Should we expect more from entrepreneurship?

This post is triggered by this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

On one hand I admire and applaud the entrepreneurship. The ability to spot or create an opportunity and then take advantage of it.

On the other hand, I can’t help but cringe at the lack of any deep or enduring value in these products – beyond their ability to (hopefully for their creators’ sakes) make lots of money.

I get that this is at the core what our current consumerism-driven economy is all about – making stuff people want and sell as much of it as possible. I get that people enjoy buying throwaway, fashion-driven, appropriately-priced items. Without too much considerations over the larger issues of sustainability (do we really need more plastic bits?), meaningfulness, and so on.

Can we, should we, expect more meaningful, enduring value-creation from entrepreneurs beyond making a profit? Such as the Raspberry Pi or the AquaSafe Straw.

When do we start questioning whether a new product is really a good idea in the greater scheme of things before we rush into mass market and mass production (and thus mass disposal)? Surely these questions are more pressing than ever before in the history of our species. And yet they seem so incompatible with the free market and the current economic system…

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