Global Warming By Another Name

Obama's clean energy boondoggle will be expensive for America

President Barack Obama uttered not a peep about global warming in his State of Union this year. No dire warnings about climate apocalypse. No calls for cap-and-trade. Has this cold winter convinced him to put his global warming agenda on ice?

Hardly. Indeed, even in this age of deficits and debt, the president’s budget is chock full of global warming items—except he wraps them around a new cause: clean energy.

And that may be enough to get Republicans to sign on.

That "clean energy" is code for "anti-warming" is obvious, given that even Environmental Protection Agency numbers show that virtually all emissions have dropped dramatically in recent decades—except for greenhouse gases.

To cut those, Obama's budget aims to hike Department of Energy spending by 12 percent from 2010 levels. He proposes $8 billion more for various clean-energy programs—on top of the $30 billion "invested" via the 2009 stimulus. Even that's only the tip of the iceberg.

To pay for it all, Obama would stick it to Big Oil. He wants to eliminate $43 billion in oil-tax breaks over 10 years. That would be fine if he were aiming for a "level" energy market, with the government playing no favorites; in fact, he's just looking to divert the subsidies to his favorites. (Even before Obama’s stimulus binge on renewables, total U.S. energy subsidies were close to $16.6 billion and about 30 percent—the largest share—went to renewables.)

Despite his talk of promoting nuclear power, the president's budget cuts support for it by 0.6 percent from 2010 levels. The big winners are—surprise!—solar (88 percent rise), biomass and biorefinery (57 percent), geothermal (136 percent) and wind (61 percent).

Obama is also doubling the budget of the Advanced Research Projects Agency to encourage R&D on renewables. That's because progressives are suddenly convinced (thanks to "Where Good Technologies Come From," a paper by the Breakthrough Institute) that the basic research for nearly every major technological invention—blockbuster pharmaceuticals, high-yield crops, the Internet—has been the result of government funding.

Pumping money into pie-in-the sky energy projects has been a perennial presidential project since Jimmy Carter. But Obama has a new wrinkle: The White House believes that past pushes for alternative fuels failed (despite subsidies) because they did nothing to ensure a market for the new products. So Obama has decreed that he wants 80 percent of America's energy to come from clean sources by 2035.

That won't happen automatically, so the Center for American Progress (the Obama White House's unofficial think tank) argues for a federal "35 by 35" standard—mandating that 35 percent of America's energy come from renewables by 2035. This means the feds would force all utilities to generate more than a third of their electricity from renewables—a guarantee of far higher prices.

A Heritage Foundation study found that even a scaled-down version of the plan, a 22.5 percent renewable standard by 2025, would bump household-electricity prices 36 percent and industry prices 60 percent by 2035—producing a net GDP loss of $5.2 trillion between 2012 and 2035.

So much for green growth and jobs.

Obama also means to make America's transportation oil-free to ensure a low-carbon future for mankind. To this end, he wants a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

So, while low-income families face a cut in heating assistance from Uncle Sam (and higher electric bills), rich people would get $200 million for a $7,500 tax rebate to use toward each $40,000 Chevy Volt.

Obama also wants a $4 billion downpayment toward a six-year, $53 billion plan to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. In fact, his own transportation secretary admits that this can't be done for less than $500 billion.

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  • retard||

    Good morning Reason!

  • rather||

    GM helle

  • rather||

    Obama would stick it to Big Oil
    Boo hoo

    ION, Kirk woke-up the space shuttle

  • JOhnny MAckson||

    rather (ooh, look at me!): My blog is my birth control device.

    Jess
    www.anon-4-life.com

  • rather||

    I'm starting to suspect you're not a robot but a little boy with a penis

  • Ice Nine||

    Imagine such a thing!

  • Father Rather||

    You know why I keep mentioning little boys and penises...

  • rather||

    This weekend you wanted to play daddy, and now it's priest.

    OK, let me no when the confession box is ready, and I'll whip out my Catholic school uniform-BYOB*

    *bring your own bible

  • ||

    Has anyone ever heard of the yellow stone super volcano ? Geologists have found that the volcano erupts in roughly 600 00 year cycles, the past eruptions were on such a scale the ash would cover most of the USA, and we are not talking about a few millimeters of ash, it would bury the country. The rest of world will suffer from an ice age that will end civilization.

    The 600 000 year cycle is up, the problem is that it could erupt next year or in a 1000 years, nobody knows when exactly. But surely with enough scaremongering and clever marketing this could also be made into a big government/big business venture with millions to be made by those selling this, it is all about saving our planet after all.

  • ||

    We have been warning them about the need for volcano lancing for years. The fools.

  • ||

    How about a massive geothermal energy project? Cool down the hotspot and make power at the same time, that way the safety benefits can pay for themselves.

  • Al Gore||

    American cars heat-up the pavement and it radiates to China, then ricochets back to all the volcanoes in the world and causes eruptions. Now if you buy my global warming/ricochet credits, we can all prevent this man-made disaster.

  • ||

    More importantly, why isn't your glacier-collision insurance company up and running yet? My house will be run over by one any day now and I need that policy in place before it happens. HURRY UP!

  • Bucky||

    check with State "Happy" Farm. they have a fabulous terrorist/oceans-rising/glacier/locust/peaceful-demonstration rider that's priced right...

  • Ron Bailey||

    Makes sense to me.

  • Realist||

    Where/what the fuck is "yellow stone."???

  • Bill||

    North of Jelly Stone.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I keep hearing about all these fucking disasters on long assed cycles, which are all due for the next one. And none of them ever happen. West coast earthquakes, east coast earthquakes, midwest earthquakes, volcanoes, super storms. They're all going to happen at once. We're doomed!

  • MNG||

    "That would be fine if he were aiming for a "level" energy market, with the government playing no favorites; in fact, he's just looking to divert the subsidies to his favorites."

    Decades of goverment subsidy and differential treatment distorts the culture and market to give tremondous advantage to some, but the real sin would be to now try to offset that. I've long said sometimes libertarianism reminds me of the kid on the plaground who knocks everyone's hat off and then when the kids corner him going for his hat he screams "ok, knocking off hats is wrong, let's all stop now!"

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Yes, it's libertarians who have been revelling in subsidies and differential treatment. It's basically our favourite thing.

  • MNG||

    Conceded that principled libertarians oppose subsidies and such, but now that the market/culture has been distorted saying "let the market fix this" seems to simply endorse the status quo set up by decades of active favortism.

  • MNG||

    We can't have ameliorative social engineering, instead let's let the advantages of the conditions/structures built up by decades of harmful past social engineering play out!

  • ||

    Funny, the way i usually see that sentence written is more along the lines of "let the market fix this, end all subsides now."

  • MNG||

    That's correct, let cultural preferences and incentive structures heavily distorted by decades of past government intervention work it out.

    No wonder conservatives often find libertarianism so palatable.

  • ||

    let cultural preferences and incentive structures heavily distorted by decades of past government intervention work it out.

    Because ending the subsidies doesn't relieve most of that distortion?

    No wonder I often find your arguments so unpalatable.

  • MNG||

    No, it doesn't, because many of the advantages bestowed by the shaping of cultural preferences and institutionalized incentive structures is not firmly in place. In the case of oil we have an entire infrastructure built up, largely at taxpayer expense, that favors that industry as opposed to others.

  • ||

    In the case of oil we have an entire infrastructure built up, largely at taxpayer expense, that favors that industry as opposed to others.

    Once the oil companies have to start paying for the entire cost of new infrastructure and maintenance of existing shit, the industry will lose that favorable position.

    No, it's not an instantaeous change, but seems a damn sight better than handing out new subsidies to your and Gore's cronies.

  • Zombie MNG||

    need...more...TRAINz!!!

  • MrGuy||

    For a second there I really did think you were MNG.

  • West Texas||

    In the case of oil we have an entire infrastructure built up, largely at taxpayer expense, that favors that industry as opposed to others.

    This is actually a cogent argument, at least (partially) in the case for certain types of biofuels. But all that does is highlight the inadequacies of most biofuels in comparison to petroleum in that they're not truly "drop in" quality and can only be parceled out in small quantities without damaging the existing infrastructure (i.e. alcohols are not hydrocarbons).

    If biofuels were truly a better alternative, we'd start converting all of that oil infrastructure over to handle them and we're not doing that.

  • Sam Grove||

    Which begs the question of why they still require subsidies.

    Perhaps they aren't in as good a position as you suppose.

  • ||

    Goop Goop Gobbletygook!

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Yes. The alternative is saying that the government is able to decide what the market would look like now, if it had been allowed to develop naturally, and then take steps to engineer that end, coercing innocent people in the process. How could the government be trusted to decide this? How could anyone? Just stop the subsidies and the taxes and let people sell energy for the price they want to sell at.

  • Simpler MNG||

    REPARATIONS!

  • Highway||

    MNG, your hat example makes another point, tho.

    If knocking off other people's hats is wrong, then the person who does it, then calls for it to stop isn't wrong to call for it to stop, he was wrong for knocking off other people's hats.

    Likewise, if subsidies are wrong, then arguing that 'we need to continue this wrong to make up for past wrongs' isn't a compelling argument, especially in a field like energy usage. Yes, there is a large installed base of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles. But if other methods of powering vehicles would be viable without subsidies distorting either side, they'll show their viability and grow. But if something is not competitive or viable without the subsidies, then they won't ever be. Which just leads to the same problem down the road, where a different installed base has an advantage due to subsidies.

  • Tony||

    So not only do clean energies have to compete with polluting ones in a marketplace that doesn't account for pollution, they have to do so in a market that heavily favors polluting alternatives anyway via subsidies. Only after it clears those hurdles will it be deemed a success? How is that true market competition in any way? How do you correct for the imbalance without subsidies?

  • Jen||

    Tony, please stop lying. You know perfectly well that no one here supports a continuation of oil subsidies.

  • Tony||

    Yes, in theory. Like many of you are also against government-sanctioned marriage, in theory. Either way, you can argue against correcting an injustice by appealing to the happy thought of a world without the injustice in the first place.

    My question isn't why are you for oil subsidies, it's how do you have a marketplace that rewards the proper things if there has already been a huge leg up for one industry?

  • Steve||

    Can we stop the endless bullshit about non-existent "Oil Subsidies"? The government takes in a fortune via special taxes on the oil and gasoline industry. If it reduces those special taxes, is it then "subsidizing" the industry?

    The Feds recently enacted a 10% special tax on tanning salons. If it cuts that to 7.5%, is it then a "subsidizing tanning"? Of course not.

  • Tony||

    Being taxed a lower rate than other industries is effectively a subsidy:

    According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry.

    And for many small and midsize oil companies, the tax on capital investments is so low that it is more than eliminated by var-ious credits. These companies’ returns on those investments are often higher after taxes than before.

    From here.

    The Deepwater Horizon well--the one on water leased from the US government, benefiting from our natural resources, selling product to our customer base, and polluting our Gulf--registered in the Marshall Islands where it doesn't have to pay many US taxes.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Being taxed a lower rate than other industries is effectively a subsidy.


    Being gang raped by 5 instead of 6 is loving, not rape.

    From here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07.....bptax.html

  • ||

    @Tony - Thank you for the above link. If you read it carefully you will notice that although they state the oil industry is getting subsidies, they never actually provide an example of one. They complain that obeying tax laws means that they are not paying "enough" taxes, but the statement is meaningless. Why should different industries pay the "same" taxes? What does it mean for taxes to be "the same"? Based on what? There are many pieces of tax code complexity that are meaningful - how to understand depreciation, for example. There is also a lot of meaningless garbage, and things that used to serve a purpose but no longer do. The article mentions this, but the only suggestion is adding more complexity to the tax code by adding cleanup taxes. Anyway ... nice prose, no useful content.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.7.11 @ 12:54PM|#
    "Being taxed a lower rate than other industries is effectively a subsidy:"

    Repeating a lie /= changing the lie to anything other than a lie.

