Remember the inconvenient Al Gore? He’s written a new book entitled The Future – Six Drivers Of Global Change, and was on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show last week (which you can only get here by paying for Murdoch’s Austar/Foxtel channels).
The two brought up the current global system which, as we all know, is inherently flawed. When Jon Stewart said capitalism was a ‘voracious overeater’, Gore launched into an interesting tirade.
‘We have two powerful tools to shape our future. One is democracy, the other is capitalism. And the alternatives to democracy have been tried and found to be disastrous. The alternatives to capitalism have also been not so great. Capitalism as we all know allocates resources efficiently, balances supply and demand, is more conducive with higher levels of freedom and it unlocks a higher level of human potential. But in spite of that, it
is now associated with market disruptions which are bigger and more frequent... Short-termism is one example.
‘Thirty years ago stocks were held on average for seven years. That was rational. And now it’s seven months. Here in New York and in London, 60 per cent of the trades on the stock exchange are now made by these algorithmic “flash trades” – it happens in milliseconds. That’s not really investing. So we have a flash crash where the market drops a thousand points and comes back again in 20 minutes and they have no idea why it is happening...’
‘Capitalism the way it currently operates needs to be reformed’, Gore says. ‘Our democracy has been hacked – it’s been taken over.
‘It no longer operates the way our founding fathers intended it to. Anonymous donors, big corporations, big money, might makes right... the lobbyist and special interest groups are now in control.
‘You can’t do anything without begging for permission and it’s time that we took our democracy back. And it can be done.’