back to article Tech bro CEOs claim their crowns because they fix problems. Why shirk the biggest one?

War! Huh! What is it good for? Our survey said: absolutely nothing. But you could also have "incredible acceleration of planet-changing technologies such as jet engines, radar and associated electronics, rocketry, logistics, automated numerical analysis leading to digital computing, and the concepts of basic human rights." All …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Careless

    Apple runs manufacturing in China, so they don't have to care about pesky environment.

    It's all about virtue signalling, great looking website, green keywords. As long as people get their new iPhone fix, new shiny MacBook and whatever else comes from Apple bowels, they are not going to care about any of that.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But it's up to us

    Vote with your wallet.

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: But it's up to us

      Please point us at the eco-friendly technological alternatives!

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: But it's up to us

        For example (quote) "Zoom meetings consume a fraction of the energy"

        So Zoom is presented as environmentally friendly but Zoom doesn't work on older computers (e.g. Vista etc) so you have to throw out the old laptop and buy a new one with Windows 10 to run Zoom. And then you need to throw that computer away to "upgrade" to Windows 11.

        Zoom meetings work but they limit the meeting to the Zoom environment, so everyone participating has to "upgrade" their presentations to remove all the parts that don't work on-line when all you can do is start waving items in front of the camera.

        It's all sold as "eco-friendly technological alternatives" but when you look at the end-results, the technological world is run to be much more profitable, and upgrade by dumping more trash, than being environmentally friendly.

        1. jpo234

          Re: But it's up to us

          I have Windows 10 running on a laptop that originally came with Vista (Upgraded the RAM from 4 to 8GB and replaced the HDD with a SDD). Perfectly usable. Win 10 will be supported until 2025. That means the laptop should be usable until 2030 or over 20 years.

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Yeah, but Borkzilla wants you to upgrade every two years.

            Just sayin'

            1. jpo234

              Who is Borkzilla? Microsoft?

              WinXP reigned from 2001 until 2008, it's effective successor, Win7 from 2009 until 2020 (end of support) and Win10 from 2015 until 2025. That's closer to 10 years...

            2. Filippo Silver badge

              It's worth noting that Microsoft pushing you into buying new hardware happens seldom enough that it still makes the news and draws complaints from everyone, but Android devices - for example - have to be replaced so often that it's not even news anymore, and most people have just accepted it.

              1. Jaywalk

                Are you serious about Android phones need to be replaced often? I am using Samsung S7 Edge from 2016 that is more than five years. Works perfectly fine. Survived several "drop tests". It is the iPhone that needs to be replaced every other year for more or less the "same" iPhone with a bumped up iOS version number. And on top of it, Apple won't even allows recycling the old iPhones. They pay you the money only to have it dismantled, so that no body will be able to refurbish it.

                1. Filippo Silver badge

                  Yes, I am serious, but I think we are looking at the problem from two distinct perspectives. A Windows PC will easily last a decade and still be able to run any common workload, except for recent games; Microsoft and Intel and whatnot might like you to upgrade more often than that, but the fact is that there's no real reason to. There is no Android or iPhone device that can claim that, not even close. A ten years old smartphone is crippled, even if the hardware is fine.

                  Of course, it could be argued that I shouldn't be comparing PCs to phones - but, well, why shouldn't I? I don't see anything technical, implicit in the concept of a smartphone, that should justify a massively faster upgrade cycle compared to a PC. Most apps don't do anything that should require gigahertzes and gigabytes - even less so, now that lots of things are done in the cloud.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    re. I don't see anything technical, implicit in the concept of a smartphone

                    I do, it's called a 'locked bootloader'. Not a concept as such, but implementation, definitely.

                2. doublelayer Silver badge

                  "Are you serious about Android phones need to be replaced often?"

                  Yes, very much so, and you seem to misunderstand why, including getting some facts wrong.

                  "I am using Samsung S7 Edge from 2016 that is more than five years. Works perfectly fine. Survived several "drop tests"."

