Just imagine a world where every business is a social enterprise.
There was nowhere to spend your money that was not taking a portion of it to reinvest in social change, to alleviate hardship and increase social justice.
You eat at a restaurant that uses part of the price of your ham hock to help the homeless find a job. You pay a premium on your office space so that your landlord can re-invest some of your cash into supporting entrepreneurs amongst the local poor folk. You buy your petrol from an oil company that takes a slice of your cash to improve marine conservation and invest in promoting democracy in the oilfields of the planet.
Every time you buy something someone puts a smile on the face of the world.
The more we consume the better things get!
Growth is genuinely good! Isn’t it?
Well perhaps, because all of these social enterprises are also genuinely sustainable in a one planet economy, all paying a fair wage for a days work, and are well capitalised as investors recognise that social change is in their ‘self interest’ too. The return they get on their capital is worth much more than just money. It is a planet fit for the grandchildren.
How would the market for ‘social change’ play out in our new socially enterprising economy?
Life for us consumers might get a little more complicated as we factor in not just cost, quality and decency of the corporate that we buy our goods from – but also whether they are investing effectively in the causes that we want to support.
A post capitalist economy where entrepreneurs and markets set the agenda and provide the fuel for social change. And perhaps just a quango or two checking the veracity of their claims for ‘re-investing profits’. We could call it SEQC – the Social Enterprise Quality Commission.
What could possibly go wrong?
This is the title of a new photography competition being run by Leeds City Council. The public are invited to submit their snaps that capture for them what Leeds is like in 2011.
And the prize for What Is Leeds Like? The council and its partners may use your images in a report and in any other publication they wish, to portray the city.
On the one hand I admire the enterprise. No doubt, strapped for cash, they can’t afford to commission a professional, or even to buy some of the existing great product of the Leeds photography community. A quick search on flickr for Leeds 2011 produces over 28 000 images.
But it feels a little one sided…
Is there a qualitative difference between professionally commissioned and briefed city portraiture and the chocolate box approach of a ‘send us your snaps’ competition? Is there a danger of de-professionalising photography? Or is it just another creative industry that needs to wake up to the fact that we are all creatives now?
So what could the council do that would meet its requirements for low/no cost but high quality photography and provide a meaningful and powerful platform for Leeds photographers?
So, Leeds photographers, what would you value as a prize in such a competition?
Delighted to see the Beyond Guardian Leeds have launched an alternative photo competition through which I hope they can really attract attention to some great Leeds photographers.