Enlightened Capitalism

Essays about how to harness people's natural desire to create wealth and improve their quality of life to solve global problems such as war and poverty.

Saturday, December 31, 2005


There are at least 6 million people (0.1%) on the planet who are dedicated to keeping the earth healthy and habitable and who are willing to spend significant time energy and money toward this end. There are thousands of nonprofits and foundations focusing on the environment and spending billions of dollars each year.

A much smaller group could take over the world. The largest international corporations could be fully taken over by this group in 1 day (do the math). So why are the rainforests still vanishing, why are oil companies still predicting growth, why are we degrading nearly every aspect of our environment faster than ever before?

The answer is simple, lack of organization. Organization means people get behind a common set of goals and a common action plan. They then do what every successful conqueror does, look for an easy target, and take it over. Then look for the next easiest target, and take that over. and so on. The leverage from each victory makes bigger targets feasible.

Now, what goal could everyone rally behind? this is the key. I would love to see the end of pesticide use, destructive farming and herding practices, war, poverty, race discrimination, fossil fuel burning, etc. but in many cases these goals conflict (at least regarding the next step to take), and it is tricky to come up with a strategy that gets us from A to B intact. So environmentalists end up fighting each other (often without realizing it, like when someone is against petroleum so they buy a diesel car and run it on soybean oil, which is grown using pesticides.)

Upon reflection of many alternatives, I believe the proper goal has three parts:

1) Maximise the earth's carrying capacity
2) Ensure a minimum standard of living for all humans
3) Improve the median standard of living

Guided by broad agreement on these commandments, we could map out a strategy for accomplishing them.

Or we can continue to fritter away billions of hours trading recycling strategies, alternative fuel toys, and ecosafe packaging solutions, shaking our heads while we watch millions of species go extinct.


  • At 3:28 pm, Blogger theproofisinthepuddin said…

    I went against your recommendation and started with the most recent post...I agree with the comments you blogged....would like to discuss further but my hands hurt from so much typing today....will later...keep up the efforvescent thinking!!!


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