A call for the Left and Right — the business community and environmentalists, bankers and activists — to join together, reclaim capitalism, and force profits to align with the planet
A warming climate and a general distrust of Wall Street has opened a new cultural divide among those who otherwise agree we must mitigate climate risk: anti-market critics such as Naomi Klein target capitalism itself as a root cause of climate change while climate-savvy business leaders believe we can largely continue with business as usual by tinkering around the edges of our economic system.
Rand argues that both sides in this emerging cultural war are ill-equipped to provide solutions to the climate crisis, and each is remarkably naïve in their view of capitalism. On one hand, we cannot possibly transition off fossil fuels without the financial might and entrepreneurial talent market forces alone can unlock. On the other, without radical changes to the way markets operate, capitalism will take us right off the climate cliff.
Rejecting the old Left/Right ideologies, Rand develops a more pragmatic view capable of delivering practical solutions to this critical problem. A renewed capitalism harnessed to the task is the only way we might replace fossil fuels fast enough to mitigate severe climate risk. If we leave our dogma at the door, Rand argues, we might just build an economy that survives the century.
Capitalism can save a burning planet if the left and right can bury the hatchet long enough to acknowledge that humanity needs both robust business and regulation, cautions investor Rand (Waking the Frog) in his thoughtful treatise. With climate disruption threatening social upheaval, he believes humans need "a pragmatic response to a messy problem." Rand looks at how the current ideological impasse arose, warning that adherence to dogmas either staunchly pro or anti free market will prevent building the new economy that might solve the problem. On possible solutions, he stresses the need to get corporate leaders on the right side and to carry out market interventions to encourage the adoption of clean technologies. Much of the book's strength is in its practicality. Most of the necessary technology already exists, he notes it just needs to be commercialized and deployed before the world goes up in flames. A slightly panicky tone and a cutesy concluding letter to his newborn son detract somewhat from the gravity of the whole. However, this is largely a strong, well-reasoned argument for the left and right to work together for the common good.