Paul graciously read my summary and comments of his lecture on The Long Green. He offered a few corrections and comments:
1. The Patagonian indigenous people he mentioned are the Yamana or Yaghan people, not the Yamuna, which is what I mistakenly wrote. (Yamuna is of course the famed river in India.)
2. Paul clarifies that the Natural Capital Institute is "not an offshoot of the book really." I'll try to interview him soon to get a better sense of what the NCI is doing beyond what we read on the website.
3. In describing the proliferation of social entrepreneurship and civil society activity around the world, I said "the trouble is, this movement has no name." Paul thinks this is a good thing, and not a problem at all. Capitalism wasn't named until long after it was a driving force. So I wholeheartedly agree with Paul, and regret using that expression. It's only "trouble" for incumbents who don't get what's happening. I also believe that some experiments are best done away from the gaze of powerful interests and high expectations -- which is why so many of these big mega projects (say, the MDGs) are doomed to disappoint and frequently fail.
4. I suggested that it was naive to think that this movement was going to dismantle current power structures. As Paul counters, "Dismantling power is not naive in my opinion; it is an attempt to describe what I see. That could certainly and will most likely change. But I am trying to be anthropologist and see what it is saying and doing."
Fair enough. I see similar things too. I'm part of this process. Yet I'm cautious in my hopes. Given human history and some of the ugly stuff I've seen within many NGOs and activist groups, it's possible that adversarial politics might create an Animal Farm scenario. So my question is how can we avoid this from happening, from this cycle from repeating itself? Paul in his Long Green thesis suggests some clues: the distributed, non-ideological nature of this movement is probably the difference that will make the difference.
5. Paul's prediction is that climate change and resource scarcity in the future will make us homeless. He qualifies my reporting: "I hope I didn't say our homes would be beyond recognition; what I said is that no one's home will be as it is today."
6. Lastly, Paul told me that he's working on a new book, Blessed Unrest, so stay tuned for that.