There’s a difference between building a strategy because you have to and because you want to.
We all get this at a certain level. We tell each other there’s a difference betweens needs and wants and we try to teach that difference to our kids. That isn’t the problem.
The problem is we can’t always tell the difference between needs and wants.
In the abstract, a need is something we must have or do. A want is merely something we desire. Eating everyday is a need. Eating delicious food is a want. No matter how much we claim a need to have sushi every week, it doesn’t get to be a need, no matter how intense our desire for it.
We get this at an abstract level. But we struggle at a realized institutional level.
When a Latin American country cuts down its rainforests, we know this is really terrible idea. Old growth rainforests are irreplaceable and would take centuries to replicate–if we weren’t replacing them with farmland which will yield poor soil in just a few years.
But when we realize people are doing this to pay back loans from the IMF which went to pay for crippling infrastructure losses and mass poverty due to economic practices introduced by Europeans and North Americans, we might see how they’re stuck between a pair of really bad choices. Future generations will be upset, but will ultimately understand they had little choice.
European and North American bankers who introduced those policies and then funded those bankrupting loans while pocketing the difference–that’s a choice. They wanted to do that. The country with the world’s largest economy also chooses to pretend it can’t afford to deal with climate change or switch its energy to renewables. The U.S. doesn’t have to scrape for change under the seat cushions. We apparently want to pinch pennies on purpose.
If you’re choosing to do things because you have to, chances are people will ultimately forgive you.
The same can’t be said for wanting to exploit the environment or a neighbor’s misfortune. And certainly not choosing to endanger lives. People have a hard time trusting you when you pass off a want for a need.