Manbearpig’s “Sustainable Capitalism”
In the WSJ. This oughtta be good. First of all, the opinion piece is called “A Manifesto For Sustainable Capitalism.” Note the word manifesto because I think it harkens us back to what inspires Gore.
Before the crisis and since, we and others have called for a more responsible form of capitalism, what we call sustainable capitalism: a framework that seeks to maximize long-term economic value by reforming markets to address real needs while integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics throughout the decision-making process.
Of course, you may wonder what “crises” Gore is talking about? Our crappy economy? The European meltown? No.
The disruptive threats now facing the planet are extraordinary: climate change, water scarcity, poverty, disease, growing income inequality, urbanization, massive economic volatility and more.
OK. Here’s the kicker:
Businesses cannot be asked to do the job of governments, but companies and investors will ultimately mobilize most of the capital needed to overcome the unprecedented challenges we now face.
“Busineesses cannot be asked to do the job of governments.” That’s a scary phrase. What is the job of government? Those “jobs” that businesses will have to pay for? More on that later.
Next, Gore and his co-writer go on and on about what “sustainable capitalism” will do for us; increase a company’s profits, saves company money, lowers a company’s debt. Apparently, investors will make more money too! This is the greatest thing I’ve ever heard of!!! TELL ME HOW TO DO IT!!
Of course, he never really explains it in the article. He basically blabs on about reporting earnings, and “stranded assets” (he mentions carbon credits here), and integrated reported, and I’m wondering when Al Gore ever ran a business that wasn’t sucking on the government tit.
I googled “Sustainable Capitalism” and what do you know? Al Gore and his partner wrote an article about it just LAST MONTH for the WSJ. There, we find the genius has identified the woes to our economy:
Indeed, the past year, and certainly the past two months, has reinforced our view on sustainability. While certainly not a complete list, the causes of the current financial crisis include: short-termism (including but not limited to increased leverage), poor governance and regulation, misaligned compensation and incentive systems, lack of transparency, and in some firms, poor leadership and a dysfunctional business culture.
Oh, there’s more:
Business — and by extension the capital markets — need to change. We are too focused on the short term: quarterly earnings, instant opinion polls, rampant consumerism and living beyond our means.
Of course, as a member of the 1%, that is just a tad condescending.
Can I finally figure out what sustainable capitalism is?
We also need to internalize externalities — starting with a price on carbon. The longer we delay the internalization of this obviously material cost, the greater risk the economy faces from investing in high carbon content, “sub-prime” assets. Such investments ignore the reality of the climate crisis and its consequences for business. And as Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute recently said: “Nature does not do bailouts.”
Oh, there it is.
Al Gore is the chair of Generation Investment Management, which encourages investment in
Green tech sustainable businesses.
Last year Mr Gore’s venture capital firm loaned a small California firm $75m to develop energy-saving technology.
The company, Silver Spring Networks, produces hardware and software to make the electricity grid more efficient.
The deal appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when the Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants, the New York Times reports. Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts.
This – from 09 – is heralded as some great triumph of Sustainable Capitalism. Gore’s firm loaned the company $75 million and now stands to recoup that many times over, NOT because the company is successful on it’s own but BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT GAVE THEM THE MONEY.
Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming sceptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the world’s first “carbon billionaire,” profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.
The critics are right.
Mr Gore had said that he is simply putting his money where his mouth is.
Yea, and then using his connections and clout to insure that his investments pay off.
Al Gore’s vision of Sustainable Capitalism is more like Crony Capitalism.
The use of government funds to support private entities whose investors have political connection is crony capitalism, which distorts the free-market system,” said said Deneen Borelli, who serves as a full-time fellow of the National Center-sponsored African-American leadership group Project 21.
And even more government money has been handed out indirectly to aid Silver Springs Network:
In addition to the $529 million loan to Fisker Automotive, Silver Spring Networks, a company developing a smart electricity grid, will also benefit from the clean energy stimulus grants. According to the New York Times, about $560 million of smart grid grants awarded by the Energy Department “went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts.” Gore and Doerr, the latter of whom is a member of President Obama’s jobs panel, have close political connections with the Administration.
I think Sustainable Capitalism is all about sustaining AlGore. Apparently it works like this: you get a job in Washington D.C., preferably as an elected official, and then you use your power- and the taxpayers money- to enrich yourself either WHILE you are in office or after. The “sustainable” part comes in when the government awards a company you invested in with some dope $$$. This is the role of government.