GOOD

The Life-Changing Power of a Good Nap—And a Smart Business Plan

MIssion-driven social entrepreneurs can't forget the fundamentals of building a successful business when they set out to change the world.

Social enterprise is often described as a marriage between mission and profit, doing good and doing well. Ideas for socially conscious ventures don’t typically spring from market testing, but from a eureka moment: There’s a problem in the world, and, hey, I know how to fix it.

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Does It Matter Who Makes Solar Panels?

Seven American solar companies say Chinese solar panels are unfairly cheap. But wherever they're made, cheap solar panels mean more solar energy.


The price of solar panels is dropping fast, and China’s investments in renewable energy have a lot to do with that—a little too much, according to seven American solar panel manufacturers. Led by SolarWorld, the seven companies filed a trade complaint this week with the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission, alleging that China had surpassed limits on how much subsidy money could fund its export-driven solar industry, and that the country was “dumping” panels—selling them for less than the cost of manufacture and shipping—in foreign markets.

One of frequently-cited tropes about the clean energy market is about the race between China and United States to dominate the market. Countries like Germany, where the clean energy sector is growing, worry about competition from China, too. It’s clear why American or German solar manufacturers might worry about low-priced solar panels coming from overseas. But for the rest of us, does it matter who makes solar panels? Whether they come from China or America, cheap solar panels mean more solar energy and less carbon being dumped into the atmosphere.

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It's All Made in China? Not So Fast!

How much of the stuff you buy is made in China and imported here? The answer may surprise you.

How much of the stuff you buy in America is made in China? It’s an important question to ask as the world’s second largest economic power continues its rise and Americans fret about the direction of our manufacturing sector and economy at large, but the answer may surprise you.

While Chinese goods seem ubiquitous, especially given America’s economic woes, the reality is that imports from the country are a relatively small part of the economy: A total of 88.5 percent of consumer spending in the United States is on items made here, with only 2.7 percent spent on “Made in China” goods, according to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco:

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Obama and Hu Talk (A Very Little Bit) About Energy and Climate

Before Hu Jintao's visit, it looked as if any conversations about energy and climate change were going to be pretty awkward. Seems like they were.

Before Hu Jintao's state visit to Washington, it looked as if any conversations about energy and climate change were going to be pretty awkward. The two nations have had some high profile stand-offs in the international climate negotiations in the past couple of years, famously staring each other down and calling each other out in the final hours of the Copenhagen talks. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has in recent months been calling China's rise to clean tech dominance a "Sputnik moment." Then, just last month, at the behest of the United Steelworkers, the U.S. filed a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization, accusing China of illegally subsidizing wind-power projects. And then last week, the president signed a law saying that the Pentagon must "buy American" solar panels, essentially snubbing the Chinese market.

But on Tuesday, a series of energy deals between U.S. and Chinese companies were announced, setting a more cooperative tone for Obama and Hu's meetings and highlighting the potential of working together.

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The Best Way to Close the Trade Deficit Is To End Our Oil Addiction

Half of the troubling American trade deficit is due to the staggering amount of oil that we import.

Plenty of commentators like to harp on about how our woeful trade deficit is the ultimate symptom of the sickness in our manufacturing industries. And while it's true that we're producing a lot less, and importing a lot more from China (amongst others), it's important to recognize that a pretty big chunk of that deficit has only to do with our appetite for oil.

Matt Yglesias highlights a chart from Calculated Risk that shows that roughly half of the U.S. trade deficit is in oil.

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