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Energy production / Consumption: Pros and cons


Off-Topic Discussions

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Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Darkwing Duck wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
It is not necessary to make the same mistakes again,

No, its not. Not when there are so many brand new mistakes that can be made. You have to understand that dropping US business into third world regions and expecting it to 'just work' is like dropping an igloo in Kansas and trying to use it as a house. The substantial environmental, political, cultural, and other differences leave a whole lot of learning to be done.

Give me some examples of environmental concerns, and keep in mind that it's not just the US' experience we're talking about. There are industries across the US in all kinds of different climates; there are industries in Brazil, in Europe from Mediterranean climates to near-Arctic; in South Africa; in India and China and Japan and the Middle East. There's a huge amount of knowledge out there already, so we're not plunking down igloos in Kansas without knowing something about the weather. Politics? Culture? What is inherently political or cultural about scrubbers on smokestacks? About processing wastewater before you dump it, or using processes that don't require hexavalent chromium or carbon tetrachloride? And, if you don't mind, what are some of the other differences you mentioned--politics, culture, and environment seem to pretty-much sum things up.

And yes, I expect them to get it right--if they want to sell to the US.


I looked at our training slides for DSA site specific introduction and the slides call it a "Class 2" nuclear facility, but the DSA does actually call it a Hazard Category II nuclear facility - go figure (nuclear safety people can be so wierd). Me? I'm just a System Engineer, responsible for electrical control systems and power distribution. I never get to play with the waste, *poopy*.

And a seven layer chocolate cream torte is far superior to any pie, it's a well known fact. Its got seven layers, seven!


Also wic

I understand that Plutonium has other uses outside of the weapon making, but, and I could be wrong, Plutonium is not used in commercial power reactor designs anywhere in the USA

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

Well, aside from being for open borders everywhere, I don't know if I can believe in Citizen Duck's Theory of Economic Circumscription because, well, you know, most of those Third World countries aren't really free to develop their economies independently of, well, you know, neoliberal free market imperialism. Also, I'm not sure how entirely agricultural most Third World countries are these days.

Anyway, this has little to do with nuclear power, but I only took the one biology course in college to fulfill the science requirement and I hate threads that I can't aimlessly pontificate in!

Then I have a book recommendation for you: Normal Accidents-Living with High-Risk Technologies, by Charles Perrow. He's a sociologist, and has a lot of good stuff to say about unanticipated behavior in complex systems and how it affects the potential for accidents. The initial focus is on Three Mile Island, and he's a bit more pessimistic about such things than I am, but after a few conduct of operations horror stories maybe I'm not so sure.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Terquem wrote:
...nuclear safety people can be so wierd.

Hey! I resemble that remark.


John Woodford wrote:
What is inherently political or cultural about scrubbers on smokestacks? About processing wastewater before you dump it, or using processes that don't require hexavalent chromium or carbon tetrachloride?

You sound like an engineer. Scrubbers, wastewater treatment facilities, etc. need to be designed, installed, maintained, and disposed of properly. The mistake engineers often make is in forgetting this design, installation, maitainance, and disposal isn't primarily a technological problem. It is a human problem. Environmentalism isn't a technological problem (at least not primarily), it is a human problem. That human problem requires good communication. That communication is impacted by cultural, political, environmental, etc. differences. For example, in the US, if a superior makes a mistake, its quite acceptable for a subordinate to correct him. My company's business processes, for example, make a big deal about that. It reduces errors, reduces the cost of doing business, improves safety, and reduces environmental impact. But, in many Asian cultures, that's not going to happen. A business management strategy which depends on that is likely to fail.

John Woodford wrote:
And, if you don't mind, what are some of the other differences you mentioned--politics, culture, and environment seem to pretty-much sum things up.

History. This has a big affect on urban design which, in turn, impacts large scale technological innovation.

John Woodford wrote:


And yes, I expect them to get it right--if they want to sell to the US.

We're going to disagree then. I value mistakes. Its how we learn and get better. The only time somebody is going to do something perfect the first time is if they do something without risk. I have little respect for people who don't take risks.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
John Woodford wrote:
What is inherently political or cultural about scrubbers on smokestacks? About processing wastewater before you dump it, or using processes that don't require hexavalent chromium or carbon tetrachloride?

