Can The Economy Keep Growing Without Destroying the Planet?

Over at ThomasNet Green & Clean earlier this week, I explored the topic of “Decoupling” as it applies to economic growth and its connection to environmental damage and the depletion of resources — see “Decoupling: Can Humanity Prosper Without Plundering and Poisoning the Planet?

The write-up extracts the essence from a report by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). The authors lay out the basic argument and data for decoupling. The report’s authors believe that innovation is the answer:

Innovation now needs to be harnessed for resource productivity and environmental restoration… innovations that contribute to decoupling through reducing environmental pressure and contributing to sustainability during economic activities.

AB — 10 June 2011

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I’ve Been Driving This Way All My Life, and I’ve Never Had an Accident

Congratulations! You’ve never had an auto accident, even though you drive fast, tailgate, and weave in and out of traffic.

And you’re already 27 — way to go!

You will never have an auto accident. Until you do. Then you will.

Congratulations on your great skill and brilliance.

AB — 9 May 2011

 

Great deal on this watch — save $58,000.01!

Here’s one of my favorite Amazon products — the Zenith Men’s 96.0529.4035/51.M Defy Xtreme Tourbillon Titanium Chronograph Watch! Generously marked down from $145,000.00 to $86,999.99!

Visit the Amazon product page to read some of the hilarious product reviews. One review titled “$9.95 shipping…..Outrageous!” says:

I had decided on this watch, but then I noticed the shipping charge. Outrageous! I’m shelling out close to 100k, and they want me to take care of the shipping too. Forget it!

Zenith Men's 96.0529.4035/51.M Defy Xtreme Tourbillon Titanium Chronograph Watch

AB — 8 May 2010

Are Speculative Bubbles Ever a Good Thing?

Over at Bubbleconomics, I wrote recently about the effect of speculative bubbles on innovation — see “Speculative Bubbles: Good for Innovation?

For a long time, I’ve thought that the so-called “Internet Bubble” from the 1990s was actually a good thing in many ways in that it sparked technology and business-model innovation and trained a generation in a new way of thinking about business and communication. Networking pioneer Bob Metcalfe agrees with me, as he says in a 2011 presentation:

We saw from the many Internet Era bubbles that investment, speculation, inflation, competition, and collapse are tools of innovators against the status quo. Bubbles accelerate technological innovation.

AB — 6 June 2011

The Coming Energy Internet

Over at ThomasNet Green & Clean, I’ve posted “Is an ‘Energy Internet’ Emerging?” I’ve included some insights from networking pioneer Bob Metcalfe, also Thomas L. Friedman and Jeremy Rifkin, as well as my own thinking about the increasingly networked energy grid.

In an email conversation, Metcalfe acknowledged to me that “energy can be viewed as a thermodynamics problem or a government policy problem,” but he thinks that ultimately  “it’s best instead to view energy as a networking problem.”

In a presentation, he gives a bit of history:

“While building Internet 1.0, the Arpanet,” during the 1970s, Metcalfe says in his presentation, “I remember this clearly, we did not say that our goal was YouTube.” And yet, “video is most of what the Internet now carries.”

So, he asks,

What will be energy’s YouTubes?

AB — 5 June 2011