Sustainability is Proven Better Business

February 21, 2014

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Hunter Lovins in Natural Capitalism Solutions:

It’s become weirdly fashionable to criticise companies cutting their impact on the environment and implementing more sustainable practices as insufficient.

A recent piece by Charles Eisenstein claimed: “Let’s be honest: real sustainability may not make business sense.”

That’s just wrong. More than 50 studies (PDF) from the likes of those wild-eyed environmentalists at Goldman Sachs show that the companies that are the leaders in environment, social and good governance policies are financially outperforming their less sustainable peers. Sustainability is better business –and we can prove it.

Richard Smith in “Green Capitalism: The God That Failed”, gets it even more wrong. He asserts: “The results are in: no amount of ‘green capitalism’ will be able to ensure the profound changes we must urgently make to prevent the collapse of civilisation from the catastrophic impacts of global warming.” He calls for “abolition of capitalist private property in the means of production and the institution of collective bottom-up democratic control over the economy and society.”

Eisenstein’s critique stems from not believing corporate masters are sufficiently spiritual for his taste. I’d argue he’d be surprised at the deep sense of stewardship with which many approach their sustainability commitments. Smith’s Marxist aversion to any form of capitalism makes his assertions silly. It’s easy to pick outrageous corporate behaviour and allege that no form of capitalism can deliver a world that, in Bucky Fuller’s words, “works for 100% of humanity”. Conversely, it would be equally easy to cite decades of environmental and human rights travesties perpetrated by communist governments.

Verbal ping-pong like this reminds me of David Brower’s observation that when the environmental movement is in trouble it circles the wagons and shoots in.

The interesting question that neither critic tackles is that without serious corporate action to implement more sustainable practices, what is it going to take to solve the challenges threatening life (PDF) as we know it?

Rick Ridgeway of Patagonia eloquently describes the temptation to despair, noting that, despite the world’s largest companies implementing more sustainable practices, “every global indicator of the health of our planet has continued to trend in the wrong direction”.

We’ve often asked each other: what is a strategy of change that can tackle the gnarly challenges fast enough to make a difference? That said, Rick’s sticking with Patagonia, and serves with me on the sustainability advisory board of Unilever North America.

Are companies doing enough? Of course not. Do we need government involvement? Of course, and it would be nice if we had functional governments. None of us are doing enough. But, without the sustainability commitments of companies, we’d be in far worse shape.

Smith challenges business advocates to come up with a plan. OK, here’s one.

In my book, The Way Out: Kickstarting Capitalism to Save Our Economic Ass, I argue that we should assume climate chaos is a hoax. Because we know how to solve it at a profit, doing it will make you a lot of money. If it turns out to be the most serious problem facing humanity, solving it will still make a lot of money. Either way, let’s go. We can argue over the science later. WWF and CDP showed that, if businesses cut carbon emissions by an average of 3% annually, they’d save up to $190bn in 2020 alone, or $780bn over 10 years. McKinsey agrees, but puts the number to be saved eliminating carbon waste at $2.9tn annually.

Let’s entrepreneur our way out. Some of my graduates created a company,Eos Climate, to turn refrigerant gasses from particularly nasty greenhouse drivers to corporate assets, worth tracking in a chain of custody, recycling and ultimately destroying. Every step saves or makes money. Doing it would cut 17 giga-tons of carbon equivalent per year from the US economy, precisely the amount we need to get back to 350 parts per million CO2 concentration.

Or Jigar Shah‘s call to entrepreneur 100 businesses of $100m in renewable energy for a $10tn economy, displacing that 17 giga-tons.

All this buys time to enable us to implement what my investor friend John Fullerton calls the regenerative economy. His Capital Institute’s Field Guide to Investing in a Regenerative Economy profiles better businesses that are truly regenerative.

I’ll stake a wager that over the next decade companies will do more to cut carbon emissions than advocates for enhanced consciousness or collective governance. It’s irresponsible to reject opportunities to cut environmental impact and enhance human wellbeing simply because they boost business metrics. It’s fine to argue for alternative politics or greater compassion, but, for those of us in the trenches, I’ll take my spirituality in a more applied form and a good capitalist over a bureaucrat any day.

