CBO Blasts Ethanol

An article published last Thrusday by the Washington Times suggests that federal support for corn ethanol has large negative consequences and a dubious impact on the environment. It seems that the Congressional Budget Office is catching up to the many critics of ethanol (for some of our own criticism of ethanol, feel free to check here). This should be the final nail in the coffin for aggressive corn-based ethanol policies. Continue reading

Green-tech investment falls 50%, but it’s no time to worry

The first quarter of 2009 saw a sharp decline in all forms of investment in clean-tech and energy both compared with a year ago, as well as the fourth quarter of 2008. Overall, the $13.3 billion invested was down 53% from the previous year and 44% from the last quarter. Investments in new renewable-energy projects led the decline, with venture capital investments also dropping 22% and a near evaporation of all investment in pure-play clean energy companies. However, this raw figure does not tell the entire story for the industry, nor is it necessarily indicative of a trend.

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G-20 Protests – Just Say No to Capitalism

As world leaders, activists and the media descend on London for the G-20 summit, there seems to be a clear message from all parties involved:  something needs to be done.  The real question is not whether action is necessary, but rather what is the problem what is it’s cause.  Politicians have turned their attention to greater macroeconomic stability and recovery while many disagree with merits of recent actions taken by governments, as well as the ignorance of other real problems that should be at the forefront.    Certainly the process reeks with unfairness, but must that be endured to preserve our economy and prevent a disaster?

It’s important to ask ourselves what we are trying to preserve.  GDP?  Employment?  Companies on the brink of ruin?  The “greater good” is certainly not fully measured by any one statistic or indicator, and any attempts to quantify it would be inherently misrepresented.  Many activists present in London clearly seek anything but the preservation of the current system perverse with oppressive and unfair structures that place value in many questionable areas while undervaluing community, equity and the general public good.  The ranks of those vulnerable to exploitation of all kinds would grow tremendously under any transition away from a capitalist system.  There can be hope for a benevolent and autocratic government or an anarchic utopia free of consolidated power, but these hopes are no more realistic than free market idealism.  As it seems to be quite often, the answer (if there is one) lies in the middle ground.

However, these views are surely not the only ones in the crowd of thousands of protesters.  Many others seek to place these values back into the system, making the rules of trade fair and demanding consideration for the unemployed, underappreciated and underprivileged in society.  For those sharing these views, it would not be beneficial for capitalism to collapse, but rather for there to be reform and rethinking.  It is paramount that we ask if the current strategies put forth will truly create results in line with our values.  Only then can we put aside preconceived assumptions on all sides and work towards solutions and a better future.