  • ||

    6. The Influence of the Past Upon Action
    The more the accumulation of capital goods proceeds, the greater becomes
    the problem of convertibility. The primitive methods of farmers and
    handicraftsmen of earlier ages could more easily be adjusted to new tasks
    ACTION IN THE PASSING OF TIME 505
    than modern capitalist methods. But it is precisely modern capitalism that
    is faced with rapid changes in conditions. Changes in technological knowledge
    and in the demand of the consumers as they occur daily in our time
    make obsolete many of the plans directing the course of production and raise
    the question whether or not one should pursue the path started on.
    The spirit of sweeping innovation may get hold of men, may triumph over
    the inhibitions of sluggishness and indolence, may incite the slothful slaves
    of routine to a radical rescission of traditional valuations, and may peremptorily
    urge people to enter upon new paths leading to new goals. Doctrinaires
    may try to forget that we are in all our endeavors the heirs of our fathers,
    and that our civilization, the product of a long evolution, cannot be transformed
    at one stroke. But however strong the propensity for innovation may
    be, it is kept in bounds by a factor that forces men not to deviate too hastily
    from the course chosen by their forebears. All material wealth is a residuum
    of past activities and is embodied in concrete capital goods of limited
    convertibility. The capital goods accumulated direct the actions of the living
    into lines which they would not have chosen if their discretion had not been
    restricted by binding action accomplished in the past. The choice of ends
    and of the means for the attainment of these ends is influenced by the past.
    Capital goods are a conservative element. They force us to adjust our actions
    to conditions brought about by our own conduct in earlier days and by the
    thinking, choosing and acting of bygone generations.
    We may picture to ourselves the image of how things would be if,
    equipped with our present knowledge of natural resources, geography,
    technology, and hygienics, we had arranged all processes of production and
    manufactured all capital goods accordingly. We would have located the
    centers of production in other places. We would have populated the earth’s
    surface in a different way. some areas which are today densely inhabited
    and full of plants and farms would be less occupied. We would have
    assembled more people and more shops and farms in other areas. All
    establishments would by equipped with the most efficient machines and
    tools. Each of them would be the size required for the most economical
    utilization of its capacity of production. In the world of our perfect planning
    there would be no technological backwardness, no unused capacity to
    produce, and no avoidable shipping of men or of goods. The productivity of
    human exertion would far surpass that prevailing in our actual, imperfect
    state.
    The writings of the socialists are full of such utopian fancies. Whether
    506 HUMAN ACTION
    they call themselves Marxian or non-Marxian socialists, technocrats, or
    simply planners, they are all eager to show us how foolishly things are
    arranged in reality and how happily men could live if they were to invest the
    reformers with dictatorial powers. It is, they say, only the inadequacy of the
    capitalist mode of production that prevents mankind from enjoying all the
    amenities which could be produced under the contemporary state of technological
    knowledge.
    The fundamental error involved in this rationalistic romanticism is the
    misconception of the character of the capital goods available and of their
    scarcity. The intermediary products available today were manufactured in
    the past by our ancestors and by ourselves. The plans which guided their
    production were an outgrowth of the then prevailing ideas concerning ends
    and technological procedures. If we consider aiming at different ends and
    choosing different methods of production, we are faced with an alternative.
    We must either leave unused a great part of the capital goods available and
    start afresh producing modern equipment, or we must adjust our production
    processes as far as possible to the specific character of the capital goods
    available. The choice rests, as it always does in the market economy, with
    the consumers. Their conduct in buying or not buying settles the issue. In
    choosing between old tenements and new ones equipped with all the gadgets
    of comfort, between railroad and motorcar, between gas and electric light,
    between cotton and rayon goods, between silk and nylon hosiery, they
    implicitly choose between a continued employment of previously accumulated
    capital goods and their scrapping. When an old building which could
    still be inhabited for years is not prematurely demolished and replaced by a
    modern house because the tenants are not prepared to pay higher rents and
    prefer to satisfy other wants instead of living in more comfortable homes, it
    is obvious how present consumption is influenced by conditions of the past.
    The fact that not every technological improvement is instantly applied in
    the whole field is not more conspicuous than the fact that not everybody
    throws away his old car or his old clothes as soon as a better car is on the
    market or new patterns become fashionable. In all such things people are
    motivated by the scarcity of goods available.
    A new machine, more efficient than those used previously, is constructed.
    Whether or not the plants equipped with the old, less efficient machines will
    discard them in spite of the fact that they are still utilizable and replace them
    by the new model depends on the degree of the new machine’s superiority.
    Only if this superiority is great enough to compensate for the additional
    ACTION IN THE PASSING OF TIME 507
    expenditure required, is the scrapping of the old equipment economically
    sound. Let p be the price of the new machine, q the price that can be realized
    by selling the old machine as scrap iron, a the cost of producing one unit of
    product by the old machine, b the cost of producing one unit of product by
    the new machine without taking into account the costs required for its
    purchase. Let us further assume that the eminence of the new machine
    consists merely in a better utilization of raw material and labor employed
    and not in manufacturing a greater quantity of products and that thus the
    annual output z remains unchanged. Then the replacement of the old machine
    by the new one is advantageous if the yield z (a-b) is large enough to
    make good for the expenditure of p - q. We may disregard the writing off of
    depreciation in assuming that the annual quotas are not greater for the new
    machine than for the old one. The same considerations hold true also for the
    transfer of an already existing plant from a place in which conditions of
    production are less favorable to a location offering more favorable conditions.
    Technological backwardness and economic inferiority are two different
    things and must not be confused. It can happen that a production aggregate
    which from a merely technological point of view appears outclassed is in a
    position to compete successfully with aggregates better equipped or located
    at more favorable sites. The degree of the superiority provided by the
    technologically more efficient equipment or by the more propitious location
    as compared with the surplus expenditure required for the transformation
    decides the issue. This relation depends on the convertibility of the capital
    goods concerned.
    The distinction between technological perfection and economic expediency
    is not, as romantic engineers would have us believe, a feature of
    capitalism. It is true that only economic calculation as possible solely in a
    market economy gives the opportunity to establish all the computations
    required for the cognition of the relevant facts. A socialist management
    would not be in a position to ascertain the state of affairs by arithmetical
    methods. It would therefore not know whether or not what it plans and puts
    into operation is the most appropriate procedure to employ the means
    available for the satisfaction of what it considers to be the most urgent of
    the still unsatisfied wants of the people. But if it were in a position to
    calculate, it would not proceed in a way different from that of the calculating
    businessman. It would not squander scarce factors of production for the
    satisfaction of wants deemed less urgent if this would prevent the satisfaction
    508 HUMAN ACTION
    of more urgent wants. It would not hurry to scrap still utilizable production
    facilities if the investment required would impair the expansion of the
    production of more urgently needed goods.
    If one takes the problem of convertibility into proper account, one can
    easily explode many widespread fallacies. Take, for instance, the infant
    industries argument advanced in favor of protection. Its supporters assert
    that temporary protection is needed in order to develop processing industries
    in places in which natural conditions for their operation are more favorable
    or, at least, no less favorable than in the areas in which the already established
    competitors are located. These older industries have acquired an
    advantage by their early start. They are now fostered by a merely historical,
    accidental, and manifestly “irrational” factor. This advantage prevents the
    establishment of competing plants in areas the conditions of which give
    promise of becoming able to produce more cheaply than, or at least as
    cheaply as, the old ones. It may be admitted that protection for infant
    industries is temporarily expensive. But the sacrifices made will be more
    than repaid by the gains to be reaped later.
    The truth is that the establishment of an infant industry is advantageous
    from the economic point of view only if the superiority of the new location
    is so momentous that it outweighs the disadvantages resulting from the
    abandonment of nonconvertible and nontransferable capital goods invested
    in the already established plants. If this is the case, the new plants will be
    able to compete successfully with the old ones without any aid given by the
    government. If it is not the case, the protection granted to them is wasteful,
    even if it is only temporary and enables the new industry to hold its own at
    a later period. The tariff amounts virtually to a subsidy which the consumers
    are forced to pay as a compensation for the employment of scarce factors of
    production for the replacement of still utilizable capital goods to be scrapped
    and the withholding of these scarce factors from other employments in
    which they could render services valued higher by the consumers. The
    consumers are deprived of the opportunity to satisfy certain wants because
    the capital goods required are directed toward the production of goods which
    were already available to them in the absence of tariffs.
    There prevails a universal tendency for all industries to move to those
    locations in which the potentialities for production are most propitious. In
    the unhampered market economy this tendency is slowed down as much as
    due consideration to the inconvertibility of scarce capital goods requires.
    This historical element does not give a permanent superiority to the old
    ACTION IN THE PASSING OF TIME 509
    industries. It only prevents the waste originating from investments which
    bring about unused capacity of still utilizable production facilities on the
    one hand and a restriction of capital goods available for the satisfaction of
    unsatisfied wants on the other hand. In the absence of tariffs the migration
    of industries is postponed until the capital goods invested in the old plants
    are worn out or become obsolete by technological improvements which are
    so momentous as to necessitate their replacement by new equipment. The
    industrial history of the United States provides numerous examples of the
    shifting, within the boundaries of the country, of centers of industrial
    production which was not fostered by any protective measures on the part
    of the authorities. The infant industries argument is no less spurious than all
    the other arguments advanced in favor of protection.

  • DK||

    This comment is longer than the article in which it's posted. Why should I take the time required to read your rambling? Go away.

  • ||

    "A huge leg up" ... apparently (meaning logically, so I may be wrong) you're referring to kajillions in existing vehicles and infrastructure.

    So ... what would you have us do, destroy them? Let markets sort it out....

    Government can only achieve equality by making everyone equally miserable.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Is it the government's job to determine new cultural preferences?

    No. No it isn't.

  • Tony||

    Just to stick with the old ones, huh?

  • Clouds||

    Tony do you understand capitalization and depreciation and how they effect your taxes? This is a very complex issue, oil companies are not making out like bandits by any means.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: MNG,

    [I concede] that principled libertarians oppose subsidies and such, but now that the market/culture has been distorted[,] saying "let the market fix this" seems to simply endorse the status quo set up by decades of active favor[i]tism.


    Sure, let's not give people THE CHOICE of keeping the status quo sans the subsidies! God forbid they may not want what YOU want!

  • ||

    But it is a reality of fixed capital that the past expenditures are essentially a sunk cost. The money can't be unspent, and implementing new subsidies for new competitors simply amounts to making the same mistake twice.

    Essentially, your argument is that since we've wasted a lot of money on one thing in the past, we should waste a lot of money again.

    You don't solve past social engineering with present and future social engineering.

  • ||

    My last comment was in response to MNG.

  • Al Gore||

    Hmm every time I call one of you guys on subsidies you claim they stole it from me in the first place!

  • db||

    So stop fucking stealing it. You are so tiresome.

  • rather||

    Paying taxes is like ejaculating; if you want it back, dig in

  • Altar Boy||

    Please, not again!

  • Bucky||

    "Paying taxes is like ejaculating..."?
    maybe, if you're into s&m

  • rather||

    As in involuntary. You only think you don't want to/can control it

  • Wind Rider||

    It's obvious there are 'favorites' - which, not to wander off into Alex Jones territory - seems to coincide neatly in many respects with the endless anti-capitalistic mouthings of a lot of the folks that Skippy happened to hang around with habitually, but claims to have never spoken with or been influenced by. Destroy lassez faire freedom, and replace it with the all knowing, all doing state, so that life in fantasy land will be all pistachio ice cream, or some other stupid shit.

    Oh, and why is General Electric such a favored not just big but Gi-fucking-normous favored industry by the current regime, when the raft of products that they're crowing about (stupidly designed and hyper-expensive pinwheel bird killers and current electrical grid killer electric car plug ins) are some of the dumbest ideas to come out of corporate America in decades. . .hmm?

  • mr simple||

    I've long said...

    Many ridiculous things, we know. I can really only s

  • mr simple||

    I've long said...

    Many ridiculous things, we know. I can really only speak for myself, but I don't believe anyone is saying we should just let the status quo continue. We are arguing for free markets, i.e. ending all subsidies and other market distortions. Then we let the market decide. To say otherwise is to argue in bad faith. I'm pretty sure you've been reading these boards long enough to know that everything you've Sao on this board so for is nonsense.

  • mr simple||

    God damn you, Steve jobs. Burn in hell with your autocorrect and the server squirrels.

  • Ice Nine||

    Ooo, man - really bad timing on that comment.

  • Steve Jobs||

    I'm not dead yet.

  • Ice Nine||

    Yeah, well don't buy any long-playing records. (Whoops, I'm dating myself.) OK, don't buy any box sets, then...

  • ||

    Yeah, well don't get to enthusiastic about expanding your iTunes collection.

    ftf-us.

  • Ice Nine||

    Yeah, I knew that was coming and I was going to use it but I figured Jobs probably uses BitTorrents.

  • mr simple||

    Meh, hell is a made up place anyway, and even if it weren't I don't think I have that kind of power over people's lives. Yet.

  • Realist||

    Ming the Merciless rules this country is fucked....round and round we go right down the shitter!

  • sevo||

    "I've long said sometimes libertarianism reminds me of the kid on the plaground who knocks everyone's hat off and then when the kids corner him going for his hat he screams "ok, knocking off hats is wrong, let's all stop now!"

    I've long said MNG is incapable of making an argument absent a strawman.

  • Wind Rider||

    Future generations will likely look back on the chimeric fascination with 'renewable energy' (or, simply the nearly alchemic approach that many using a fig leaf known as 'science' to hide their chicanery) as one of the biggest follies engaged in by mankind in all of human history.

    Simply for the reason that those in positions of authority pushing and or supporting such feel good but ultimately unworkable schemes (ethanol, current approach wind, current approach hydro, and yes, even 'energy saving' high speed rail) have no understanding beyond the flowery rhetoric and its ability to sway semi conscious masses who also do not understand energy, its use, or its acquisition and manipulation. The result has been self induced angst, agony, food shortages, higher prices that only benefit a small percentage of people (to the detriment of everyone else), and clutter the intellectual landscape for genuine, useful and effective improvements in energy availability and lower pricing (which will never completely be "free" - TANSTAAFL)

    Self induced insanity and misery, on a societal and species scale.

    Fucking insanity.

  • Mike M.||

    This "green economy" bullcrap has already been tried as a national experiment in Spain over the last few years, and it has been a total, unmitigated disaster, though the mainstream media have tried their best to cover this fact up. The schmuck Obama knows this, but he doesn't even care that the nonsense has been repeatedly proven not to work on large scales.

  • Wind Rider||

    The root here is "economy", and the hair brained, fucked up concept of what that means currently bouncing around in the otherwise under utilized space between the ears for those pushing such stupidity. Truly useful or efficient methods would not need government encouragement or subsidy - that such concepts actually work would be enough. That the use of hydrocarbons is assailed so regularly serves as prima facia evidence that no one has come up with anything better, which people would gladly give up (hydrocarbons) faster than fucking whale oil, given a viable alternative.

    We are actually awash in a constant stream of energy, in a rather varied smorgasbord of potential sources. Just no one has figured out some of the most seemingly simplistic shit, and made it popular (via widespread availability and reliability, at a reasonable cost).

  • ||

    It is human nature to do stupid things, but it is also human nature to do clever things sometimes. I am generally optimistic about the future, but like most future predictions do not know how it will exactly pan out.

    My guess is that space industry will play a large role in solving energy shortages. The sun outputs large amounts of energy, capturing it in space is much more efficient than capturing it on earth. Then there is the old favourite fusion, despite the 50 years of failure I am still convinced the engineering hurdles will be overcome.

