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Dave_Schuldt

The Republicans are doomed!!

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I've seen an African Elephant's aroused member. It must have had a thing for my rental car. Such a congress would be a sound explanation for Peter's muddled brain, to be sure.

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Yup. The low-hanging-fruit of water conservation. It'd make much more sense to buy water-intensive crops from places that have enough rainfall/water to grow them, instead of spending untold sums to upgrade the storage/distribution infrastructure, retrofit appliances, etc in order to meet industrial/residential demand while soaking the desert....

 

OMFG, why didn't anyone think of this before? The Canadian Arctic and Amazon basin have TONS of rainfall. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WILL SOMEBODY PLANT SOME ORANGE TREES THERE ALREADY??!!!

 

JayB, you couldn't POSSIBLY as fucking stupid as you sound on this thread.

 

Love the theatrical bluster.

 

I'm kind of surprised that you're a fan of massively subsidized, highly centralized agriculture that's highly at odds with local resources and conditions given how often you've cited your support for sustainable, local practices.

 

I'm personally happy to go with whatever mode of cultivating non-animal crops for harvest in whatever fashion farmers find most efficient, so long as it doesn't rely upon subsidies to do so. However, I'm pretty sure that subsidy-dependent output from the central valley makes it harder for local, small scale operations to compete. If the subsidies to the central valley and other locations like it were curtailed, then it's quite likely that local farms in places near urban centers in the Northeast and elsewhere would pick up the slack.

 

With regards to water, physically shipping it from one location to the next ultimately isn't much different from shipping power or any other output that requires water from one place to the next. Saudi Arabia can run oil-fired desalination plants to irrigate rice in the desert, or they can sell the oil to buy rice from a place where rainfall and other local conditions make growing rice a much less resource-intensive proposition. I'll leave it for you to conclude which of the alternatives is more "sustainable." If Saudi Arabia suddenly concludes that they want to stop selling oil for any of a gazillion non-economic reasons, they're certainly free to do so. Ditto for any particular region with lots of water selling it to regions with very little water. All I was saying is that there will likely be some regions, perhaps in Canada, that decide that selling physical water will leave them better off than using it for something else, and decide to do so. Ditto for the Saudis if they conclude that they're rather grow petro-rice in the desert than buy it from the infidels.

 

Still hoping that you'll expand on the connection between a timber scarcity and the Fall of Rome, and provide some stats on timber as a percentage of total energy production in the US during GP's day, if you can channel some of the vitriol in that direction for a moment or two.

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Reading this, I am left wondering: what was Jay's point? Yes, if we do absolutely nothing to plan for the inevitable we'll be forced to stop running all our cars on oil when the price of oil skyrockets or when water in the central California valley reaches the "price correction" we'll stop growing cotton there, but is he REALLY suggesting that we SHOULD leave it up to the big three automakers and the agribus farmers in California to conduct all long range planning?

 

Ford and farmers cannot afford to plan for the future. They have to make money this quarter or next or maybe the one after that or they'll go out of business. Without government intervention, by Jay's own thesis, we will and should continue unsustainable industrial practices until those industries are forced to change those practices, a force that in many cases will come with the collapse or near total destruction of a non-renewable resource and which even Jay must acknowledge could possibly trigger financial and political crises as well. Meanwhile, we are paying Ford and the farmers to hasten the day.

 

Here's the original question:

 

"...can you show me an example of a critical resource that was completely depleted before substitution, conservation, and innovation made the problems presented by the scarcity of the said resource manageable - if not null and void?"

 

Thus far j_b has offered up a source of food (North Atlantic Cod), and Tvash offered up a source of ...cough...energy (North American Timber).

 

These are especially odd examples to put forward, since both have substitutes in times of scarcity, and both fish-stocks can be replenished. I would have expected someone to put forward a mineral resource, but here the case is the same. When a mineral becomes scarce relative to demand, its price increases, and people use less of it, find substitutes for it, and develop ways to use what they can't substitute more efficiently. Only in instances where populations haven't been capable of responding in this fashion has a resource scarcity left a population helpless to respond. In modern history this set of conditions has been confined to primitive, isolated populations - or in nation states where central planning has prevailed.

