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The Sustainable Myth

Regular readers will know that I have an argument with language. Most notably over the miss-use of the word “liberal”.

That’s nothing now to how I feel about “sustainability”.

What is a “sustainable” business? Now I’m not educated in the dark arts of the reflected sounds as of underground spirits so I take the simple line of Mr Micawber. A sustainable business is one that makes a profit. Or at least not a loss. Oh, I know there are ups and downs and start-up costs to amortise and good years and bad ones but I’m talking overall.

I picked-up a leaflet in Sainsburys recently about their domestic solar-electric schemes. These claimed (From ten grand on the nail) to save you money over the (very) long-term but factored into the calculation money from the government. I don’t still have the leaflet but I do have the internet so check it out for yourself and pay attention to the “feed-in tariff”. Yes, the government will pay you monies for generating electricity from “renewables”. Quite why they don’t pay me for burning trash to provide CO2 for the plants is perhaps something they are getting round to and the reason they have fortnightly trash collections round here. They are working up to it. I have faith in my local council and government always knows what is best.

Some of the above statements might be lies. I do sarcasm better in the flesh.

Anyway the Sainsbury’s scheme* is only (I would say marginally at best) sustainable** by the demented schema of Greenonomics. Greenonomic sustainability is based upon fantastic calculations where solid numbers are just arbitrarily assigned to the imponderables as pure guesswork (this is widely accepted because the it is felt the Greenomicists “hearts are in the right place”). But there are numbers so it must be science, right? Yeah, just like Gordon Brown’s budgets for “investment”. Well astronomical calculations use numbers and so do those of astrology. Forget the stereotypical “family values” Tory*** MP with the wife and kids who cruises cottages in London parks as a model of hypocrisy. Well give me Alan Amos any day over Chris Huhne in the hypocrisy stakes. Was not his – sorry his ex-wife – speeding (allegedly) causing Ma Gaia to drown another ickle polar bear cub? Hell hath no fury Chris…

But it is not exactly about hypocrisy is it? That is just a convenient way to baste the fuckers in their own juices via the media and then forget about when Wayne Rooney shags a whore. What is real is the redefinition of “sustainable” which ignores what the word really means in the real Micabawerish, Truenomics sense. Let’s look at the reductio ad absurdam. Greenonomics “sustainability” is inevitably based upon subsidy. Subsidy has to come from somewhere which means it has to ponce off the genuine economy. But what if all businesses were “sustainable” by the Green token? Then there is nobody left to ponce off. What happens to the parasite when the host dies? And that is the myth. The “Green Economy” would exist already if it was economically sustainable in and of itself and we could all go home for tea and Duchy Original biccies (I have known people buy cars for less than the cost of a packet of those – not exactly great cars it must be said but then neither are they great biscuits). The factoring in of state-funding to queer the pitch in it’s favour and it’s own deranged concept of “sustainability” would not satisfy a fictional character created by Charles Dickens and it sure as hell’s little imps with BBQ equipment from B&Q doesn’t satisfy me. I won’t let slide here the overhead of the Green auditors and the like who have to administer this because such jobs created purely on the imaginary axis of the Argand plane. Keynes himself would blush at that.

The myth is an inversion. We have gone from a state supported by industry and commerce to the idea that industry and commerce has to be supported by the state.

It is truly demented.

When I was a very little kid I had a book on dinosaurs. It was a bit vague (due to it’s age) as to the reason for the mass-extinction at the end of the Cretaceous. I did wonder though, “But, if all these herbivores are becoming extinct isn’t that free meat for the carnivores?”. I was a very little kid. That is exactly what the current “Green Economy” is. It is the feeding frenzy of the T-Rex upon the fallen brachiosaur with no thought where the next one will come from. It is utterly “unsustainable” in any realistic sense of that word. Oh, but what if some of these Green businesses turn a profit and are therefore taxed? Taxed in order to be subsidised? Oh, do behave! Greenonomics is through Mr Micawber’s looking-glass. Once as a kid me and my brother sold ice-lollies (some recipes of my own invention – least said soonest mended and all that – suffice to say I’m not challenging Walls – yet) and that gave me an insight into economics which appears to be way below (a good thing) that held by those that hold the levers of power.

