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By Andrew Stone

Solar Capitalism

There is a solution to our climate crisis and we’ve known it for years and it comes up every morning. The sun.

Adam Smith, the founder of the free market ideals, would not recognize what passes as capitalism today: monopoly energy markets, huge government corporate subsidies, tariffs and other “field tilting mechanisms.” Therefore I propose a more evolved form of capitalism based on the sun.

The sun falls upon all of us quietly, peacefully and ubiquitously. 

  • every day trillions of watts of energy fall on the planet from the sun, causing weather, wind and waves —all sources of daily renewable energy 
  • a truly sustainable civilization will live on this daily energy budget
  • a peaceful civilization requires equity and shared ownership & responsibility .

Has our haste to embrace the next cool clickable thing taken away our ability to do long term planning and execution? I find that healing from our societal madness means returning to basic principles:

  • live simply so others can simply live;
  • collect relationships not things; and
  • remember the majesty of existence and expect the miracle

That last one evokes pronoia, that unshakable notion that the universe is out to help you at every turn!

What if humans cannot make the next step in evolution as a species, that of global cooperation and mutual enhancement and beyond war, unless some insane, species-threatening circumstances came to push us forward? Maybe climate change is the Mother Earth’s/God’s way of saying “Grow up, work together or perish!?”

Let’s take that step together and understand that:

  • now is the time to invest in the transition 
  • global forces want our N.M. solar
  • NM sunshine could lift our state but…
  • … we must come together in our communities and build our solar as a community with the benefits flowing to our people. We can stand up and do this for ourselves. 

The Old Testament is adamant about the unrighteousness of collecting interest. And yet the modern reality of private equity that seeks huge yields, is causing massive societal inequities. The happy medium between these extremes is what I call solar capitalism, where the benefits are shared among all the participants in the creation and use of a solar facility. 

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Those who know me know I spent most of my career in software, so I have an affinity for clever people and memorable acronyms. Solar Capitalism requires T.E.C.H. 

T Transparency 

E Equity 

C Community 

H Holism 

Holism is the perspective on the human condition that assumes that mind, body, individuals, society and the environment inter-penetrate, and even define one another. In anthropology,  holism tries to integrate all that is known about human beings and their activities.

Community is the local part of the human super organism that must be resilient and able to mutually aid ourselves as we weather the effects of the fossil fuel age. Community is the touchstone for our way forward and now is the time to reinvigorate it, in all your circles.

Equity has several overlaid meanings. In law: fair and impartial. In finance: ownership of assets. When you combine meanings to get solar capitalism: Fair ownership of energy assets.

Transparency is our tool to understand “fair.”

Of course a just and fair society requires those with resources to meet their responsibility. And consider this: what good will your piled up wealth be in a climate disrupted world? What will be your legacy if your grandchildren know you knew what was going on but did nothing but support the status quo? 

This is the challenge of our time: to take stock of where we went off the tracks and do our best to get back on that train to glory.

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