 

As your examples demonstrate, it *is* extremely difficult to make accurate forecasts about the future. This is true even in cases where the only bit of the future that you are concerned about is which crops to grow, and how much of it, or what mix of cars to manufacture, and how many of them. As a farmer, doing so involves deciding which type of crop will grow best on a particular piece of land, when to plant, how much to plant, whether it makes more sense to upgrade machinery or use the money to buy more water rights or improve the efficiency of the irrigation system that you have in place, etc, etc, etc. Each piece of land is different, the weather each year is different, and thousands of variables beyond the farm that you can neither control nor foresee ultimately determine if you get more money out of that season's crops than you put into them. The same can be said for virtually any enterprise making any good or service like, say, legal services. What's the probability that a class-action lawsuit taken on a contingent basis will result in a favorable payout, how many first-year associates will we hire for document review for the said class action lawsuit, at what salary, etc, etc, etc...

 

Anyone who stresses how difficult it is to make accurate predictions about the number and type of cars that society will need in the next six months, for example, would have to concede that it is infinitely more difficult to make accurate predictions accurate predictions about how much of *everything* will be required in the next six months, let alone several years into the future. So - to answer your question - yes, we should leave it up to farmers to determine what kind of crops to grow on each acre of land, in what quantity, how often to water them, when to harvest them, what kind of machinery to harvest them with, etc. Ditto for leaving it to car manufacturers to decide what kind of cars they'll produce, and for legal firms to decide what kind of cases they'll accept, what they'll charge per-hour, etc.

 

Yes - it's true that some farmers, car manufacturers, and law-firms will make horrible choices based on wildly inaccurate predictions in some years. Do all farmers, firms, and factories all make equally bad decisions in all years? Would the outcome be better if the government made all of their business decisions for them?

 

In order to answer "yes" to that question, you'd have to answer "yes" in response to a number of questions. If it's hard to make accurate decisions for a single farm, factory, or firm - is it easier to make accurate decisions for thousands, or tens of thousands of them all at once? If it's tough for a single farm, factory, or firm to respond to changes that affect their business in a way that will allow them to remain viable, would it be easier for government officials assigned responsibility for making these choices to do so on their behalf?

 

There are quite a few secondary questions that you'd have to figure out the answer to if answering "yes" to the first question. How would the same officials respond if the consumers didn't want or need most of the stuff that the businesses that they were making? What if critical suppliers in businesses that they didn't supervise decided to raise their prices? What if competitors overseas were offering their products at prices below the price that the government administrators set for the products made by the businesses they ran?

 

And finally - are the people who run farms and factories inherently less capable than the people running law firms? If we can't leave it to individual farmers to evaluate all of the variables that affect their businesses - how can we leave it to attorneys to run their own practices? Are the people who run farms and factories inferior to attorneys in some fundamental why? If not - why would collective administration be bad for attorneys but good for farms and factories?

 

When it comes to resource depletion - in this case water in California - how are the state and federal government's collective decision to allocate the majority of the finite water available to everyone in the state to farmers at a price that's many times lower than what everyone else has to pay promoting conservation, exactly? How about the many billions of dollars in ethanol and other subsidies to farmers that result in god knows how many additional acres of soil being unnecessarily tilled under, fertilized, watered, and treated with pesticides? Paying farmers to grow excess crops, and insulating them from the incentives that would prompt them to grow their crops using as few resources as possible equals conservation? Subsidizing the consumption of scarce resources by suppressing their price is a better way to promote conservation than allowing real scarcities to be reflected in the price of those resources?

 

Naturally - I don't expect you to respond to all of the points that I made in this post, or any of them - really - but there's my answer to your questions.

 

One could ask the same thing of the Evil Homonym about government subsidies to fishermen in various locations all over the world.

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Nice post JayB. I still disagree with the apparent premise that we can continue on the course we are on in terms of government intervention. I disagree this premise because our government currently imposes a tax structure that give huge advantages to large corporations especially oil and auto corporations. So while you seem to stand against government intervention, you also seem to support the current administration which has intervened in a big way. They have done this by making it much less costly tax-wise to be bigger while still stinging smaller corporations with high taxes and limited shelters. This serves to stifle the very innovative spirit that you are proposing will rescue us from our energy conundrum. This does not even scratch the surface of the problems of energy availability as a commodity affecting the broader economy at every level.

