organization dedicated to sustainability to build a format of capacity that will not be ridden with domination by any one sector—private insurance schemes, delivery of care and government .

I am well versed and capable to do this and making it an international conversation with other countries would be so much fun.

let me know if you have energy for investigating this “capital equipment metaphor,” for impacting health.

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