How dare a credit rating agency that got it so wrong, and should itself be investigated for malfeasance in the creation of the banking meltdown, dictate public policy? For S&P to insist on massive government cuts that would only increase joblessness is like a burglar shifting blame for his crimes to the poor quality of locks.
This from a credit rating agency that, as NYT columnist Joe Nocera points out, “has consistently fallen short.” S&P judged Enron to be an exemplary company until shortly before the corporation imploded, and it gave its triple-A seal of approval to the toxic securitized mortgage debt that caused the great recession. There are serious problems with the US economy, but they are not the ones that Standard & Poor’s outlined when it sent the stock market into a tizzy.
If the Top 25 Hedge Fund Managers Paid Taxes Like You and Me, We’d Cut 44 Billion of the National Deficit6 Jul
The top 25 hedge fund managers in the United States collectively earned $22 billion last year, and yet they have their own cushy set of tax rules. If they operated under the same rules that apply to other people — police officers, for example, or teachers — the country could cut its national deficit by as much as $44 billion in the next ten years.
The need to put a premium on sustainability is not widely acknowledged in the investment community and certainly not among our elected officials, policy-makers and advisers. This presents an opportunity for astute companies and investors. In the long term, companies will benefit from aggressive action to dematerialize, substitute renewable energy for fossil fuel–based sources, increase energy efficiency, reduce water use and promote reuse, and tighten up sourcing and distribution channels. Investors with an eye on long-term gains will seek companies that are addressing these issues.
BTW: BitCoin may be just the start of good things to come. The infrastructure that is being built around can pave the way for hundreds of different currencies, each with different characteristics and features. If so, the fragmentation of money has finally begun. Nice.
Copyright and patent laws are being used not for the public good, as intended by the Constitution, but to try and keep control of information and ideas themselves. Mega-corporations have extensively extended patents into areas such as information coding—including software and bioengineering, the two greatest examples. The past few decades have seen the extension of copyright far beyond the life of any personal creator, in order to ensure what might be deemed the immortal life of the corporate owner.
But in the wake of the financial crisis, they [ideas and initiatives in socially and environmentally responsible economics] have proliferated and earned a surprising amount of support—and not only among the usual suspects on the left. As the threat of a global climate crisis grows increasingly dire and the nation sinks deeper into an economic slump for which conventional wisdom offers no adequate remedies, more and more Americans are coming to realize that it is time to begin defining, demanding and organizing to build a new-economy movement.
At the cutting edge of experimentation are the growing number of egalitarian, and often green, worker-owned cooperatives. Hundreds of “social enterprises” that use profits for environmental, social or community-serving goals are also expanding rapidly. In many communities urban agricultural efforts have made common cause with groups concerned about healthy nonprocessed food.
Writing at RMI Outlet, the blog for the Rocky Mountain Institute, Amory Lovins draws lessons from Fukishima, noting that the US has 6 plants identical to those and 17 very similar to them. And he notes that that pouring money money in the nuclear swamp will “reduce and retard climate protection.” Thus:
Each dollar spent on a new reactor buys about 2-10 times less carbon savings, 20-40 times slower, than spending that dollar on the cheaper, faster, safer solutions that make nuclear power unnecessary and uneconomic: efficient use of electricity, making heat and power together in factories or buildings (“cogeneration”), and renewable energy. The last two made 18% of the world’s 2009 electricity (while nuclear made 13%, reversing their 2000 shares)–and made over 90% of the 2007-08 increase in global electricity production.Those smarter choices are sweeping the global energy market. Half the world’s new generating capacity in 2008 and 2009 was renewable. In 2010, renewables, excluding big hydro dams, won $151 billion of private investment and added over 50 billion watts (70% the total capacity of all 23 Fukushima-style U.S. reactors) while nuclear got zero private investment and kept losing capacity. Supposedly unreliable windpower made 43-52% of four German states’ total 2010 electricity. Non-nuclear Denmark, 21% windpowered, plans to get entirely off fossil fuels. Hawai’i plans 70% renewables by 2025.
He further notes that:
Japan, for its size, is even richer than America in benign, ample, but long-neglected energy choices. Perhaps this tragedy will call Japan to global leadership into a post-nuclear world. And before America suffers its own Fukushima, it too should ask, not whether unfinanceably costly new reactors are safe, but why build any more, and why keep running unsafe ones. China has suspended reactor approvals. Germany just shut down the oldest 41% of its nuclear capacity for study. America’s nuclear lobby says it can’t happen here, so pile on lavish new subsidies.