Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Are America's capitalist titans really going green?

Are America's capitalist titans really going green? You may want to read the article that follows what I have written here first.

Below is the article I am responding to.

I do not have any faith in corporations and the capitalist system solving our energy problems or solving the problems associated with global warming as this article below alludes to.

In fact, the coal plants are not needed because the energy is needed elsewhere... Russia, Eastern Europe, China, and India as production (and jobs) are moved to areas of cheap labor and cheap natural resources. Right now Russia is being raped of its natural resources by its capitalist "saviors;" forests being clear-cut at an unprecedented rate, all kinds of minerals extracted without concern for people or the environment, formerly state-owned enterprises and collectives now have no labor laws that have to be obeyed and often workers aren't even paid anything as one company abandons the privatized companies and new owners refuse to pay the wages owed; huge refineries and mills are in full production with everything being brought over here or shipped to China and India and the end product shipped over here... when you are stealing all of this from everyone else in the world using their energy resources to boot you don't have to build new power plants here.

When we buy the new "compact fluorescent light bulbs"(CFBs) from Wal-mart that are manufactured in China we will be cutting out the need for a lot of energy... as we save in kilowatts we use, we will be paying more as these companies raise their rates to maintain, and increase, profits.

Why would anyone want to build more power generating capacity here when you can sucker people into throwing away perfectly good light bulbs and buy new ones that conserve on power and you can charge people more for conserving? I'd like to know how much it costs for General Electric to manufacture these new CFB's in China, and how much profit is in these bulbs sold in the millions by Wal-mart. All these companies from General Electric to Wal-mart to the power generating industries profit at our expense and this is the way capitalists become "green;" the only green they care about is the green of money. Everything has become a racket... first these "titans of capitalism" rape Mother Nature through the exploitation of labor, then they turn around and screw working people, again, using these schemes that are then portrayed as "green."

This entire capitalist rat race where consumerism is pushed down our throats without our input has to end. Only a cooperative socialist system will be able to really put an end to this wasteful consumerism and consumption that ends up in landfills we can't control.

If we organized society based upon what human beings really require for meaningful lives rather than what the Madison Avenue advertising industry is hired by corporations to make us think we need, we could cut the production of energy very significantly and once every one's basic needs have been met, then, as a society we can plan and decide what other things are really needed considering the consequences to Mother Nature, the availability of resources and labor, etc.

I don't recall people ever making a democratic decision leaving these "tiatans of capitalism" in charge of doing our thinking and planning our future for us... talk about voting and democracy and you have a couple financial companies taking over control of a massive energy producing empire like this article talks about; and, having accumulated this kind of obscene wealth...

I never even heard of these corporations, and here they are playing "Let's Make A Deal;" does anyone ever bother to stop and ask the question: How is it they have accumulated such tremendous wealth? This money didn't grow on trees... gees, there may not even be that many trees left in this country worth this much.

At some point we need to ask what the hell is going on here... not praise these damn corporations for turning "green." I would be willing to guess that if they accumulated this kind of wealth in the energy producing industries that they are largely responsible for much of the pollution and contamination of our streams, rivers, lakes, land, and the air we need to breath... and guess who is getting stuck with the bills to clean up the messes they created? The same Minnesota legislators who voted to the tune of $800,000,000.00 for the first phase of getting rid of mercury contamination largely created by the power generating industries can't come up with funding to keep the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant operating as a non-polluting, publicly owned manufacturing venture to build clean mass transit, or wind or solar devices... yet the companies responsible for this pollution are making this deal and we are all supposed to be happy and smile.

I would be willing to bet that these two financial giants will have it written in the contract that they will bear no responsibility to pay for any environmental clean-ups... you can bet that any deal like this taking place in Texas will have George Bush making sure of that.

The primary goal of industrial production should be to see to it that every human being has adequate food, housing, health care, education, clothes, and recreational opportunities. .. that society has museums and libraries accessible for all. The wealthy go to the symphony; our kids go deaf listening to MP3s and IPODs. The rich can buy their books;libraries are closing, cutting back on hours of operation, and charging outrageous user fees.

No one sees anything wrong with any of this as this kind of scandalous deal involving such tremendous wealth goes down between these "titans of capitalism?"

Has anyone bothered to ask how it is that one financial empire is able to cut back on energy produced with coal, but the existing empire can not?

This fallacy of capitalist "markets" being required to propel society forward; or, that these "markets" will solve our problems like global warming is all a bunch of crap; these capitalists are only going to do what is profitable for them, and this has to come to an end... it is this endless and relentless drive for profits on the part of these capitalist corporations and finance capitalists that got us into the present mess we are in.

While these "titans of capitalism" were creating this mess that has brought us global warming and ruined so many lives of working people, these "titans of capitalism" were making big money... they had to have been or else they wouldn't be able to engage in this kind of deal. Now these same "titans of capitalism" are going to turn another quick profit, again, at the expense of working people who will lose their jobs, their homes, and their health care because we all know that when any big deal of this nature goes down a lot of working people will suffer.

America's "titans of capitalism" are not turning green... they have always been green--- money green; the color of capitalism will always be green... but this is not the kind of green most of humanity has in mind.

