Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism

John Elkington. Fast Company, $24.95 (284p) ISBN 978-1-7324391-2-2
A thoughtful if self-aggrandizing call for sustainable capitalism arrives from social entrepreneur Elkington (coauthor, The Breakthrough Challenge). Expanding on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s 2007 book, The Black Swan, an exploration of unpredictable and large-scale events, Elkington introduces green swans, which offer “systemic solutions to global challenges.” He predicts an approaching crisis in the world economy, with at stake whether democracy and sustainability—a term which, he informs readers, he coined—can coexist with capitalism. The most likely outcome, Elkington posits, is that capitalism will falter or crash entirely, only to reemerge in a more environmentally and socially responsible form. He discusses how the reluctance to face deep-seated issues under a free-market system that privileges short-term thinking can lead to disaster, comparing the oil business’s attitude toward climate change to how the tobacco industry refused to deal with its products’ health risks. In the long term, though, Elkington believes the future will belong to forward-thinking and responsible leaders, such as Marc Benioff, the co-CEO of software company Salesforce, who calls for taxes to go up, not down, on high earners like himself, to aid social spending. Enthusiastic about change, Elkington offers a much-needed shot of optimism. However, the derivative nature of the ideas within, and the author’s inability to skip any opportunity to sing his own praises, is likely to leave readers feeling unfulfilled. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/08/2020
Release date: 04/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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