So I agree with your premise but not your implementation scenario.

 

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Well, I came up with about five examples right off the bat, but certain asshats and village idiots seemed to conveniently skip over them.

 

The resources depleted:

 

Mayan soil depletion (currently our problem).

 

Easter Island timber and soil depletion (currently our problem)

 

Greenland soil depletion (currently our problem)

 

Mesopotamian water supplies, desertification, and soil depletion (currenly our problem)

 

Anyone notice a pattern here?

 

In each case society completely collapsed and was never reconstituted.

 

I think JayB's trying to argue that global population growth and increase in pre capita demand for everything is not going to (or already is) colliding with soil depletion, energy depletion, and water depletion, to name the big three.

 

JayB believes that the earth is a machine that can indefinitely be cranked to volume 11. He doesn't actually know anyone in farming, for example, so he's ignorant of what his beloved Green Revolution has done to the land and sea.

 

And therein lies the heart of the conservative movement; blissful, and most certainly intentional, ignorance. Well, in addition to out and out avarice, failed myths, and just plain psychosis.

 

 

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Here's the original question:

 

"...can you show me an example of a critical resource that was completely depleted before substitution, conservation, and innovation made the problems presented by the scarcity of the said resource manageable - if not null and void?"

 

Thus far j_b has offered up a source of food (North Atlantic Cod), and Tvash offered up a source of ...cough...energy (North American Timber).

 

No. I also discussed Haiti and the terminal depletion of its soils. The women feeding mud cakes to their children are still waiting for these famous "exchanges between people" that you keep saying will solve their wittle starvation problem. Note that Haiti isn't an isolated example but merely one of the most salient. The truth is that developing nations shouldn’t expect any reasonable solutions to their resource problems since they cannot offer you anything in return that you want.

 

These are especially odd examples to put forward, since both have substitutes in times of scarcity, and both fish-stocks can be replenished.

 

What is especially odd is your wanting to frame the issue of resource/ecosystem service depletion as being a non-issue until the resource is completely depleted and it becomes a global crisis. In fact, (as I have already said but you unsurprisingly keep ignoring) depletion affects human societies on a regional basis first and usually quite dearly. I could cite countless examples of the above but it is obvious that no matter what anyone says you’ll keep repeating your creed about self-correcting markets that somehow will avoid hardship for all concerned (on avrerage or at least in your neighborhood). Also note that even if you can replenish the stocks, the populations will have different characteristics than the original ones but why should you care if "on average" it doens't translate into a dietary loss for "mankind". It's quite rich to hear someonme who continuously appeal to individual economic rights somehow be only concerned with conditions on average.

 

One could ask the same thing of the Evil Homonym about government subsidies to fishermen in various locations all over the world.

 

Are your readers supposed to think that rehashing the same pablum, however verbosely, and calling me silly names is the answer to my posts?

 

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That's really well spoken JB. Except for your last line. I don't think that "Evil Homonym" was a name you were called though as much as it was about government subsidies.

 

JayB, good post as usual: however, I have to disagree with your point

... we should leave it up to farmers to determine what kind of crops to grow on each acre of land, in what quantity, how often to water them, when to harvest them, what kind of machinery to harvest them with, etc.
about farmers making those choices was something which was occurring in the not too distant past. We were the poorer for it. Society would then endure times of starvation and famine when poor or incorrect farmer choices collided with weather patterns. Government intervention and insurance (paying for farmers to not plant) has assisted increased crop yields (which also benefited from Government interventions through knowledge sharing, water projects, and various research programs) in virtually ending this hunger and starvation whipsaw pattern. Yes, there is a price to pay for this insurance premium, this inefficiency. However, no one is starving in this country. In fact, on average the reverse is true, and the common person eats better than Kings of old.

 

Thankfully!

