The Parable Of the Green Widget Company

Also — please note, there are some very broad, very simplistic assumptions made for illustrative purposes. This isn’t done to provide specific arguments about how capitalist businesses necessarily operate, this parable exists to demonstrate the limits of environmental commitments within capitalism.

The regular (non-green) widget company

Enter The Green Widget Company

Removed the columns for widgets produced by the regular (non-green) widget company, since it will always be exactly the same as the number of trees cut down.
So far so good, but you can start to see the problem emerging.
Also remember that for the regular (non-green) widget company, the total trees cut down is exactly the number of widgets produced.

The Environment is Saved . . . right?

It was Marx who pointed out that capitalism ends up controlling the capitalists.

What am I saying with all of this?

Yes, there are lots of hypotheticals and assumptions in this essay — the point is that green solutions almost always result in a similar system, and you can plug in variables for whatever resource or product —the thesis more or less holds true for almost any resource, when taken as a world whole. The hypothetical also paints easy to use numbers, because there are a lot of them and it gets hard to follow with more variable and volatile numbers. Also, this comes off as a little harsh to the left-leaning greens, who I am sympathetic to, but who are one of the big group of lefties I also want to shake and scream “cant you see the big picture?!”

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