Books Oct 17, 2022 at 4:00 pm

Adrienne Buller’s The Value of a Whale Exposes the Dark Side of “Green Capitalism”

Courtesy of Manchester University Press



I think you have to be careful to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is no question that a lot of so called "green capitalism" is bullshit. But cap and trade was extremely effective at reducing sulfur dioxide (acid rain) from power plants. One of the key elements is simplicity. The more complicated the system, the more likely it is to be corrupt.

Climate change is complicated. There are major contributors (like cattle) that are largely ignored in regular debates. Making matters worse, there is no easy way to capture carbon, making most proposals either bullshit, or based on taking credit for actions that might not happen (which is another form of bullshit).

But that doesn't mean that market-based solutions can't work. The simplest is to just tax the shit out of these things, and give the people the money. Tax beef and gasoline, coal, you name it. People will change their habits almost immediately.

If anything, the big problem is that we naively think we can solve this problem through some other means. Maybe if we had started fifty years ago (when we first knew about it) but not now. You can encourage the production of "green" vehicles, and alternative energy, but most of these things -- as good as they are -- won't be felt for years. We need to make the switch now, and the best way to do that is by taxing the shit out of activities that cause global warming.


Thus John Kenneth Galbraith's observation remains, ahem, evergreen: "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." The selfishness is fundamental; the "green" is the currently fashionable "justification".

By the way, whenever Bill Gates is mentioned,, it should be noted that his self-congratulatory 1995 book "The road ahead" barely mentions the World Wide Web. A visionary, he wasn't, and isn't.


Who could we learn from and talk to about how to protect whales, and live sustainably? Surely we have nothing to learn from people who've been doing it for 10,000 years! Let's just re-invent the wheel so Jeff can spooge another spaceship or buy his MAGA girlfriend another ring.


Kudos to Ross for his comment above. I wanted to "like" it but apparently that's not an option . . . And thanks, Ralph, for the brief reminders of relevant history.

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