The Green Market - campaigners using capitalism to change the world
1st February, 2009
Environmentalists have long been suspicious of the free market, but a new generation of campaigners are using capitalism to change the world.
Let’s face it, in the heart of every Ecologist reader lurks a dark suspicion of the free market. Even early discussions of this article among magazine staff were cast in terms of ‘using the market against itself’ to do good, as if the market were geared up only to do bad. This suspicion itself is understandable: the business world is complicated, far beyond the understanding of almost anyone who does not work within it. As a result, those who do work in Big Business have been allowed to get away with too much for too long.
In recent years, some of those involved in the worst behaviour have relied on this lack of understanding to disguise their actions with greenwash – advertising that claims they are better than they are. That does not mean the market itself is bad, however, just that it has been used to do bad things. The truth is more subtle: the market itself is neutral; a mechanism of exchange, a means by which things can be achieved. Increasingly, those who understand how the mechanism works believe it can be used as a force for good. As this understanding grows, a new generation of environmentalist is born, wearing pin-stripe suits. This new breed realises that standing on the outside and...
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