Monday, September 17, 2007
Stewart Brand, Nuclear Power, and Military Contracts
We've known for more than ten years, thanks to Wired magazine and other sources, that Stewart Brand, founder of Whole Earth Catalog and Co-Evolution Quarterly, had become an advocate of nuclear power. But last week's Economist magazine had a revealing interview with Brand where he tries to rationalize the Big Oil and military-contractor business he does via the Global Business Network.
Now, Brand says some correct things about how wrong Paul Ehrlich and the Club of Rome were on neo-Malthusian limits, and suggests the same may be true for genetic engineering and nuclear power. I can buy some of his points, but nuclear power remains too closely aligned to nuclear weapons to ever be made safe. When he tries to point out how energy companies are changing, and how the military is better organized than many corporations, I can agree with him in part. But Brand forgets to mention that Royal Dutch Shell, however much it "transforms", still has a primary business of pumping oil out of the ground. The military, however much it may organize itself well along some fronts, still has a primary purpose of global power projection in the service of empire, and by the way, it kills people and makes things go boom in the process.
How embarrassing that this old Deadhead Merry Prankster has stooped so low.