  • ||

    My guess is that space industry will play a large role in solving energy shortages. The sun outputs large amounts of energy, capturing it in space is much more efficient than capturing it on earth.

    If we could get a space elevator or launch loop going, transporting some sort of "battery" between earth and a collecting satellite might actually be economical and somewhat energy efficient.

    Find a way to add the heat of re-entry to the battery's energy store and it could be even better.

  • ||

    (If you could use the re-entry heat, it would actually become a sort of orbital "hydro"electric, because you're harnessing the gravitational energy of the falling matter, and just using the solar power at the top to recoup the energy spent to get the batteries higher up in the gravity well before you drop them.)

  • Ice Nine||

    Perpetual motion machine?

  • ||

    Yeah, I'm not claiming i've completed any feasibility studies to prove it's not total horseshit. But as long as there's more input from the sun than it takes to get the "battery" up there, noone is violating any thermodynamics.

  • sarcasmic||

    Do you know how much energy is required to put something in orbit?

    I'll bet it's a hell of a lot more to put a battery up there than what the battery can store.

    A much more realistic idea is to "beam" the energy down using high frequency microwaves.

  • ||

    Do you know how much energy is required to put something in orbit?

    Did you miss the part about the non-rocket lift system that the idea was contingent upon?

  • ||

    Also, generating microwaves is terribly inefficient. Most likely your satellite would melt because it couldn't shed enough waste-heat from the solar->electric->EM conversions.

  • ||

    High frequency microwaves need a target, in this case it may be a city, look up "Death Star"

  • ||

    I hereby pronounce the laws of thermodynamics repealed!

  • ||

    This is Thomas back again ... Obama grabbed my keyboard....

  • bigT||

    "...realistic idea is to "beam" the energy down using high frequency microwaves."

    ..until the beam misses its target and fries some one.

  • Wind Rider||

    Construction of space based energy harvesting and manufacturing solutions is great for space based applications and uses - mankind is technologically (and industrially - ooo there's a scary word) too far away from meaningful import and export of some of the energy available even in near earth space to really waste our time monkeying around with something that, at this stage, really could have adverse consequence, truly costing a LOT of wasted time, money, and resources to achieve.

    Oh, and congrats on paraphrasing the dumbest Toyota commercial in current rotation, where the guy in a Camry speculates about running an entire amusement park by the beyond perpetual motion roller coaster capable of free energy creation (to the squeals and delight of everyone).

    What is needed is an entirely new conceptualization of what energy is, how it may be temporarily used as it passes us by, and ourselves as a species become adroit and almost instinctual about the topic - or at least cognizance approaching the current levels of plain literacy period would be encouraging.

  • ||

    congrats on paraphrasing the dumbest Toyota commercial in current rotation

    Pretty impressive since I gave up cable and switched to netflix almost a year ago. Maybe I saw it on adultswim.com or Fox's site. *shrug*

  • Colonel_Angus||

    That's retarded. If you actually manage to build a space elevator, you already have a foundation for energy transmission (a conduit). Why would you want to go through the trouble of bringing batteries up and down?

    And space elevators are impossible anyway.

  • Obama||

    Thanks NotSure....I'll get a Czar to work on theat right away.

  • ||

    In the case of oil we have an entire infrastructure built up, largely at taxpayer expense,

    I had no idea that pipeline and gas station construction was funded by state and federal governments. Who knew?

  • Gregory Smith||

    There is no green economy, the number of businesses exploiting green yuppies are microscopic compared to every other category.

    Yesterday I went to the supermarket and saw the green aisle, you really think I'm gonna spend $4 for Almond milk that probably tastes like shit? My best friend loves Noony Juice, at $20 a bottle! Or how about these $30,000 hybrids, yeah, I'm gonna "save on gas" by buying a car for $10,000 or $20,000 more than anything else out there.

    And don't get me started on solar panels, that's a $20,000+ investment that only gets pays off after 20 years. This is America, who lives in the same house for 20 years?

    When green becomes cheaper that non-green then maybe I'll consider green products. But expensive electric cars that need to be plugged in is not the answer to most Americans unless you can create electric gas stations that "fill up" the electric tank in 1 to 3 minutes.

    Until they get there, the tree huggers can go to hell!

    http://libertarians4freedom.blogspot.com/

  • Tony||

    God what a cynical, awful oil-shilling piece of shit column.

    To pay for it all, Obama would stick it to Big Oil. He wants to eliminate $43 billion in oil-tax breaks over 10 years. That would be fine if he were aiming for a "level" energy market, with the government playing no favorites; in fact, he's just looking to divert the subsidies to his favorites.

    You mean shifting subsidies to forms of energy that aren't destroying the planet? How dare he! Much more freedom-ish to keep subsidies just where they are, favoring the dirty energy status quo.

    You could remove all dollar subsidies for oil and there would still be a massive infrastructure in place that favors it. If we really want to stop using oil, there will probably need to be some support for alternate energies. There is nothing wrong with this. Oil's been getting welfare for decades. Shouldn't we correct for that, or is a hugely unlevel playing field in favor of the status quo enough for a free market to work its magic?

    Global warming is a dying cause because the costs of the favored "fixes" for the problem vastly outweigh the supposed benefits

    Keeping the planet livable by human beings as they are accustomed to it is a "supposed" benefit? This is just a lie. The cost/benefit ratio is a no-brainer. We have to try to mitigate warming, there is no other choice. If that dents Oil's bottom line, or destroys it altogether, cry me a river. They've had a pretty good run. Nobody is guaranteed market success in perpetuity, even though that seems to be the only real goal of reason's energy policy preferences.

  • Jen||

    Much more freedom-ish to keep subsidies just where they are, favoring the dirty energy status quo.

    Please explain where this position is advocated in the article. Since you can't, I'll just say you're STILL a dishonest fucktard who can't form a coherent argument without a few dozen straw men.

    If we really want to stop using oil, there will probably need to be some support for alternate energies.

    If any alternate energies were actually economical and could meet our nation's energy demands, they wouldn't *need* support.

    If that dents Oil's bottom line, or destroys it altogether, cry me a river.

    Do you imagine that you could live anything like a 21st-century lifestyle if oil were actually destroyed altogether? Are you going to fly your unicorn to work?

    Nobody is guaranteed market success in perpetuity, even though that seems to be the only real goal of reason's energy policy preferences.

    Not only is this a ridiculous straw man, but a total non sequitur as well. No one here is suggesting that anything will have market success in perpetuity. What you are suggesting is that something that is successful now, and will continue to be successful for at least another generation even without any subsidies, be intentionally and artificially destroyed when we lack the technology to replace it. If we just wish hard enough, we'll know how to meet our energy needs, right Tony?

  • Tony||

    If any alternate energies were actually economical and could meet our nation's energy demands, they wouldn't *need* support.

    Not if they didn't have to compete with a heavily subsidized energy status quo. Do you really think that the increasingly complex process of drilling for oil and buying it from dictatorships (and the occasional war), nearly destroying the Gulf of Mexico, not to mention all of the other environmental and health effects of burning fossil fuels, is the CHEAP alternative? It's only cheap because you're starting from a heavily subsidized place then expecting new technologies to compete with an industry that's been designed and funded precisely so that alternatives can't compete. You cannot say you're against oil subsidies on the one hand, but have no interest in making a real competitive market for alternatives on the other. Our entire society is built around the burning of fossil fuels. Something has to change that before competition becomes real.

    Do you imagine that you could live anything like a 21st-century lifestyle if oil were actually destroyed altogether? Are you going to fly your unicorn to work?

    We better figure it out, because we don't really have a choice. Oil is not a renewable resource. It's entirely possible to have our energy needs met by renewable sources, we just have to have the political will. It's not really a technical problem.

  • Jen||

    You cannot say you're against oil subsidies on the one hand, but have no interest in making a real competitive market for alternatives on the other.

    That's precisely why I didn't say that. Your inability to employ honesty in your arguments, by the way, is why no one here takes you seriously.

    It's entirely possible to have our energy needs met by renewable sources, we just have to have the political will.

    Great! Then I take it that your party will stop putting up roadblocks in the way of nuclear power.

  • sarcasmic||

    "It's entirely possible to have our energy needs met by renewable sources, we just have to have the political will."

    Translation:

    People are not willing to voluntarily trade cheap and abundant fossil fuels for expensive "renewable" sources of energy.

    We need the government to force people into using "renewable" forms of energy.

    Forget the part where these resources used to purchase more expensive forms of energy will mean a lower standard of living, forget the part where the rest of the world is not going to follow suit, forget the part where the producers of "renewable" energy are politically connected and corrupt, forget the part where people will do this of their own free will when fossil fuel prices rise, forget the part where the rationale is based on junk scientism and outright lies...

    It is the END OF THE WORLD!

    Al Gore said so!

  • Tony||

    People are not willing to voluntarily trade cheap and abundant fossil fuels for expensive "renewable" sources of energy.

    You are missing the point, which is not surprising. It's cheap because it's heavily subsidized. If all of the actual costs of fossil fuel energy were accounted for (rather than picked up by governments or otherwise socialized), it would not be the viable alternative. That is the whole point.

    Forget the part where these resources used to purchase more expensive forms of energy will mean a lower standard of living

    Citation? Right-wing shill scare stories is all this is. Clean energy is the inevitable future of the energy industry. We can choose to make it a vibrant job-creating one, or we can stick our heads in the sand and pretend that the status quo will go on forever. Don't want to hear you ever complain about higher gas prices.

    forget the part where the rest of the world is not going to follow suit

    Except they are. We are the ones lagging behind. China and India aren't stupid like we are, that's why they're heavily investing in renewable energy. Even if your lies weren't lies but were truth, that is hardly an argument for us not getting a head start. It's an argument for letting the bad policies of other countries dictate our policies.

    forget the part where the producers of "renewable" energy are politically connected and corrupt

    Oh unlike oil and coal companies?

    forget the part where people will do this of their own free will when fossil fuel prices rise

    Or we could easily prevent the economic pain this will inevitably cause and start doing what is obviously necessary. Squeezing the last drops of profit from the deep earth for the oil industry is not this country's interest.

    forget the part where the rationale is based on junk scientism and outright lies

    Okay. The starting point for any rational discussion is agreeing that facts are facts. There is a scientific consensus on this issue, and you don't get to dismiss science whenever it's convenient. If you're not educated on this subject, there are helpful websites for you. Whatever crackpot source you get your information from does not trump science. I'm terribly sorry.

  • Jen||

    If all of the actual costs of fossil fuel energy were accounted for (rather than picked up by governments or otherwise socialized), it would not be the viable alternative.

    If you actually believe that unsubsidized oil would be more expensive than unsubsidized alternative energy sources, then your argument collapses on its own weight. Put your money where your mouth is and let's drop all subsidies. Then we'll see what's truly more economical. But evidently you know this is a lie, otherwise you wouldn't be clamoring to subsidize alternative energy.

    Clean energy is the inevitable future of the energy industry. I agree. We all agree on this. That's why it doesn't need subsidies; it just needs to be perfected to a point where it's actually viable. You're trying to artificially speed up progress, but the solution you want isn't going to do that. Funding does not equal progress.

    China and India aren't stupid like we are, that's why they're heavily investing in renewable energy.

    Cite, please...or do you think that Beijing's beautiful blue skies are citation enough?

    Or we could easily prevent the economic pain this will inevitably cause and start doing what is obviously necessary.

    Because throwing taxpayer dollars into something that isn't viable, and compounding our deficit problem in the process, is going to "prevent pain." Right.

  • Tony||

    Put your money where your mouth is and let's drop all subsidies. Then we'll see what's truly more economical. But evidently you know this is a lie, otherwise you wouldn't be clamoring to subsidize alternative energy.

    I still think clean energy would come out on top. I'm too lazy to look up the numbers, but we'd have to remove ALL subsidies, including free pollution credits. If polluting industries (and consumers of their product) had to pay for cleaning up the environment, it wouldn't be so cheap anymore.

    Still there's the problem of a worldwide infrastructure that favors polluting energy. It wasn't built by the market alone, so I don't see why we can't change it in the same way it was established.

    I have no problem with purposeful subsidies. We subsidize the building of fleets of ships and planes in order to protect our national interest. Replacing the energy status quo is every bit as much in our national interest as defense. And they go hand-in-hand, considering the places we have to get oil from.

  • Jen||

    I still think clean energy would come out on top.

    Good. Then we agree that we should not be subsidizing alternative energy.

    I'm too lazy to look up the numbers...

    We noticed.

    If polluting industries (and consumers of their product) had to pay for cleaning up the environment, it wouldn't be so cheap anymore.

    If you're talking about BP, they did pay for the cleanup.

  • sarcasmic||

    CO2 is not pollution.

    Well, it is when it is a result of you breathing, but otherwise it is a trace gas comprising less than 0.04% of the atmosphere.

  • Tony||

    CO2 is not pollution.

    Well, it is when it is a result of you breathing, but otherwise it is a trace gas comprising less than 0.04% of the atmosphere.

    It's also a greenhouse gas.

  • ||

    " If polluting industries (and consumers of their product) had to pay for cleaning up the environment, it wouldn't be so cheap anymore."

    Then you would have to tax them all. They all pollute. The once beautiful pristine desserts of west Texas are now filled with giant windmills everywhere one looks (wasn't the idea to save the environment). They all costs the environment in some way.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's cheap because it's heavily subsidized.

    Too funny. OK, let's say that that is true (which is is not). I do not support subsidies. Get rid of them. Let the price reflect the true cost.

    Citation?

    Er.. Common sense? When an item in your budget costs more you are left with less to work with and something else gets dropped. In the real world anyway. You apparently do not live here.

