The Arrogance of Green Economics

How many of us have started industrial scale businesses that have gone on to produce great value and therefore great wealth? How many have started industrial companies that produce “green” products?

I suspect none.

I know plenty of entrepreneurs (some successful) but not one has started a successful industrial, much less “green”, company. One can argue that the U.S has regulated all industrial production green or otherwise out of the country.

The fact is that there just aren’t that many new industrial scale companies including “green” companies making solar panels, electric cars and alternative energy production equipment.

And yet politicians at all levels of government have the arrogance to suggest that they are smart enough to prefer “green” companies over all of the other endeavors that men can set their minds to. Why so arrogant? Well, because the public buys it.

Most of us aren’t sophisticated enough to know that new business formation is extremely risky. We typically don’t understand that even when things seem obvious that they’ll work they won’t. We don’t understand the depth of investment and commitment a new industrial scale business takes. That’s why forming a successful business, needs to be very rewarding. Because, more often than not, they fail.

Yet politicians at federal, state and local levels continue to champion “green” over all other businesses. Do they know something that the rest of us don’t? Yep they know that the public will eat up their rhetoric and doesn’t understand the underlying economics of business formation. “Green” is the darling of moment and talking about it is like using candy to entice a child.

The Obama administration has perhaps taken it further than even the most arrogant politician could imagine. They are putting “green” patent applications ahead of all others. Effectively this means that a process for increasing fuel efficiency in lawn mowers will step ahead in the already long line for other patents. Fuel efficient lawnmowers could beat out a process to cure cancer. How warped. How arrogant.

Trenton has its share of arrogance. There are politicians running in the 2010 municipal elections who are touting green jobs in Trenton. Really? Are those politicians prepared to invest their own money in a solar panels or electric cars? Not likely, it would be far too risky an investment given the uncertainty of the underlying technology and the scale of worldwide competition chasing an industry that survives on government subsidies.

Instead they are counting on us to think they are singlehandedly finding jobs for the unemployable and combating global warming with just their words. If anything they’ll look for ways to use our money (tax dollars) to fund risky investments that they’ll claim are beneficial.

It’s a con.

Really, is Trenton so picky that it would turn down “non-green” business investment?

As an alternative, Reinvent Trenton suggests you pay attention to politicians who propose to create a better overall business climate in Trenton. Short of bribing businesses to locate here, how will they improve the investment atmosphere?

Today’s Trenton business atmosphere is toxic. Development is hard and cumbersome. The tax rate is high. There are few wealthy residents living here that might invest. There are few educated workers. And, Trentonians are generally hostile to industry.

Yet, in the face of these hurdles, Trenton’s politicians are talking about “green” jobs. Who do they think they’re kidding?

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