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39 Responses to “Sustainability is Proven Better Business”

  1. A Siegel Says:

    Without question, the entire economics “profession” has been overstating the costs and understating the benefits of pursuing climate mitigation — not least in the arena of direct business benefits through ‘greening’ (whether greening office buildings, supply chains, products, etc …).

    For a discussion of how the analysis gets it wrong, see: http://getenergysmartnow.com/2012/08/19/climate-sanity-and-the-necessity-of-fully-burdened-cost-and-benefit-analysis/


  2. Capitalism can be green. Or not. Renewables are valuable and growing. Anything growing can fit with the concept of compound growth. It’s a stretch to claim that it is compatible with sustainability. Capitalism measures success by growth. GNP measures economic success. Sustainability does not equal growth. Something has to give. Everyone wants to continue the unfettered growth experienced since the industrial revolution. It’s mathematically impossible. Population, resource demands, and on cannot grow indefinitely. There are limits. Rate limits. Carrying limits. All kinds of limits. We are beginning to understand a new kind of growth. Replacement growth. CDs replace records. DVDs replace tapes. iPads replace CDs. iPhones replace organizers, wristwatches, calendars…. Netflix replaces blockbuster. Renewables replace fossil fuels. It’s happened before. Coal replaced wood. Oil replaced coal. Natural gas replaced coal and oil. Cleaner fuels allowed growth. Now we have peak conventional oil, copper, and other resources soon to follow. Not compatible with exponential growth. For now, we must dance with the one that got us there. Tesla uses capitalism to get us to sustainability. As others have noted, this is the production of an exclusive car for the wealthiest few. Granted, the future holds more affordable vehicles for the masses. The point is, capitalism is predictable. It demands growth and concentrates power with the fewest and supersedes government. It is a real world “Matrix” that drives it’s unconscious denizens. Kochs and starving Africans are not an aberration. They are products of the world they exist in. If not Kochs, someone else would take their place. They do it because it’s a system that facilitates and demands monopoly, concentration of wealth and power, and growth. It brought us exponential growth and all that goes with it. I came to the party with it, but I, for one, know I am not leaving with it.


  3. The critique of Eisenstein does not serve him well. “Considerations such as ‘what do you really care about’ and ‘who do you serve’ should be drivers of sustainability, not profit.” That’s the first sentence.
    “By appealing to the business case for sustainability, we limit green practices to the very narrow subset that involve little cost, little risk, and little disruption to business as usual. Such arguments also have a further, pernicious effect: they imply that the right basis for making ecologically-sensitive decisions is according to what makes business sense. By saying, “Go green because you’ll make more profit,” they affirm that profit is the right motive.”
    Lovins response misses that point. Gingerbaker? I’ve heard the non profit motive from you before and I agree. The issue is in two parts. What drives the economic system, money or values? The other question, is capitalism compatible with sustainability? This a time and place for setting aside the past and examining what we do now and in the future. It requires really understanding our values, and aligning them with everyday life on a global scale. It’s a test for the human race.


  4. […] Hunter Lovins in Natural Capitalism Solutions: It’s become weirdly fashionable to criticise companies cutting their impact on the environment and implementing more sustainable practices as insuffic…  […]

  5. jimbills Says:

    Jeepers this is bass ackwards, but whatever.

    Please read Eisenstein’s actual article before subscribing to the spin of it as portrayed here, and make up your own mind:
    http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/sustainability-business-sense-profit-purpose


    • Listen to this with a mature mind. I don’t agree completely, but a lot of important issues are raised. Thomas Friedman has this “hot, flat, and crowded” notion. Also sometimes humorous. I like Green is the new red, white, and blue. He knows change has to be radical, but stops short with a carbon tax. Not buying it.