You sound like an engineer. Scrubbers, wastewater treatment facilities, etc. need to be designed, installed, maintained, and disposed of properly. The mistake engineers often make is in forgetting this design, installation, maitainance, and disposal isn't primarily a technological problem. It is a human problem. Environmentalism isn't a technological problem (at least not primarily), it is a human problem. That human problem requires good communication. That communication is impacted by cultural, political, environmental, etc. differences. For example, in the US, if a superior makes a mistake, its quite acceptable for a subordinate to correct him. My company's business processes, for example, make a big deal about that. It reduces errors, reduces the cost of doing business, improves safety, and reduces environmental impact. But, in many Asian cultures, that's not going to happen. A business management strategy which depends on that is likely to fail.

John Woodford wrote:
And, if you don't mind, what are some of the other differences you mentioned--politics, culture, and environment seem to pretty-much sum things up.

History. This has a big affect on urban design which, in turn, impacts large scale technological innovation.

John Woodford wrote:


And yes, I expect them to get it right--if they want to sell to the US.
We're going to disagree then. I value mistakes. Its how we learn and get better. The only time somebody is going to do something perfect the first time is if they do something without risk. I have little respect for people who don't take risks.

So are you claiming that factories in third world countries actually are trying to control pollution but don't have the corporate culture to allow it? They can get the factory part up and running, but can't, despite their best efforts, manage to control pollution?

Nor can we help them do so, though I'm not quite sure why.

Silly me. I thought it was because pollution controls cost more and without any regulations requiring them or pressure from their overseas customers, they'd rather take the profit.

Making mistakes and learning from them is good. Learning from others who've already made those mistakes is better.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Darkwing Duck wrote:


John Woodford wrote:


And yes, I expect them to get it right--if they want to sell to the US.
We're going to disagree then. I value mistakes. Its how we learn and get better. The only time somebody is going to do something perfect the first time is if they do something without risk. I have little respect for people who don't take risks.

I would have little respect for myself if I told someone else that s/he should take a risk that would benefit me, while I was insulated from the downside. It's that whole "tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders" thing.


'thejeff' wrote:
so are you claiming that factories in third world countries actually are trying to control pollution but don't have the corporate culture to allow it? They can get the factory part up and running, but can't, despite their best efforts, manage to control pollution?

I'm saying that whether they want to or not is separate from whether they can. And whether they want to or not is immaterial if they can't. Since they are learning new skills, they can't do those skills with expertise.

'thejeff' wrote:

can we help them do so, though I'm not quite sure why.

Silly me. I thought it was because pollution controls cost more and without any regulations requiring them or pressure from their overseas customers, they'd rather take the profit.

Its not that simple. There are other costs that are incurred if pollution controls aren't enforced. As long as those other costs are less than the costs imposed by not enforcing pollution controls, there is an incentive to not enforce pollution controls. But when the cost of enforcing pollution controls drops below those other costs, then there is incentive to impose pollution controls.

'thejeff' wrote:
Making mistakes and learning from them is good. Learning from others who've already made those mistakes is better..

Which has nothing to do with the fact that applying skills in new environments makes them new skills. Assume you were a house builder in the United States. If you tried to apply those same skills in, say, the heart of Australia (just to take an extreme example to make the point), you'd find that they don't apply. You can't just run out to Loew's to buy a window frame.


Darkwing Duck wrote:


'thejeff' wrote:

can we help them do so, though I'm not quite sure why.

Silly me. I thought it was because pollution controls cost more and without any regulations requiring them or pressure from their overseas customers, they'd rather take the profit.

Its not that simple. There are other costs that are incurred if pollution controls aren't enforced. As long as those other costs are less than the costs imposed by not enforcing pollution controls, there is an incentive to not enforce pollution controls. But when the cost of enforcing pollution controls drops below those other costs, then there is incentive to impose pollution controls.

The problem is those other costs are often hidden or delayed and they fall on people other than the ones who profit from not putting the controls in place. Externalizing costs.

That's why governments step in. Because the cost is born by the population and the profit goes to the company.


thejeff wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:


'thejeff' wrote:

can we help them do so, though I'm not quite sure why.

Silly me. I thought it was because pollution controls cost more and without any regulations requiring them or pressure from their overseas customers, they'd rather take the profit.

