People depleting Planet making Profit…

Have you ever wondered where it came from, the People Planet Profit story? Or in short PPP, or sometimes called  ’triple bottom line’ . Its the belief that sustainability consists of the equal balance between the input of resources ( the Planet) , the social-cultural demands and wishes of People, and the (financial) economy, how we manage things with the monetary system, with Profit as result . Since if there is no Profit, nothing happens, is the general thought. The three are also known as ecology, sociology, economy. Its comes close to a Holy Trinity in Sustainability land.

The first two I can understand, The one supplies and the other consumes. They are naturally intertwined, and there should be a balance somewhere. See my blog on the Brundtland definition earlier. [1]

But where does the P from Profit enter the scene?

Profit is meant as profit in the financial economy , and especially that of the industrialized world . Its should provide profit : direct for the seller, or indirect, since the buyer should have return on investment after a few years, after which he also starts profiting. In money. Otherwise he wont buy. Thats how we organized it, and how everybody tries to make us believe it works like that , that there is no other option.

What the hell, if something is artificial, its our financial system! We invented the financial system, its not a natural but a human construct. It started some 400 years ago: until then money had no value of its own, it was determined by the value of goods exchanged. Goods people needed tot survive,, so there was good check and balances. But then we got rich, by colonizing other countries and slavery. So in 1602 the first money exchange trade fair was erected: notably in Amsterdam, ( the ‘Beurs van Berlage’). Money itself became the main target of trade . That was the birth of capitalism, the focus on money in stead of the value it represented , and which has brought us into problems, excessive exploitation of the earth resources.

The financial system is a complete fake market, based on belief and emotion, and manipulated by those who possess the money. The interest rates are artificially and subjective adjusted as needed, and money is printed, as pleased.

The system has no foundation, and no scientific grounds. To what has this brought us? It was illustrated in a report by Oxfam, published for the Climate conference, which calculated the capital in the world. [2] And it turned out that:

– 62 richest people own as much money as the the poorest half of the world

– 1% of people own as much as other 99%

– half of the wealth increase since 2000 has gone to the top 1%.

Unbelievable, but true. In other words: The financial system is a outdated medieval system, a people’s construct that can be adapted by the same people. There is no ground whatsoever to put it as a separate entity in a sustainability strategy: its a means , not a target. Its even counter-productive: Take GNP : it rises if bad buildings are constructed, that require a lot of maintenance and input of extra energy and materials. Not only this, but also disasters create work , and read Naomi Klein, the shock doctrine to learn how the US supported revolutions in South America, so that national companies were privatized and sold to US firms.[3] As well as the war in Iraq and Afghanistan created a lot of work for US service companies and weapons industry. (Creating-) Failure = work,   GNP and Profit rises, while Planet suffers.

That it however is part of this P approach, is only since there are interests by those who own the money. They have an interest to keep it that way. The other half of the world has no interest in that, but is speechless after hundreds of years of being plundered, and leaving them poor.

It does not belong to be together with the two main P’s and should be adapted by the P from People to comfort the Balance with the P from Planet. The Planet delivers, and people have to adapt to what the planet can deliver ( also known as the “carrying capacity” of the earth)

The financial economy is facilitating, Its not a entity in itself. Of course, you as individual, have no direct interest tomorrow: you are asked for your money, when you want to have food, and even more money when the food has a label that is ‘green’ or claiming “sustainability”. You are constantly ripped of your money, the industry knows perfectly how that works in your mind. Its currently the main reason of their existence, to make money. You are still drinking bottled water… ? That was the best tricks ever invented, to sell water in a bottle, and make you think is worth it. Its not. ( in most industrialized countries). Until short that is. There is now a Canadian that sells air. He has a flourishing business selling air in spray cans to people in cities heavily suffering from smog. [4] Canadian mountain air… And they are selling fast… Its not fake News….

Or in my working field , the built environment , its World and US Green Building Council, that sends out messages and posters with slogans like: ‘Sustainability is profitable, profitability is sustainability’, or even ‘Capitalism is the solution to climate change’. [5] They use the need for a more sustainable world to sell more buildings, which they declare green with their own subjective point system. Its sick, and misleading.

If its about sustainability, forget money, and everything that is measured in money. Within the current system, I would say, if you can make a profit, it cant be sustainable.. Since somewhere resources have been depleted, people suffered, or there has been cheated, with origins, systems borders, production, or software.

Just one other interesting thing about economy: The economic theory is based on the input of capital and labor. There is no place for resources, the foundation of our society. Robert Ayres, the well know physicist made a attempt to develop a theory to include resources as a production factor, with astonishing results. Some things economists struggle with for decades, suddenly could be explained. Its neglected so far in the economic world, of course, since the capitalists have no interest in this. See the book review and the book [6] [7] .

On top of that: labor is slowly erased from the economical system as production factor, since unreliable, and soon it will be only capital as input for the economy. Capital to make capital, how simple can it be. It goes beyond every physical reality of people and planet.

So don’t let you be misguided: Its about two P’s : The one has some limited stocks , and the other has some unlimited desires. And the two have to be balanced. Thats the issue.

A Former Dutch colleague, prof Cees Duijvesteijn, advocated to replace the Profit P for prosperity, Better, since a result from the other two, and a brave attempt. Which of course failed in the massive campaigning of the profiteers .

You are warned.


[1] Not people, but resources: Brundtland 2.0, see

[2] Oxfam report : There is just last week a new version:

[3] Naomi Klein, the Shock Doctrine ,



[6] The economic growth engine , How energy and work drive material prosperity Ayres et all, 


[7] Book review:

Author: ronald rovers