      Maybe we should look at it like the comedian Hicks looks at marketing. Business looks at “green” as the “green dollar”. The don’t care if it is or not, as long as they can sell it. That expresses the “greenwashing” phenomena. Sometimes green is good for business. But if green is NOT good for business, how is that going to happen? Only one way. Values. Its a choice. We are not mindless numb consumers in “The Matrix”. At least not if we unplug our cyberjacks. But “The Matrix”, is a self serving, self sustaining entity, sucking our lifeblood. We want to fantasize that our ethics and values can be isolated from our consumerist lifestyle. Impossible. Caution, bad language.

  6. rayduray Says:

    I wish I could find Hunter Lovins credible. But, alas, I find her to be sticking to the cornucopian wishful thinking of the past. Alas, I think she’s willfully blinding herself to the realities we face.

    She fails to address the fact that greenhouse gas emission rates are going the wrong way. And humanity is failing to come up with any controls at all.

    She fails to address the clear pattern of climate disruption and climate chaos that is escalating every decade. (She should spend some time with the actuaries at Munich RE for some education on the topic.)

    She fails to address uncontrolled human population growth and the implications of this failure to plan by our species. Just for one recent example, the African elephant is considered at risk for extinction. In 1970 there were as many as 50 million elephants roaming the savannas of East Africa. Today it is estimated there are no more than 400,000. The illegal hunting pressure on the elephant is overwhelming. The poachers are now using rocket propelled grenades to kill the elephants and harvest the lucrative ivory. This is good for trinket shop capitalism in China. Why doesn’t Lovins address this? Poachers will not stop breeding, just because they are about to destroy their illegal livelihood.

    Field experiments in India indicate that for every one degree Centigrade above the ideal, that grain production falls by 10%. The International Energy Agency, a very conservative and industry friendly group, estimates that the planet’s temperature is on a course to rise by FOUR degrees Centigrade within 86 years. So while the planet’s human burden (mouths to feed) will increase by about 30% by 2100, the potential is there for a 40% cut in productivity of grain growing in our most populous regions (such as northern India).

    Capitalists of the oceans have managed to secure tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to build huge fish catching fleets that are vacuuming out the oceans. Dr. Daniel Pauly of the Univ. of British Columbia among others states that since 1950 and the introduction of modern trawling fleets that 90% of the commercially valuable fish in the ocean have disappeared. We ate them. And if one goes back farther and extrapolates the very sketchy records back to 1900, a case can be made that 98% to 99% of the commercially desirable fish extant at that time no longer exist to be caught and eaten.

    And just how does Hunter Lovins propose to feed us? With a Kickstart scheme? Kickstart what, exactly, Hunter? A new buzzword economy?

    • dumboldguy Says:

      What’s your answer, Ray? I personally think we may be screwed, because we have so many failings as humans, and we will likely not “unscrew” ourselves because we have so many failings as humans. I mentioned the snake swallowing its tail on another thread—-it lives here also.


      • I surely do not have all the answers. I am hoping to understand the problem. I try to take everything with a grain of salt and not worry too much about whether I wake up tomorrow. Since I seem to keep waking up, every day I try to do something. It takes a lot of patience. It also takes a lot of faith to remain hopeful. It could be considered irrational and it is, to be optimistic, but I do it anyway. I consider my choices, and I am glad to be alive anyway. All those problems are just more challenges and more work that gives us something to do. I really don’t think things are different than when we were afraid nuclear bombs would rain on us, or the world was being destroyed in WW2, or the Plague and so on. Actually, I think they were a lot more miserable a long time ago. They still partied. And they made us. And we are here. No sense in regretting it. We are just ignorant enough to be happy. We are just a little sad now because we learned more than we could swallow.

      • rayduray Says:

        Hi guy,

        Re: What’s your answer, Ray? I personally think we may be screwed,

        I think the business as usual direction we are heading in is leading us inexorably to a very unhappy die off for a significant percentage of the populace due to poverty and starvation. You’ve no doubt heard the old wisdom, “if something can’t go on forever, it won’t”. This is the boat (Ark?) we are in with human population growth. Currently world’s most ominous hockey stick chart? I’d go with this one: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

        But the good news is that the crash isn’t occurring yet. In fact, right now it is estimated that the human population is growing by 228,000 new mouths to feed per day. https://www.populationinstitute.org/programs/gpso/gpso/

        Compare that to 2008 when the population was only growing by 213,000 per day. We’re obviously not dying off just yet.