    Except they are.

    Uh, yeah. All those coal fired power plants are "investing in renewable energy". Fooled me.

    Oh unlike oil and coal companies?

    Suddenly two wrongs make a right?

    There is a scientific consensus on this issue

    Consensus is a tool of politics, not science.

    You would dismiss any study that was funded by the fossil fuel industry that suggested climate change is caused by something like.. I dunno.. the sun, simply because of the source.
    You would say that because the fossil fuel industry has something to gain that the study would be tainted.

    The politicians funding the studies that blame fossil fuels on climate change have something to gain. Power. They want to tax everything you do, dictate what you may drive, when you may run the air conditioner, everything.

    Yet studies that they fund (with your money) are not tainted?

    Puh-leeze!

  • sarcasmic||

    er blaming climate change on fossil fuels I meant

  • Tony||

    When an item in your budget costs more you are left with less to work with and something else gets dropped.

    The problem is we are living in a mass delusion of cheap energy. The only reason energy is relatively cheap is because of the massive subsidies that exist for it. Like it or not, it will not always be so. People are not paying the fair market price for energy. If subsidies were removed and as clean energy becomes more advanced, it will inevitably become the cheaper alternative, simply because fossil fuels are not infinite in supply. Smart countries have this figured out already. But we are half governed by delusional idiots who believe not just that oil will never run out, but that Jesus rode on a dinosaur.

    Uh, yeah. All those coal fired power plants are "investing in renewable energy". Fooled me.

    Facts are facts. Yeah they are polluting a lot too, but if countries are supposed to formulate policies based on what other countries are doing, the US is the one behind the curve.

    Suddenly two wrongs make a right?

    No but this is a lot like blaming teachers and firefighters for government fiscal problems. I'm sure the clean energy industry has its lobbyists. They have a long way to go to be as influential and to get as much government favor as the most powerful lobbyists on planet earth, those representing polluting industries.

    You would dismiss any study that was funded by the fossil fuel industry that suggested climate change is caused by something like.. I dunno.. the sun, simply because of the source.
    You would say that because the fossil fuel industry has something to gain that the study would be tainted.

    Yes I would.

    The politicians funding the studies that blame fossil fuels on climate change have something to gain. Power. They want to tax everything you do, dictate what you may drive, when you may run the air conditioner, everything.

    Paranoid nonsense. Lots of scientific research is government funded. Is it all in the service of an evil power-grabbing conspiracy? You'd have to believe in some convoluted James Bond bullshit to think that climate science is in the pocket of a massive worldwide conspiracy consisting of every government and every scientific body on earth to... what? Enrich solar panel producers? That's a lot of speculation for someone who so casually dismisses the political power of polluting industries.

  • sarcasmic||

    The only reason energy is relatively cheap is because of the massive subsidies that exist for it.

    The HuffPo counts our entire military budget as a subsidy for Big Oil.

    Too funny.

    If subsidies were removed and as clean energy becomes more advanced, it will inevitably become the cheaper alternative, simply because fossil fuels are not infinite in supply.

    That is called basic economics. Supply and demand. It happens all by itself. No need for help from the government.

    In their noble quest for profits corporations provide goods and services to satisfy people's needs.
    In this case that good is energy.
    At this moment fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy. As the price goes up oil fields that were previously too expensive to exploit become profitable. So in their noble quest for profits the corporations bring that oil to market, increasing supply and stabilizing the price.
    Other corporations want to make profits from selling other forms of energy. Unfortunately for them fossil fuels are cheaper, so people aren't buying. But in their noble quest for profits they are trying to make these other forms of energy cheaper for the consumer.
    At some point the prices will converge, and people will voluntarily change their habits.

    All because of profits.

  • Tony||

    That is called basic economics. Supply and demand. It happens all by itself. No need for help from the government.

    Okay but you can't remove existing industry subsidies by waving your hand. My question to libertarians is simple: When the market has already been distorted by government subsidies and socialized costs, how do you correct for the imbalance so that real market competition can emerge?

    Seems to me the libertarian solution to everything is keeping the status quo in place, as if it's the best we can do.

  • sarcasmic||

    When the market has already been distorted by government subsidies and socialized costs, how do you correct for the imbalance so that real market competition can emerge?

    You really are stupid, aren't you?
    So stupid you don't even know you're stupid.

    In Libertopia there would be no subsidies. The free market would determine prices and individuals would make their own choices.

    Seems to me the libertarian solution to everything is keeping the status quo in place, as if it's the best we can do.

    If given a choice between the status quo and more government, libertarians will choose the status quo.
    Unfortunately this is most often the only choice offered.

    If given a choice between the status quo and less government (assuming less government does not mean getting rid of the courts or other legitimate functions of government), libertarians will choose less government.
    Unfortunately that choice is rarely if ever offered.

  • Tony||

    In Libertopia there would be no subsidies. The free market would determine prices and individuals would make their own choices.

    Well shit, in Tonytopia there would be nobody poor, ignorant, or ugly. What about the real world? I thought that's what we were talking about.

    If given a choice between the status quo and more government, libertarians will choose the status quo.
    Unfortunately this is most often the only choice offered.

    Which is why libertarianism seems so dour and pointless a political philosophy. You spend your time daydreaming about fantasy worlds only to come to the conclusion that we should keep everything exactly as it is. Totally weird. Your problem is you think government is evil, so even if government were working to make itself smaller or change policies in the direction of more freedom, you find the mere act of government acting to be a potential threat.

  • sarcasmic||

    You spend your time daydreaming about fantasy worlds only to come to the conclusion that we should keep everything exactly as it is. Totally weird.

    You spend your time dreaming of a fantasy world only to come to the conclusion that doing more of what isn't working will make it work.

    Totally retarded.

    Freedom works.
    Freedom is letting many ideas be tried, and the ones that work stay while the ones that do not work go away.
    How do you know what is a good idea and what is a bad idea?
    Profits.
    Profits indicate that enough people like your idea so much that they willingly hand you money.

    You would prefer a small number of ideas imposed through threat of government force, and if they don't work the solution is more government force.
    All of it funded by money that is taken by threat of force.

    The only reason I can fathom that you prefer the latter to the former is that you have no good ideas. Your ideas are so piss poor that you will never make a profit. The only way your ideas will work is if they are backed up by threat of violence.

    In short - you are a loser who is threatened by winners.

    Totally pathetic.

  • Tony||

    How do you know what is a good idea and what is a bad idea?
    Profits.

    NO. Profits mean exactly one thing: something sells for more than it costs to make. Demand can indicate lots of things, but it does not equal "good." And following market indicators, while instructive in many ways, is not a way to run a society.

    You believe this too. There could be large demand for underage prostitutes. Doesn't mean it's morally laudable to have a market for them. We are human beings with brains. We can figure out what's good for us on our own. We don't need to be enslaved to the whims of the marketplace. It is good for many things, but not everything.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    When the market has already been distorted by government subsidies and socialized costs, how do you correct for the imbalance so that real market competition can emerge?


    I have this nagging feeling that, for you, "real market competition" means "favoring Y instead of X rather than favoring X," regardless if people, in the end and given free choice, still wanted "X."

    The reason why the infrastructure was built around oil has NOTHING to do with the so-called "subsidies," NOTHING. Oil and derived products are being produced since the 19th Century, way WAAAAY before the tax breaks (coal actually being a more favored commodity by government.) People switched from using wood and whale blubber to using kerosene, oil, nafta or gas by choice, and as a result, an infrastructure was built to cater that. So was the same when the automobile came to being - no subsidies were required.

    What you want is to dismantle this infrastructure by FIAT, by someone's say-so, instead of through market forces. Your impatience is not suddenly OUR problem, Tony - it's entirely YOURS. So fuck you.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "People switched from using wood and whale blubber to using kerosene, oil, nafta or gas by choice, and as a result, an infrastructure was built to cater that. So was the same when the automobile came to being - no subsidies were required."

    Good point.

    People didn't switch to fossil fuels and internal combusion engines because governments picked them as winners beforehand. Fossil fuels were (and still are) superior based on physics. Engery density ratios matter. That is why electric cars have been the "coming thing" that's never actually got here for about 100 years. And they STILL aren't economical even with all the government subsidies.

  • Jen||

    OM, that was pure gold.

  • Tony||

    OM I don't care if the infrastructure was built second. I mean that's obvious. You have to have a product before you can build society around it. The point is, this amounts to heavy social funding of a specific product, meaning it can outcompete others with the help of non-market forces. You're saying you're OK with this, because somehow that status quo represents more freedom than another one.

    Say oil runs out and we have to move on to solar power and rely more on rail travel. Will you be OK with government building up an infrastructure to match this new reality? In my opinion, we're already there. Or at least we should be.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The point is, this amounts to heavy social funding of a specific product, meaning it can outcompete others with the help of non-market forces.


    "Social funding"? Sure. And you think social funding in the other direction will convert inefficient and uneconomical energy systems into efficient and economical?

    PHYSICS IS A BITCH.

    You're saying you're OK with this, because somehow that status quo represents more freedom than another one.


    I am saying that giving actual subsidies (not tax breaks, but SUBSIDIES) to inefficient systems do not magically turn them into supersystems. No amount of money thrown at it will make wind and solar any more effective than they are today, because they suffer a PHYSICAL limitation.

    Say oil runs out


    Here we go....

    and we have to move on to solar power and rely more on rail travel. Will you be OK with government building up an infrastructure to match this new reality?


    No. The same way I am not ok with government building any other sort of boondoggle.

    In my opinion, we're already there. Or at least we should be.


    "We" are not "there" and nobody cares what you think "we" should be or do.

  • sarcasmic||

    Paranoid nonsense.

    I would expect an Authority Worshiper to say that.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Would you and choad stop with your bullshit "free pollution credits" bullshit? You're being a tard because people like you have never proved any harm except for making unverified and unverifiable lame vague connections about "health costs". Shut the fuck up.

  • ||

    "You cannot say you're against oil subsidies on the one hand, but have no interest in making a real competitive market for alternatives on the other."

    You cannot use past subsidization of fixed capital as an argument for future subsidization of another arrangement of fixed capital. If the previous arrangement was improperly government subsidized, it is a sunk cost, and it is an EXTRA cost to subsidize the new arrangement. The new arrangement has to be productive enough to make the abandonment of the old arrangement cost effective. New subsidies will simply distort the calculations in favor of one action over another.

  • Tony||

    In other words, there's no such thing as a free market and we shouldn't twist our policies to fit into that fantasy. How about having policies that are geared toward making a sustainable and livable society? Since it's clear that worshiping the pristine product of a free market is pointless, being that there is never going to be such a thing.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    You realise this is like saying that someone who was once a slave can never be free, right? And not only that, but because being forced to perform slave labour distorted a portion of his life, he should then be forced to partake in all the things he may or may not have missed out on during that time. The government can't make up for past coercion with more coercion. Just leave people the fuck alone to make their own decisions. We'll let you make yours. We promise. If you want to build solar panels on every surface of your house or if you want to wear a solar-panel coat, that's fine. You go ahead and get your energy whichever way you think is best, just leave everyone else to do the same.

  • ||

    No, in other words, past subsidies that created market distortions in the past cannot be undone. However, once the distortions have become permanent, and there is no possible way to undo past damages, the past distortions become a natural part of market calculation going forward.

    Your argument is essentially that "this isn't fair." Well, making the same mistake twice will definitely not be fair to the taxpayers. My argument is not about fairness. I'm simply discussing market calculation.

    Your argument is that extra subsidies for renewables should not count as part of the cost of those renewables because we have subsidized other forms of energy in the past. My argument is that, moving forward, past distortions become a natural part of market calculation.

    At any given time, fixed capital will be arranged in a manner that will be inconvenient for alternatives that are trying to compete with current systems. Arguing that the costs of altering existing arrangements of fixed capital should be discounted out of "fairness" for the new arrangements is illogical.

  • ||

    Arguing that their can never be a "free market," simply because we can't undo the past is nonsense. When humanity first formed civilization on this planet, natural capital was not evenly arranged. The arrangement of natural capital has greatly affected the development of human civilization. In that sense, their will never be a "fair market" where everybody exists on an even playing field. However, a free market does not require fairness. All that a free market requires is that everybody be free from the initiation of violence moving forward. This is easily achievable regardless of the current arrangement of natural capital and fixed man-made capital.

    You're arguing out of fairness for alternative energy, not out of any actual respect for true, market calculation.

  • Tony||

    However, once the distortions have become permanent, and there is no possible way to undo past damages, the past distortions become a natural part of market calculation going forward.

    Hey just like good government regulations. Preventing businesses from poisoning too many people can in fact be factored in to the market without doing fundamental harm to it. I guess we're agreed.

    All that a free market requires is that everybody be free from the initiation of violence moving forward.

    Who is talking about an initiation of violence? How is a restriction on abusive behavior (like pollution) an initiation of violence in any way? It's the prevention of it.

  • ||

    No, that's not at all what we were talking about subsidization of green tech. We weren't talking about "pollution" and the restriction of it until now. I'd agree that pollution is an initiation of force. That's why liability should be enforced through the courts, or people should be able to come to an agreement with eachother directly.

    "Hey just like good government regulations. Preventing businesses from poisoning too many people can in fact be factored in to the market without doing fundamental harm to it. I guess we're agreed."

    I'd be in favor of liability over regulation. At some point, the initiation of violence has to end. My point was that I don't believe that we need subsidies and laws to "undo" the negative effects of previous government interventions. The only way to achieve a free market is to stop intervening all together.

  • ||

    Whoops, the first sentence should read, "No that's not we were talking about. We were talking about the subsidization of green tech."

