Current “Clean-Tech” enterprises present few “break-through” technologies. Rather there seems to be an improvement in overall efficiency of existing technologies, many of which (e.g. windmills, solar power) are quite old.
Questions about the economics of clean-tech are then perhaps really more a question about the willingness and ability of all people the world-over to reconsider their impact on the environment. If the product is paradoxical in nature – i.e. consuming “anti-consumption”, then we have to ask legitimate questions regarding the likelihood of “Clean-Tech” as an enterprising capitalist endeavor, as opposed to a societal one, or perhaps a human one.
The real economic shift may come from a change in our collective consciousness as people, as well as our sense of being in relation to the living world around us that ultimately affects the greatest impact on the economics of Clean-Tech. I would wager that changes in our behavior are more likely to come about as a result of the grass-roots nature of the movement, and the related shift in our thinking, than any one technological break-through.
In that sense, we may be well served not to approach our environment, and the well-being of our future generations as a capitalist enterprise (anathema though it may seem to us as enterprising Americans). The potential to create another “asset bubble” where one need not exist is acute given our desire to find a quick, macro-economic solution to our current economic condition. The creation of another speculative bubble, (particularly emerging out of an enterprise fundamentally important to our condition as human beings) may present a disastrous outcome.
Instead, perhaps clean-tech is best viewed as an educational movement, where we might accept as a society that the only true profits to be had are the certainty that our kids, and their kids will live in a healthy and vital world.
This is the last part of the 3 part series.
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