Sustainability and Green Economics

Incentives to going green

The third principle of sustainability cited in the last article of this series alluded to adopting a mindset of conservation and frugality, which is in stark contradiction to our developmental paradigm of consumption and indulgence. Not surprisingly, responses ranged from boredom (not another feel-good article on sustainability) to ignorance especially from hard individuals who have worked and studied all their lives to better their and their offspring’s lives and who rightly believe that they have earned their share of the finer things in life, a little pampering now and then, and bragging rights corresponding with their secular advancement. So, conventional teachings of conservatism, as widely preached by the Green pundits, will likely only change a few, while the rest will probably need to bear witness to a natural disaster of epic proportions before beginning to entertain the notion. And that’s just in the developed countries; developing third world nations will continue intensifying the per-capita energy utilization with increasing living standards and affluence. So the message of conservatism must be re-thought; growing your own corn and/or livestock in the backyard will probably be a fashion for the next couple of years but impractical and inefficient for the masses; energetically self-sufficient buildings a feat of sophisticated engineering with prohibitive capital costs those of average income. Anyways, the pursuit of abundance and wealth cannot and will not be thwarted by any call to environmentalism and sustainability; it is an aspiration pursued for centuries, and in the last few decades made quite realistic and achievable. So to find an incentive for the savvy investor, the eager entrepreneur or the professional with an MBA to change their ambitions, goals and dreams to conserve for the sake of something that isn’t going to benefit them immediately, directly and exclusively, will be more than a miracle.