Its not that simple. There are other costs that are incurred if pollution controls aren't enforced. As long as those other costs are less than the costs imposed by not enforcing pollution controls, there is an incentive to not enforce pollution controls. But when the cost of enforcing pollution controls drops below those other costs, then there is incentive to impose pollution controls.

The problem is those other costs are often hidden or delayed and they fall on people other than the ones who profit from not putting the controls in place. Externalizing costs.

That's why governments step in. Because the cost is born by the population and the profit goes to the company.

That's not what the government actually does. What the government actually does is make laws to support the sponsors of the politicians. The deepest wallets belong to the businesses.

The best chance to stop this is the free press and a population of people with decent critical thinking skills.


John Woodford wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:


John Woodford wrote:


And yes, I expect them to get it right--if they want to sell to the US.
We're going to disagree then. I value mistakes. Its how we learn and get better. The only time somebody is going to do something perfect the first time is if they do something without risk. I have little respect for people who don't take risks.
I would have little respect for myself if I told someone else that s/he should take a risk that would benefit me, while I was insulated from the downside. It's that whole "tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders" thing.

I don't know how that statement is related to what we've been discussing.


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Darkwing Duck wrote:


The best chance to stop this is the free press and a population of people with decent critical thinking skills.

You act as if those same deep pockets aren't in financial control of the "free press". You act like, without some sort of governmental regulatory arm, knowledge of abuses would do anything to stop them. The free market sure won't.

In a world where people make less and less money, and money/power/capital is being continually consolidated into fewer and fewer hands who aren't directly competing, the people don't have the will, the money, or the desire to not consume a particular good.

The free market is just code for a wealth extraction mechanism controlled by a dwindling few with the costs borne by the increasing multitudes.


meatrace wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:


The best chance to stop this is the free press and a population of people with decent critical thinking skills.

You act as if those same deep pockets aren't in financial control of the "free press". You act like, without some sort of governmental regulatory arm, knowledge of abuses would do anything to stop them. The free market sure won't.

In a world where people make less and less money, and money/power/capital is being continually consolidated into fewer and fewer hands who aren't directly competing, the people don't have the will, the money, or the desire to not consume a particular good.

The free market is just code for a wealth extraction mechanism controlled by a dwindling few with the costs borne by the increasing multitudes.

You act as if the free press could could be controlled by corporations. Sure, they could control Cox, or MSNBC, or Fox News, but not all the news sites available on the web.

You act as if a grassroots boycott wouldn't worry a business. Yet, they have worked in the past when the cause was serious enough.

Whatever your feelings regarding the free market (its not perfect), it is better than any of the alternatives.


A free press works just fine so long as the politicians don't mitigate free speech, grant monopolistic status to various distributors, allow intellectual property to trump every other consideration, enable large scale censorship according to their whim, or set up rubber paragraph laws to allow authorities to keep ubiquitous surveillance and extradite/disappear people saying the wrong things... Oh, right.


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Darkwing Duck wrote:

You act as if the free press could could be controlled by corporations. Sure, they could control Cox, or MSNBC, or Fox News, but not all the news sites available on the web.

You act as if a grassroots boycott wouldn't worry a business. Yet, they have worked in the past when the cause was serious enough.

Whatever your feelings regarding the free market (its not perfect), it is better than any of the alternatives.

For the free press to work as THE ONLY method of inquiry, it would have to be a thousand times stronger than it is today. For a free press to operate, they, too, need funding. Which means individual outlets need to be a business, which puts you right back on that track of being purchasable by the subjects of investigation.

Your model leaves the ENTIRETY of environmental protection to a small group of investigative reporters, presumably working for free. Furthermore they would need to be able to reach a larger audience and be more influential than the propaganda from the other party, which would have all that money behind it.

Grassroots boycott only works ONCE an organizer is informed and convinced there is a problem. See the previous paragraph. It also only works when it's something that people CAN effectively boycott. Example. In most cities in the US the power companies are heavily regulated "natural monopolies". Without regulations they would simply be monopolies. In your utopia, without any environmental regulations, they would be under absolutely no pressure to pollute as little as possible as it would increase their costs. And any boycott of electricity is doomed to fail. Since the inevitability in a free market system is towards such monopolies...yeah...

And again, in the end, the free market only "works" to consolidate wealth by the few at the expense of the many. In the long run.


