Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The green New Deal
Tom Smith

Or is it the New Green Deal?  Whatever it is, I think it is remarkable and my bet is it is going to be a big fiasco.  I think all of the VC money going into it, and I think it is a lot, is spurred on more by the hope of government subsidies in one form or another than by real economics.  It strikes me as a strange sort of mania.  It looks like we are pouring a lot of money we don't have into technologies that very well may not work to solve a problem we are not sure we have.  It's very hard to make money even with technologies you already have to solve problems that you are sure you have.  VCs are said to be herding creatures and this proves it.

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Tom Smith


In the tradition of T. Roosevelt ("Square Deal") and Truman ("Fair Deal") wouldn't "Green Deal" be the appropriate name?

Posted by: Eph Unell | Nov 26, 2008 6:14:16 PM

I think a more appropriate name would be the Raw Deal.

Posted by: Watcher | Nov 27, 2008 9:12:03 AM

Excelent, it looks like we know where the next bubble is going to be. When Peter Schiff starts going on about it, I'm going to duck and cover...

Posted by: Seerak | Nov 29, 2008 10:48:11 AM

What do you mean, fiasco? It's working perfectly.

Oh, I see -- you're going by whether or not it will achieve its stated purpose. Put it out of your mind. Its purpose is to enrich and empower the oligarchy, and deprive the peasants of the wherewithal to argue effectively. By that standard, it is very satisfactorily en marché.


Posted by: Ric Locke | Nov 29, 2008 10:56:44 AM

The obvious problem with all this - if the technology made economic sense, there would be no need for government subsidies, etc.

We're going to wind up spending a lot of money creating interest groups who'll devote too much of their time to making sure the money keeps flowing.

Posted by: BD | Nov 29, 2008 11:06:17 AM

Of course right now the economy is in just the sort of shape that should convince us we can afford this massive waste of resources.

This is what we get for electing someone as clueless about the productive parts of our economy as Obama is.

Posted by: ZF | Nov 29, 2008 11:13:28 AM

This sort of 'cargo cult' approach to technology has already been tried by the way in scores of countries around the world, from the UK and France to many of the poorest and least educated of the former European colonies. The result has in every case been the same - all of the money was hosed away, and then even more had to be spent propping up the story that it didn't happen that way.

In France they call them 'Grands Projets', and each new President starts his own. In truth they are just monuments to the vanity of politicians. In this sense the lasting ones are our pyramids, ordered up by minds insulated behind an aristocratic disdain for the lives of ordinary people.

It's a long fall from the ideals of our founders.

Posted by: ZF | Nov 29, 2008 11:25:59 AM

No wonder Gore is passing on offers to join the admin in a green role. If he stays put this will make him a billionaire.

Posted by: dave | Nov 29, 2008 11:31:17 AM

It's the perfect monument to Obama. It's the triumph of hope over achievement.

Posted by: K T Cat | Nov 29, 2008 11:38:15 AM

Linkwhoring alert!

In a March, 2008 Harper's cover story economist Eric Janszen predicted that green energy would be the next market bubble.

Posted by: Les Jones | Nov 29, 2008 12:14:00 PM

Obama is building on the successes of Jimmy Carter.

My prediction: by 2010 the misery index will be back and the word "stagflation" will be on everyone's lips.

And just to keep everything lively we will be at war with Mexico by 2012 at the latest. The skirmishes have already started.

Posted by: M. Simon | Nov 29, 2008 12:18:43 PM


Green Deal? ... Green Acres?

Green Deal is the place for me.
Wind turbinin' is the life for me.
Land spreadin' out so far and wide
Keep Chicago, just give me that countryside.

As an aside if something needs subsidies to exist then perhaps it's long term survival is not assured.

Posted by: memomachine | Nov 29, 2008 12:42:18 PM

I hope they go all the way. I hope that they manage to bring the dollar down to peso levels and make a bunch of their friends gazillionaires with white elephant technology products. I hope there isn't a single individual citizen who doesn't have their standard of living negatively impacted. I don't care if our per capita GDP is brought down the the level of Greece. Only then will we stand a chance of making this the Last Deal.

Posted by: peter jackson | Nov 29, 2008 12:46:04 PM

VC? I wish you wouldn't use jargon like that. I think of the Viet Cong, not ... uh ... venture capitalists. It took me too long to figure out what you were talking about.

Posted by: Old person | Dec 1, 2008 1:23:26 PM