Yuck! Book review of The New Green Economy
May 18th, 2009
Yuck! Van Jones’s book – “The Green Collar Economy”
Obama picked Van Jones to head up his Green Economy. I guess in large part because of his book, “The Green Collar Economy.” In a word – it’s a crummy book. The core idea could have been presented in an article as long as this one here.
When I found out about him some months ago, I Googled him. It was all about the renewable energy and getting poor, inner city people involved.
Good stuff as far as it goes, but way too narrow. There’s only so many jobs going to be created in renewable energy. My idea (not unique to me, btw), was that EVERYBODY’s job had to become part of the Triple Bottom Line – Profit, People & Planet That was what the focus of my NatCap Club was a few months ago.
Caveat – this article is a critique of his book only. NOT his accomplishments in the field. And I’m super, super glad Obama created the position.
But then I spoke to some activist, and he said no, it wasn’t that limiting. Ok, maybe he’s right, and I better find out for myself before last weekends Green Festival here in Chicago.
It was worse than I thought. Seriously, I’m not trying to be a jerk or nothing here. And I can’t believe Bobby Kennedy Jr. gave the forward. His writing is full of foo-foo platitudes, stuff along the lines of — > we need an economy that lifts all boats, we can’t have a green economy without the poor < —. Ok, how many times do you need to say that? Not a bunch, like he does. It reminded me of poorly written psych books – nice idea, but once is enough.
Not one word about the Regular Guy. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. He slips “working Class “ in there a few times. But 90% of the book is between the “Wine and Cheese Liberals” and the Poor blacks. Oh, and I don’t think he mentioned the white poor much, if at all. Quite frankly, in the large scheme of things, who gives a rats pa-tooty about these two groups. Nothing personal you understand. It’s just that combined they make up such a teeny weeny fraction of the population. Why devote an entire book to them?
Van Jones writes like a white person. I swear to God, if I didn’t know he was black, I would have thought he was a typical foo-foo white person who didn’t meet a black until they were in college. No, it’s not his style of writing I’m referring to, – it’s his lack of insight or understanding into regular or poor folks, black or white.
- But yo, Activists, lay off the kool-aid – it ain’t a great book. And his ideas falls way short of what the world needs.
This idea has been around since at least the early1990’s. I forget who coined the term, but do you really care? Hell, by the time I went to Clinton’s National Town Hall meeting for a Sustainable America in 1999, I was getting stuff from mainstream consulting companies on this. They were providing the business argument for it. Any company that did not measure and improve upon the 2 non-financial indicators would not survive. That would be their impact on the Environment and People/Community.
But, in all un-modesty and with complete awareness of my grandiosity, he should replace him with me. ‘Nough said.
I kinda cringe in embarrassment for Bobby I respect him tons. His voice grates on my nerves, but I can live with that. Did you ever hear him on his Air America radio show, something called “Ring of Fire.” It just sounds somebody who’s in a ton of pain. Aw Jez, I hope that’s not the case. Otherwise I’ll feel like a real schmuck.
As to Al Gore giving it such high marks. Ahh, come on Al. You can’t be serious.
My friend Sandy Stein gave me that term.
I don’t know anyone who refers to themselves as Working Class. Or Joe six-pack, or the other terms. Why do people call them that? Has anyone done a survey as to what they like to be called? And we’re not talking about the color of your skin in this category. But “Regular Guy,” I’m pretty proud to be that. And I suspect lots of other people do too.
If you’re a white persona and can’t say “shee-e-et mother-fucker sheee-et,” or “honkey mother-fucker” with the proper accent, you may not be qualified to talk to Regular black folks. Look, I can talk like this with complete comfort. I grew up with race riots every Fall and Spring, Security guards in the hallways with guns. High school guys who stood on a platform and yelled how whites gotta stick together when one of us gets jumped. A priest in grade school, Father Maher, who had the balls to march with Martin Luther King Jr. in the town next door. And took the abuse that came from it. I’ve got tons of stories. Some of them very funny. Like when I was a camp counselor for inner city kids from Altgeld Gardens Projects in Chicago. That’s the Roseland neighborhood, where the Obama’s did their community work. Lemme tell ya bout that place.