Once more, though relying on the free press has problems, it is better than the alternatives. For the kind of control of press you imagine, a massive conspiracy by business would have to exist. That's because there are so many independent presses out there. But, to take one alternative example, relying on the government, there's three governments (local, state, federal) - a lot easier for evil businesses to marshall their forces against due to there being fewer targets.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
Once more, though relying on the free press has problems, it is better than the alternatives. For the kind of control of press you imagine, a massive conspiracy by business would have to exist. That's because there are so many independent presses out there. But, to take one alternative example, relying on the government, there's three governments (local, state, federal) - a lot easier for evil businesses to marshall their forces against due to there being fewer targets.

"So many independent presses"? Sure. Technically.

And yet 99% of the population gets their news from a handful of TV, radio and newspapers, often owned by the same people.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
I'm saying that I have confidence in a free press to provide the regulations required.

The free press has no regulatory power whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, the press is invaluable as a mean of education about and investigation into corporate (and governmental) behavior, but trusting the press to provide regulation is like trusting someone with a bullhorn to control traffic in place of a stop light.


thejeff wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
Once more, though relying on the free press has problems, it is better than the alternatives. For the kind of control of press you imagine, a massive conspiracy by business would have to exist. That's because there are so many independent presses out there. But, to take one alternative example, relying on the government, there's three governments (local, state, federal) - a lot easier for evil businesses to marshall their forces against due to there being fewer targets.

"So many independent presses"? Sure. Technically.

And yet 99% of the population gets their news from a handful of TV, radio and newspapers, often owned by the same people.

That's true.

Which is why I said that we should depend on a free press AND a population of people who have critical thinking skills.

Nothing will work if the people lack critical thinking skills.


Hitdice wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
I'm saying that I have confidence in a free press to provide the regulations required.
The free press has no regulatory power whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, the press is invaluable as a mean of education about and investigation into corporate (and governmental) behavior, but trusting the press to provide regulation is like trusting someone with a bullhorn to control traffic in place of a stop light.

And yet its better than government regulation which is like the person with the bullhorn will have his legs shot out from under him if he doesn't cause an accident.


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Darkwing Duck wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
I'm saying that I have confidence in a free press to provide the regulations required.
The free press has no regulatory power whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, the press is invaluable as a mean of education about and investigation into corporate (and governmental) behavior, but trusting the press to provide regulation is like trusting someone with a bullhorn to control traffic in place of a stop light.
And yet its better than government regulation which is like the person with the bullhorn will have his legs shot out from under him if he doesn't cause an accident.

Right, so you're a full-blown libertarian. How did I miss that before.

Regardless of evidence, a government solution is worse than any other. If the other approach doesn't work, it's an article of faith that it's either the government's fault anyway or that government could only make it worse.


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thejeff wrote:
Regardless of evidence, a government solution is worse than any other. If the other approach doesn't work, it's an article of faith that it's either the government's fault anyway or that government could only make it worse.

This is exactly why I will never be a Libertarian.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
Once more, though relying on the free press has problems, it is better than the alternatives. For the kind of control of press you imagine, a massive conspiracy by business would have to exist. That's because there are so many independent presses out there. But, to take one alternative example, relying on the government, there's three governments (local, state, federal) - a lot easier for evil businesses to marshall their forces against due to there being fewer targets.

By "better than the alternatives" do you mean "has no chance of working whatsoever" because if not I'm sorry we're not in agreement.

Also, despite your assertion that a massive conspiracy would have to exist (it would not, I'll get to that in a second) we're already there. 99%+ of the so-called "free press", by measure of influence, is already controlled by a handful of media companies.

You don't need to have a conspiracy, you just need to have a confluence of interests, and an unofficial cartel forms. Especially with media companies, an executive that understands the oligarchic entanglements inherent in the system will know it's best to watch out for the interest of its advertisers. He doesn't need to be explicitly told to kill stories, and he doesn't even need to have evil intentions, he's just fulfilling his fiduciary duty blah blah. That's your free market for you.

You don't need to control everything in order to win, you simply have to have a dominating strategy. You say there are only 3 governments to marshall forces against, but EVEN NOW there are independent journalists that are doing the sort of thing you want, and they make no difference. Not because of the government but because of general indifference and ineffectiveness of said boycotts against the real polluters.

You illustrate the problem with libertarianism: your system relies on everyone being far smarter than they are. You GROSSLY overestimate the intelligence of the general populace, as well as their capacity for altruism.


