Word of the Year? Lagom: Swedish for Just Enough
The other day we were taking votes on an alternative to the word 'green', which is taking a bit of an over-use pounding of late. Well, seems our Scandinavian brethren had such a word all along. Lagom is Swedish for 'just enough', or an appropriate perfection. Hence the phrase, lagom Ã¤r bÃ¤st (Lagom is best) = 'enough is as good as a feast.'
It is a word that was picked at the start of the year by US trend-spotter Faith Popcorn and her BrainReserve market research company when making their forecasts for 2008. "We see notions of "minimalism" and "sustainability" taking on significant currency, as even Americans reject hyper-consumption as not just excessive, but actually damaging to themselves, others and to the planet."
Brain Reserve continue, "... we'll see a basic shift in the identity/mentality of people, as they make the transition from "consumer" to "citizen"—recognizing that every act of consumption has cost and consequence beyond the transaction, and that every transaction is a "vote" in favor of the offering entity, and against the options not chosen. To compete, Companies are going to have to weave "goodness" as a fundamental intent into their corporate culture."
In Australia, Bernard Salt, a social researcher with KPMG, is quoted as suggesting that the Catholic Church's recent decision to add polluting the environment and excessive wealth to the list of the original seven deadly sins was a reflection of the trend. He calls the trend the rise of "the new consumer morality".
The same article references Barry Urquhart, of retail analysts Marketing Focus, who believes the trend is the natural evolution of the rise in corporate social responsibility over the past five years, saying, "I think companies that don't embrace it will be at a competitive disadvantage."
TreeHugger would itself be an indication of these trends. In not yet four full years we've climbed from obscurity to the heady heights of often being ranked in the top 20 of a staggering 75 million web blogs. There does seem to be a thirst for 'just enough.'
Image by havesomefun on Flickr.