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Reading this, I am left wondering: what was Jay's point? Yes, if we do absolutely nothing to plan for the inevitable we'll be forced to stop running all our cars on oil when the price of oil skyrockets or when water in the central California valley reaches the "price correction" we'll stop growing cotton there, but is he REALLY suggesting that we SHOULD leave it up to the big three automakers and the agribus farmers in California to conduct all long range planning?

 

Ford and farmers cannot afford to plan for the future. They have to make money this quarter or next or maybe the one after that or they'll go out of business. Without government intervention, by Jay's own thesis, we will and should continue unsustainable industrial practices until those industries are forced to change those practices, a force that in many cases will come with the collapse or near total destruction of a non-renewable resource and which even Jay must acknowledge could possibly trigger financial and political crises as well. Meanwhile, we are paying Ford and the farmers to hasten the day.

 

Here's the original question:

 

"...can you show me an example of a critical resource that was completely depleted before substitution, conservation, and innovation made the problems presented by the scarcity of the said resource manageable - if not null and void?"

 

Thus far j_b has offered up a source of food (North Atlantic Cod), and Tvash offered up a source of ...cough...energy (North American Timber).

 

These are especially odd examples to put forward, since both have substitutes in times of scarcity, and both fish-stocks can be replenished. I would have expected someone to put forward a mineral resource, but here the case is the same. When a mineral becomes scarce relative to demand, its price increases, and people use less of it, find substitutes for it, and develop ways to use what they can't substitute more efficiently. Only in instances where populations haven't been capable of responding in this fashion has a resource scarcity left a population helpless to respond. In modern history this set of conditions has been confined to primitive, isolated populations - or in nation states where central planning has prevailed.

 

As your examples demonstrate, it *is* extremely difficult to make accurate forecasts about the future. This is true even in cases where the only bit of the future that you are concerned about is which crops to grow, and how much of it, or what mix of cars to manufacture, and how many of them. As a farmer, doing so involves deciding which type of crop will grow best on a particular piece of land, when to plant, how much to plant, whether it makes more sense to upgrade machinery or use the money to buy more water rights or improve the efficiency of the irrigation system that you have in place, etc, etc, etc. Each piece of land is different, the weather each year is different, and thousands of variables beyond the farm that you can neither control nor foresee ultimately determine if you get more money out of that season's crops than you put into them. The same can be said for virtually any enterprise making any good or service like, say, legal services. What's the probability that a class-action lawsuit taken on a contingent basis will result in a favorable payout, how many first-year associates will we hire for document review for the said class action lawsuit, at what salary, etc, etc, etc...

 

Anyone who stresses how difficult it is to make accurate predictions about the number and type of cars that society will need in the next six months, for example, would have to concede that it is infinitely more difficult to make accurate predictions accurate predictions about how much of *everything* will be required in the next six months, let alone several years into the future. So - to answer your question - yes, we should leave it up to farmers to determine what kind of crops to grow on each acre of land, in what quantity, how often to water them, when to harvest them, what kind of machinery to harvest them with, etc. Ditto for leaving it to car manufacturers to decide what kind of cars they'll produce, and for legal firms to decide what kind of cases they'll accept, what they'll charge per-hour, etc.

 

Yes - it's true that some farmers, car manufacturers, and law-firms will make horrible choices based on wildly inaccurate predictions in some years. Do all farmers, firms, and factories all make equally bad decisions in all years? Would the outcome be better if the government made all of their business decisions for them?

 

In order to answer "yes" to that question, you'd have to answer "yes" in response to a number of questions. If it's hard to make accurate decisions for a single farm, factory, or firm - is it easier to make accurate decisions for thousands, or tens of thousands of them all at once? If it's tough for a single farm, factory, or firm to respond to changes that affect their business in a way that will allow them to remain viable, would it be easier for government officials assigned responsibility for making these choices to do so on their behalf?

 

There are quite a few secondary questions that you'd have to figure out the answer to if answering "yes" to the first question. How would the same officials respond if the consumers didn't want or need most of the stuff that the businesses that they were making? What if critical suppliers in businesses that they didn't supervise decided to raise their prices? What if competitors overseas were offering their products at prices below the price that the government administrators set for the products made by the businesses they ran?

