Breitbart | Phelim McAleer & Ann McElhinney | May 20, 2009
THE BIG problem with renewable energy is that it just doesn’t renew itself. The sun does not shine enough and the wind doesn’t blow enough to power the towns, cities, factories, hospitals and schools that make our lives so livable.
No environmentalist would ever allow their child to be treated in a hospital fully powered by “renewables”. They would not take the risk that the wind might stop whilst their baby was on the operating table. They would insist that the hospital and the life support systems had a fossil fuel powered back-up.
And so it is with “sustainable development”. It just isn’t sustainable. At least it does not sustain a lifestyle that those who promote it would consider acceptable for themselves. But of course that is the key. Renewable energy and sustainable development are for “other people”.
Even though environmentalists come from societies and very often families that became rich because of their use of non-renewable energy and unsustainable development they will not allow these opportunities to be extended to the poor in the developing world.
Environmentalists come from wealthy societies and families who cut down forests and burned coal and oil to make their families and societies healthy and prosperous. But, nowadays, for the poor in Africa and Asia and even middle America their path out of poverty must be “sustainable.” No fossil fuels or factories for them. But what this really means is sustainable poverty. It is a system that condemns people to a lifetime of drudgery and subsistence farming because modernity and industrialisation is “unsustainable.”
Which brings me to Bono, the lead singer of rock band U2 and more lately a campaigner for sustainable development in Africa, Asia and south America. In 2005 Bono and his wife Ali Hewson set up Edun a clothing range that was going to prove there is a different way to end poverty. It was going to be a non-corporate and of course “sustainable”.
At he time MSNBC said it would be “clothing with a conscience”. Vogue magazine said Edun was going to “flip capitalism on its head”.
But now it seems that Bono has now discovered that big companies with their big carbon footprints are useful if you want to keep paying the wages and produce the goods and sell them. Last week the rock star announced he has sold out to LVMH, the worlds largest luxury goods company. Announcing the deal Bono all but admitted that his touchy feely version of capitalism and development just didn’t work. Selling out to LVMH was a great deal, said Bono, and would “bring greater and longer-term stability to our manufacturers and the communities they support”.
In other words my Clooneyesc view of business is plain wrong and I now have to admit that I can’t pay the workers salaries without a proper business running the company. They, with their international marketing skills and economies of scale will make the business truly sustainable – that is – they will ensure that the workers have work and a salary every week and for years to come.
It is an admission that capitalism works and is the only way to ensure a better future for some of the world’s poorest people.
. . . more