Nonprofits and industry

I commend everyone to Joel Makower's clear-eyed assessment of Worldwatch's otherwise great report on the greening of business, which reflects the "relatively myopic perspective that nonprofits typically have of business." If I may summarize: Expecting an industry to do something that confers no business advantage in a sustained, systemic way is silly. (Luckily, there are plenty of sustainable moves they can make that do confer advantage.) Criticizing a sustainable move on the part of an industry because industry "only" did it out of self-interest is also silly, for the same reasons.


I try not to do this too much, but here are two quick self-referential notes: There have been a lot of really great discussions going on lately in comments (I refer you to the "recent comments" box to your right). Those of you who read blogs or newsgroups regularly will recognize that these discussions are atypically substantive and courteous. I hope and expect that as more people get involved in our community, we can keep them that way. Mainly what I'm trying to say is: Thanks, everybody. My interview with Lester Brown was not a James Frey-style fabrication on my part. It really did happen and I hope it will run soon, perhaps this coming week. I mention it because he and I directly addressed lots of subjects that keep coming up in conversations here, like our ability to predict or control social change, "picking winners" in the transportation game, and the merits of biofuels and nuclear power. Watch for it.

Security and oil

Toward the beginning of a dense and illuminating post on Iraqi oil, Salam Pax says this: Security needs money, Money comes from oil, Oil needs foreign investment, And foreign investment wants security. Can you say Nigeria? (via Jim Henley)