                  And 2016 is really not that old for competing devices. A laptop from 2016 still works, yeah, most of them do. When Microsoft denied the Windows 11 updates to computers of that age, we called it terrible (and it is), but MS still plans to update Windows 10 until 2025. Does your old phone still get Android updates? From a search online, it looks like the latest update was Android 8 (we're on 12) and security patch of December 2019. That is far far worse than any other type of product, including Windows. And including Apple, but that's another of your sentences.

                  "It is the iPhone that needs to be replaced every other year for more or less the "same" iPhone with a bumped up iOS version number."

                  Wrong. IPhones from 2015 are running IOS 15. If an Android device from 2015 runs Android 12 (fine, I'll give you credit if you find one running 11), it's because someone has painstakingly broken through the locks and compiled it. You won't even find many such devices available. Apple doesn't make that process difficult for their old devices. This is not secret and it's not news. Your claims here suggest you are lying to advance your point.

                  "And on top of it, Apple won't even allows recycling the old iPhones. They pay you the money only to have it dismantled, so that no body will be able to refurbish it."

                  They don't use refurbished parts from them, but others do. Until recently, nothing prevented you from sending your old phone to someone else who would use the parts. I do not like that they have started blocking this, and others don't like it to the extent that Apple's had to slightly back off.

                  1. Shrek

                    Pretty much what I was going to say. My specific example was switching from a OnePlus 5 which day to day was still perfectly useable and probably had some good life left in it - but it hasn't had any security updates for sometime and it looks like it won't do either.

                    I weighed up options, considered LineageOS etc but there's always a compromise, usually not being able to fully utilise the stock camera or having to fiddle (granted not tricky in reality) to get Gapps sorted.

                    Tried an old iPhone SE and was surprised to find it running (at the time) the latest iOS14 and more than useable, really it was only the form factor that put me off. Had my eye on whatever the iPhone 13 brought but then got a hand me down iPhone XR. Seems more than capable to me and is a big enough step from the OP5 that I'll likely stick with that until it dies a death.

                    The point being that, in my experience, it seems that Apple keep the software updates coming for quite a while - certainly more than any Android device I've owned.

        2. stungebag

          Re: But it's up to us

          Zoom runs fine in the browser, so I don't believe it would struggle under Vista.

          I would, though, it was horrible.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: But it's up to us

          "Zoom doesn't work on older computers (e.g. Vista etc)"

          Zoom works on Linux. When SWMBO was running her patchwork classes remotely they met by Zoom and, of course, her laptop runs on Linux.

          1. MyffyW Silver badge
            Linux

            Re: But it's up to us

            Zoom (and Google Classroom) run fine on my 2009 Dell. You don't need to ask which OS it uses do you .... ?

        4. ThatOne Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: But it's up to us

          > the technological world is run to be much more profitable, and upgrade by dumping more trash

          Whatever Zoom can or can't do, this ^^ is and remains true. It's all about the money, trying to project any outstanding capacities of problem solving is ridiculous, their only goal and achievement is making lots of money from an initial non-marketing (i.e. original) idea.

          "Tech bro CEOs claim their crowns because they fix problems make big profit": Fixed it for you, that's how it works in the real wold. I've met many very capable problem solvers and they don't get any crowns of any kind, often not even a pay bonus.

          Expecting profit-driven "new technologies" people to think about the profit-destroying requirements of saving the planet (save our own hides actually) is like expecting Google to distribute privacy tools.

          1. jpo234

            Re: But it's up to us

            > to think about the profit-destroying requirements of saving the planet

            Profits and saving the planet aren't mutually exclusive. Green technologies are big business now (think wind, solar, EVs,...). In fact, I'd argue that economic incentives (e.g. profits) are the most promising way to tackle the climate crisis. Only if dirty technologies are out competed by clean solutions will we have a durable solution. Otherwise somebody will try to cheat.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge

              Re: But it's up to us

              > Profits and saving the planet aren't mutually exclusive.