And you can, and there are examples of, bring this kind of media pressure to bear on one specific outrageous problem, whether it's environmental pollution or whatever. You can get the information out there, organize a boycott, force that company to change it's ways.

You can't simultaneously do that for all the other companies in the same industry or all the other polluters in other industries. And once the public pressure dies off, they can slip back to the old ways.
Environmental regulation is just a law saying, "Don't dump poison in the drinking water." It's no different fundamentally from laws saying "Don't kill anyone."


thejeff wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
I'm saying that I have confidence in a free press to provide the regulations required.
The free press has no regulatory power whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, the press is invaluable as a mean of education about and investigation into corporate (and governmental) behavior, but trusting the press to provide regulation is like trusting someone with a bullhorn to control traffic in place of a stop light.
And yet its better than government regulation which is like the person with the bullhorn will have his legs shot out from under him if he doesn't cause an accident.

Right, so you're a full-blown libertarian. How did I miss that before.

Regardless of evidence, a government solution is worse than any other. If the other approach doesn't work, it's an article of faith that it's either the government's fault anyway or that government could only make it worse.

Make fun if you like, but your argument that if a government solution doesn't work, that's just because we haven't found the right government solution yet makes as much sense as saying that if shooting ourselves in the head with a bullet doesn't cure cancer, its only because we haven't shot ourselves in the right place in the head yet.


meatrace wrote:


You don't need to control everything in order to win, you simply have to have a dominating strategy. You say there are only 3 governments to marshall forces against, but EVEN NOW there are independent journalists that are doing the sort of thing you want, and they make no difference. Not because of the government but because of general indifference and ineffectiveness of said boycotts against the real polluters.

If your issue is with indifference, then expanding the government's power will certainly make the problem worse because you are empowering a distant organization that the majority of people don't care to keep watch on.


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Darkwing Duck wrote:
Make fun if you like, but your argument that if a government solution doesn't work, that's just because we haven't found the right government solution yet makes as much sense as saying that if shooting ourselves in the head with a bullet doesn't cure cancer, its only because we haven't shot ourselves in the right place in the head yet.

Or that if one drug doesn't cure Cancer no other drug would, so we should stop researching drugs. That analogy only works if you accept the premise that government is always bad: shooting yourself.

Besides government solutions can work. They have worked. They do not always work, but the rivers don't catch on fire anymore.

Is government perfect? No.
Is government regulation always the answer? No
Does that mean it's never the answer? That it can only make things worse?
Of course not.


thejeff wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
Make fun if you like, but your argument that if a government solution doesn't work, that's just because we haven't found the right government solution yet makes as much sense as saying that if shooting ourselves in the head with a bullet doesn't cure cancer, its only because we haven't shot ourselves in the right place in the head yet.

Or that if one drug doesn't cure Cancer no other drug would, so we should stop researching drugs. That analogy only works if you accept the premise that government is always bad: shooting yourself.

Besides government solutions can work. They have worked. They do not always work, but the rivers don't catch on fire anymore.

Is government perfect? No.
Is government regulation always the answer? No
Does that mean it's never the answer? That it can only make things worse?
Of course not.

I never said that the government can do nothing good. I support large scale, short term, labor projects (like the Hoover Dam). I also prefer government as close to the problem as possible.

As for the Cuyahoga river fire, thanks for bringing it up. It does a good job of making my point. The reality is that the rivers were getting cleaned up before the Clean Water Act of 1972. The cleanup started in 1952. The leading businesses of the area formed the Cuyahoga River Basin Water Quality Committee in 1963. It was the state of Ohio which took "ownership" of the river in the 1960s and declared it to be for industrial use. The state of Ohio issued pollution permits to allow certain businesses to dump their waste into the river. By doing so, they reversed the clean up progress that the city had begun in 1952 and completely smashed recourse to common law tort. As Cleveland's utilities director, Ben S. Stefanski II explained, "We have no jurisdiction over what is dumped in the river, the state licenses the industries and gives them legal authority to dump in the river. Actually, the state gives them a license to pollute."
In other words, the Cuyahoga river was being cleaned by private interests and a business committee before the government, in the form of regulations, reversed their progress.


So, if anyone lives near Philly, read this.


