Peter Barnes

Peter Barnes is the co-founder and onetime president of Working Assets Long Distance. In 1995 he was named Socially Responsible Entrepreneur of the Year for Northern California.

Recent Articles

The Pollution Dividend

It was almost like winning a planetary lottery. When oil began flowing from state-owned lands in the 1970s, Alaskans found themselves in a tantalizing quandary: What to do with a windfall worth billions of dollars? After years of wrangling, they chose three uses: (1) let the state government use part of it for schools, highways, and other infrastructure; (2) return a big chunk to citizens directly through annual cash dividends; and (3) invest the remainder in a portfolio of stocks and bonds, so that dividends will continue after the oil runs out. The formula for paying dividends was an egalitarian "one citizen, one share." The entity created to handle the citizens' windfall was called the Alaska Permanent Fund.