              Profits and savings aren't mutually exclusive, but they don't benefit the same people.

              They indeed offer new profit opportunities (like the ones you mentioned), but they mean huge costs (and thus loss of profit) for the vast majority of already established industries. Businesses don't like being forced to waste money in new, unproven technologies instead of simply cashing in on their old, already paid-for investments. And for many industries "green" is not in any way an opportunity (consumer electronics come to mind), just an additional expenditure.

        5. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Zoom doesn’t work on older computers …

          … (e.g. Vista etc) so you have to throw out the old laptop and buy a new one

          Zoom works well on my eleven year old laptop; it’s never had Vista installed on it, though. Did you have an even older computer in mind?

        6. Stork Silver badge

          Re: But it's up to us

          Depends. My youngest had Zoom school classes in the spring 2020 using a first generation Intel iMac. Didn’t work wonderfully, but main issue was network

          1. Stork Silver badge

            Re: But it's up to us

            Of course it was running Linux Mint

      2. deive

        Re: But it's up to us

        https://www.fairphone.com/

        1. jpo234

          Re: But it's up to us

          Or: Buy a normal midrange phone for €/$200, donate €/$100 to a tree planting project and keep the remaining €/$250 for yourself.

          Overall, that would do more good than the virtue signalling hipster phone. But of course it's not as hip.

          1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

            Re: But it's up to us

            That would work provided the mid range phone also had a 5 year warranty and software support for that period. If it doesn't, having to buy a phone twice makes it considerably less environmentally friendly.

            1. jpo234

              Re: But it's up to us

              My 2017 mid ranger is still doing fine. While you don't have guarantee, it's very much possible to use one for at least 4 years.

      3. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: But it's up to us

        Please point us at the eco-friendly technological alternatives!

        That aren't greenwashed to hell and gone.

      4. HildyJ Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: But it's up to us

        Eco friendly - FiloFax? Rolodex? Landlines?

      5. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: But it's up to us

        6 quid daughter card for my Samsung A40 fixed a wobbly power connector. Even throwing in the half hour of labour from my fair hands it was way cheaper (for me and Gaia) than a replacement that actually wouldn't have been much better in spec.

        As a sidenote: my previous 2016 Samung J5 can still run security-sensitive apps, although it does require a little bit of patience as they load.

      6. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: But it's up to us

        Framework. They make modular laptops that are massively repairable.

        https://frame.work/

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: But it's up to us

        Please point us at the eco-friendly technological alternatives!

        Zoom requires a computer of relatively recent make. Many meetings do not require visual aids, so how about just conference calling, that could be done on mobile or landline phones?

        1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

          Zoom requires a computer of relatively recent make.

          Define “relatively recent”. As I’d noted above, Zoom works well on my eleven year old laptop.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But it's up to us

      but... we won't. Or rather, we will, but no sooner than when the walls come crushing towards us very fast, at which point it will not matter. So... let's party now! :(

  3. jpo234

    Looking at the emissions per sector (https://ourworldindata.org/emissions-by-sector#energy-electricity-heat-and-transport-73-2), big tech doesn't pop up on the radar...

    It's old industries that are the real offenders.

    1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
      FAIL

      The "old industries" make your railways, keep your lights on, keep the rain out, and provide employment for thousands of people not like you. Close them down, and your stuff will come from other countries, who aren't so daft. Meanwhile, people not like you are now unemployed. Well done!

      1. jpo234

        I never said or implied that they should be shut down. But if you want to actually decarbonize the economy, this is where to look. Blaming big tech because that seems to be fashionable right now won't actually solve the problem.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Close them down, and your stuff will come from other countries, who aren't so daft. Meanwhile, people not like you are now unemployed. Well done!

        You're about 10 years to late my friend.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Do you think big tech servers made of steel, copper, gold, silver, rare earth minerals etc. sort of come out of thin air? Do you think they get transported by fairies? Big tech is "old industries".

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        And they use cargo sips who burn the absolute worst, most polluting fuel possible.

