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On Taking Climate Action, Even Wall Street Asks: 'Why Would You Not?'



Empty words from The Bankers and Billionaires Club designed to placate those who oppose corporate rule. In reality as long as quarterly profits and shareholder wealth are the one true 'god' longterm thinking and action are no more than spin.


Even a corporation can see that if the company is a bad corporate actor, if the buying public sees their company as a giant pig (no offense to Arnold the pig in "Green Acres"), then lots of people won't buy their products, they'll lose market share and they'll have to explain to their stockholders why they were so stupid.


David Roberts says: "In short, I want a report that answers 'why would you not?'— a report that canvases potential winners and losers and charts their sociopolitical capacity to accelerate or delay the transition."

Such a report would be great, though one might have some trouble getting the information on political contributions from the companies and their boards and administrators.


"Why would you not"?

Because conservatives never admit they are wrong and prefer to "piss off a liberal".


Given the legacy of extractive perversity resulting in 'Wall Street' (object lesson in origins), the Dutch wall to keep the native peoples out being among the historical roots. There is the history of tulips and the inevitable association with fomenting situations to drive people 'against the wall' in paroxysms or orgiastic profit rape that simply morphs these as variations on the same cycles. The destructive cycles in turn cast as badge of "success".

The past gives every indication that despite the laws of physics the 'players' have been playing the field. Letting the creative inventors and engineers work the kinks out until the 'externalizable costs' ( read the past 40 years of political distortion, land and resource grabbing, war making to cement inverted totalitarianism) to set the stage to present the questions as being a matter of 'the future'. Why would you not?


Where were these guys 20 years ago when they might actually have made a difference?


Hum, 20 years ago they were busy pumping and dumping dotcom startups weren't they?


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I would tend to agree with you Mr Mudd,

But according to Citibank, the whole house of cards is about to come down:

Citigroup Chief Economist Thinks Only "Helicopter Money" Can Save The World Now

Having recently explained (in great detail) why QE4 [Qualitative Easing,The Government buying it's own bond auctions since they failed - TJ] (and 5, 6 & 7) were inevitable (despite the protestations of all central planners, except for perhaps Kocharlakota - who never met an economy he didn't want to throw free money at), we found it fascinating that no lessor purveyor of the status quo's view of the world - Citigroup's chief economist Willem Buiter - that a global recession is imminent and nothing but a major blast of fiscal spending financed by outright "helicopter" money from the central banks will avert the deepening crisis. Faced with China's 'Quantitative Tightening', the economist who proclaimed "gold is a 6000-year old bubble" and cash should be banned, concludes ominously, "everybody will be adversely affected."

China has bungled its attempt to slow the economy gently and is sliding into “imminent recession”, threatening to take the world with it over coming months, Citigroup has warned. As The Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reports, Willem Buiter, the bank’s chief economist, said the country needs a major blast of fiscal spending financed by outright "helicopter" money from the bank to avert a deepening crisis.


The whole West is on Fire from a 13-year drought and the fishing industry is disappearing. Superstorms are thrashing the whole planet. It's no longer "longterm" financial thinking to see that runaway-global-warming is going to cost more than just switching the economy over to a Green One in the short term. Citi is probably feeling the payouts of insurance companies, and wants to gamble in a new direction.

But the Texas Oil Mob and Mining Compaines will still fight tooth-and-nail any effort to prevent our sixth great extinction from continuing. They will be the death of us (especially if Jeb the bushmonkey or his cousin Walker get elected.)



Can't help wondering if this is a bit of reverse psychology (smile) considering the loathing that many have for WS, if WS is FOR something, the natural tendency is now to oppose it ...


Some conservatives pay big bucks to install tall, large, smoke belching exhaust pipes on their trucks with signs that say "piss off a liberal today".


HI TJ, i'm uplifted almost every morning when i get my hit of 'bear' necessities at zerohedge. Durden loves most any story that features helicopter money as he hates the Fed and their printing press almost as much as he, like me, roots for deflation driven degrowth to collapse the various 'bubble' brained endless growth scams.

