First, the Toms buy-one-give-one model does not actually solve a social problem. Rather, the charitable act of donating a free pair of shoes serves as little more than a short-term fix in a system in need of long-term, multi-faceted economic development, health, sanitation, and education solutions.
The fact is, Toms isn’t designed to build the economies of developing countries. It’s designed to make western consumers feel good. We can see that in the company’s origin story, as the Toms website proudly tells it, in which founder Blake Mycoskie saw the problems barefoot children in Argentina faced and decided to start Toms. Mr. Mycoskie didn’t ask villagers what they needed most or talk to experts about how to lift villages out of long-term poverty. Instead, he built a company that felt good and that was good enough for him and Toms’s nascent consumers.
“As you enter the tunnel, the wind gets sucked away, and you squint from the lights overhead. When you adjust the lights, you can see the other side in the distance just as the sound of the radio fades to nothing because the waves just can’t reach. Then, you’re in the middle of the tunnel, and everything becomes a calm dream. As you see the opening get closer, you just can’t get there fast enough. And finally, just when you think you’ll never get there, you see the opening right in front of you. And the radio comes back even louder than you remember it. And the wind is waiting. And you fly out of the tunnel onto the bridge. And there it is. The city. A million lights and buildings and everything seems as exciting as the first time you saw it.”—Stephen Chbosky (via floristries)
“For the first eight years of our marriage, [Michelle and I] were paying more in student loans than what we were paying for our mortgage. So we know what this is about.
And we were lucky to land good jobs with a steady income. But we only finished paying off our student loans—check this out, all right, I’m the President of the United States—we only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago.”—
“For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”—Charles Bukowski (via csherlock)