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Caring Capitalism Can Change the World for the Better
By Steve Schueth

According to New York Times Columnist and author, Thomas Friedman, "The historical debate is over. The answer is free-market capitalism."

I have been involved in financial services in one form or another for over 30 years. About twenty years ago, as I became aware of what we now call sustainable and responsible investing (SRI), I began to understand the power of capitalism — for good and for bad.

Much of what we all consider to be important components of our quality of life is due to a vibrant capitalist economy (food, clothing, appliances, etc.). So many improvements over the past generation that we have all take for granted (air transportation, global communications, the internet, etc.) are the result of a healthy capitalist system. At the same time, some of the most serious problems facing humanity, such as pollution and climate change, are the direct result of capitalism unfettered.

Some good people in Washington, DC are working on a cap-and-trade system that is deeply rooted in free-market capitalism. In concept, cap-and-trade is a good example of how capitalism and proper incentives can begin to change harmful behavior and eventually (hopefully) solve many of our climate problems.

I recently read that the majority of Americans say that they don't know what cap-and-trade is (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/05/americans-dont-get-cap-and-trade.php).

That led me to search for a quick and easy explanation, which Eco Geek Hank Green provides in a fast moving 3.5-minute video at http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/05/cap-and-trade-explained-video.php#ch02.

I think it's well worth your time-especially if you are one of the 76% of Americans who don't understand cap-and-trade.

Steve Schueth

Posted: May 21, 2009