August 21, 2012

NO ONE HAS IT HARDER THAN THEIR FATHER DID:

O Brave New Abundance! : Review of Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler's Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think (Jonathan Witt, Religion & Liberty)


What's refreshing here is the authors' emphasis on for-profit, market- driven innovators for supplying affordable alternative energy in the future.

As little as four months ago, I was inclined to view solar energy as a permanently niche market held up, at least in the United States and Europe, almost purely by petroleum haters and government subsidies. After visiting an indigenous solar energy company in Haiti in January, I came to realize what now seems obvious: In sunny regions that lack an established power grid, solar power is already quite competitive. After reading Abundance and learning about the impressive efficiency gains in solar energy technology over the past several years, I am even more optimistic about its future.

I now suspect that these developing regions are where solar power will go to mature into an energy source that will successfully go head-to-head in the developed world with oil, coal, and nuclear power, not replacing them but expanding into a much larger segment of the global energy market--provided solar entrepreneurs are able to compete unhindered from either suffocating regulation or infantilizing government funding.

At the heart of Abundance is a faith in for-profit entrepreneurs to go boldly where no government program has gone before so cheaply, cleverly, or effectively. For Diamandis, this isn't just a pretty theory. As he describes in an engrossing chapter on DIY innovation, he lived it through his now famous Ansari X Prize contest, which succeeded in fast-forwarding Western civilization to the threshold of private-enterprise space flight.

With a success like that, it isn't surprising that Diamandis is similarly upbeat about the prospects of solving a variety of developing- world resource problems through the wealth-generating power of private enterprise. Perhaps the book's infectious optimism and non-partisan tone can penetrate and cure the virus of fixed-pie economic thinking that has crippled the thinking of so many on the left.


Posted by at August 21, 2012 5:43 AM
  

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