Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON – MEMBERS OF PREVIOUS GENERATIONS NOW SEEM LIKE GIANTS

Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

 

Past vs. Present

Victor Davis Hanson column: Members of previous generations now seem like giants

Oct 9, 2019

 

www.richmond.com/opinion/columnists/victor-davis-hanson-column-members-of-previous-generations-now-seem-like-giants/article_bca413bb-5505-5ee9-8ed8-86a25e4f57a9.html

Many of the stories about the gods and heroes of Greek mythology were compiled during the Greek Dark Ages. Impoverished tribes passed down oral traditions that originated after the fall of the lost palatial civilizations of the Mycenaean Greeks.

Dark Age Greeks tried to make sense of the massive ruins of their forgotten forbearers’ monumental palaces that were still standing around. As illiterates, they were curious about occasional clay tablets they plowed up in their fields with incomprehensible ancient Linear B inscriptions.

We of the 21st century are beginning to look back at our own lost epic times and wonder about these now-nameless giants who left behind monuments that we cannot replicate, but instead merely use or even mock.

Does anyone believe that contemporary Americans could build another transcontinental railroad in six years?

Californians tried to build a high-speed rail line. But after more than a decade of government incompetence, lawsuits, cost overruns and constant bureaucratic squabbling, they have all but given up.

The result is a half-built overpass over the skyline of Fresno — and not yet a foot of track laid.

Who were those giants of the 1960s responsible for building our interstate highway system?

California’s roads now are mostly the same as we inherited them, although the state population has tripled. We have added little to our freeway network, either because we forgot how to build good roads or would prefer to spend the money on redistributive entitlements.

 

When California had to replace a quarter section of the earthquake-damaged San Francisco Bay Bridge, it turned into a near-disaster, with 11 years of acrimony, fighting, cost overruns — and a commentary on our decline into Dark Ages primitivism. Yet 82 years ago, our ancestors built four times the length of our single replacement span in less than four years.

It took them just two years to design the entire Bay Bridge and award the contracts.

Our generation required five years just to plan to replace a single section. In inflation-adjusted dollars, we spent six times the money on a quarter of the length of the bridge and required 13 agencies to grant approval. In 1936, just one agency oversaw the entire bridge project.

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BLOOMBERG SELLS ‘SUSTAINABILITY,’ BUT BUYER BEWARE

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Bloomberg Sells ‘Sustainability,’ but Buyer Beware

Virtue-signaling corporate standards may be better for financial firms than they are for investors.

By Allysia Finley Ms. Finley is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.  March 2, 2020

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:Yet Mr. Bloomberg’s ultimate goal is to encode his standards in federal regulation. In his campaign proposal for financial reform, he says he’d urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt a rule “requiring companies to publish information on the racial and gender composition of their boards, senior executives, hiring, pay and procurement,” as well as “climate risks.” If such a rule were adopted, companies could get sued even for unintentionally misreporting information. Trial lawyers stand to make out big.

Liberals like to say that sustainability is good for business—but mainly for those promoting it.

  

Michael Bloomberg became one of the world’s richest men by creating a financial software and data-analytics business to assist investors. He has since used his wealth to promote progressive causes. Now he’s standing behind a nonprofit financial venture that helps others cash in on liberal corporate virtue. Its name is the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.

Mr. Bloomberg bankrolled the outfit, which was founded in 2011, to impose his enlightened political and cultural values on American corporations. SASB drew more attention in January when BlackRockCEO Larry Fink threatened to use his firm’s massive ownership stakes to oppose corporate managers who fail to follow the board’s standards.

SASB is modeled on the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which governs how businesses report financial information. It has a nine-member board that sets guidelines on the kinds of “sustainability” information corporations should disclose to investors. This information is supposed to be “material” to a company’s long-term financial performance.

Materiality is essentially a progressive term of art. SASB’s standards vary across 77 industries based on what its “stakeholders”—academics, attorneys, auditors, asset managers and businesses—consider important. Greenhouse-gas emissions are “material” to food and beverage companies but not to those that make consumer goods. Safeguarding customer welfare is important for health insurers though oddly not for airlines or banks.

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