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Content we Love: The case of Important matters vs. Matters of importance

I think it’s fair to say that business news is sometimes pretty boring. Some already rich company gets a little bit richer, a corporation you’ve never heard of appoints a new ABCEO, a new app is released that allows everyone to take even sharper selfies. And just how many safe harbor statements is too many?

Content we Love: The case of Important matters vs. Matters of importance

I am of course being flippant. Along with some complicated science and arguably love, it’s business that keeps the world turning.

But not all business news is earnings releases, personnel changes and self-perpetuation of our deepest insecurities. In one February week alone I read releases titled ‘Are Smart People Less Racist?’, ‘Riversimple Presents the Revolutionary Rasa Hydrogen-powered Road Car’, and ‘UNICEF Launches US$2.8 Billion Humanitarian Appeal for Children’; three still very ‘businessy’ news releases, but all very different, and all thought-provoking.

Sophisticated racism

What I’m trying to say is, I like the releases that get me thinking. In the case of the Are Smart People Less Racist? release, findings from the academic journal of sociology Social Problems, show that intelligent white Americans are equally as racist as lesser educated white Americans, except those with higher IQs are, as the study puts it, ‘sophisticated racists’, which basically means they say one thing, but think and act – albeit perhaps subconsciously – a different way.

I’ve read a number of sociological and anthropological studies on this over the last few months, which I guess is why this release stuck in my mind. The results, rather worryingly (I say that but as a white male I’m apparently lying) always seem to be the same.

The preconceptions people have about things such as race inevitably come back to affect the business world as well, which is no better highlighted than in the Fortune magazine’s 2015 listing that shows currently only five CEOs from the world’s 500 richest companies are black.

Ours is the Earth and everything that’s in it

2015 in general seemed to be a pretty depressing year for news; but amid the progressive horror that was, still is, the migrant crisis in Europe, racial tensions in the U.S. and the ever-escalating unrest in the Middle East, we’ve also seen nearly 50 million infant lives saved as a result of the year 2000’s Millennium Development Goals and a $2.8 billion appeal to help children caught up in humanitarian crises.

Both these and a number of other releases came in from UNICEF, and highlight the good work the charity is doing to try to redress the balance. So to speak.

Although their subject matter can be a little on the heavy side, it’s nice to know that some people can still keep their heads, while all around them are losing theirs.

Why can’t we all just get along?

Something else that has not been far from the business news headlines in recent months is the alarming slide in the price of oil which – at the time of writing – has plummeted to around the $32 a barrel mark. But if companies such as Riversimple Movement Ltd have anything to with it, maybe that won’t be such a big deal in future.

The company, from the rolling green valleys of Wales, has for the first time invented a road going car capable of doing 300 miles (450km) on just 1.5kg of hydrogen. And it emits nothing but water.

Until now environmentally friendly cars have tended to be lacking in one way or another – inefficient, impractical, ugly, too expensive – but even with oil at record lows, Riversimple’s Rasa is bucking the trend.

Because you see, hydrogen is way cheaper than oil. And there’s a lot more of it. Inexhaustible (if you’ll excuse the pun) amounts you might say. I haven’t done maths for some time but this highlights nicely the price of oil vs the price of gasoline and why companies like this have such high potential for the future and our preservation of it.

So while it might not always seem the case, there are still some people out there trying to solve the little problems; racial hatred, inhumanity and environmental catastrophe per se. Which begs the question, why can’t we all just get along?

Well, ironically, one reason might be business. The very same thing that pushes us forward is also the thing that holds us back. In the same way that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, progression for one person (or multinational conglomerate) means regression for another.

And until we figure out how to find a solution to that stale mate, I guess we’ll all just keep minding our own business.

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