        So, yeah, we’re screwed but it will be incremental. For example, here in Oregon, the price of feeder cattle just went from last year’s average $132 per hundredweight to $150 per hundredweight due to the drought and the lack of feed and shrinking herds. This is a significant inflationary number, especially considering that the size of the U.S. beef herd is currently about as small as it was in 1950, when the population of the U.S. was half of what it is today. Of course we’ll adapt by becoming more vegetarian in our proclivities, and probably actually be healthier for it.

        ***
        The answer, as far as I am concerned, lies in controlling our numbers. Anything else is simply applying band-aids to an utterly unsustainable biological blight on the planet. However, I am well aware that such a statement is considered entirely politically incorrect as well as racist. So, I don’t actually have much optimism regarding the near term arrival of humanity at a state of sustainable and stable edenic utopia. Rather, I find myself in agreement with Leftie Mike Davis who speculates that most of humanity will largely inhabit a dystopian “Planet Of Slums” in the 21st Century.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          You hit it with “simply applying band-aids to an utterly unsustainable biological blight on the planet”.

          And saying “However, I am well aware that such a statement is considered entirely politically incorrect as well as racist” is paying totally irrelevant and unneeded lip service. The science of human biology and population dynamics does not care about politics or “sensitivities”—-we are just another animal among many in the biosphere. The fact that we have been able to control our environment as no other species has merely means that we have sown the seeds of our own destruction. “Nature bats last”{ is not just a clever saying—politics and racial sensitivities won’t mean much when we’re all dead at our own hand.

        • andrewfez Says:

          Well, I gather that resource wars are the most politically correct ways to kill off people to alleviate the population scourge; after all, when you kill people for their stuff, you’re ‘fighting for freedom’; it’s very patriotic. ‘Course that freedom entails being fruitful and multiplying to populate the entire place with Christian souls, and so on…

          Wiki says there’s about 3,794,101 sq miles of US on planet earth. That’s about 1.057×10^14 or if you factor out about 6% water coverage, 1 x 10^14 sq ft. Say the average house is 2500sqft and each house has 4 people in it. That means if you cover the US from sea to shining sea with houses, you’d have 160 Billion citizens. Just houses; no convenience stores or waste water treatment plants; just houses. Current growth rate in the US is 0.71%. That means it will only take us 882 years before we can make ReMax’s wettest dreams come true. Not very long a time considering we were doing significant things historically 882 years ago, and at that point, more that 1000 years had past since the time of the Romans and birth of geometry and such.

          Way before then – that next 882 years, we’ll have to draw straws to figure out who will be a feudal overlord and who will be a peasant. I just hope the game isn’t rigged…

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Nice math exercise, and deniers often do similar ones to “prove” that there’s plenty or room and plenty of time. You forgot that in addition to the water (which we could cover with houseboats) we are not likely to build houses in Death Valley or on the slopes of the Grand Tetons or the top of Mt. Shasta. The amount of really habitable land in the U.S. is a lot less than you’d imagine, and we need a lot of it to grow food on.

            The same kinds of calculations have been done for the whole planet, and the estimates of earth’s carrying capacity vary widely. It does look like we are bumping up against it right now, and many arguments can be made that we have already passed it, which inconvenient truth will become quite evident before 2100.


          • World population is expected to peak at 10 billion by 2037 if memory serves, because of declining growth. This does not consider the inevitable effects of climate change or a host of humans other effects. Does not consider how many people the earth can support in a post fossil fuel, post GW era. Lower? Likely.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_growth
            The population hockey stick is even more spectacular than Carbon.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Yes, the human population hickey stick IS spectacular.

            Google “Images for human population growth over human history” for lots of other visual representations of information. I’m a visual guy, and I have spent hours looking at the data there—-fascinating stuff.