  • ||

    "It's not really a technical problem." This is an indication that you really don't understand the problem. There are real technical challenges to address for different problems. For example, for a car engine, the most efficient energy storage per pound is petrochemicals. It is not a conspiracy, just a fact of chemistry. Batteries don't hold as much energy per pound so when you have to carry them around for energy storage, they don't wind up being very efficient. No BigOil conspiracy, just science. It's not "scientific" to claim that everything is conspiracies and subsidies when science doesn't happen to be what you wish it were. The vast infrastructure for using fossil fuels for cars is just a function of a very efficient medium being made use of. The infrastructure was developed before the existence of BigOil. BigOil was only generated in the last few decades by environmentalists driving all the smaller oil companies out of business - although they probably just accelerated a consolidation that would have happened anyway.

  • ||

    Thank you for that post. Gasoline has one of the highest specific powers, and when it gets more expensive than alternatives, consumers will shift away.

  • ||

    Tony: Dude, you are so misinformed it makes me cringe. Or retarded; take your pick.

  • sevo||

    Thomas Paine|3.7.11 @ 7:24PM|#
    "Tony: Dude, you are so misinformed it makes me cringe. Or retarded; take your pick."

    At one time I thought the asshole known as Tony was either a fool or a knave.
    It's become obvious I was wrong; he's both.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's the end of the world!
    Rich oil men are killing the planet!
    Only government can save us!
    Let government dictate how energy may be produced, what kind of car you may drive, when you may operate your appliances!
    Give complete control to government!

    Do that or the world will turn into a flaming cinder!

    It's the END OF THE WORLD!

    Aaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    You mean shifting subsidies to forms of energy that aren't destroying the planet?


    The planet is not being destroyed. Not by oil.

    Want to see how "clean energy" does destroy the planet? Try "rare earth mining."

    You could remove all dollar subsidies for oil and there would still be a massive infrastructure in place that favors it.


    Yeah... like hospitals. Or farms.

    You know, useless stuff.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    If any alternate energies were actually economical and could meet our nation's energy demands, they wouldn't *need* support.

    Not if they didn't have to compete with a heavily subsidized energy status quo.


    Physics - how do they work, again?

    So-called "clean energies" can't compete, Tony, no matter who is being subsidized. Energy density is a bitch.

    Do you really think [oil]is the CHEAP alternative?


    Yes.

    You cannot say you're against oil subsidies on the one hand, but have no interest[???] in making a real competitive market for alternatives on the other.


    Who said that? WHO? I will punch him in the face - or her, for that matter!

    If by "real competitive market" you mean an artificial one, then you should take your Thorazine - you're due.

    Our entire society is built around the burning of fossil fuels.


    Yeah, and before that, it was centered on burning wood and whale blubber.

    Something has to change that before competition becomes real.


    You're an idiot, Tony. Check out the history of the automobile, and see how the previous infrastructure centered on horseflesh changed to mechanized mobility in just a SINGLE GENERATION, without the need of massive subsidies and make-believe markets.

    We better figure it out, because we don't really have a choice. Oil is not a renewable resource.


    The anti-oil zealot crying because of the scarcity of oil. Who said Marxoid punks were principled or logically consistent?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    If the planners had never subsidized and regulated energy, transportation, and land use in the first place, the market would have resulted in those things looking a lot more like what you claim to want.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "When the market has already been distorted by government subsidies and socialized costs, how do you correct for the imbalance so that real market competition can emerge?"

    You stop doing that, and let the market correct itself over time. You can't fix previous planning failures with more planning failures.

    If the government were to stop subsidizing roads, in a matter of a couple decades you might see a massive market shift in land use habits.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.7.11 @ 10:21AM|#
    "destroying the planet?"
    Prove it, asshole.

  • Gregory Smith||

    Destroying the planet? What a joke! Who plants more trees than anyone? Paper companies! Who creates more fish than mother nature? Fish farms! Who turns garbage into energy? Greedy waste companies!

    It's the private for-profit sector that has the solution for all problems, you Gaia-worshiping fool!

    http://libertarians4freedom.blogspot.com/

  • Realist||

    Shikha Dalmia have you gotten approval from the Reason science genius....Ron Bailey???

  • Jen||

    On an unrelated (or somewhat indirectly related) note, I just got an email from Scott Brown (I guess I'm on his mailing list since I contributed to his campaign) about a bill he wants enacted to give taxpayers a receipt detailing where their money is going. Sounds good to me. Anyone think it'll actually pass?

  • DNS||

    Anyone think it'll actually pass?

    Satan...skates.

  • ||

    It's a fun idea...but how much will it cost to implement?

  • Jen||

    I was wondering the same thing. Is the cost of the receipt going to be reflected in the receipt?

  • ||

    You mean shifting subsidies to forms of energy that aren't destroying the planet?

    Assume a can opener.

  • ||

    Here's question, possibly stupid. When water freezes it expands with great force. It seems to me plausible that you could contrive some way to use force created by the expansion of freezing water to produce energy. Is this just stupid?

  • Jen||

    Hmm, well the freezing of water would be exothermic and would definitely produce energy, in addition to performing work during the expansion as you're saying. But wouldn't freezing the water consume energy as well? How would you accomplish the freezing?

  • IceTrey||

    The only thing you need to know about clean energy can be summed up in four words:
    Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors.

    http://energyfromthorium.com/

  • Romina Boccia||

    Dear Shikha:
    Great article. This seems to have fallen totally under the radar. Meanwhile, President Obama is moving forward with his green energy proposal, arranging meetings and working on legislation for "green" electricity mandates. I blogged on your article at IWF's inkwell blog, here: http://iwf.org/inkwell/show/24443.html

    Sincerely,
    Romina

  • Neu Mejican||

    Subsidy is sometimes defined as:
    Privatize the profits, socialize the costs.

    Subsidy is sometimes defined as:
    Direct government financial support for the industry through grants or tax credits.

    Sometimes both senses of the word are meant. In the case of the legacy of subsidy for the oil industry, the first sense dominates in the minds of most who say that it has a leg up on other industries. The subsidy comes in the form of socialized costs to the environment. Removing that subsidy actually takes active policies since it is a passive subsidy (doing nothing allows the costs to be socialized).

    Removing subsidies for the oil industry, in this scenario, does not mean "free market" in the sense that most here would mean the term.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Neu Mejican,

    Removing subsidies for the oil industry, in this scenario, does not mean "free market" in the sense that most here would mean the term.


    I would imagine what whatever the MARKET did, it would still not be enough for YOU: YOU want "Y" to exist no matter if people already want "X." Like I told Tony: YOUR impatience is not suddenly everybody else's problem, it's YOURS only.

  • Tony||

    This "impatience" shtick is quite telling. For one, it's interesting that an absolutist such as yourself is going to such lengths to defend a clearly non-free-market status quo.

    Second, you neglect the tragedy of the commons--a phenomenon which necessitates evil central planning and foresight. We know oil will run out. We know burning it is bad for humanity. We know all of these things. But instead of coping with the reality of which we are perfectly aware, we have to keep burning oil (in its heavily subsidized state, of course) until it starts responding to supply and demand pressures to go away (demand being highly inflated by said subsidies, of course). Why? Because the market gods demand it, of course.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    For one, it's interesting that an absolutist such as yourself is going to such lengths to defend a clearly non-free-market status quo.


    You're a dishonest twit, Tony.

    Second, you neglect the tragedy of the commons--a phenomenon which necessitates evil central planning and foresight


    The Tragedy of The Commons does NOT necessitate central planning and foresight, especially when central planners are INCAPABLE of foresight sans prices.

    ECONOMIC CALCULATION PROBLEM.

    Tragedy of the Commons are solved through property rights, ALL THE TIME.

    We know oil will run out. We know burning it is bad for humanity. We know all of these things.


    Cry for "A" and cry for "B."

    So which one is it? If Oil runs out, problem "B" solved, so why do you cry for "A"?

    Why? Because the market gods demand it, of course.


    Why don't we have unicorns? Because the evolution god demanded it, would seem.

    Discussions with you are becoming less and less interesting, Tony. You argue by relying on cliches. It is getting tiresome.

  • Tony||

    Tragedy of the Commons are solved through property rights, ALL THE TIME.

    How do you determine who owns which portion of the atmosphere or an ocean?

    Why don't we have unicorns? Because the evolution god demanded it, would seem.

    Saying the market works like Darwinian evolution is both true and a very good reason not to rely on it alone for the making of society.

    Yes, the observable outcome of evolution is improvement relative to an environment. But the central fact of evolution is that the vast majority of players die off. Most are losers. Just like in a free market.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    How do you determine who owns which portion of the atmosphere or an ocean?


    Like with everything else - by raising fences. And NO, a "fence" doesn't necessarily mean a "picket fence." But there must be a Tragedy of the Commons first. CO2 exhalation is NOT a Tragedy of the Commons. What makes a Tragedy of the Commons is the existence of scarce resources with no clear property rights. Air is NOT a scarce resource nor are the oceans. Instead, FISH can be considered scarce resources and you definitively have a Tragedy of the Commons scenario, but that problem is already being addressed through property rights.

    Saying the market works like Darwinian evolution is both true and a very good reason not to rely on it alone for the making of society.


    You lack sophistication, Tony. The comparison is to show just how absurd is to blame the market for not giving you something you cherish the same way it is absurd to blame evolution for not providing unicorns.

  • ||

    Kudos on your posts, Senor.

  • ||

    "CO2 exhalation is NOT a Tragedy of the Commons."

    No, because the CO2 from exhalation has not been laying in the ground for countless years.

    See, the fact is that the flora-fauna carbon cycle is a closed and balanced one - the plants can keep up with a steadily growing number of animals running around and exhaling CO2. They can not keep up with the sudden addition of tons and tons of CO2 that comes from fossil fuels that have accumulated for a lot of time, hidden in the ground.

    You would know this if you were more than just cannon fodder.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    See, when you say 'Because the market gods demand it', we hear 'because it's wrong to tell people how to spend their money with the threat of violence for disobedience'. Tomayto, tomahto I guess.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.7.11 @ 4:09PM|#
    "This "impatience" shtick is quite telling."

    As is your "stupid" shtick. Tiresome, besides.

  • ||

    CO2 has external costs.

    The US economy and markets do not internalize this cost, and the government does nothing.

    Therefore, oil is subsidized.

    But why am I even trying to explain basic economics to libertarians?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Proud ecofascist,

    But why am I even trying to explain basic economics to libertarians?


    Maybe because you lack it?

    For starters, what's an "external cost"?

  • Tony||

    Maybe because you lack [an understanding of basic economics]?

    For starters, what's an "external cost"?

    Haha. Beautiful.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Haha. Beautiful.


    The halfwit applauds...

  • ||

    External cost is recognized as another term for externality.

    For example, leaving your trash on your own property is an externality - you drag down your neighborhood with you while you save money.

    Government exists because people create externalities through certain acts.

    Imposing a national CO2 tax on all consumption and production is one of the least controversial acts I can consider a government doing. It's basic economical reality that CO2 is a cause of long-term economic damage. Penny wise, pound foolish.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Proud ecofascist,

    External cost is recognized as another term for externality.


    Recognized by whom, first of all? Second, the term "externality" is a canard. The term ends up meaning "whatever I happen not to like."

    For example, leaving your trash on your own property is an externality - you drag down your neighborhood with you while you save money.


    That's a misconception of the situation. What do you mean by "trash", first of all? What if the trash happens to be compost that your plants need? What if I make a deal with my neighbor to store HIS trash in MY property?

    Government exists because people create externalities through certain acts.
    That's a non sequitur. It's like saying that government exists because people fart through certain bowel movements.

    Imposing a national CO2 tax on all consumption and production is one of the least controversial acts I can consider a government doing.


    Your opinions are not evidence of anything.

    It's basic economical reality that CO2 is a cause of long-term economic damage. Penny wise, pound foolish.


    Liar.

  • ||

    "Recognized by whom, first of all?"

    The speakers of English, you daft cunt. Language is set by memetic forces over the years. You think etymology is some sort of rational process?

    "What if I make a deal with my neighbor to store HIS trash in MY property?"

    This is the plan we are currently on, actually! It will cause both you and your neighbor to suffer health, vermin and property value problems down the line, to continue the metaphor. Convenience destroys itself, always.

    "Liar."

    Libertarian. Ah, sorry for being a mockingbird.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 7:33PM|#
    "Recognized by whom, first of all?"
    The speakers of English, you daft cunt."

    No, the speakers of eco-twit, asshole.

  • ||

    I will agree that courts are useful for discovering and solving externalities, but the government, even when they can make calculations about the externalities, has proven that it cannot act without creating another mountain of externalities.

    All externalities are subjectively evaluated and solved by the cooperation of the individuals directly involved. When the government tries to become the externality police, it has to work from a point of objective valuations.

  • Tony||

    All externalities are subjectively evaluated and solved by the cooperation of the individuals directly involved

    If that can be done, it's not an externality. The whole point is that there are costs imposed on people not involved in a transaction. They do exist. There's no reason for you not to believe they exist, except that it doesn't fit your dogmatic worldview. If your worldview doesn't account for reality, the problem is not with reality.

  • ||

    Okay.... Yeah, and the people "not involved" in the transaction can come to agreements with the parties that imposed damages upon them. WHat the hell do you mean that it is "not an externality?" What makes it not an externality? Who am I saying doesn't exist? What the hell are you talking about?

  • ||

    "Yeah, and the people "not involved" in the transaction can come to agreements with the parties that imposed damages upon them."

    Even when they live in different countries? The people of Bangladesh getting hurt by the massive per capita CO2 output of US citizens don't have any way to legally force US citizens to make good on the damage caused by the externality.

    Also, three dots in an ellipsis, not four.