And I suppose a lefty such as yourself sees that as a problem, Doodle? Some of us want superpowers...


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
So, if anyone lives near Philly, read this.

I think that helps make my point about the ridiculous futility of government regulations.

Since politicians get paid off by the environment violators, regulations are nothing more than a tool to ensure that those in power remain in power. That is to say, regulations prevent innovation by the new guys.


Darkwing Duck wrote:

I think that helps make my point about the ridiculous futility of government regulations.

Since politicians get paid off by the environment violators, regulations are nothing more than a tool to ensure that those in power remain in power. That is to say, regulations prevent innovation by the new guys.

Under the current climate, in which government and big business are permitted and even expected to be in bed together, I think you're exactly right. (The one time I can think of when it was strongly otherwise was under Teddy Roosevelt, whose administration made itself a staunch foe of established large buisnesses in favor of the smaller guys; they didn't call him "The Trustbuster" for nothing.)

If the legal structure made conflict-of-inteterest a felony, and included an outside group with the teeth to enforce it, then "government oversight" wouldn't automatically need to be code-speak for "corporate overlords," as it is now.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
an outside group with the teeth to enforce it,

How long do you think it would take before that outside group was co-opted by the corporate overlords?

I'm thinking months, tops.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
How long do you think it would take before that outside group was co-opted by the corporate overlords? I'm thinking months, tops.

So we should all just give up and extend our hands for the shackles? No, thanks. Oversight does not currently protect us from enslavement; and simply praying to magic "free market forces" also does not; but that doesn't mean I'm willing to give up and declare the whole thing hopeless.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
So we should all just give up and extend our hands for the shackles? No, thanks.

The regulations are part of the shackles. I agree that we shouldn't just submit to them (this is not an encouragement to break the law, but to reduce the government's and, hence, big corporations' reach).

Kirth Gersen wrote:


Oversight does not currently protect us from enslavement; and simply praying to magic "free market forces" also does not; but that doesn't mean I'm willing to give up and declare the whole thing hopeless.

lets look at all the non-government regulatory sources (everything from Underwriters Laboratory to the Payment Card Industry to GAAP) as a valid alternative to government regulation.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
The regulations are part of the shackles. I agree that we shouldn't just submit to them (this is not an encouragement to break the law, but to reduce the (a) government's and, (b) hence, big corporations' reach).

(b) does not follow from (a). Big corporations have great power through control of jobs and health care, and through and monopoly of goods and services -- even (and especially) in the absence of regulation.

Darkwing Duck wrote:
lets look at all the non-government regulatory sources (everything from Underwriters Laboratory to the Payment Card Industry to GAAP) as a valid alternative to government regulation.

With no teeth, they have no validity. Assuming they'll work then is faith-based reasoning.


Here's the thing DD: working within the system to strengthen pollution standards enforcement, you get a workable environmental policy. You have to have a governmental body to enforce those standards though. All the non-governmental regulators you've mentioned rely on legal action, and the Judiciary is a branch of the much reviled big government.

If you aren't talking about legal action, then it's a choice between "Keep Our Highways Clean, Don't Litter" slogans (ineffectual at best) or the ELF who pollute more burning down SUV dealerships than they would passing decent emission standards.

(Full disclosure, I live in a semi-rural area and drive a truck.)


Corrupt government is bad. That doesn't lead to the conclusion that all government is bad, unless you start with the premise that all government is corrupt.


I have no faith in this society's competence to prevent us from going the way of Easter Island.

I think that it is obvious that, given its druthers, untrammelled capitalism would have poisoned us all to death years and years ago.

On the other hand, regulation has a terrible, terrible track record. That bed-friendliness you mentioned, Kirth? It reminds me of something.

Spoiler:
"At present, imperialism and the domination of the banks have “developed” into an exceptional art both these methods of upholding and giving effect to the omnipotence of wealth in democratic republics of all descriptions. Since, for instance, in the very first months of the Russian democratic republic, one might say during the honeymoon of the “socialist” S.R.s and Mensheviks joined in wedlock to the bourgeoisie, in the coalition government. Mr. Palchinsky obstructed every measure intended for curbing the capitalists and their marauding practices, their plundering of the state by means of war contracts; and since later on Mr. Palchinsky, upon resigning from the Cabinet (and being, of course, replaced by another quite similar Palchinsky), was “rewarded” by the capitalists with a lucrative job with a salary of 120,000 rubles per annum — what would you call that? Direct or indirect bribery? An alliance of the government and the syndicates, or “merely” friendly relations? What role do the Chernovs, Tseretelis, Avksentyevs and Skobelevs play? Are they the “direct” or only the indirect allies of the millionaire treasury-looters?"

