As Klein points out the security and gun market is winning out even though there are government subsidies and incentives for green technology developments. Some of the green technology also may be going to the better off. Poorer people can not afford to buy new hybrid cars. They can only afford old environmentally unfriendly smog producers. In fact that is what I drive. Poorer people cannot afford solar or geothermal heating.
The armed forces doesn't show any interest in green technology. Do newer tanks use less fuel than older ones. Do armed forces worry at all about their fossil fuel consumption, or anyone else about their wasteful use of scarce resources. It seems not.
Back to the bunker mentality
Forget the green technology — the hot money is in guns.
Dateline: Sunday, December 02, 2007
by Naomi Klein
Anyone tired of lousy news from the markets should talk to Douglas Lloyd, a director of Venture Business Research, which tracks trends in venture capitalism. "I expect investment activity in this sector to remain buoyant," he said recently. Lloyd's bouncy mood was inspired by the money that is gushing into private security and defence companies. He added: "I also see this as a more attractive sector, as many do, than clean energy."
Got that? If you are looking for a sure bet in a new growth market, then sell solar and buy surveillance: forget wind, buy weapons.
This observation — coming from an executive who is trusted by such clients as Goldman Sachs and Marsh & McLennan — deserves particular attention in the run-up to the United Nations climate change conference, which takes place in Bali next week. There, world environment ministers are supposed to come up with the global pact that will replace the Kyoto agreement.
The Bush administration, still roadblocking firm caps on emissions, wants to let the market solve the crisis. "We're on the threshold of dramatic technological breakthroughs," the American president assured the world last January, adding: "We'll leave it to the market to decide the mix of fuels that most effectively and efficiently meet this goal."
The idea that capitalism can save us from climate catastrophe has powerful appeal. It gives politicians an excuse to subsidise corporations rather than to regulate them; and it neatly avoids a discussion about how the core market logic of endless growth landed us here in the first place.
The market, however, appears to have other ideas about how to meet the challenges of an increasingly disaster-prone world. According to Lloyd, the really big money — despite all the government incentives — is turning away from clean-energy technologies, and is banking instead on gadgets that promise to seal wealthy countries and individuals into hi-tech fortresses. Key growth areas in venture capitalism are private security firms selling surveillance gear and privatised emergency response. To put it simply, in the world of venture capitalism, there has been a race going on between greens on the one hand, and guns and garrisons on the other — and the guns and garrisons are winning.
According to Venture Business Research, last year North American and European companies developing green technology were neck and neck in the contest for new investment with those companies that focused on "homeland security" and weaponry: green tech received $3.5bn (£4.7bn), and so did the guns-and-garrisons sector. But this year, guns and garrisons have suddenly leapt ahead. The greens have received $4.2bn, while the garrisons have nearly doubled their money, collecting $6bn in new investment funds. And 2007 isn't over yet.
This trend has nothing to do with real supply and demand, since the demand for clean-energy technology could not be higher. With oil now reaching nearly $100 a barrel, it is clear that we badly need green alternatives, both as consumers and as a species....
For the whole story, please go to the related site below.
Naomi Klein is a Canadian journalist, author and activist well known for her political analyses of corporate globalization.
Her third book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, was published September 2007.
URL 1: www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2219566,00.html