The radical transparency thought train is chugging full steam ahead from the halls of organizational science and management blogs and into any context subject to a certain clouding of the truth. Next stop: the consumer economy.
Most old-school management consultants scoff at the notion of putting sensitive company information into the blogosphere or on internal networks. But their scoffing is becoming quieter as managers from outfits large and small have decided to share everything from what they had for breakfast to their previously covert internal memos with their staff.
The thinking goes like this: in an ultra-wired world where things tend to accidentally get leaked all the time, and heads roll because of it, why not just beat the leakers to the leaks? Consider how useful cloaking oneself in truth could be for, say, a president.
Applied to the consumer economy, RT brings all the unsavory details of what we buy into stark relief. Your Egyptian linen shirt required DDT to make. The banana you are eating was picked by slave children. The intellectual property you're using has been stolen ten times over. The computer you are staring at is giving you retinal cancer.
Daniel Goleman, author and eco-guru told Big Think, "In terms of ecological intelligence the big idea is radical transparency. Radical transparency is presenting to individual the previously hidden impacts of the things they buy and do and giving them choice at that moment."
Under the aegis of RT, the product is seen in a new light, the producers rethink their motives, and the slave children might go to school. In a world of ripple effects upon ripple effects, RT stands to transform how those at the power-end of supply chain effect those in the middle and on the end.
Though RT is rarely seen in the brand name economy outside Whole Foods (and it's barely seen there) and at few other notables like Patagonia, one shopping behemoth, Walmart, has become an unexpected leader in radical transparency. The biggest of the big box stores is going to radical ends to reduce waste, packaging and transportation distance from production to point-of-sale, making it, as Treehugger noted, "harder to hate."
Further Reading and Engagement:
Good Guide guides your selection of green products.
Skin Deep does the same with cosmetics.
The Social Organization charts RT in social networking.