A thought experiment on AGW and libertarian principles

Fran Barlow asks the question.

Imagine that you are persuaded that anthropogenic augmentation of atmospheric inventories of GHGs really were causing quantifiable harm both to humans alive now and prospective harm to humans in the future over at least the next several hundred years. What, suite of measures, most compatible with the ethical standpoint of libertarians ought the responsible human communities take in response? How should the resources needed to support the various remedies be marshalled? On whose shoulders should the burdens of this effort fall most heavily?

That is an interesting question and some background information was posted in March 2010. (Please read through this earlier post if you want to make a sensible contribution).

I have a few other thoughts (not fleshed out or detailed) if we arrive at the point where it is appropriate to design a suite of policies to counter AGW. The real question is who should pay? I believe the beneficiaries of the policy should pay the bulk of the costs – that means future generations and those who would be more likely to be more adversely affected by AGW. This would be a difference from the polluter pay principle. So I would not envisage a wealth transfer from currently rich nations to currently poor nations, rather a transfer from the future to the present.

This suggests a long-lived debt instrument – probably a zero-coupon bond matched by a sinking fund that is financed out of all the economic prosperity generated by the transition to a greener economy. Of course, if the economic prosperity doesn’t eventuate the bondholders will lose their investment. The deadweight losses associated with the debt instrument are incurred in the future when the bonds mature. So if we believe that 2050 is an important date then a tranche of bonds can mature then and taxpayers then pick up the bulk of the economic cost. The sinking fund will have to be calibrated to match deadweight costs with benefits and a secondary market in the bonds will be necessary to make them attractive to investors. This allows future generations to pay for the benefits they receive while providing a market signal to the benefits of greening the economy (from the secondary market). Of course, it might happen that future generations feel that we have made an inappropriate choice of their behalf – for that reason I would build in a default clause into the bonds. If a series of currently available indicators do not improve by a fixed and known magnitude then the bonds automatically default.

So how does this work? Money is raised in the present by voluntary investors, paid for by richer beneficiaries in the future, a market signal is generated as a by-product of the market for the bonds, and future generations are insulated from us having made a poor policy decision. Risk is voluntarily assumed by those willing and able to do so.

The real question is how these bonds should be priced? As an opening bid I reckon the ridiculously low discount rate proposed by the Stern Review should be used.

Update: John Quiggin has his take here. He points out that US interest rates are too low. But we all know that already.

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151 Responses to A thought experiment on AGW and libertarian principles

  1. john malpas

    Are you talking for Australia and if so what of the rest of the world?
    An alternative view is that the floods , fires , locusts etc are a result of the behaviour of the inhabitants and the answer should be a cathedral levy.
    It worked in past ages.

  2. JC.

    The real question is how these bonds should be priced? As an opening bid I reckon the ridiculously low discount rate proposed by the Stern Review should be used.

    hahahahhahahahahaha

    That would be like Greece putting a bond issue out for tender.

  3. Sinclair Davidson

    John – I can think of no reason why Australia would follow a ‘go-it-alone’ strategy.

  4. PSC

    Of course, it might happen that future generations feel that we have made an inappropriate choice of their behalf – for that reason I would build in a default clause into the bonds. If a series of currently available indicators do not improve by a fixed and known magnitude then the bonds automatically default.

    What do you mean by this Sinclair? Can you give an example?

  5. Love your proposal Sinclair. The shoulders on whom “the burdens of this effort fall most heavily” will be those with more money than sense.
    There are actually quite a lot of people in that category, I suspect including Fran, so it might just work.

  6. Please read through this earlier post if you want to make a sensible contribution

    And please graduate BEcon summa cum lauda before you do…

    The notion that future generations are beneficiaries and therefore liable for the bill seems analogous to me to the situation whereby law abiding tax-payers must foot the bill for those serving prison terms, which they do. To a certain extent that’s just the way it is but that way is not just. And the ‘who should pay’ argument is peripheral anyway. The question is policies will contribute something valuable.

    I suggest a Carbon Tax that is nasty, that spikes the price of power so everybody knows. This must be offset by getting rid of a bunch of taxes that do;t make sense and/or hurt just as bad. Otherwise you’ll fuck the economy and the electorate will close the door on all AGW policy. Anything that stops people hiring should go, anything that stops people earning likewise. Payroll tax, income tax, etc. Lots of taxes. So the govt feels the pain. And actually, truly simplify the system.

    Turnbull’s the guy.

  7. Tom Valentine

    Sinclair,what investor would buy a bond with a legal right to default attached?Also,I think the real problem is getting other countries to go along with us-we cannot go it alone.