          • andrewfez Says:

            I wonder what the carrying capacity of the US really is? I’m talking little or no artificial fertilizer for growing food, and farmland transiently allowed to remain fallow until it’s nutrients are rejuvenated by way of being reclaimed by the forest. True sustainability. The 1800’s were partially sustainable, where animals would help re-fertilize your land and then you’d eat the animals, grind up the bones and scatter such on the land. Land was also partially reinvigorated by way of artificial grass (cocksfoot, clover, sainfoin, meadow fescue) pulling in nitrogen from the air and fixing it in the ground.

            Would it be around 100 million, which we had right before the Haber process got going?

            Or do composting techniques allow for more people? My dad has been growing food on his property for 40 years, just using compost from kitchen scraps and leaves that fall on his property from the trees (he has forest out back of the place). He also had apple trees when i was growing up.

            Food forests? – getting protein from nuts and such.

          • andrewfez Says:

            Or is it more than 100 million, since we use so much of our farmland feeding other people from around the world?


    • This on fishing, right from Smith, Beyond Growth or Beyond Capitalism
      Daly believes that the role of the state should just be to “impose … quantitative limits on aggregate throughput … within which the market can safely function, and then the market is left alone.” [laissez faire capitalsim]45 But what exactly does this mean? Efficient for what end? Optimal for whom? And by leaving the corporations “alone” to maximize capitalist efficiency and optimality according to their interests, doesn’t this just open the way to further social and environmental destruction and thus undermine Daly’s social and environmental goals?
      If satellite-guided fishing trawlers, with nets the size of several football fields, are the most efficient means of maximizing the fish catch at the lowest possible price, but this strip-mining of the oceans has wiped out fishery after fishery, depleting many global fisheries to the point of extinction, even starving dolphins and seals, while wrecking the ocean bottoms, demolishing coral reefs and destroying deep-water ecologies – what is optimal about this market allocation of resources from the standpoint of humanity, nature and future generations of fish – and fish eaters?

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Actually, although all that and more is true about how capitalism has destroyed “fishing”, it may all be moot. The increasing acidification of the oceans may soon destroy the phytoplankton that form the base of the oceanic food chains, and when that occurs, there will be no more “fish stocks” to over-exploit and deplete. Problem solved (?)

      • rayduray Says:

        Hi Christopher,

        Regarding ocean depletion, I’ve watched the destruction of the fisheries off the Oregon Coast since the introduction of “draggers” in the late 1970s. At first the consumer enjoyed a remarkable bounty. Lots of remarkably inexpensive bottom fish and shellfish such as sea scallops ended up flooding our seafood markets. Then the long decline began and by the mid-2000s the fishery had to be shut down because all the fish were gone. Oops.

        And now we’re faced with a timid effort on the part of ecologists and sympathetic politicians to attempt to set up marine reserves to act as nurseries for the depleted stocks of bottom fish, etc. Lo and behold, this is almost impossible to achieve, because the forces of capitalist extraction refuse to believe that they have killed the fishery. We are one foolish species. Foolish and delusional. And globally so:

    • jimbills Says:

      She thinks that by converting a handful of companies to do things like install solar panels on their roofs to cover 30% of their electricity and to recycle more (with the added bonus that their marketing department can pitch how ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ they are) that’s she’s the true environmentalist warrior. And no doubt, some companies doing something, however little, to cut their waste and prevent a fraction of the total pollution entering ecosystems is a positive.

      But her approach is to cede the war in order to win a few battles.

      Such people believe in what they’re doing, and bless them, truly. They are having some impact. But they are essentially corrupted into being defenders of the status quo. While they help reduce say, 1% (probably an overestimate) of the pollution entering the biosphere, they are defending a system that grows and grows – dwarfing the meager gains these people make.

      They don’t see it, because their business model won’t allow them to see it.

      So, whatever. They have the floor right now. Business and systems people are listening to them – not people like Eisenstein. If they’re going to save the world, then get to it. But we’re putting all our eggs in that basket, and we’re basically doubling down on the profit motive, a motive that largely got us here in the first place.

      I’ll repeat on of her phrases: “I argue that we should assume climate chaos is a hoax. Because we know how to solve it at a profit, doing it will make you a lot of money. If it turns out to be the most serious problem facing humanity, solving it will still make a lot of money.”

