Back in September we blogged about the investment prowess of Al Gore and how he was able to secure a $529 million loan from the U.S. government (see also: you) in order to build a hybrid sports car in Finland that will sell to the tune of $89,000.
Well, friends, that appears to be mere chump change as the former Veep has been retained as an unpaid corporate advisor for an electric grid component manufacturer in which Gore’s investment firm invested $75 million and which was followed quickly by $3.4 billion in smart grid grants by the Energy Department.
Silver Spring Networks is a foot soldier in the global green energy revolution Mr. Gore hopes to lead. Few people have been as vocal about the urgency of global warming and the need to reinvent the way the world produces and consumes energy. And few have put as much money behind their advocacy as Mr. Gore and are as well positioned to profit from this green transformation, if and when it comes.
Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming skeptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the world’s first “carbon billionaire,” profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in.
Again, we don’t know what all the bitching and whining is about. If there is anything we know about Big Green and the Environmental-Industrial complex is that it has served only for the benefit of the egos and backpockets of the politically connected on too expensive and not-yet-ready-for-primetime technology.
Socialism, communism, fascism…. Whatever. The more we see, the more we are convinced this administration’s policies really aren’t driven by any particular ideology but rather good old fashion influence peddling in exchange for monetary and political gain that is dressed up in the finery of progressive activism.
Crony capitalism: an allegedly capitalist economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between businesspeople and government officials.