        One of those ships offsets 100,000 Teslas.

        We need to start the cleanup there.

        1. jpo234

          Marine transportation accounts for a whopping 1.7% of global emissions. That's far, far down the priority list.

          The thing that needs to be cleaned up first is coal.

          1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

            To be fair humans doing their best to dig all that pesky coal are burn it away...

  4. Valeyard

    are we the baddies?

    twats with bitcoin miners heating up a small country for $20 start ranting at you about governments and freedom and how the blockchain will save the climate or something

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    ITers may not be the enemy but ITers are mostly not in control of their industry, beancounters, marketeers and investment fund managers are the drivers of constant change that in turn produces constant landfill.

    So the IT/Tech industries are a part of the problem even while being able to provide some of the solutions.

    It is more of the same beancounters, marketeers and investment funds who push all other industries to continue making profit at almost any cost.

    Until the notion of ever expanding business and profit is replaced with stability and a balance between the resources needed to feed and maintain civilisation and the resources that are actually taken and often squandered, the wirld will continue to reap the whirlwind.

  6. Henry Hallan
    FAIL

    "Data centres at cloud provider scale are the most efficient engines of computation at scale ever created: they have to be, to be competitive."

    Hahahaha ... no.

    The underlying hardware is not the most efficient: instead it is four decades of legacy in a power-hungry heap. There have been many attempts to introduce more effiicent hardware but all have failed. Why?

    Because the running software is not the most efficient either. Nobody develops software for efficiency: they lash software together from free sources written in whatever language is most fashionable, and then run it on operating systems that also have four decades of legacy baggage.

    Worse, cloud computing brings its own problems. Running code on your own computer allows security based on physical locks on the doors. Running code on someone else's computer requires security that is based on encryption of all data both at rest and in motion, massively increasing the computation required to communicate.

    Lastly, a computer on a desk does not require much in the way of cooling, and the heat may actually be useful. A warehouse full of computers stacked floor-to-ceiling in closed cabinets requires far more cooling, since each one is surrounded by others all getting too hot, which means the heat must be transported out of the building -- requiring more power to move the heat around -- and, most likely, then thrown away.

    Cloud computing may have many advantages -- it's not just the latest fashion -- but energy efficiency is not one of them.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      There is the thing - often overlooked - cloud provider advertise that they can provide any kind of resource at moment's notice - this means they have an enormous array of servers just running idle and waiting for customers allocation. Often it never happens.

      Sure if you have in house servers you will also over provision, but you will not have enough funds to over provision 100-1000 times.

      1. jpo234

        And a PC that only gets used at less than 1% of its capacity is better?

      2. stungebag

        Er, no. Large cloud providers rely on statistics. They hope that your sudden need for 100 times your usual computing resource does not happen at the same time that everybody else needs 100 times their usual resource.

        1. jpo234

          Exactly: It's like public transportation.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Public transport, of course, does suffer from spikes of demand. But that applies to transport in general. It's the commute to and from work. Planning, at least in the UK, has, for decades, ensured increasing separation between where people live and where they work.

      3. cornetman Silver badge

        Amazon AWS started life as a realisation that resources at the company were being under-utilised.

        For all their problems, Amazon are not a company that tolerates inefficiency and they count absolutely everything.

        In terms of computing efficiency, the cloud providers are at the top of the game, which is not surprising considering that one of their largest expense is power. It makes absolutely no sense for them to be provisioning computing hardware that is powered on idle.

    2. jpo234

      Cloud computing is the equivalent to public transportation: They are like trains or buses instead of cars. An individual bus is much less efficient than a car, but it is shared among a lot of riders.

      Same for cloud computing resources: instead of being 99% idle, they actually get used (I just checked: my laptop currently uses 1% of its CPU).

    3. captain veg Silver badge

      Energy efficiency isn't actually necessary, if that inefficiency were put to good use. District heating comes to mind. If combined heat and power is a good idea -- and it is -- why not combined heat and compute?

      -A.