 

And finally - are the people who run farms and factories inherently less capable than the people running law firms? If we can't leave it to individual farmers to evaluate all of the variables that affect their businesses - how can we leave it to attorneys to run their own practices? Are the people who run farms and factories inferior to attorneys in some fundamental why? If not - why would collective administration be bad for attorneys but good for farms and factories?

 

When it comes to resource depletion - in this case water in California - how are the state and federal government's collective decision to allocate the majority of the finite water available to everyone in the state to farmers at a price that's many times lower than what everyone else has to pay promoting conservation, exactly? How about the many billions of dollars in ethanol and other subsidies to farmers that result in god knows how many additional acres of soil being unnecessarily tilled under, fertilized, watered, and treated with pesticides? Paying farmers to grow excess crops, and insulating them from the incentives that would prompt them to grow their crops using as few resources as possible equals conservation? Subsidizing the consumption of scarce resources by suppressing their price is a better way to promote conservation than allowing real scarcities to be reflected in the price of those resources?

 

Naturally - I don't expect you to respond to all of the points that I made in this post, or any of them - really - but there's my answer to your questions.

 

One could ask the same thing of the Evil Homonym about government subsidies to fishermen in various locations all over the world.

 

So really, what was it like for you, going into the booth, closing the curtain behind you, and actually voting for the McCain/Palin ticket?

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I've seen an African Elephant's aroused member. It must have had a thing for my rental car. Such a congress would be a sound explanation for Peter's muddled brain, to be sure.

 

You've just earned another stripe! You are hereby promoted from boorishly obnoxious to weird fucking moron.

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Here's the original question:

 

"...can you show me an example of a critical resource that was completely depleted before substitution, conservation, and innovation made the problems presented by the scarcity of the said resource manageable - if not null and void?"

 

Thus far j_b has offered up a source of food (North Atlantic Cod), and Tvash offered up a source of ...cough...energy (North American Timber).

 

No. I also discussed Haiti and the terminal depletion of its soils. The women feeding mud cakes to their children are still waiting for these famous "exchanges between people" that you keep saying will solve their wittle starvation problem. Note that Haiti isn't an isolated example but merely one of the most salient. The truth is that developing nations shouldn’t expect any reasonable solutions to their resource problems since they cannot offer you anything in return that you want.

 

These are especially odd examples to put forward, since both have substitutes in times of scarcity, and both fish-stocks can be replenished.

 

What is especially odd is your wanting to frame the issue of resource/ecosystem service depletion as being a non-issue until the resource is completely depleted and it becomes a global crisis. In fact, (as I have already said but you unsurprisingly keep ignoring) depletion affects human societies on a regional basis first and usually quite dearly. I could cite countless examples of the above but it is obvious that no matter what anyone says you’ll keep repeating your creed about self-correcting markets that somehow will avoid hardship for all concerned (on avrerage or at least in your neighborhood). Also note that even if you can replenish the stocks, the populations will have different characteristics than the original ones but why should you care if "on average" it doens't translate into a dietary loss for "mankind". It's quite rich to hear someonme who continuously appeal to individual economic rights somehow be only concerned with conditions on average.

 

One could ask the same thing of the Evil Homonym about government subsidies to fishermen in various locations all over the world.

 

Are your readers supposed to think that rehashing the same pablum, however verbosely, and calling me silly names is the answer to my posts?

 

For someone whose ideas and policies have resulted in rates of inequality not seen since the 19th century, disaggregated statistics, "per capita", and "on average" come in real handy.

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I’m having a difficult time wading through your post, Jay, but I think it comes down to this:

 

1. no population except an isolated one or one ruled by authoritarians has ever completely used up a resource or caused ecosystem collapse

 

2. long range planning is inherently difficult so we should not allow our government to even try it

 

3. business people will look out for the public good because it is in their self interest.

 

OH: and

 

4. lawyers. What was the point again?

 

I call B.S. on the first three but might concede on the fourth.

 

As to your premise that each individual business owner or corporate board is probably best equipped to plan and run their individual operation, I think I agree. Although you profess some great rhetorical victory here I don't think that in any way suggests that we should not maintain government agencies or laws that seek to address resource management issues, long range planning, or whatever else you think would constitute evil "government intervention."