  • ||

    I mentioned that CO2 was a different situation entirely. I believe that CO2 is a problem, but the government solutions to it are not adequate and will simply make the situation worse for people.

  • ||

    "Yeah, and the people "not involved" in the transaction can come to agreements with the parties that imposed damages upon them."

    Even when they live in different countries? The people of Bangladesh getting hurt by the massive per capita CO2 output of US citizens don't have any way to legally force US citizens to make good on the damage caused by the externality.

    Also, three dots in an ellipsis, not four.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "CO2 has external costs."

    Not until you can actually prove it.

    With absolute definitiveness.

  • ||

    Proving anything with *absolute* definitiveness is impossible in my world-view. The only constant is flux.

    Majority of economists support free trade: "We libertarians told you so - the academic world agrees with us!"

    Majority of climate scientists support the idea of ACC: "CAHOOTS AND FASCISM, AL GORE IS FAT!"

    But you know something? I actually think that the argument of consensus is pretty weak myself. Because numbers matter in a democracy, and only degenerates believe in the power of numbers and democracy.

    The reason I would "believe" in man-made climate change even if only a sole scientists stood behind the theory is that I have no ego or ideology telling me not to believe, and since the theory is scientifically coherent and explains the otherwise unexplainable energy imbalance and heat records, I agree with Al Gore and the other fascists. I am not a part of any herd, unlike you.

    But us perishing would not matter that much to me. So why do I still want the US to impose a CO2 tax throughout the economy? Purely because I think a society that acts sensibly and intelligently looks... Neat. I don't actually mind the idea of climate change running amok, but I think it would be an eyesore. I don't want libertarian or right-wing ideas to prosper for the same reason I prefer a classroom full of children reading strengthening literature over a classroom full of children hollering and making a mess. To me it's mostly about aesthetics. Society acting in an economically rational way is nice-looking, society continuing down the unsustainable road is ugly-looking.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Proud ecofascist,

    So why do I still want the US to impose a CO2 tax throughout the economy? Purely because I think a society that acts sensibly and intelligently looks... Neat.


    Imposing a CO2 tax and looking spiffy are NOT the same thing nor is there a clear relationship between one and the other. CO2 taxation is more a rent-seeking scheme than an aesthetic solution.

  • ||

    "CO2 taxation is more a rent-seeking scheme than an aesthetic solution."

    It is economically efficient and therefore pretty. All costs of an act to claimants must be paid, lest things end up being ruined with no one to foot the bill. Gym owners, for example, include machine reparations and replacement into their fees even though every member adds only a small part of wear and tear. Otherwise they would not have money set aside to replace worn-out equipment. This is a good parable for the damage CO2 does to us.

    The best way to do this is to make every addition of CO2 carry a cost reflecting the marginal social cost of every new ton of CO2. Tell the market the truth and it will react accordingly and efficiently.

    Ah, to see an eco-fascist like me argue against government subsidies and for a market solution, and see a libertarian demand that the collectivism and economic ignorance continues.

    But since libertarianism stems from Christianity, how could anything else come to pass? There never was a good knife made of bad steel.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 7:15PM|#
    "CO2 taxation is more a rent-seeking scheme than an aesthetic solution."
    It is economically efficient and therefore pretty."

    Bull..............
    shit.

  • ||

    No, the most efficient solution is to force everyone to pay for the damage they are causing everyone.

    Also, ellipses consist of three dots, insect.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 7:56PM|#
    "No, the most efficient solution is to force everyone to pay for the damage they are causing everyone."
    Which damage you've yet to show.

    "Also, ellipses consist of three dots, insect."
    Dipshits get what I give 'em.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    I'll ignore for a moment the incredible pomposity of your post and instead ask this: what do you mean when you say you believe in ACC? Do you mean:
    - That there's good scientific evidence that the Earth is warming? If so, I agree.
    - That there's good scientific evidence that burning fossil fuels is contributing to some extent to the warming? If so, I agree.
    - That you can predict how much heating will take place over any period of time and what the secondary effects will be? If so, I disagree. This prediction relies on long-term climate models, and such models will have to be shown to be accurate before I trust them. Because, duh.
    - That you know whether said effects will be detrimental or beneficial to humanity?
    - That the effects will be bad enough that it's worth the economic trade-off of getting rid of fossil fuels?
    - That this change should be enforced by the government through taxes on fossil fuels and subsidies for other energy alternatives, ignoring the desires of individuals regarding their own money? This is a moral judgement. You have no way of proving that it's 'economically rational', whatever that means.
    For myself, I'll say that children hollering and making a mess in school is a great thing. They'll have plenty of time to read 'strengthening literature' when they get home.

  • ||

    "The Ingenious Hidalgo" will ignore the pomposity of my post.

    "The Ingenious Hidalgo" can go rape his children a little more.

    "This prediction relies on long-term climate models, and such models will have to be shown to be accurate before I trust them."

    If you bother to actually challenge a climate scientist or blog with this demand, they have much material to sway you (assuming you can be swayed, I suggest you cannot). Anyway, the models comport with observed energy imbalances and they have "repredicted" the past. You can find proof of that if you bother, but I can smell your laziness through the screen.

    "That you know whether said effects will be detrimental or beneficial to humanity?"

    Ah, because better crops in some areas of Europe offsets millions of Bangladeshis being displaced and the Maldives becoming inhospitable?

    "That the effects will be bad enough that it's worth the economic trade-off of getting rid of fossil fuels?"

    If we cause the death of even one innocent third-world person because of climate change, then we have already broken with libertarian ethics. Sure, you would save money and time if you just dumped your trash over on the lawns of your neighbors, but then you would be letting your self-interest take precedence over the self-interest of your kin, and you would fail your own philosophy. Retard.

    "That this change should be enforced by the government through taxes on fossil fuels and subsidies for other energy alternatives, ignoring the desires of individuals regarding their own money?"

    No subsidies needed. Just make sure the CO2 output of production and consumption is reflected in prices, and the market will respond.

    "You have no way of proving that it's 'economically rational', whatever that means."

    No, I would image you don't know what that means.

    "I'll say that children hollering and making a mess in school is a great thing. They'll have plenty of time to read 'strengthening literature' when they get home."

    Except they won't, precisely because they are children. There are exigencies of developed society that must be forced on the oblivious for their own good. Just like the child must be forced to do things it doesn't want, the libertarian has to be kept from bringing about the kind of society he coquettishly dreams of *but would never survive in*.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 7:26PM|#
    "The Ingenious Hidalgo" will ignore the pomposity of my post.
    "The Ingenious Hidalgo" can go rape his children a little more."

    The Proud ecofascist can go suck goats' assholes.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Oh yeah, I forgot about the raping my children thing. Erm... takes on to know one?

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Of course - people who disagree with you on the science are lazy and uneducated. The man goes up the hill and he takes out his horn and he blows it and a great sound echoes down the valley and it sounds like:
    AD HOOOOOOMMMMM.
    I'm quite willing to be swayed. Does me saying this convince you of anything? No. You can smell my laziness through the screen.

    "Ah, because better crops in some areas of Europe offsets millions of Bangladeshis being displaced and the Maldives becoming inhospitable?"

    Uhm... no. I didn't come close to saying that. My point was that whether the warming is happening is a separate question to whether it's damaging.

    "If we cause the death of even one innocent third-world person because of climate change, then we have already broken with libertarian ethics."

    Also not true. If you deliberately cause the death of even one innocent third-worlder, yes. If someone's death is the unintended and unknown result of your actions, no. That's called an accident.

    "Just make sure the CO2 output of production and consumption is reflected in prices, and the market will respond."

    Fine. You find the victims of global warming. Then all global warmers will make a direct payment to them to cover the damages, apportioned to blame, on the understanding that the Earth was warmed by people with prior knowledge of what they were doing, to be spent however they damn well please. A little hard to coordinate, perhaps, but certainly the right thing to do.
    Still no explanation of what 'economically rational' means. Help me out, willya? Does it mean other people doing what you tell them to with your money? Is that what it means? I'll be so disappointed if it is.
    And blah-blah-blah, children don't read, blah-blah-blah, for their own good, I know better etc. etc. Heard it all before, but there is no 'good for me' except what I decide - and the same goes for everyone else. You don't know better. You couldn't. Anyway, I have coquettish dreams to dream. Thanks for looking out for me, you smug, dandified fraction of a human.

  • ||

    "My point was that whether the warming is happening is a separate question to whether it's damaging."

    Moot point, the answer to both questions is 'It is, you uncultured, uneducated and mediocre mongrel. Stop wasting my time.'

    "If someone's death is the unintended and unknown result of your actions, no. That's called an accident."

    You've been given ample warning in this case, cunt. You can't claim plausible deniability.

    "You find the victims of global warming. Then all global warmers will make a direct payment to them to cover the damages, apportioned to blame"

    Except this is not what I am recommending, childfucker.

    "on the understanding that the Earth was warmed by people with prior knowledge of what they were doing, to be spent however they damn well please"

    Libertarianism has always been about replacing God with Man, and now you are claiming that man obviously is omniscient. You might as well be a little Christian. Lol.

    "Heard it all before, but there is no 'good for me' except what I decide - and the same goes for everyone else."

    If we allowed every child to always go by this edict, he would never become an adult.

    Talking with libertarians is always a good reminder of why government will always be needed.

    Unfortunately, talking with socialists is always a good reminder of why government is such an imperfect phenomenon.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 8:08PM|#
    "...You've been given ample warning in this case, cunt. You can't claim plausible deniability...."

    The Rapture is coming! I've carried the word of sky-daddy to you!
    Sorry, assshole, heard it before. Go away.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    "Moot point, the answer to both questions is 'It is, you uncultured, uneducated and mediocre mongrel. Stop wasting my time.'"

    You have absolutely no evidence that I'm uncultured. I don't need to stop wasting your time since you can totally just piss off. It is important that the questions are separate: they require separate answers. It's not enough to say 'science supports ACC' since, as I laid out, that could refer to the answer of half a dozen different questions.

    "You've been given ample warning in this case, cunt. You can't claim plausible deniability."

    Dude, you're going at the wrong guy here. I don't drive, I don't take planes, and I am a way big supporter of nuclear power. However, I would argue that if someone pumps huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, not knowing if it will hurt anyone, they are not morally culpable for the consequences. But then I think morality should seek to judge the choices people make, given the knowledge they have. And lots of people don't believe in ACC. If you're arguing that they 'know but don't believe', you're talking out of something way inappropriate for talking.
    I didn't say human beings were omniscient. I'm saying they take responsibility for the choices they make with the knowledge they had at the time. But you knew that, you sly bastard.
    And dude, I was saying children could decide what's good for them. You said 'the libertarian has to be kept from bringing about the kind of society bubble bubble grump' and I was responding to that. Children should have the choice of what's good for them preserved as well as possible for when they can make that choice.
    "Talking with libertarians is always a good reminder of why government will always be needed." Yeah, well talking with whatever the hell it is you are is always a reminder of... Hitler. Yeah. Hitler. That Guy. And he was terrible. Also, fuck you, you dick-bishop.

  • ||

    "You have absolutely no evidence that I'm uncultured."

    You wasted my time reminding me that the question of whether warming is happening is separate from the one regarding whether it would be bad. You appear like the most common and generic Anglo-Saxon libertarian with every word you write.

    "However, I would argue that if someone pumps huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, not knowing if it will hurt anyone, they are not morally culpable for the consequences."

    *Good thing then that there are more knowledgeable around to inform him. Oh wait, all those scientists are all part of a conspiracy!*

    "But then I think morality should seek to judge the choices people make, given the knowledge they have."

    With power comes responsibility, from a moral standpoint.

    "And lots of people don't believe in ACC."

    This is because they are pretending to be sleeping. You can't wake people up when they do that.

    "Yeah, well talking with whatever the hell it is you are is always a reminder of... Hitler. Yeah. Hitler. That Guy."

    Now you are not even trying to pretend you weren't raised in some limp-wristed Judeo-Christian environment. You are just baring your Saturday morning bleeding heart. "Here comes Hitler, children, it's time to boo and hiss to show the world we are good people! Hitler no hitlering! Yeah, we sure showed him!"

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Dude, I was joking about the Hitler thing. The way you could tell is: I was so obviously joking about the Hitler thing.
    All my previous arguments still stand, unless you think people actually agree with you about global warming but are pretending to believe otherwise. If so, it's on you to prove it. Which you can't. So piss off.

  • ||

    " unless you think people actually agree with you about global warming but are pretending to believe otherwise."

    Actually, I am pretty damn sure that actual knowledge, study and genuine skepticism about climate change correlates with the realization that people are responsible and a desire to do something about it.

    The people who oppose increased prices on carbon are simply too ideological or plain old low-quality and degenerate to wield the power and impact of carbon responsibly. The more you know, the more you believe. Unfortunately, there is no time to succeed in a marketing war against the pollution propagandists and libertarian toadies and then try to educate every cunthead with a car and an AC system.

    You have to use the brute force of democracy and underhandedly force everyone to adapt for their own good. Sickening but true.

    Not that I am very interested in doing that. I don't have any friends or family in Bangladesh or the Maldives.

    But I do think our current, economically unsustainable and inefficient system is an eyesore. It's not neat and coherent.

    tl; dr: Ecology = Economy, you disgusting little coquettes.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    "You have to use the brute force of democracy and underhandedly force everyone to adapt for their own good. Sickening but true."

    Doing this means deciding what is for the good of individuals independent of their own desires. Bull. Shit.

    And stop with the argument from aesthetics thing - it goes nowhere. If aesthetics gave binding obligations, it would be ethics. Nobody owes you a world you find prettier.

  • ||

    "Doing this means deciding what is for the good of individuals independent of their own desires."