Vive le Galt!


Kirth Gersen wrote:
(b) does not follow from (a). Big corporations have great power through control of jobs and health care, and through and monopoly of goods and services -- even (and especially) in the absence of regulation.

Big business has always been able to buy politicians, so I don't get your point.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
With no teeth, they have no validity. Assuming they'll work then is faith-based reasoning.

Its a historical fact that they have worked and continue to do so. The Underwriters Laboratory, for example, is highly and widely regarded for what they do. In fact, you probably don't have an electrical item you bought that they didn't inspect.


bugleyman wrote:
Corrupt government is bad. That doesn't lead to the conclusion that all government is bad, unless you start with the premise that all government is corrupt.

I don't believe that all government is bad.

Those non government regulators - they make it possible to prosecute for tort violations when big business does something bad.


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I don't know Citizen Duck, but I'd bet Libertarianism would go down a lot easier if it started with dislodging the corporations from the government teat before it went about dismantling what few public interest regulations that are left.


Hitdice wrote:
Here's the thing DD: working within the system to strengthen pollution standards enforcement, you get a workable environmental policy.

I don't share your faith and, frankly, have many many demonstrable reasons not to.

Hitdice wrote:


You have to have a governmental body to enforce those standards though.

If your government system relies on being run by Santa Clause and the tooth fairy, then it really doesn't matter what we do with the government, right?

Hitdice wrote:


All the non-governmental regulators you've mentioned rely on legal action, and the Judiciary is a branch of the much reviled big government.

The Judiciary is a branch of the government. They aren't required to participate in big government (ie. law bloat, power creep, and hiding corruption).


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
I don't know Citizen Duck, but I'd bet Libertarianism would go down a lot easier if it started with dislodging the corporations from the government teat before it went about dismantling what few public interest regulations that are left.

I'm ALL for dislodging the corporations from the government teat.

I can do nothing about all those people who claim to be libertarian (ie. in favor of small government), but who support big government.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
Corrupt government is bad. That doesn't lead to the conclusion that all government is bad, unless you start with the premise that all government is corrupt.

I don't believe that all government is bad.

Those non government regulators - they make it possible to prosecute for tort violations when big business does something bad.

It's the government (local or federal) that make the prosecutions possible; the "non governmental regulators" are just plaintiffs.


Hitdice wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
Corrupt government is bad. That doesn't lead to the conclusion that all government is bad, unless you start with the premise that all government is corrupt.

I don't believe that all government is bad.

Those non government regulators - they make it possible to prosecute for tort violations when big business does something bad.

It's the government (local or federal) that make the prosecutions possible; the "non governmental regulators" are just plaintiffs.

Those non government regulators provide research. That's what I mean when I say that they make the prosecutions possible. They are the watchdogs.


Darkwing Duck wrote:
Hitdice wrote:
Darkwing Duck wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
Corrupt government is bad. That doesn't lead to the conclusion that all government is bad, unless you start with the premise that all government is corrupt.

I don't believe that all government is bad.

Those non government regulators - they make it possible to prosecute for tort violations when big business does something bad.

It's the government (local or federal) that make the prosecutions possible; the "non governmental regulators" are just plaintiffs.
Those non government regulators provide research. That's what I mean when I say that they make the prosecutions possible. They are the watchdogs.

Well, we may be talking about two different things then; who funds your non government watchdogs?


I thought the pages Chris Hedges wrote about Ralph Nader's 2000 pre-presidential campaign career in Death of the Liberal Class were very interesting. Not nearly as interesting, but some hints here.

I've been thinking about free markets some lately and I don't understand the confidence with which people say the free market can do this and the free market can do that if only because, as far as I can tell, the only places that truly free markets have ever existed were in the pages of The Wealth of Nations and Das Kapital. Nothing in actual human history that I can think of even comes close.


Hitdice wrote:
who funds your non government watchdogs?

Different organizations. The Payment Card Industry is funded by credit card companies. The Underwriters Laboratory makes its profits from selling standards.

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