 

I agree with you, though, that we should not be using taxpayer money to irrigate the central California valley and we should not subsidize ethanol production from corn.

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Honest question for JayB: do you really believe your arguments?

 

I believe JayB's arguments, so far as they go. He states the classic case of allowing a market to decide resource allocation and resource price.

 

The problem comes, of course, when society (the government is us, right?) applies the market model to absolutely everything, or intervenes in ways that are not well-considered, and then unintended consequences lead to strange, counter-productive distortions, such as food shortages in Mexico because of hare-brained ethanol subsidies in the US.

 

The other problem has to do with the fact that starving people cannot be placed in storage until there is food to feed them, nor can the environmental consequences of all those myriad individual decisions (like buying that SUV because I can) be put off until the 'market' prices in and 'solves' environmental degradation. It probably won't until too late. Species extinction, for example, is accelerating, largely because it makes market-sense to destroy habitat.

 

Markets are pretty efficient (in general), but they are monstrously short-sighted, and the humans who participate in them will gladly take advantage of bad policy (or no policy) for immediate gain. This is why we need that part of our better natures to consider questions and responses outside of the market framework. For example, we (the government) should stop subsidizing the consumption of fossil fuels and should make them even more expensive than the market would price them, to encourage ceasing using them.

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Well, I came up with about five examples right off the bat, but certain asshats and village idiots seemed to conveniently skip over them.

 

The resources depleted:

 

Mayan soil depletion (currently our problem).

 

Easter Island timber and soil depletion (currently our problem)

 

Greenland soil depletion (currently our problem)

 

Mesopotamian water supplies, desertification, and soil depletion (currenly our problem)

 

Anyone notice a pattern here?

 

In each case society completely collapsed and was never reconstituted.

 

I think JayB's trying to argue that global population growth and increase in pre capita demand for everything is not going to (or already is) colliding with soil depletion, energy depletion, and water depletion, to name the big three.

 

JayB believes that the earth is a machine that can indefinitely be cranked to volume 11. He doesn't actually know anyone in farming, for example, so he's ignorant of what his beloved Green Revolution has done to the land and sea.

 

And therein lies the heart of the conservative movement; blissful, and most certainly intentional, ignorance. Well, in addition to out and out avarice, failed myths, and just plain psychosis.

 

 

You forgot the fact that deforestation brought about the collapse of the Roman empire, and threatened to leave all of North America critically short of energy until Gifford Pinchot intervened!

 

It's not that I don't think any of the above depletions isn't a problem, it's just that I don't think that they are, by definition, insurmountable. Even if you accept the hypothesis that political, cultural, and economic variables had zero bearing on the fate of the poster-societies named above - and consequently that *any* group of people living in the same place at the same time in the same number would have met the same fate - it doesn't follow that hundreds of years of political, social, economic, cultural, scientific, and technological development have left humanity equally helpless to deal with the problems posed by resource scarcity.

 

I'm also glad that the Green Revolution, and the higher-yielding crops that it brought about, spared hundreds of millions of people who might have otherwise starved to death in the 20th (and 21st) while mankind figures out how to deal with the said issues. The thought of what would have happened to the soil and water had these people and their societies been contending with chronic famines makes me even more thankful that the world didn't go down that path.

 

 

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I’m having a difficult time wading through your post, Jay, but I think it comes down to this:

 

1. no population except an isolated one or one ruled by authoritarians has ever completely used up a resource or caused ecosystem collapse

 

2. long range planning is inherently difficult so we should not allow our government to even try it

 

3. business people will look out for the public good because it is in their self interest.

 

OH: and

 

4. lawyers. What was the point again?

 

I call B.S. on the first three but might concede on the fourth.

 

As to your premise that each individual business owner or corporate board is probably best equipped to plan and run their individual operation, I think I agree. Although you profess some great rhetorical victory here I don't think that in any way suggests that we should not maintain government agencies or laws that seek to address resource management issues, long range planning, or whatever else you think would constitute evil "government intervention."