      Really mull on that a bit.

      • rayduray Says:

        Hey Jim,

        When Hunter Lovins wrote “I argue that we should assume climate chaos is a hoax. “ I had to stop and re-read that sentence twice more. The arrogance and intellectual dishonesty of that statement simply took my breath away. This is the sort of statement I’d expect from Exxon’s Rex Tillerson or Charles Koch. Not from a green team star. Apparently corporate callousness runs the gamut from far Right to fake Left.


      • I ask her to explain what profit motive is stopping tar sands in Canada, Australian coal and US coal in India and China, and arctic drilling? It’s hard to make a case for green profit allaying dirty endeavors in the future when it’s failing now. What business case is telling the oil companies to leave it in the ground and close shop? Not real. No. Eisenstein is right. Values matter. It was foolish of Lovins to dismiss spirituality. I know the word is little respected now, but it is the key to breaking the lock this alienated, wage slave, morally and psychologically bankrupt culture has on us. That’s why Smith’s title has God in it. It’s intentional, not accidental or casual. Why are we making the dollar a god? Doesn’t that imply we live in a spiritual wasteland of values subservient to the almighty dollar?

  7. Cy Halothrin Says:

    Peter, I hate to say this, but believing anything that Goldman-Sachs says is like believing in the tooth fairy. I’m not arguing that sustainability isn’t a better business model, at least in the long run. But I find great irony in quoting a Goldman-Sachs study as a source of such information, especially since their whole business model epitomizes short-term greed and long-term unsustainability. This is the company that engaged in (and continues engaging in) ripping off their own customers, their business partners, and ultimately the US taxpayers when they had to be bailed out. They, more than anyone else, pushed for the deregulation of banking that made the whole 2008 crash possible, and which would have destroyed their own business had not the US government jumped in with the $700 billion TARP, followed by QE I, II & III, with a total price tag in excess of $16 trillion and still rising.

    When you think of Goldman-Sachs, think of them as Enron-on-steroids.

    If you get a chance, pick up Matt Taibbi’s “Griftopia”…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griftopia

    Although not my favorite person, when I think of Goldman-Sachs, I think of something Lenin once wrote:

    “When it comes time to hang all good capitalists, they will be found bidding on the rope contract.”

  8. climatebob Says:

    In New Zealand we get 85% of our electricity from renewable s, mostly hydro and geothermal and our last big energy bill is oil for transport. If we steadily converted our transport to electricity by electrifying our rail, city buses and urban cars we could save a huge import bill. That would make good economic sense, it would improve the economy and health of our citizens.

  9. rayduray Says:

    Messiah or the next mess-maker? Billionaire Tom Steyer steps up the climate change money game.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/18/us/politics/financier-plans-big-ad-campaign-on-environment.html

    In brief: “A billionaire retired investor is forging plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election, seeking to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers.”

    Ray again. The amount proposed, $100 Million begins to look like serious money. But the first $11 Million spent by Steyer on old-school Democratic Leadership Council candidate Terry McCauliffe indicates to me that this is more about propping up the right wing corporatist element of the Democratic Party than it is about real climate change action.

    I’ll be damned curious to see who Steyer deigns to be worthy of his millions. Will there be conflicts between PR-savvy greenwashers and real progressives? Who will Steyer support? Stay tuned for the answers.

    I had an interesting insight watching this video. At about Minute 2:06 President Obama lays out the criterion for acceptance of the Keystone XL pipeline. He states that “the national interest will be served only if this pipeline does not exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution….” As far as my reading of the recently released State Dept. environmental assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Dept. has made exactly that determination. Game over. Time to switch channels.

    Reuters does a wicked “knife-in-the-front” job pointing out that Tom Steyer has significant investments both in BP and in pipeline giant Kinder-Morgan. How green is that?

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Ray, As you skip through the fields of Occupy, you really need to stop and smell the flowers—-some are very stinky, and you saying “money spent on old-school Democratic Leadership Council candidate Terry McCauliffe indicates to me that this is more about propping up the right wing corporatist element of the Democratic Party than it is about real climate change action” leads me to believe your nose is quite dysfunctional.

