Today’s Daily Show featured NY Times columnist and 20-time (!) Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman.  Damn, that man is awesome.  He’s got so many great theories of economics spelled out in plain English, and it’s stuff that just makes sense.

His latest book that I need to read talks about something he’s mentioned in many columns – the need for Energy Technology.  He’s 100% correct that because the market rewards the cheapest and most convenient option for conusmers, it will take a shift of government policy to change the cost of making things dirty.  In reality, we’ll have to clean up for it later, and that will cost money – we should collect taxes now.  This is the basis of true-cost economics, which is a whole lot better than what we’re doing now.  We have laws based on politics, not policy, Mr. Friedman reminds us – the laws are made up of a compilation of lobbying interests, not on long-term strategic thinking about what’s best for the country.

Mr. Friedman also talks about how economics is composed of a series of bubbles that burst and leave us with a vast infrastructure in their wake – cars, highways, trains, the Internet, and housing are all prime examples.  A lot of the built environment in most of urban America has been created in the past ten years during the recent boom, and construction has slowed (screeched to a halt of late).

A green bubble is what’s needed – pouring borrowed money into the industries that will put America at the top of the Energy Tech pyramid that will come out of a very real need to move away from oil and coal.  Ultimately it will burst, but the lesson for everyone is that there is air that needs to be blown into this bubble.

poppy

Economics is built of thought, so the air that expands the walls of the bubble is really made of ideas, stories, and concepts.  How we view the world ultimately shapes it, and the stories that we tell about ourselves come true in many ways.  Changing those into green stories will be important for this country, and the world.

Advertisements