And that is the myth.

It is built on numbers (so must be true) but I am a physicist by training and the set of Naturals are my friends (I am on OK terms with the Clan Real and their pals, The Complex). It burns my hard-won mathematical soul to see such cod-arithmetic as this.

I have seen such things before. After I finished my physics degree and before I started my MSc in astrophysics I delved into astrology for historical reasons. The astrologers make this lot look like two-bit shysters.

And that is the real myth. I know science and to know science is to know when it’s bastard offspring, who are, to use a technical term, “Just making it fucking up” ought to have an appointment at the canal with a sack and some bricks.

And that is the myth which is true as long as you ignore reality. But that’s free-fall for you – untl you hit the ground and have to start collecting your teeth in a hat.

I just wish the Greens pissing in the “science” pot and get their own and call it what it is – a religion. Did Abraham****, Christ, Buddha or Muhammed argue unto the 97th percentile – no. Be honest. I am.

*It helpfully points out solar ain’t for you if you live in a basement flat.
**Opportunity cost is utterly ignored. If I asked you for ten grand and expected you to invest on the basis that you’d probably break even over 25 years you’d tell me to, “Sod off”.
***I’m not being unfair to the Tories here but they do tend to be the ones caught out here. Labour – it’s hands in the till. And Lib Dem… That’s a whole smorgasbord of Mark Oatens.
****I saw Abraham’s cooking pot in the Topkapi in Istanbul recently. Most solemn it was with an imam reading the Qu’ran and all. Jesus wept. There were tourist types like me and the faithful genuflecting before it whilst I thought, “I think my mother gave me something like that for a wedding present”. Sorry to interupt the feast of piety but I reckon you can buy in the Newcastle branch of John Lewis. I’ll give the Turks their due mind. Very liberal otherwise on taking piccies in mosques and similar. Abraham’s (Ibrahim’s) cooking pot! Words fucking fail. I might just about about buy they have the hand of John the Baptist or the sword of Abu Bakr but Abraham’s gazunder… and it did look suspiciously like an Edgar Allen. Well fuck me sideways! I have seen questionable things but that took the falafel. The belief that that thing is what it says on the tin is beyond bollocks which is of course why it is still venerated. It’s such an epic whopper it can’t be called into question.


  1. Yes, ‘sustainable’ is a much overused word.

    As to ‘the value of nature’ calculations, it’s much easier to let people set their own price and gamble on them working out the optimum balance between all these different possible land uses, for optimisation is what it’s all about. The mechanism by which we achieve this is of course called ‘land value tax’, it aligns everybody’s interests as far as possible and you get what you pay for (and are compensated for what others deny you).

  2. NickM says:


    You ever figured the effect on LVT that the prevalence of cow attacks might have?

    Just askin’

    PS. Mark if you are reading this please take all your LVT posts and make a book of them. I’d buy it.

    PPS. If you ever get together all your piccies of folks I would definitely buy that too. You are a talented artist.

  3. Ian F4 says:

    There was a bereavement in my family recently, and experiencing the directly affected family member grieve I realised the basic issue is how much people want things to stay the same, the loss of a loved one is severe because of the extreme change it brings to your life. We all have to cope with change, people die, things change.

    This whole green thing is nothing more than a bunch of people who wet their pants every time the world changes in even the most minor way, whether it’s a war, steam trains, the internet, etc. Whilst nothing like a bereavement, there are those who are psychologically susceptible to even just the prospect of minuscule changes, so in that sense it isn’t a religion more a mental condition.

    Things change, get used to it.

  4. JuliaM says:

    “Things change, get used to it.”

    Well said.

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