      I live in VA and my tiredoldnose tells me that the object of spending all that money was to defeat KEN CUCCINELLI, and McAuliffe was merely the vehicle. Do you remember who KookyNelly is and what he stands for? The WORLD should be thankful he lost. Your concern with “propping up the right wing corporatist element of the Democratic Party” is misplaced.

      • rayduray Says:

        guy,

        You’ve just made the classic “lesser of two evils” argument. This has come to infuriate me.

        The first political campaign I worked on was that of Eugene McCarthy, 1968’s peace candidate. I was 18 years old and not eligible to vote, but I could walk the neighborhoods and do my part to educate the public that a better world is possible.

        I haven’t quite given up on that idea. That a better world is possible.

        What I would say however is that America has drifted severely to the Right since our Flower Power/New Left era.

        Here’s an example of what this drift looks like: http://www.politicalcompass.org/uselection2012

        As you can see, Barack Obama is not the leftist socialist portrayed by the likes of Fox News. Obama is an errand boy for Wall Street capitalism. The American people have been duped about their politics by both political parties.

        One thing you can be sure of in Virginia. You won’t have to fight the insanity the Cuccinelli’s crowd on social issues. But, OTOH, you’ll find it almost impossible to fight off the efforts of McAuliffe to sell off Virginia’s common wealth to his buddies on Wall Street with their magical cash-raising privatization and tax relief schemes.

        It’s only a question of whether you are getting skinned alive from the nose down or from the arse hole up.

        I like the way that Huey Long put it:

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Ray,
          I’m sorry you have “come to be infuriated” by the very obvious truth that we are often confronted with “lesser of two evils” situations in life and politics, and must in fact often make the intelligent decision and choose the lesser of two evils.

          I am a charter member of P.O.O.P. (People Offended by Offended People), so you’ll have to excuse me when I show little sympathy for your “infuriation cum offendedness” or whatever little snit it is that my comments have brought on.

          What I would say to YOU is that America has drifted INSANELY to the Right since our Flower Power/New Left era, and I am very worried that we are going to go down the tubes. The emergence of the far right crazies on the national scene and the damage done by Citizen’s United and related court rulings may be too much to overcome.

          The political compass analysis is not news to me. Anyone who has been paying attention has known that Obama is far too much in the pocket of Wall Street. He has had a string of Goldman-Sachs alumni whispering in his ear for his entire tenure and before, for god’s sake. I voted for him in 2008 to keep Caribou Barbie out of the presidential succession and in 2012 to keep Wall Street Personified out of the seat in the oval office. Lesser of two evils, indeed.

          You say, “As you can see, Barack Obama is not the leftist socialist portrayed by the likes of Fox News. Obama is an errand boy for Wall Street capitalism. The American people have been duped about their politics by both political parties.”

          It annoys me that you think you are so smart that you would talk down to us like this (not infuriated or offended, just annoyed). Those of us that study politics, history, human behavior, and economics along with climate science need no such condescension from you. You DO need to stop smelling the “flower power” flowers of 1968 and start smelling the skunk cabbage that has replaced it (and yes, it has been planted and fertilized by nearly ALL politicians)

          You overreach when you talk about “the efforts of McAuliffe to sell off Virginia’s common wealth to his buddies on Wall Street with their magical cash-raising privatization and tax relief schemes”, Ray. I call BS on you there, and again remind you that McAuliffe is Mother Theresa compared to KookyNelly et al. Time will tell, but I can’t believe whatever he does will be a tiny fraction of the damage that Kooky would have done (and has already done as Atty General).

          You remind me of the “protesters” that used to try to “sit in” in front of the doors to campus buildings back in the late 60’s. Mad at many things, and rightly so for the most part, but unable to focus and do anything meaningful but thrash. We “adults” used to politely direct them away from the doors and out onto the lawn so that we could enter the buildings and do our jobs. Of course, the fact that we told them we would kick their young asses (gently) if they didn’t move may have helped convince them to alter their “politics”.


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