      1. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

        You want major infrastructure built it has to be in place several decades whereas IT trends (trends, not products) may last a decade. The focus now is to centralisation in the cloud. Given a new idea and support infrastructure can you guarantee that in 10-15 years the pendulum won't swing to massively distributed systems, both in terms of the devices and their location?

        A small scale example of what you propose: the original Computer Science building at the University of Manchester. Built in the late 60's as the UK first dedicated CS department. The heating system simply recirculated the air from the machine room. Apparently it worked well when computers were valve based but when I was there in the mid-late 90s it effectively had no functional heating system at all despite that same machine room housing what was then #4 on the TOP500.

        Would you want to develop and pay for a municipal heating system based on similar implied assumptions?

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
    Holmes

    Raw materials

    The part of IT (and electronics more generally) that is hidden are the raw materials used to actually make the components and process the printed circuit boards (sometimes known as printed wiring boards which is, technically, more accurate).

    The most common parts (by a long way) are passives - resistors and capacitors. These are sold (typically) on reels of between 5000 and 25000.

    Capacitors use different materials depending on type, but solid tantalum devices used Tantalum (a conflict mineral) which can be toxic. These devices have a habit of being pyrotechnically satisfying in some circumstances. Wet tantalum devices (still very much used) also use dilute sulphuric acid.

    Surface mount ceramic parts use either calcium zirconate (class 1 devices) or barium titanate (class 2).

    Surface mount resistors (by far the most common for at least the last 25 years) usually use either Nichrome (Nickel and Chromium alloy) for precision thin film parts and one of the oxides of ruthenium (most common), iridium and rhenium in thick film parts which are by far the most common ones in use today.

    Most PCB materials are epoxies (some have the mechanical properties of epoxy but are based on other materials).

    Other materials include Gallium Arsenide, Gallium Nitride (becoming extremely popular) and Gallium Aluminium Arsenide - the list is a very long one.

    None of those materials is particularly rare, but they are all mined. If we could recycle the parts (they will usually last for decades) we could significantly reduce the amount of mining operations (Lithium mining is the elephant in the room of course).

    IC packaging is commonly plastic encapsulated with copper lead frames and common pin finishes of tin or NiPdAu.

    That is before we even get to the processing from raw materials to actual components; RuO2 resistors (as an example) are heated to 850C when they are being manufactured and that heat has to come from a source of energy somewhere.

    Then we get to producing the actual PCBs with components. The most common process is reflow which uses copious amounts of nitrogen (which is inert and prevents certain solder defects) and water (used in post process aqueous cleaning along with various solvents). Modern lead free solders are mainly tin (SAC or SnAgCu is one type, Tin, Silver and copper) quite a bit of which is wasted. There is also the flux (essential for a good solder joint) which is usually a resin. Interestingly, the flux in lead free solders is far more aggressive than the flux used in tin lead solder as the soldering process takes a physically longer time.

    That means that even if you can rework them, far better air extraction systems are required.

    The interconnect is copper (with solder mask on most of it which is a polymer).

    All this barely scratches the surface (no pun directly intended) but you get the idea. Unless all these inputs (including the processing) are considered we will not have a true idea of the overall environmental impact.

    One more thing to consider; fabricating IC wafers uses an inordinate amount of water which has to be processed prior to use.

    Now take all of those things that cannot be repaired (which are therefore replaced) and set the cost of those materials against the impact of slightly lower electrical efficiency if they could be repaired; it might make very interesting reading.

    For this to happen though will require some form of incentive to the vendors of the items and I am not going to go there with this post.

  9. Paul 195
    FAIL

    I wish...

