The following excerpt is from The Unsettling of America, an essay by Wendell Berry. It made me think about marketing, marketers, and my own marketing profession.
“In order to understand our own time and predicament and the work that is to be done, we would do well to…say that we are divided between exploitation and nurture…The terms exploitation and nurture…describe a vision not only between persons but also within persons. We are all to some extent the products of an exploitive society, and it would be foolish and self-defeating to pretend that we do not bear its stamp.
…I conceive a strip miner to be a model exploiter, and as a model nurturer I take the old-fashioned idea or ideal of a farmer. The exploiter is a specialist, an expert; the nurturer is not. The standard of the exploiter is efficiency; the standard of the nurturer is care. The exploiter’s goal is money, profit; the nurturer’s goal is health-his land’s health, his own, his family’s, his community’s, his country’s. Whereas the exploiter asks of a piece of land only how much and how quickly it can be made to produce, the nurturer asks…What is its carrying capacity? (That is: How much can be taken from it without diminishing it? What can it produce dependably for an indefinite time?) The exploiter wishes to earn as much as possible by as little work as possible; the nurturer expects, certainly, to have a decent living from his work, but his characteristic wish to work as well as possible. The competence of the exploiter is in organization; that of the nurturer is in order-a human order, that is, that accommodates itself both to other order and to mystery. The exploiter typically serves an institution or organization; the nurturer serves land, household, community, place. The exploiter thinks in terms of numbers, quantities, “hard facts”; the nurturer thinks in terms of character, condition, quality, kind.”
My freelance interest is to build social capital by supporting small community-based enterprises and non-profit organizations. Of course, I recognize that even my best efforts fall somewhere between the idyllic role of nurturer and the exploiter, as categorized by Berry.