On Circular Economic Growth: Paradox and Promise


One evening a traveler arrives in a small town in rural India. His plan is to reach his family in the main city. Yet it is late and he does not like traveling at night. He knocks the door of a small town hotel and asks the owner if there is still a bed for the night. “There is”, the owner says, “but because you will leave early morning, would you mind paying in advance?”, he asks. And so it so happens. The traveler pays INR 1500 and retreats to his room.

As soon as the hotel owner has the money, he goes to the beer brewer who supplied it to his hotel. I still owe you INR 1500, the hotel owner tells the brewer. Now I come to pay you. With the payment from the guest, the local beer brewer runs to the barrel maker. You made this new barrel for me and I did not pay you yet, but here is your payment. The next step is for the barrel maker to go to the dress maker. “Remember you made the dresses for my daughter’s wedding and I could not pay you?” says the barrel maker. “Here is USD 1500,” the barrel maker says. “Please accept it as a first payment.”Thanks”, says the dressmaker, who goes to the hotel owner. “I have been eating here for many nights and I owe you this INR 1500. Please accept.”

Source: The Water Channel