 

I agree with you, though, that we should not be using taxpayer money to irrigate the central California valley and we should not subsidize ethanol production from corn.

 

 

Other than answering "yes" to your question below, there's not much that I can do here other than accepting that either I failed to present my points in ways that you would understand, or that you chose to interpret them in a manner that's at odds with what I intended.

 

I have to sign out in a moment, I'll add that I think that it is possible for people's private, selfish motives to produce outcomes that serve the public good, even if that's not their intention. Take attorneys, for example. Is it purely an interest in promoting the public good that inspires all lawsuits brought in this country? If not - does it follow that the public can derive no benefits from the effects of their litigation? The larger point is that when it comes to the public good, I think that we're much better off focusing on outcomes rather than intentions - whether we're talking about businessmen, attorneys, government officials, or what have you. If intentions were all that mattered, life would be much simpler.

 

 

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Honest question for JayB: do you really believe your arguments?

 

I believe JayB's arguments, so far as they go. He states the classic case of allowing a market to decide resource allocation and resource price.

 

The problem comes, of course, when society (the government is us, right?) applies the market model to absolutely everything, or intervenes in ways that are not well-considered, and then unintended consequences lead to strange, counter-productive distortions, such as food shortages in Mexico because of hare-brained ethanol subsidies in the US.

 

The other problem has to do with the fact that starving people cannot be placed in storage until there is food to feed them, nor can the environmental consequences of all those myriad individual decisions (like buying that SUV because I can) be put off until the 'market' prices in and 'solves' environmental degradation. It probably won't until too late. Species extinction, for example, is accelerating, largely because it makes market-sense to destroy habitat.

 

Markets are pretty efficient (in general), but they are monstrously short-sighted, and the humans who participate in them will gladly take advantage of bad policy (or no policy) for immediate gain. This is why we need that part of our better natures to consider questions and responses outside of the market framework. For example, we (the government) should stop subsidizing the consumption of fossil fuels and should make them even more expensive than the market would price them, to encourage ceasing using them.

 

I don't think that there are very many people who would argue that it's unnecessary to have laws in general, or laws that pertain to economics in particular. If there are, I'm certainly not one of them.

 

When discussing laws that pertain to economics, I think it's important to distinguish intentions from outcomes. As I said above, if good intentions were sufficient to secure good outcomes, life would be much simpler, and the intentions behind a given law would be all that matters. They're not - so it's possible to argue against a particular government intervention, or for changes to a given law, without arguing against government itself.

 

Ergo, I don't think that explaining why a particular government intervention in the marketplace is likely to have effects that are counter to those that the policymakers intended - no matter how noble their intentions - means that I recognize no legitimate role for law or government in society.

 

 

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Back about page 4 or 5, Jay, you were arguing that we don't need to regulate water usage or fisheries because the markets will take care of it. Several of us call B.S. and several pages and four days later you've finally come around to this?

 

I don't think that there are very many people who would argue that it's unnecessary to have laws in general, or laws that pertain to economics in particular. If there are, I'm certainly not one of them.

 

That statement is ridiculous on its face. Nobody on cc.com has ever suggested that it is unnecessary to have laws, or that you argued that idea. And your follow up? I'm pretty sure all of us will agree that regulations can have unintended consequences and that the problem of such bi-product should not be taken to mean there can and should never be any regulation.

 

Maybe what you are trying to say is you didn't mean what you said on page four but I can't tell. A little less ergo and a bit more clarity would help us to figure out just what we're talking about.

 

 

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I don't think that there are very many people who would argue that it's unnecessary to have laws in general, or laws that pertain to economics in particular. If there are, I'm certainly not one of them.

 

When discussing laws that pertain to economics, I think it's important to distinguish intentions from outcomes. As I said above, if good intentions were sufficient to secure good outcomes, life would be much simpler, and the intentions behind a given law would be all that matters. They're not - so it's possible to argue against a particular government intervention, or for changes to a given law, without arguing against government itself.

 

Ergo, I don't think that explaining why a particular government intervention in the marketplace is likely to have effects that are counter to those that the policymakers intended - no matter how noble their intentions - means that I recognize no legitimate role for law or government in society.