    Desires are fleeting and fickle and rationality as well as economic self-preservation is bounded.

    "If aesthetics gave binding obligations, it would be ethics."

    Binding obligations don't exist, because metaphysics is a pathetic lie for lower people. In the physical world, breaking an obligation when you are mighty enough to get completely away with it has no repercussions.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 5:52PM|#
    "Proving anything with *absolute* definitiveness is impossible in my world-view."
    Fuck your 'world view'; you're willing to envoke the *absolute* power of the government to supposedly solve a problem you can't prove exists.

    "The only constant is flux."
    Except when it comes to government programs; see ethanol.

  • ||

    "you're willing to envoke the *absolute* power of the government to supposedly solve a problem you can't prove exists."

    Actually, the greenhouse effect of CO2 has been duplicated and its forcing of the climate are all observable.

  • ||

    To answer your question, you're not.

    You're trying to "explain" your point of view, not economics.

    What are the external costs of CO2, can you quantify them?

    What about the benefits? CO2 is plant food. Ask anyone who grows weed.

    About the only thing we do know is that we don't know. So the bird in the hand is the oil -- unless you'd prefer to leave that to China while we tilt at windmills.

    BTW ... Utilitarianism went out of fashion 100 years ago due to impossible aggregation problems. Put another way, can you place a value on Vikings moving back to GREENland -- what if that's astronomical?

    Geez, how would we ever know? If ONLY we had a numeraire and free exchange. Damn!

  • ||

    "What are the external costs of CO2, can you quantify them?"

    Worse crops, diminishing water availability, rising salt-water table, droughts, food price shocks etc.

    "CO2 is plant food"

    And we need water to live. I will now proceed to take one of your family members and pour gallons and gallons of water down his/her throat. This will not damage his/her kidneys at all. *RETARD*

    "About the only thing we do know is that we don't know."

    The spectrum goes from "Extremely sure this is not the case" to "Extremely sure this is the case".

    From my POV, I see a bunch of lower, useless people saying there is no man-made climate change and a bunch of studied people saying there is. A correlation between studying and observation with the statement that man is responsible for the current observed climate change and global energy imbalance can be observed. Are you familiar with the concept of probabilistics?

    "Put another way, can you place a value on Vikings moving back to GREENland"

    Back when Greenland was green, other parts of the world where getting cooler. In other words, a localized phenomenon, not a global one of the kind we are seeing today.

    Also, the Greenland ice sheet has existed for 400,000 years. Parts of it may have been greener than today, but we are not talking about high, healthy and exuberant grasslands here. The medieval warming period was caused by the sun being more active - the current warming is for some reason happening while the sun is in a *less active state*. Odd, that.

    Well, it's odd if you are a degenerate POS that should be ground into mulch. It's not odd for someone like me.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 7:54PM|#
    "What are the external costs of CO2, can you quantify them?"

    And we get:
    "Worse crops,"
    Lie

    "diminishing water availability,"
    Lie

    "rising salt-water table,"
    Irrelevance

    "droughts,"
    Lie

    "food price shocks"
    Lie

    "etc."
    And the default of the eco-religionists.
    Some "proof".

  • ||

    I do not care for global warming, but I have to take issue with this article. We need investment in energy generation, period, full stop. Probably investment in second wave of electrification. Please do the basic multiplication, and ask what increase in oil production would be necessary to extend our civilization to the rest of the globe. At least doubling, more likely more. How likely do you think this is to happen? Not likely. We can only have this civilization in its present form if 80% of the globe remains in poverty. I would rather see government investment in energy generation, green, nuclear, new natural gas production, than see it invest in fraudulent credit, which is where we are today.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    How about it invests in neither and leaves the money where it belongs - in the hands of the people who earned it?

  • sevo||

    mf|3.7.11 @ 3:41PM|#
    "I do not care for global warming, but I have to take issue with this article. We need investment in energy generation, period, full stop."
    If that's true, it'll happen.

    "...We can only have this civilization in its present form if 80% of the globe remains in poverty..."
    Guy name of Malthus beat you to this argument more than 200 years ago. Guys like Adam Smith and Julian Simon *proved* the argument was bullshit.
    Any reason we should believe you?

  • ||

    "If that's true, it'll happen."

    You are taking the span and perspective of one average life-time to be the only economical time-frame necessary. You are hilariously naive. Are you a Christian or something?

    It may not be profitable for a man to care about climate change, because he will die before he sees any damage.

    *But societies must consider a span of time longer than a man's life, you pathetic fucking dilettante.*
    "Guy name of Malthus beat you to this argument more than 200 years ago."

    Malthus ignored the power of technology.

    We can observe that the power of technology is not enough to prevent damage being dealt because of CO2.

  • ||

    First of all, there is no such thing as "society." There are only individuals.

    The argument that individuals today have a duty to preserve a specific state of nature for individuals of the future is also without merit. We have no way of knowing how the people of the future want to live, and preserving a specific state of nature by overlooking potential gains that could have been made in other areas might screw them just as royally as any loss of natural capital.

  • ||

    "First of all, there is no such thing as "society." There are only individuals."

    No, to live in society is to abandon individuality to a degree. The spectrum goes from "barbarian" on one end and "good citizen" on the other.

    "The argument that individuals today have a duty to preserve a specific state of nature for individuals of the future is also without merit."

    As for the rest of the argument: You just basically said that Obama can rack up as much debt as he wants for future generations to contend with, because who are we to say they don't want to live with crushing debt! We'll use the money we borrowed to invest in lots of cool stuff for them!

    Intertemporal substitution, you moron. To pump CO2 into the atmosphere is exactly like incurring a debt.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 7:40PM|#
    "First of all, there is no such thing as "society." There are only individuals."
    No, to live in society is to abandon individuality to a degree. The spectrum goes from "barbarian" on one end and "good citizen" on the other."

    Only to lefty assholes.

  • sevo||

    "Intertemporal substitution, you moron. To pump CO2 into the atmosphere is exactly like incurring a debt."

    We know this, since a self-proclaimed eco-asshole tells us.

  • ||

    Actually, I have no problem with mass cooperation between individuals, as long as that cooperation is not based on the initiation of force.

  • ||

    "Intertemporal substitution, you moron. To pump CO2 into the atmosphere is exactly like incurring a debt."

    I might agree with you on this one, but the fact remains that we have no way of isolating and directly connecting emissions of CO2 and the damaging effects of climate change. We know that CO2 increases can cause extreme weather events, but no one even can be proven to have been caused by global warming. CO2 presents mankind with a problem that no man made system can contend with in a way that can "solve" it.

    My argument is not that we as a species should do nothing, but that the government is unlikely to achieve anything positive without also achieving something negative.

  • Tony||

    We can assume future generations do not want a radically altered environment. What a disgusting way of looking at the world. You don't get to impose your selfishness on other people. That is still a principle of libertarians is it not?

    And there are societies whether you want to acknowledge them or not. Humans are not animals naturally disposed to radical individualism. We are social animals, as any anthropologist will tell you. Hence, societies.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.7.11 @ 7:41PM|#
    "We can assume future generations do not want a radically altered environment."

    In that case, future generations are bound to be disappointed.

  • ||

    I didn't say anything about individualism. I have no problem with collectivism as long as it is not enforced by the initiation of violence.

  • Tony||

    And once collectives are formed, how is any decision enforced? Are children born into collectives given a choice to leave upon reaching the age of majority? Who gets to decide that? Unanimous votes for everything? That could quickly be seen as impractical. Might not something resembling modern governments arise from this setup anyway?

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Decisions are enforced however the collective agreed they were when it was formed - since there are no involuntary members, everyone already agreed to these rules. Literally, not in a dumb 'you can leave the house you own if you don't like it' sort of way. And yes, the children get to leave when they reach the age of majority. And though it might look like a modern government it wouldn't be - there would be no unwilling members.

  • Tony||

    Exactly the system we have. No one is stopping you from leaving. But you don't get to leech from this collective and not pay your part.

  • ||

    Yes, people would have to be allowed to come and go as they please. If the commune is popular enough, it should still be able to become quite successful.

  • Tony||

    One might call such successful collectives countries.

  • ||

    Name one country that doesn't initiate force against you or threaten you with violence for not obeying commands?

  • ||

    I can't name a country that doesn't wish to survive for long.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 7:09PM|#
    "If that's true, it'll happen."
    You are taking the span and perspective of one average life-time to be the only economical time-frame necessary. You are hilariously naive..."

    Any you are evilly ignorant, asshole.

  • ||

    No, just recognizing that societies always have had and always will have a longer perspective than individuals.

    Also, thanks for calling me evil. There is no higher praise, even when coming from cattle.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 7:59PM|#
    "No, just recognizing that societies always have had and always will have a longer perspective than individuals."
    Stating lies doesn't help your argument, asshole.

    "Also, thanks for calling me evil. There is no higher praise, even when coming from cattle."
    You should be so lucky as to be complimented by a cow.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    It's hilarious. It's like he thinks he's a saturday-morning cartoon villain.

  • sevo||

    "It's like he thinks he's a saturday-morning cartoon villain."

    He's pissed because he thinks Acme Inc is dropping anvils on his argument.
    That it's logic doing so is beyond his reckoning.

  • ||

    Didn't you root for the villains? Who raised you, Ned Flanders?

  • sevo||

    "Malthus ignored the power of technology.
    We can observe that the power of technology is not enough to prevent damage being dealt because of CO2."

    And what are you ignoring?

  • ||

    "And what are you ignoring?"

    Christian/libertarian "ethics".

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.7.11 @ 8:00PM|#
    "And what are you ignoring?"
    Christian/libertarian "ethics"."

    Oh, oh! The strawman goes down!
    Sorry if your religion is getting busted; 'mother earth' can go suck goats' asses with you.

  • ||

    Well, malthus was correct about the preindustrial era. If you look at population growth and per capita income statistics (the ones that exist) for the pre industrial age, population growth pretty much kept per capita income within a narrow range for thousands of years. Since the industrial revolution, that has not been the case.

  • ||

    I'm sorry to post all of this here, but the points that are being made by Tony and MNG need to be refuted.

    Here, I defer to the master: Ludwig Von Mises

    Human Action:

    6. The Influence of the Past Upon Action
    The more the accumulation of capital goods proceeds, the greater becomes
    the problem of convertibility. The primitive methods of farmers and
    handicraftsmen of earlier ages could more easily be adjusted to new tasks
    ACTION IN THE PASSING OF TIME 505
    than modern capitalist methods. But it is precisely modern capitalism that
    is faced with rapid changes in conditions. Changes in technological knowledge
    and in the demand of the consumers as they occur daily in our time
    make obsolete many of the plans directing the course of production and raise
    the question whether or not one should pursue the path started on.
    The spirit of sweeping innovation may get hold of men, may triumph over
    the inhibitions of sluggishness and indolence, may incite the slothful slaves
    of routine to a radical rescission of traditional valuations, and may peremptorily
    urge people to enter upon new paths leading to new goals. Doctrinaires
    may try to forget that we are in all our endeavors the heirs of our fathers,
    and that our civilization, the product of a long evolution, cannot be transformed
    at one stroke. But however strong the propensity for innovation may
    be, it is kept in bounds by a factor that forces men not to deviate too hastily
    from the course chosen by their forebears. All material wealth is a residuum
    of past activities and is embodied in concrete capital goods of limited
    convertibility. The capital goods accumulated direct the actions of the living
    into lines which they would not have chosen if their discretion had not been
    restricted by binding action accomplished in the past. The choice of ends
    and of the means for the attainment of these ends is influenced by the past.
    Capital goods are a conservative element. They force us to adjust our actions
    to conditions brought about by our own conduct in earlier days and by the
    thinking, choosing and acting of bygone generations.
    We may picture to ourselves the image of how things would be if,
    equipped with our present knowledge of natural resources, geography,
    technology, and hygienics, we had arranged all processes of production and
    manufactured all capital goods accordingly. We would have located the
    centers of production in other places. We would have populated the earth’s
    surface in a different way. some areas which are today densely inhabited
    and full of plants and farms would be less occupied. We would have
    assembled more people and more shops and farms in other areas. All
    establishments would by equipped with the most efficient machines and
    tools. Each of them would be the size required for the most economical
    utilization of its capacity of production. In the world of our perfect planning
    there would be no technological backwardness, no unused capacity to
    produce, and no avoidable shipping of men or of goods. The productivity of
    human exertion would far surpass that prevailing in our actual, imperfect
    state.
    The writings of the socialists are full of such utopian fancies. Whether
    506 HUMAN ACTION
    they call themselves Marxian or non-Marxian socialists, technocrats, or
    simply planners, they are all eager to show us how foolishly things are
    arranged in reality and how happily men could live if they were to invest the
    reformers with dictatorial powers. It is, they say, only the inadequacy of the
    capitalist mode of production that prevents mankind from enjoying all the
    amenities which could be produced under the contemporary state of technological
    knowledge.
    The fundamental error involved in this rationalistic romanticism is the
    misconception of the character of the capital goods available and of their
    scarcity. The intermediary products available today were manufactured in
    the past by our ancestors and by ourselves. The plans which guided their
    production were an outgrowth of the then prevailing ideas concerning ends
    and technological procedures. If we consider aiming at different ends and
    choosing different methods of production, we are faced with an alternative.
    We must either leave unused a great part of the capital goods available and
    start afresh producing modern equipment, or we must adjust our production
    processes as far as possible to the specific character of the capital goods
    available. The choice rests, as it always does in the market economy, with
    the consumers. Their conduct in buying or not buying settles the issue. In
    choosing between old tenements and new ones equipped with all the gadgets
    of comfort, between railroad and motorcar, between gas and electric light,
    between cotton and rayon goods, between silk and nylon hosiery, they
    implicitly choose between a continued employment of previously accumulated
    capital goods and their scrapping. When an old building which could
    still be inhabited for years is not prematurely demolished and replaced by a
    modern house because the tenants are not prepared to pay higher rents and
    prefer to satisfy other wants instead of living in more comfortable homes, it
    is obvious how present consumption is influenced by conditions of the past.
    The fact that not every technological improvement is instantly applied in
    the whole field is not more conspicuous than the fact that not everybody
    throws away his old car or his old clothes as soon as a better car is on the
    market or new patterns become fashionable. In all such things people are
    motivated by the scarcity of goods available.
    A new machine, more efficient than those used previously, is constructed.
    Whether or not the plants equipped with the old, less efficient machines will
    discard them in spite of the fact that they are still utilizable and replace them
    by the new model depends on the degree of the new machine’s superiority.
    Only if this superiority is great enough to compensate for the additional
    ACTION IN THE PASSING OF TIME 507
    expenditure required, is the scrapping of the old equipment economically
    sound. Let p be the price of the new machine, q the price that can be realized
    by selling the old machine as scrap iron, a the cost of producing one unit of
    product by the old machine, b the cost of producing one unit of product by
    the new machine without taking into account the costs required for its
    purchase. Let us further assume that the eminence of the new machine
    consists merely in a better utilization of raw material and labor employed
    and not in manufacturing a greater quantity of products and that thus the
    annual output z remains unchanged. Then the replacement of the old machine
    by the new one is advantageous if the yield z (a-b) is large enough to
    make good for the expenditure of p - q. We may disregard the writing off of
    depreciation in assuming that the annual quotas are not greater for the new
    machine than for the old one. The same considerations hold true also for the
    transfer of an already existing plant from a place in which conditions of
    production are less favorable to a location offering more favorable conditions.
    Technological backwardness and economic inferiority are two different
    things and must not be confused. It can happen that a production aggregate
    which from a merely technological point of view appears outclassed is in a
    position to compete successfully with aggregates better equipped or located
    at more favorable sites. The degree of the superiority provided by the
    technologically more efficient equipment or by the more propitious location
    as compared with the surplus expenditure required for the transformation
    decides the issue. This relation depends on the convertibility of the capital
    goods concerned.
    The distinction between technological perfection and economic expediency
    is not, as romantic engineers would have us believe, a feature of
    capitalism. It is true that only economic calculation as possible solely in a
    market economy gives the opportunity to establish all the computations
    required for the cognition of the relevant facts. A socialist management
    would not be in a position to ascertain the state of affairs by arithmetical
    methods. It would therefore not know whether or not what it plans and puts
    into operation is the most appropriate procedure to employ the means
    available for the satisfaction of what it considers to be the most urgent of
    the still unsatisfied wants of the people. But if it were in a position to
    calculate, it would not proceed in a way different from that of the calculating
    businessman. It would not squander scarce factors of production for the
    satisfaction of wants deemed less urgent if this would prevent the satisfaction
    508 HUMAN ACTION
    of more urgent wants. It would not hurry to scrap still utilizable production
    facilities if the investment required would impair the expansion of the
    production of more urgently needed goods.
    If one takes the problem of convertibility into proper account, one can
    easily explode many widespread fallacies. Take, for instance, the infant
    industries argument advanced in favor of protection. Its supporters assert
    that temporary protection is needed in order to develop processing industries
    in places in which natural conditions for their operation are more favorable
    or, at least, no less favorable than in the areas in which the already established
    competitors are located. These older industries have acquired an
    advantage by their early start. They are now fostered by a merely historical,
    accidental, and manifestly “irrational” factor. This advantage prevents the
    establishment of competing plants in areas the conditions of which give
    promise of becoming able to produce more cheaply than, or at least as
    cheaply as, the old ones. It may be admitted that protection for infant
    industries is temporarily expensive. But the sacrifices made will be more
    than repaid by the gains to be reaped later.
    The truth is that the establishment of an infant industry is advantageous
    from the economic point of view only if the superiority of the new location
    is so momentous that it outweighs the disadvantages resulting from the
    abandonment of nonconvertible and nontransferable capital goods invested
    in the already established plants. If this is the case, the new plants will be
    able to compete successfully with the old ones without any aid given by the
    government. If it is not the case, the protection granted to them is wasteful,
    even if it is only temporary and enables the new industry to hold its own at
    a later period. The tariff amounts virtually to a subsidy which the consumers
    are forced to pay as a compensation for the employment of scarce factors of
    production for the replacement of still utilizable capital goods to be scrapped
    and the withholding of these scarce factors from other employments in
    which they could render services valued higher by the consumers. The
    consumers are deprived of the opportunity to satisfy certain wants because
    the capital goods required are directed toward the production of goods which
    were already available to them in the absence of tariffs.
    There prevails a universal tendency for all industries to move to those
    locations in which the potentialities for production are most propitious. In
    the unhampered market economy this tendency is slowed down as much as
    due consideration to the inconvertibility of scarce capital goods requires.
    This historical element does not give a permanent superiority to the old
    ACTION IN THE PASSING OF TIME 509
    industries. It only prevents the waste originating from investments which
    bring about unused capacity of still utilizable production facilities on the
    one hand and a restriction of capital goods available for the satisfaction of
    unsatisfied wants on the other hand. In the absence of tariffs the migration
    of industries is postponed until the capital goods invested in the old plants
    are worn out or become obsolete by technological improvements which are
    so momentous as to necessitate their replacement by new equipment. The
    industrial history of the United States provides numerous examples of the
    shifting, within the boundaries of the country, of centers of industrial
    production which was not fostered by any protective measures on the part
    of the authorities. The infant industries argument is no less spurious than all
    the other arguments advanced in favor of protection.

  • ||

    I normally do not like posting pages from books in comment forums, but I think that this is the best possible argument for the situation.

  • ||

    useless mises turd

  • ||

    In other words, whoever innovates cheap, clean energy is going to make a mint.

    That's all that's required.

  • ||

    Lets not listen to 95% of the climatologists, lets listen to a hack journalist instead.

    It was cold yesterday, so all the temperature records we've been setting for the last decade are disproven.

  • ||

    Wow, you are attacking an argument that was never made.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    But don't you see? Straw men go down so much easier!

  • ||

    You said it: Let's not.

    I've had it with their non-falsifiable horsecrap. Read some Popper; better yet, prove I don't own a white crow.

  • ||

    Mises-

    "The infant industries argument is no less spurious than all
    the other arguments advanced in favor of protection."

    Please inform China and S. Korea that the economies they just built are spurious and could never happen.

    Would somebody look out the window for just one second.

  • sevo||

    Mike|3.7.11 @ 7:21PM|#
    "Mises-
    "The infant industries argument is no less spurious than all
    the other arguments advanced in favor of protection."

    Please inform China and S. Korea that the economies they just built are spurious and could never happen."

    I would suggest you learn to read; continuing to embarrass yourself like you are can't be fun.

  • ||

    Dude FUUUUUUUUUUUCK you! Pull your head out of your ass. China and South Korea have been growing for reasons completely unrelated to "protected infant industries."

    Mises's point was about whether or not protected infant industries do anything for the global economy. I'm sure that some protected industries benefit some local geographic regions, but they do not benefit the real economy overall.

    You are thinking in terms of the volksviertshaft rather than the global economy.

  • ||

    Way to completely miss the point btw....

  • ||

    This practice of looking at the policies that some developing countries get away with during a quick phase of industrialization with an incredibly low wage rate as "evidence" of how the rest of the world should function.

    It happened when Germany was growing, it happened when Japan was growing, and now it's happening again with China. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck....

  • Stacy||

    People are tossing around the word "subsidy" without knowing what they are.

    The word "subsidy" has a negative connotation and seems to be applied to anything the writer doesn't personally agree with the goal of the subsidey. That same subsidy is called an incentive when the writer agrees with the goal.

    For example, as a society we have made the choice to incentivize people to buy homes, so the tax code allows mortgage expenses to be deducted. We want companies to hire workers, so the tax code allows payroll to be expensed. When a company buys a computer or builds a new plant, the cost is capitalized (written off) over time. The government often varies the depreciation rate to encourage investment (Obama increased the depreciation rate as part of the Stimulus Bill).

    These subsidies (incentives) have a purpose and they should be discussed, but lumping them all together and calling all subsidies (incentives) bad is rather stupid unless you want to get rid of all of them. My perception is that most posters only think incentives (subsidies) for a specific industry they don't like is bad, but they are great for industries that they like.

    Specific to the oil companies, some of the subsidies include:

    * To encourage exploration, oil companies get to write-off as an expense the cost of a dry hole. If they strike oil, the cost is capitalized.

    * To encourage drilling in difficult areas, congress reduced the royalty the government normally charges (yes, oil is charged an added tax). The reduction in the royalty is called a subsidy.

    I don't think these are that unreasonable, but there are a lot of these types of examples and they vary from industry to industry.

    They typically started out with a reasonable goal and there will always be examples of people abusing any incentive, but they have to be viewed in the aggregate on what value they provide society.

    The best option to remove all unintended consequences and make them all compete fairly is to remove all incentives (subsidies). When the cost of oil exceeds the cost for producing the same type of energy using green technology, then the green technology will be readily adopted.

    Sorry for introducing something other than ideologues.

  • ||

    There's a reason it's the FIRST Welfare Theorem.

    Any distortion is non-optimal. Thanks for posting on that.

  • sevo||

    "When a company buys a computer or builds a new plant, the cost is capitalized (written off) over time. The government often varies the depreciation rate to encourage investment (Obama increased the depreciation rate as part of the Stimulus Bill)."
    Well, for starters, reduced taxes /= subsidies, so that argument is out the window.

    "The best option to remove all unintended consequences and make them all compete fairly is to remove all incentives (subsidies). When the cost of oil exceeds the cost for producing the same type of energy using green technology, then the green technology will be readily adopted."
    I don't think you're going to get a lot of argument on this one.

  • Stacy||

    You would think, but it seems that there a number of people that want incentives for their green technology cause and to remove incentives for any other technology.

    I guess another way to make it "fair" is to charge a similar royalty for energy produced using green technologies. Let's make it 1,000%, then scale it back to 10% so that green technology is getting a 990% subsidy. That should make everyone happy!

  • sevo||

    Stacy|3.7.11 @ 8:01PM|#
    "You would think, but it seems that there a number of people that want incentives for their green technology cause and to remove incentives for any other technology."

    Yes, but you won't find that 'number of people' on this board.

  • Stacy||

    A bastion of sanity and common sense. The problem is that there are too few out there to man the walls.

  • Tony||

    Nonpolluting energy is an obvious and immediate necessity. If fleets of foreigners were invading our shores, would you be against government subsidies to defend against it?

    Not that there will ever be such a thing as a green energy subsidy that will match what's been lavished on oil and coal, merely because those industries have political power. That would be the thing you're so passionately defending.

  • sevo||

    Tony|3.8.11 @ 1:15AM|#
    "Nonpolluting energy is an obvious and immediate necessity."

    Stupid claims from ignorant assholes are worth just about what you're getting, asshole.

  • ||

    "Has this cold winter convinced him to put his global warming agenda on ice?"

  • ||

    That line was a joke that was nowhere near a scientific pronouncement. Also, the quote was about the cold weather and the president's mood, or willingnes to implement an agenda. I think that you just need to calm the fuck down.

  • sevo||

    "That line was a joke that was nowhere near a scientific pronouncement."
    Eco-asshole's straw-grasper is wearing out.

  • ||

    "That line was a joke that was nowhere near a scientific pronouncement."

    And yet reason.com and the other glibertarians are perfectly happy to throw all-in with republicans who use winters as an argument against global warming.

  • sevo||

    Proud ecofascist|3.8.11 @ 4:22AM|#
    "That line was a joke that was nowhere near a scientific pronouncement."
    And yet reason.com and the other glibertarians are perfectly happy to throw all-in with republicans who use winters as an argument against global warming."

    And proud ecoasshole is perfectly happy to argue with strawmen.

  • ||

    Your a rasist!

  • ||

    If Obama were really serious about clean energy he would be expanding nuclear energy as fast as possible. It is the one clean energy technology that we can do now, and that we know could repleace coal and millions of barrels of oil in the next ten years at a reasonable price. But as this article shows he's cut nuclear to spend tens of billions on pie in the sky wind and solar that might...only might provide significant amounts of energy for the generation that has been born since Obama took office. More wasted spending headed to Obama's special interests. We will all die deep in debt and struggling to pay off Obama's debt from his massive corrupt spending, and we'll die in freezing cold homes!

  • ||

    I mostly like Mr Obama but I am an Orange Agenda type myself. The hell with all green things, except Benjamins and lettuce. Either redefine the enviornment to include the ability to live long and prosper, or lets go beyopund ignoring it and hoping it will go away, and actively crusade to destroy enviornmentalism and if necessary the enviornmentalists too.

    Iron-mentalists imho.

  • Tony||

    redefine the enviornment to include the ability to live long and prosper

    What do you think the point of environmentalism is? Saving spotted owls?

  • ||

    I've been a reader and commenter on Reason.com and Hit and Run for years and one thing I've noticed is how flighty positions can be here. It was only a year or so ago that I was reading from established writers here that man made global warming was beyond debate.

    So now the reality of buying into that con is finally setting in? Come on, how do you think these policies were enacted? Because otherwise intelligent thinkers were bamboozled and touted fake science in respectable publications.

    I'm talking to you Reason.

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    Kennedy, shut the hell up, you are an utter moron and there is nothing reasonable about you. You should not be a writer for a magazine with the title Reason, there is nothing reasonable about you. Sunspots? Really? Are you out of your mind? Do you even know what a sunspot is?

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