The Citigroup Chief Economist or any of his ilk only care about growth and refuse to ever utter the evil word de-growth. IMO only slow degrowth driven by mild deflation can or will slow down the growthaholic's over-consumption of the globe's limited resources and in turn slow the atmospheric onslaught. Fortunately that's sorta what's happening right now and all the helicopter money they can print will only uptick the demand for needless crap a small bit for a small time.

The fact is there are real limits to growth and pumping more hot air in a bubble only makes it pop quicker the planet and its naked ape inhabitants must learn to consume less not more.



Roberts is correct to say this is what we most need right now: "Especially in the lead-up to this fall's climate talks in Paris, "here's what I'd like to see," he wrote. "[A] report as extensive as Citi's, conducted by an equally distinguished group of researchers, about the political economy of the action scenario. Which companies, industries, and governments face threats to which interests? Which industries give money to which public officials, and through what channels? Which industries do public officials gravitate to when they leave office? Which spend the most on lobbying? What domestic and international levers do industries and governments have at their disposal to impede or delay the transition?"

Note that the most prominant political scientist, Larry Sabato, has made a career of reading crystal balls. He found none of those questions raised by Roberts interesting enough to spend five minutes contemplating them, much less a year or two getting research-oriented graduate students and other professors interested in doing that research. Crunching numbers is far, far, easier. A computer does the work. Those question require thinking. Calculators require little or no thinking. That is why political scientists prefer crunching numbers.

Of course, the political scientist, Grant McConnel, did much of the research in the 1950s & 1960s. Try his book, Private Power and American Democracy. Wrote that one while at U. of Alabama, for Christ's sake. Not exactly a hot bed of political research or thinking.

Also, of course, the political sociologist, C. Wright Mills, did much of the research in the 1950s. Try his The Power Elite for a start. And before them, there was, in the 1920s & 1930s, Thorstein Veblen working on similar questions. Try The Theory of the Leisure Class.

Or take it back a little further, and get a great Historical view into your intellectual diet. Read Walt Whitman's essay, Democratic Vistas.

And, if one seeks to get some historical depth on that kind of research, spend a few weeks with the two excellent volumes on American Political Sociology & Economics by Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America.

There is no shortage of research already done. What those asking for the research need is a little coaching to get into the reading of what has been written for a couple of centuries. But do not ask the political scientists about it. That is beyond their specialization on such things as analyzing polls and counting congressional votes on vastly over-billed and over-sold legislation, like the Banking and Finance Reform legislation named after Barney Frank, legislation written for apolitical fairy tale books.

Just remember, the Democrats and the Republican hate politics. They love strutting around and talking about politics as if they had any clue about what they endlessly chatter over. Consider Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, GW Bush, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, The Donald. They don't. Get over it. They are having another television show, naming themselves the protagonists and the antagonists. They are only very poorly prepared jesters who cannot even remember that humor has something to do with it all. They are, of course, humorless. They are also witless. Get used to it. The silent majority prefers witless and humorless. "People like me."


I've said for years that the only way the Oilagarchy would curb their endless search for oil and coal would be if they found a way to make that more profitable than coal and oil extraction. Just like peace rather than war would happen if they could make peace more profitable than war.
* This is probably a smoke screen, but who knows, perhaps they are beginning to think that way and see a profit in leaving the damned stuff underground?
* We can only hope, but must continue to fight, for the Oilagarchy is built on lies and deception and they are very good at it.


Were these jokers really wise, they would deal with leaving at least a few fish in the ocean. We have an
intellectual deficit (i.e. Scott Walker) running this erstwhile nation, and we willingly accept the consequences.
Some of us realize where this leads. I don't think that we'll make it.


If The Big They really believe it's a problem that needs to be addressed NOW (which it isn't -- now us way too late), let them publicly demonstrate their newborn social conscience by putting a lot of money where their big greedy mouths are. Either they "invest" in the future NOW or their won't be one and even they will be dead or in the refugee camp holding bewilderedly pieces of paper that shows their one time "wealth."


I agree. Big banks are not about to rock the rapacious capitalist boat. They are teasing us with spin.


Nice analogy!


Why would you not?

I recall a similar question was asked by a certain frog who foolishly agreed to ferry a scorpion across a stream on his back. Plopping into the water, the frog confidently thought to himself: "Given that the alternative would be his own immediate demise, of course the scorpion will refrain from stinging me! Why would he not?"