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Lovins spoonful

[Grist] offers a long and interesting dialog with Hunter Lovins, president of Natural Capitalism, Inc, and lots of great links too.

Too many morsels to quote, so here's just one:

The connections are almost endless:

On the policy side, we are making the same conceptual mistakes in water policy that we did in energy: seeking centralized, capital-intensive supply answers when efficient distributed solutions work better, subsidizing the wrong answers and thus making market solutions much harder to achieve, etc.

In ecological terms, carbon-based energy disrupts the climate, which disrupts the hydrological cycle, which disrupts vegetation, which further disrupts the cycle. Take a look at the recent edition of High Country News for a scary look at what climate change is likely to do across the West.

It's been clear to me -- since a 1972 month-long intensive World Game Workshop with Bucky Fuller's crew -- that enabling the market to get the prices right would be key to the ecological dilemma. If we could get the distortions of subsidies out of the way, if we could get the lie of 'externalities' internalized, if we could enable the price at the pump to reflect true, total costs, we might just stand a chance at success. If we don't, it's the Sisyphus game, folks, rolling the boulder uphill forever, getting almost to the top, watching in frustration as it rolls back down again.

When asked on a visit to England, "Mr Gandhi, what do you think of Western Civilization?" Gandhi reputedly replied "I think it would be a very good idea." What do I think about capitalism? Same answer: "I think it would be a very good idea."

But, as Adam Smith said 200+ years ago, perfect markets depend on perfect information. We can't get that when the prices lie.
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