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I was watching a TV episode on several entrepreneurs, and the episode featured pitches for environmentally friendly or green alternatives: e.g., hangers made from potato starch and biodegradable oil.

Would it be wrong to invest in such green technologies—i.e. technologies that have low "carbon footprints", for example, or low environmental impacts—e.g., products which don't contain plastics?

asked Nov 01 '10 at 10:10

Michael's gravatar image


edited Nov 02 '10 at 02:18

jasoncrawford's gravatar image

jasoncrawford ♦

Environmentalism is an ideology inherently opposed to capitalism, and I would be wary of any company that makes environmentalism part of its business model. Such companies are often acting self-sacrificially; or worse, they are actively lobbying the government for taxes, subsidies, and regulations that artificially create a "green" market -- and thus they are advocating the violation of rights.

There is nothing wrong with voluntary, privately funded efforts to save energy and other resources, or to reduce pollution. These actions can serve rational, egoistic purposes such as reducing costs or (in the latter case) protecting a company from liability for violating others' rights. In these cases, such actions do not need the trendy label "green"; more ordinary words like clean, efficient or inexpensive are sufficient.

answered Nov 01 '10 at 17:59

Andrew%20Dalton's gravatar image

Andrew Dalton ♦

Upon what do you base your assertion that environmentalism is inherently opposed to capitalism? Certainly, many of the so called progressives are both pro environmentalism and anti capitalism. However, that does not create a logical conjunction of the two. Osama bin Laden is Islamic. Does that mean that any terrorist is Islamic? How about the former Serb government that was ostensibly Christian?
Responsible use of resources should be a basic tenet of moral capitalists. Not only is wasteful production bad for profit but it impacts future profits.

(Nov 01 '10 at 18:07) ethwc ♦ ethwc's gravatar image

Certainly correlation is not causation. But then Andrew didn't offer that sort of argument. The philosophical content of environmentalist theory is what you should focus on, and this is what is behind that correlation. Green ideology, contra an awful lot of dishonest marketing spin about efficiency and cleanliness (i.e., focus on values to people), has at its heart the intrinsic value of nature. So it condemns mankind for being mankind (the rational animal, i.e. the productive animal reshaping nature to serve his life) -- hence the sacrificial stance and the rights-violating policy.

(Nov 01 '10 at 18:33) Greg Perkins ♦♦ Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

so if we were to draw say a list of most productive practices for x or y product would environmental impact come into the picture ? and how would you distinguish it from the Green ideology e.g. something like this : http://www.slate.com/id/2203154/pagenum/all/#p2

are terms like "saving the planet" or "carbon footprint" legitimate under such circumstances?

(Nov 01 '10 at 20:20) Michael Michael's gravatar image

We are inundated with dishonest marketing spin from corporations intent upon turning a profit without the effort of producing a product of value. Enron, many of the banks, much of the food production industry and numerous others come to mind. Are we to judge the environmental movement based upon the silly article you cite? Or should we look to a number of corporations that produce valuable products and do so in a manner as to not despoil the environment in which we live.

(Nov 01 '10 at 21:48) ethwc ♦ ethwc's gravatar image

Could not finish my thought in the allowed space. There is an increasing number of corporations working hard to both improve their product and their profits while diminishing their environmental impact. The original question was whether it is "wrong" to invest in so called green companies. What is "wrong" is to invest in companies that seek short cuts in production that lead to poor and even hazardous products and despoil our environment. The recent chemical retention pond spill in Europe comes to mind as an example of such a company.

(Nov 01 '10 at 21:54) ethwc ♦ ethwc's gravatar image
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Asked: Nov 01 '10 at 10:10

Seen: 1,269 times

Last updated: Nov 02 '10 at 02:18