    The problem is, the Tech Bros have zero interest in saving the planet. Working out how to stop burning carbon fuels - boring. Working out how to fly to Mars - exciting. The companies they run have delivering profit and shareholder value hardwired into their DNA, so they aren't going to act either. In fact, if anything, they are part of the problem when they use their dollars to lobby against climate change policy: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/sep/20/big-tech-climate-change

    The fact is, no individual can really be trusted with the huge amounts of wealth controlled by Bezos, Musk, Gates et al. Not even Gates who at least is focused on real problems, like malaria, rather than a low-orbit bragging rights race. The war analogy is a good one. In a total war, governments tell companies what they are going to do for the war effort. They don't ask. That's the situation we are in now, and we need some direction from the people elected to lead.

    1. jpo234

      Re: I wish...

      > Working out how to stop burning carbon fuels - boring. Working out how to fly to Mars - exciting.

      That seems to be aimed at Musk. The vast majority of his wealth comes from Tesla, which is exactly working on "how to stop burning carbon fuels".

      1. Paul 195

        Re: I wish...

        I won't denigrate the achievement of Tesla in popularising electric vehicles and even giving them sex-appeal to rival the gas guzzlers. But in terms of "how to stop burning carbon fuels", it's only really addressing a tiny part of the problem, which encompasses nearly all our current activities. Not just how we get around, but how we grow our food, how we put up our buildings, how we heat and cool those buildings, and so on.

        Musk's impact on the world is hard to quantify, but the bottom line is: he has a great deal of wealth, like all people that wealthy there is no justification for one person having that much wealth that stands up to scrutiny, he isn't using more than a tiny fraction of that wealth to make the world a better place.

        Or to put it another way, I pay a marginal tax rate of 40% on my income, which I can claim I "earned' just as fairly as any billionaire can claim they "earned" their wealth. In terms of a percentage of their available resources, most ordinary working people are doing far more to support society than billionaires are. And if Musk and other members of the ultra rich club were taxed at 95% of their wealth, they would still have more money to live on than the rest of us will see in several lifetimes.

        Whatever you think of Marxist solutions, Marxist analysis of capitalism is correct. No-one creates that much wealth by themselves. It represents the labour of all of the rest of us, locked away where we can only look at it and wonder what it could be used for instead.

        1. jpo234

          Re: I wish...

          I'll bite and I'll argue that it is capitalist efficiency that gives us a fighting chance against climate change. It's easy to forget how awfully wasteful the alternatives were and still are. Just look at Venezuela, the socialism of the 21st century. Capitalism isn't fair, but at least it creates the ressources we will need to meet the climate challenge. The alternatives create less out of even worse environmental damages.

          Your argument reminds me of AOC arguing against the billions of "subsidies" for Amazon HQ2 in NY. She suggested that the money should be spent to improve poor communities instead. The problem: The subsidies were mostly tax incentives. No HQ2, no revenue to tax, no subsidies but even less money for social projects.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @jpo234 - Re: I wish...

            Actually, no! All capitalist efficiency does is taking a low-cost or even better, a free resource, exploit it and extract maximum of profit. As you may already know, the only goal of a capitalist enterprise is to make profit for its owner(s). Since the fight against climate change doesn't bring in revenue, they'd rather leave it for the governments to deal with while they're busy making heaps of money.

            As for tax on Amazon revenues, we all know how it plays out. Giving tax incentives to a company that doesn't pay tax is a funny concept.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: @jpo234 - I wish...

              The problem with capitalist efficiency is it currently manages to externalise most environmental costs.

              If the cost of pollution were somehow priced into all purchases of raw materials and energy, then a "full-blown capitalist" would immediately work to minimise it.

              This is actually how health and safety happened in the USA. Employers were required to pay fixed levels of compensation whenever an employee was harmed - regardless of fault - and suddenly they magically started providing safety kit (guards etc), requiring it to be used properly and training their workers.

              That system replaced the previous "sue them if you're able", which didn't work as fault had to be proven. The lawyers didn't like this of course, so "sue 'em" came back.

              1. msobkow Silver badge

                Re: @jpo234 - I wish...