 

apologies if i imputed to you views which you do not hold. that was not my intention.

 

there are people who will always argue for smaller government, reductions in taxation, less government involvement in their 'personal' matters, etc.

 

they often bandy examples of government waste, unintended consequences, etc. to bolster their argument. ergo, reagan's 'i'm from the government and i'm here to help'. $300 toilet seats and all that.

 

usually, as well, it is assumed that 'the market', e.g. private interest or the invisible hand, will magically solve all problems, sooner or later, and that if anyone monkeys with the market they will cause much greater harm than if they had left it alone. Who is John Galt?

 

policies based upon such thinking are at the root of our current economic problems, though they are not the only causes.

 

that doesn't mean that 'free' markets are necessarily bad, or that they serve no useful function. that is where i definitely agree with you (i think), and seem to run into trouble with others on this site.

 

ah well...

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Jay:

Do you actually insist that we need not regulate fisheries because the market will take care of the resource management issues involved? Do you think we need not plan or regulate our use of water, because if we use up the Oglalla aquifer the Canadians will just sell us their water or if the aquifer starts getting depleted that market forces will lead to its restoration? Isn't this what you suggested a week ago?

 

If we've come around to agreeing that regulation is inherently difficult but never-the-less necessary, how do you see it actually being employed in the management of fisheries or water resources?

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Jay:

Do you actually insist that we need not regulate fisheries because the market will take care of the resource management issues involved? Do you think we need not plan or regulate our use of water, because if we use up the Oglalla aquifer the Canadians will just sell us their water or if the aquifer starts getting depleted that market forces will lead to its restoration? Isn't this what you suggested a week ago?

 

If we've come around to agreeing that regulation is inherently difficult but never-the-less necessary, how do you see it actually being employed in the management of fisheries or water resources?

 

Not speaking for JayB, but I was damn near livid when Ron Wyden, senator from Oregon, sponsored a bill that was quickly approved which gave the Tuna fishermen off the Oregon coast, who had caught too many fish so the price had plummeted, 14 million dollars because they were having tough times, despite having holds stuffed with Tuna.

 

Why the taxpayers should pay the fishermen $14 million dollars and encourage more overfishing is insane. They could have offered to buy some of the fishing licenses out if they needed help, and even overpaying would have had a positive effect.

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Of course, the republicans have pandered to the uneducated and religious lunatic fringe. BUT did it really take 30 years for The Economist to figure it out? I am tempted to ponder whether the uneducated class or The Economist are the morons in this affair. Until the economy forced most people to consider their economic welfare instead of the usual rightwing pandering to xenophobia, racism, homophobia, etc .., 25% of the voting population was suffcient to win, and more recently steal, elections. In fact, I still can't see how Palin is obviously more incompetent than Bush or Reagan who by the way were championed by The Economist.

 

The Economist is pure ideological propaganda. They refuse to draw the appropriate lessons from the GOP debacle, which was in great part due to the economic and financial collapse following 30 years of neoliberal policies which have destroyed the middle class. Policies of extreme inequalities that were and still are championned by The Economist.

 

If I were you Dave, I'd tell my father to quit reading that trash.

A direct quote from a mental midget.

I see that the ass-gay-climbers are pounding their meat or clits to the rhythm of Obama campaign party music.

Well, hope you all enjoy the new and changed United Socialist Amerika. Enjoy it while you can, because change will come again. ::skull::

aren't you a mental giant. mental you are, all right. maybe you should remember illegal wire taps, fucked economy, bailing private companies with public funds, all time high budget deficit all thanks to brilliant strategy of repubican party. now go, change your diaper and don't interrupts when adults speak.

Gayglowkiss, lick a cat's ass will you. Speaking of diapers I've seen some of your climbing pictures and you definitely look like you are in need of one, but then I have to remind myself that YOU are in deed an Eastern Bloc refugee and that explains it all. :poke: The other thing that gives you away is your deplorable out look on life. No one but an Eastern Bloc Refugee would be able to see so much depression in life and in other people's lives as one as yourself.Before I forget my manners: Oh and before I forget Happy Christmas and Merry New Year

Edited by RedNose

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