Are “eco-capitalism” and cities with innovative industries possible?

    23 Sep 2021

    The countries of the Gulf are now similar to the countries of the West, the “second world” (post-Soviet) and the whole civilized world with an unprecedented concentration of capital, population and business opportunities in cities. However, there’s 2021 today, and cities no longer attract new residents by those industries that flourished in the middle of the twentieth century. The metallurgical industry is dying out or changing, and by the middle of the 21st century, the energy sector will change radically. No wonder the GCC countries are already working on post-oil transformations.

    Proponents of the current, which I describe as “eco-capitalism”, have high hopes for the ability of city dwellers to change and reject outdated traditions. We will tell the main theses about this process thanks to the expert Roman Zinchenko, smart energy and green economy advocate, co-founder at Greencubator.

    Eco-capitalism, also known as environmental capitalism or green capitalism, is the view that capital exists in nature as “natural capital” (ecosystems that have ecological yield) on which all wealth depends. The term “Blue Greens” is often applied to those who espouse eco-capitalism.

    Capitalism, opportunities, and challenges for cities

    First, it is worth talking about traditions that no longer justify themselves or are entirely meaningless. Everett Rogers in his book Diffusions of Innovations (1962) describes the case of how mass problems with dysentery and diarrhea arose in Peruvian villages. This happened because the inhabitants took water from the pits, which are filled with rain.

    Few organizations have promoted the idea of ​​boiling water before drinking. It turned out that the idea of ​​boiling was poorly supported by the local population because, in their opinion, “boiled water is for the weak.” Meanwhile, the sick ones could drink boiled water.

    This example is about the power of traditions, even more so – the curse of traditions that many countries must overcome. Cities are the largest concentration of trawls. And many methods that are stuck in their time became toxic over time.

    The examples are obsolete metallurgical and other plants in large cities. In medicine, a bright example is lobotomy and bloodletting, which doctors, fortunately, no longer practice.

    How does pollution affect the capitalization of real estate and why eco-capitalism is better

    Greed is still an essential component of capitalism. Yes, this human trait has led to the great destruction of biodiversity and the planet’s devastation. But there are proponents of capitalism who believe that the only way to end poverty is to create wealth (I will criticize this view in a separate article). And strangely enough, greed is needed to create wealth. Greed leads entrepreneurs in the business model and attracts effective financing. There would be no human civilization as we see it today without greed. (It is another matter whether it is needed as it is – of course, it needs to be reformed).

    Greed is a positive driving force. Thanks to it, businesses consider, for example, whether cities are able to withstand rising temperatures by 2.1° C? What will happen to roads and roofs?

    Cities need eco-capitalism because they need to understand the challenges they face. Its traits are interest, fear, and greed for things that happen in the environment around city dwellers.

    For example, smog is becoming more common – and its spread correlates with the emergence of the gig economy.

    The ability to calculate the capitalization of cities is vital. And, strangely, it is not counted in Eastern Europe, e.g.

    This is the way we calculate the total price of cities, the total price of businesses and the total price of real estate in these cities. In addition to the people who are attracted to cities, capitalization is also real estate. People complain that apartments in cities are expensive, but for some reason they go there – because cities concentrate opportunities.

    An example is New York, which has 1.2 trillion GDP. This is more than Australia’s GDP. It is a question of the capitalization of this city, a question of the price of the real estate, a question of the economy of this city and on what it grows.

    Interesting thing: New York has invested tens of billions of dollars in climate resilience over the last ten years. Because, for example, in 2007, Manhattan was left without light because Hurricane Barry affected not only the New York subway but also the business center. There were precedents when data center employees carried diesel fuel to generators in canisters on the 45th floor to maintain their work. Eventually, the diesel ran out, and many world-important services shut down.

    This is further evidence that climate change is a major challenge for cities.

    How can cities become the epicenters of “green” and climate innovation? To do this, we need an environment. The city, in general, says, “I want to change.” We need investors, companies that are bought, and networking assets. Finally, the city which wants to become viable in a climate change situation needs apparent policy guidelines.

    As a species, we have overcome natural selection a bit. But we did not overcome aging and dying. Industries are aging, and cities are dying. There are examples like the Roman Empire with its first cities, and modern post-Soviet cities. Cities need new solutions. They need to be a constant magnet for decision-makers.

    Why do city dwellers have to look at the environmental aspect? There’s a straightforward answer: imagine the high price of real estate in a resort town. Suddenly a metallurgical plant opens in it. How will the price of this property change? The undercapitalization of such a city is in the stereotype that it needs the metallurgical industry, leading to harmful emissions into the atmosphere; in monoindustrialism. Meanwhile, cities have the potential to develop not only in the direction of metallurgy. But monoindustrialism kills its capitalization.

     The challenge is to make cities fight for business – because, again, the only way to fight poverty is to create wealth. The only way to create wealth is to create a business.

    There is an inspiring example. A few years ago, Tesla acquired a German automation company to accelerate vehicle production. This company helps build automatic factories. Tesla Grohmann Automation remained in the city where it was – in the town of Prüm in Germany. The town’s population is 5488 people. So, such an enterprise does not need a metropolis.

    Conclusion: you can concentrate business opportunities in both large and small cities. The task of cities is to fight for these businesses. And “eco-capitalism” provides such opportunities. It’s a question of real estate prices and attracting new industries – because old industries become “suddenly” toxic.

    The stereotype in construction is eloquent when the gray and black color of the roofs absorbs thermal radiation. This causes the phenomenon of “thermal islands”, because the buildings begin to heat up. So they need to be cooled, so people start to install millions of air conditioners. And the old power grid engineers did not expect this. Blackouts begin. Peak consumption of electricity in Eastern Europe shifts from winter to summer.

    The authors of The Uninhabitable Earth article in the NY Times claim that many farms in Ecuador suffer from job losses because workers die of kidney disease. After all, working at a temperature higher than 1° leads to a person’s hydration deterioration and the kidneys “fall off” due to a large amount of sand in them. And this is a challenge.

    The “eco-capitalism” industry now has global money. And it’s not just the money of Bill Gates, who founded the Breakthrough energy coalition. This is the money of Zuckerberg and others who, together with Gates, have already invested several billion dollars in this project.

    Traditions are good if they are effective. For example, if the city has fewer roads and more greenery, it should be left. But the industrial monsters of the twentieth century and energy-inefficient buildings have to be finally given up.

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