                They're trying to do that here in Canada with the carbon tax on fuels. However, the biggest polluters are fighting the hardest and spending FAR more money on lawyers than they are on trying to reduce their carbon footprints. :(

        2. AndrueC Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: I wish...

          Musk's impact on the world is hard to quantify, but the bottom line is: he has a great deal of wealth, like all people that wealthy there is no justification for one person having that much wealth that stands up to scrutiny, he isn't using more than a tiny fraction of that wealth to make the world a better place.

          Most of his wealth is paper wealth. He doesn't really 'have it' at all. If he were to realise his wealth as actual money it would drop considerably. There are probably legal restrictions on his ability to get actual money out due to the impact on his businesses, their staff and other shareholders.

          In fact I'd venture that most if not all wealthy people don't actually 'have' wealth. Rich people do not generally store their wealth as cash or bars of gold under the bed. The bulk of their wealth will be invested in the economy where it helps to power the world us plebs live in.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AndrueC - Re: I wish...

            Yeah, poor rich people! They work so hard and generously give their wealth to ungrateful masses.

            Excuse me while I'm looking for a handkerchief, please keep those violins playing.

          2. msobkow Silver badge

            Re: I wish...

            That is a common misconception. When someone like Musk sits on shares of Tesla, those funds are NOT circulating in the economy - they're tied up in Tesla, which is just his own baby.

            Claiming that money is "in circulation" is even more facetious than claiming an registered retirement savings plan is "in circulation"; at least the latter is invested in a *variety* of stocks, not the share owner's own business.

            1. AndrueC Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: I wish...

              That is a common misconception. When someone like Musk sits on shares of Tesla, those funds are NOT circulating in the economy - they're tied up in Tesla, which is just his own baby.

              I agree. Just to be clear I was quoting two separate examples there. Mr Musk is one example where most of his wealth is tied up in a company. The other example is a more general observation about wealthy people and how most of their wealth /is/ circulating in the economy.

              There might be better things that could be done with that money but who gets to decide? Some of their wealth is being used to fund FTTP roll-outs in the UK at the moment. And what happens to all the people that Ferrari employ (directly and indirectly through related services and suppliers) if it's determined that people shouldn't be allowed to squander money on expensive sports cars?

              We live in a complicated and interconnected world and you shouldn't separate out one group of people and act like they have no connection to the rest.

            2. cornetman Silver badge

              Re: I wish...

              > That is a common misconception. When someone like Musk sits on shares of Tesla, those funds are NOT circulating in the economy - they're tied up in Tesla, which is just his own baby.

              So just exactly how *do* you build a business with the an enormous R&D overhead in a cutting edge market that you are creating for yourself without plunging millions of dollars into it? You make it sound as though the money is just sitting there doing nothing. It's actually providing capital slush for the company to run. A lot of mainstream manufacturers use credit to fund their manufacturing but a company like Tesla is not going to be able to function like that.

              Even money in the bank is loaned out to other businesses. Absolutely the only way anyone can wasteful sit on money legitimately is to turn it into cash or buy private assets that are just hoarded. I don't believe most entrepreneurs actually do any such thing. It's a wilful misconception. Most entrepreneurs are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing to invest in. I believe Musk's history proves the point.

        3. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

          Re: I wish...

          “ ultra rich club were taxed at 95% of their wealth”

          What an idiotic statement. 95% of wealth means no companies left at all.

          Anyone who thinks that Marxism is right about anything is an idiot.

          And a very nasty individual as well - supporting murderous ideology that killed millions.

          1. hairydog

            Re: I wish...

            We don't have *any* wealth tax, though if we had, it would probably be at something like 0.01%

            Taxes on income tend to be up to 95% but the same rules should apply to everyone.

            A billionaire still gets the same £11,000 tax free allowance, the same standard rate band, and they only pay higher rates of tax on their "excess" income.

            To suggest that anyone can have earned a billion is nonsense.

            Assume that you earned £1000 per day (which is normal pay for maybe a dozen people) and is a sensible limit to the actual wage for one person. You worked five days a week, fifty weeks a year. And you paid not a penny in tax.

            How long would it take you to earn your first billion? Just four thousand years!

