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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Monday, July 10, 2006


Wal-Mart goes to the Goracle

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, July 10, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
No matter how you spin this story, it is bound to explode at least someone's brain.

Former Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore is planning to address Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executives next week at the retailer’s quarterly conference on sustainability, part of the company’s recent efforts to become an environmental leader, a Wal-Mart spokesman confirmed.

Gore will speak on global warming, the subject of his recently released documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” The conference is an outgrowth of Wal-Mart’s mission, outlined by Chief Executive Lee Scott last November, to minimize its negative impact on the environment. At the time, Wal-Mart committed to, among other things, reduce energy use in its stores, improve the fuel efficiency of its truck fleet and substantially cut down on solid waste produced by its stores.

I don't have anything particularly insightful to add other than to observe that corporations, while certainly not trustworthy to put the Good of the Commons above their bottom line (and nor should they be expected to do so! Corporations are profit-maximization entities by intentional and valid design), will respond to economic pressures by adopting policies that can be in accord with said Good. Hence, a better approach to manipulating them to do the right thing is to phrase the problem in a economic sense. The singular best example of this is getting corporations on board with the push for single-payer health care, which would level the global playing field for American corporations vis their foreign counterparts. But econo-environmentalism is also an oft-underlooked aspect of the same theory. As fuel and energy prices increase, corporations are going to find that the demand side of the equation is something they have more power over than the supply.

Not to say that supply-side considerations are insignificant - after all, cheap energy from the Columbia river is what drove Microsoft to build enormous server farms in Washinton State. But there is a limit on how much gigantic capital investment corporations can make in that regard.


cross-posted to dkos as an (abbreviated) diary. I think that the politics of persuasion, especially with respect to corporations, is a potentially more powerful approach than the confrontational methodology that the progressive movement has traditionally adopted. Get the corps to see the Zen and let them Enlighten themselves.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.