Think about this:

Here you have this kind of wealth in one single capitalist deal on the one hand; on the other hand we have Minnesota legislators saying they can't afford to take over the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and place it under public ownership; or, come up with the funds for a world-class, comprehensive, no-fee, single-payer, universal health care system.

Something is drastically wrong with this picture.


This is the article:

When Being Green Puts You in the Black

By Daniel C. Esty
Op-ed / The Washington Post / Sunday, March 4, 2007; B01

Daniel C. Esty is the Hillhouse Professor at Yale University and the co-author, with Andrew Winston, of "Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage" (Yale University Press).

Are America's capitalist titans really going green?

This week's announcement that two of the country's largest private equity firms, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group, will purchase the Dallas-based utility TXU made headlines, and not just because the $45 billion deal represents the largest private equity transaction in history. The even bigger news was the environmental dimension of the takeover proposal. It calls for scaling back construction of new coal-fired power plants, ramping up commitments to wind and solar power, supporting mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency.

One can overdo the hyperbole here, of course. Henry Kravis -- allegedly the model for the 1980s bestseller "Barbarians at the Gate" -- isn't just a Green Knight riding into the Lone Star State to save it from a polluted future. He's a smart businessman who wants to make money. And that is just the point.

This deal shows that we are in the midst of a revolution. Environmental progress no longer depends on hundreds of bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency mandating what piece of pollution-control equipment will be on each smokestack. Government must continue to set standards. But the burden of innovation and technology development will shift to the private sector.

Moving from "command and control" regulations to a market approach to environmental protection means that there will be real costs for pollution -- including a price to be paid for greenhouse-gas emissions -- for every business. But these costs sharpen the economic incentives for pollution control research and development, and create big opportunities for companies that come up with solutions for society's environmental problems.

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, CEOs fell over one another stepping up to the issue of climate change. Companies large and small are redoubling their environmental efforts in the face of Wal-Mart's demands that its suppliers reduce waste and improve energy efficiency. Billions of dollars of venture capital are flowing into alternative energy and pollution control technology. Leading companies -- call them "WaveRiders" -- have begun to fold environmental thinking into their corporate strategies.

They recognize that we face a carbon-constrained future. While the Bush administration remains opposed to the emissions limits of the Kyoto Protocol, the European Union has imposed greenhouse-gas- reduction obligations on its industries and set up a carbon market to facilitate cost-effective implementation of these requirements. Dozens of American states have likewise taken action in response to the threat of climate change. In fact, five Western states, following the lead of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, announced plans last week to set up their own system for trading carbon emissions. And more than 400 U.S. mayors have committed their cities to emissions-reduction targets.

The next U.S. president is almost certain to bring the nation back into climate-change negotiations and commit to a "beyond Kyoto" set of greenhouse gas reductions.

With the prospect that carbon emissions will soon bear a price -- and perhaps an escalating one -- the decision by the new owners of TXU to steer away from a focus on carbon-intensive coal-based power makes good business sense. In fact, leading-edge companies nationwide are factoring in carbon charges and thus higher prices for burning fossil fuels into their business planning models. This new approach has several important implications. By making companies pay for every increment of pollution, society puts an economic premium on vigorous environmental effort, and forces executives to make pollution control and management of natural resources a core part of their strategy.

Companies that fail to grasp this point put themselves at competitive risk. Ford Motor Co. teeters on the edge of bankruptcy because it did not spot the public's emerging desire for more fuel-efficient and less-polluting vehicles. At the same time, Toyota reported record profits last year because it put these issues at the center of its design strategy, which includes hybrid engines, "lightweighting" of its vehicles through the use of carbon fiber and other advanced materials, and "smart systems" that use computer power to improve efficiency and performance.

The environmental imperative on business arises not just from tighter regulation, but also from the reality of higher energy costs, shortages of natural resources and pressure from environmentally oriented stakeholders, such as those who shaped the TXU deal. With energy costs rising, an expanded focus on conservation and efficiency will pay off in many areas. From high-efficiency LED lighting to smart appliances and green buildings, opportunities to link information- age technology to environmental challenges abound.

A growing number of companies are finding their business plans pinched by limits imposed by nature. For example, Coca-Cola's ability to sell soft drinks depends on access to water, something that cannot be taken for granted in markets such as India. Today, many companies are operating in communities that care deeply about the environment. And employees increasingly want to work for companies that have good environmental records in line with their values. Top corporate leaders recognize that environmental issues represent more than a set of regulations to follow or costs to bear. There are enormous profit opportunities for companies that respond to climate change, water shortages, air pollution and other problems. Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and chief executive of General Electric Co., for example, is selling off his plastics business to focus on high-growth, high-margin environmental goods and services, such as more efficient jet engines, wind power, solar energy and water

This new approach to environmental progress has several important implications. By making companies pay for every increment of pollution, society puts a premium on vigorous environmental effort and forces executives to make pollution control and natural resource management a core part of their strategy. So KKR and TPG have most certainly have not gone soft. The masters of the universe have not given in to greenmail in a fit of political correctness. To the contrary, they are super-sophisticated business people who have learned that success in the marketplace now depends on getting corporate environmental strategy right.


Daniel C. Esty is the Hillhouse Professor at Yale University and the co-author, with Andrew Winston, of "Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage" (Yale University Press).