People don't want nuclear power plants, they don't want coal-burning plants
and they don't want wind farms and their associated power lines, but they
still want unlimited cheap electricity. What's the solution?
Apparently the solution to all of our "green" concerns is to drive
electric cars. Oh, hang on a minute, we don't actually want to generate
more electricity because it's dirty and unsightly. It always seems to
be the green brigade that object to greener forms of generating electricity!
Who cares what people want? Just generate electricity in such a way that
all demand is met. No subsidies, though, and charge appropriately so
that those who want expensively generated electricity pay through the
nose for it.
By "no subsidies", do you also mean "no indirect subsidies", as for
example, ending the indirect subsidy of allowing fossil fuel users to
avoid paying for the health care costs they inflict on the rest of us?
If so, I'm with you.
Of course I do. But the price does not express the true costs. Most of
the cost is "externalised", which Milton Friedman and other econotwits
largely ignored. In fact, Friedmanites advise businesses to externalise
as much of their cost as possible. Fortunately, their influence is
beginning to wane.
These externalities are the indirect subsidies I refer to. They distort
the market. The question always is, Whom do these subsidies benefit? The
answer is, Follow the money.
Have you not noticed that when a politician is in favour of a subsidy,
he calls it an "investment", and when he opposes it, he calls it a "cost"?
Etc. OT for this group.
Screech of brakes..... hold on there, just one cotton-picking moment, Wolf.
He asked you about "the rest of us". He didn't ask you about the price of
So less of the smoke and mirrors about economic history, please, and just
explain who is "the rest of us", and how you fit yourself into that class
which ascribes some sort of moral superiority unto itself. 'Cause I smell a
whiff of cant and hypocrisy in the air....
Ok, since you asked:
"The rest of us" is merely ordinary folk, you and me, citizens, etc , as
distinct from corporations who "externalise" costs. We all pay for these
"externals", in all kinds of ways. "Externals" are for example dumping
waste-water into the rivers, dumping inadequately filtered waste gases
and vehicle exhaust into the atmosphere, using public roads for trucking
ore instead of company-owned railways, leaving spoil heaps for "the tax
payer" to clean up, using pesticides to enable "perfect" roses (shipped
by air from Chile to USA/Canada/etc), etc and so on and so forth.
But we're in the game. This mess of indirect (and largely hidden)
subsidies exists because we want "cheap" goods and services. We have
this weird notion that the only costs of a good or service are a) paid
in cash; and b) paid directly to the provider. Both of these
propositions are nonsense. True, a lot of these externals have been
regulated into internal costs in our more enlightened countries, but
those regulations merely tend to move production offshore to less
The "free market" theory is fine in theory. Unfortunately, it can work
as theory prescribes if and only if at least two conditions are met: a)
all prices represent relative costs completely and accurately; and b) no
participant (seller or buyer) has sufficient market power to distort
prices for his benefit.
All actual markets are both formally and informally regulated. The
question to ask is, For whose benefit? At present, the market is
regulated in favour of trans-national corporations.
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