            No, billionaires are that wealthy because they have benefited from the resources of others without paying for that benefit.

            It is entirely reasonable that they get the same tax breaks as the rest of us, but it also fair that society gets back what has been taken from us.

            And if you really think that billionaires add a sort of empowering magic to a business which would stop if they had to pay sensible amounts of tax, I suggest that you really don't understand either business or humans.

            1. Blank Reg Silver badge

              Re: I wish...

              the problem is that they have gotten around paying taxes by not making any money. tech companies tend to do stock buy backs instead of paying dividends like companies used to do.

              If they paid dividends then the billionaires would owe taxes, we can't have that! So instead just artificially inflate the value of the stock. they can then borrow against the value of their stock and live off that. As they made no money they will pay no taxes.

              the solution is simple, ban stock buy backs again as they are just a form of stock manipulation. Then tax dividends as income no special breaks. if that isn't enough then bring in a wealth tax

  10. FordPrefect

    It is fixable we already know how to fix it, however nobody is keen to actually do what's required. There are no simple easy fixes, we just have to all individually cut down the amount of CO2 and other greenhouses we are responsible for producing. For example suggest to people that they eat less(not no meat at all) and people make out like its a massive inconvenience. We could limit the production of new cars and vans which kick out more CO2 than is required, but I dont see many people signing up to get rid of there gas guzzlers even though nobody really needs a 3 litre V8. We have tech titans like Bill Gates telling the rest of us this is important whilst sat on his yacht with a small group of people pumping out CO2 thats the equivalent of a small town, Or billionaires many who were already in Rome taking their private jets individually to Scotland for COP26. Most people agree we need to do something but its everyone else that should cut consumption not them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @FordPerfect - Not to speak about

      the military. Won't somebody tell them to stop burning fossil fuels and get the hell carbon-neutral as quick as possible ?

    2. mevets

      You missed a couple.

      But it is a fine bit of work getting so many petroleum industry talking points threaded into the paragraph. We really need a bingo card score to keep better track of this sort of tripe.

      Pitting people against each other is not at all the required effort. If it is the best you can do, please sit down and let somebody else carry your load for you.

      For the rest, like any effort that requires mobilization of everyone and everything, try to look forward. What is in the rear view mirror is seldom instructive, and often demoralizing. There will always be crooks of various stripes taking advantage of the efforts of others; but for every one of them there are 90+ on side. 5 years ago it was only 70+ onside; and in 5 years it will be 99+.

      This is how all change happens -- job #1 is to get the people who never should have held positions of responsibility out of those positions. It gets easier after that, but still > 50% of COP26 participants were fossil fuel partisans.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You can't sell iPhones to a world on fire

    maybe not in x amount of time you can't, but FOR NOW, and tomorrow, and next year... yeah, let's! And oh, by the way, we ARE saving the planet, by letting the nimble, tiny Asian hands assemble our shit, we empower the de-povertisation of countless lives, thus enabling them something or other, my press-release ceo will complete this twit cause like, I've already lost interest. Don't forget to like!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: You can't sell iPhones to a world on fire

      Nor can they keep their supply and production going in a world experiencing catastrophe after catastrophe. The pandemic was a picnic compared to what may come, and look at how it, alone, affected supply and production.

  12. msobkow Silver badge

    Yeah, but they can BILL for the iPhones, so while it may not be "sexier", it is of much greater interest to profit-mongers - even when they themselves are making the problems worse via industrial waste and encouraging a "disposable" lifestyle.

  13. hairydog

    One of the most consistent things about wars throughout history is that their conduct is staggeringly inefficient, wasteful and inept.

    When at war, governments tend to turn up the pressure without measuring the effect, and almost every thing they do is done inefficiently.

    The side effect of this terrible financial and human cost is the appalling environmental cost.

    Stopping the march of climate change has to be a huge priority, but treating it as a war effort is probably the worst possible way to do it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > Why shirk the biggest one

    Why write this article? Aren't you just shirking the biggest problem?

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

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