  8. .

    Wow Adrien. We’ve either converted you or you had it in you all along.

    Well done old chap.

  9. Michael Sutcliffe

    What, suite of measures, most compatible with the ethical standpoint of libertarians ought the responsible human communities take in response?

    It would depend entirely on what aspect of human behaviour was doing the damage and how bad the damage was. It’s ridiculous to say ‘AGW’ because that’s solely a reference to the undefinable Gaia god. Once you have emperical data that cannot be broadly disputed then you have moral justification for the full range of actions from legislation and taxation to market forces. If it rationally came down to human life being maximised by individual freedom, free markets, lean government and CO2 abatement then libertarians would support you putting it in the constitution. You are nowhere near that.

    Realistically, all libertarians are saying is you need to rationally justify what you are doing in broadly indisputable terms (so no Green religion as justification, no ‘the people are too stupid to see the truth and need forceful pushing in the ‘right’ direction’, no ‘we need to act now before consensus because people will take too long to agree’ rubbish either) and the option that should be taken is the one that maximises human freedom and choice while achieving the required result.

    John – I can think of no reason why Australia would follow a ‘go-it-alone’ strategy.

    You know, if it’s proven that CO2 emissions are going to kill people you have a moral prerogative to even go to war to save yourself from harm if you need to. Anyone for invading some developing nations who won’t change their evil ways? China perhaps?

  10. Reasons why Australia would follow a ‘go-it-alone’ strategy.

    1. The geopolitical situation is not conductive to global co-operation. There are rising economies with interests that clash with the developed ones.

    2. The immediate interests of both developed nations and rising ones are not served by any international agreement limiting power use. This dooms further Copenhagens to the same fate.

    3. Geopolitically and ecologically, Australia is too small a player to make much of a difference. If we stop burning coal tomorrow it won’t change anything. Nations with large populations matter: the USA, the BRIC nations, Europe. We don’t.

    4. Laws and taxes won’t solve the problem, science, technology and ethics will.

    5. Science and technology innovations are private sector business. Governments don’t create much.

    6. Australia is therefore not going to serve the interests of sustainability by trying to be a good global citizen. The world is not a democracy and we’re merely one prosperous peasant. The Lords make global policy we just go to war when we’re told to.

    We’re thereby bound to ‘go it alone’. That is to make policies that are effective from our perspective. In addition to a simplified tax system that switches the burden of taxation to consumption, you make firms that conduct scientific research very welcome. You also create an open energy market in which suppliers of power and consumers of same find it as easy to choose as possible. The idea is you get different kinds of energy producer in hot competition.

    America won’t do this. China does some of this. But no huge bureaucratic apparatus will facilitate this. But a single nation could. Especially a highly educated, highly resourced, well-governed albeit with a tax system that resembles a bucket of wet spaghetti.

    As for ethics, well that’s a matter for persuasion not parliament. Try and love the Earth y’all. It’s a nice planet, and all the others suck. No beaches or anything.

  11. Sinclair Davidson

    Tom – I agree we couldn’t go alone. The problem is always coming up with an international agreement and that point the costs of action may well out-weigh the costs of inaction. The default provision is to protect future generations from moral hazard. Again if nobody wants to buy the bonds then the costs of action become too high.

    PSC – my answer is partly explained above. But imagine that money is diverted from climate change policy to some other area like, say, income redistribution. Future generations could then say, ‘we’re not paying for that’.

  12. .

    We can go it alone:

    1. Remove agricultural subsidies, encouraging sustainable agriculture and carbon sequestration.

    2. Make iron seeding legal in Australian controlled waters, helping to replenish fisheries and significantly sequestering CO2, especially problematic oceanic CO2.

    3. Remove energy subsidies to industry.

    4. Remove the regulatory bias against nuclear in medicine, generation and mining/exploration/export.

    Our own energy would become carbon neutral and we’d expand our effort globally.

  13. .

    Like I said elsewhere, another couple of ideas which I reckon would work without putting people out of work are either i) a 30 year tax exemption for the extent that you or your business is carbon neutral – 90% neutrality = 90% tax rebate, ii) – some sort of X prize.

    I believe these could be easily agreed to internationally.

  14. PSC

    Sinclair,what investor would buy a bond with a legal right to default attached?

    Lots of people buy these things today. It’s essentially a preferred share with discretionary coupon.

    I don’t know how you’d structure a zero-coupon instrument, but perhaps make it redeemable on any date after 2050 when the conditions are fulfilled – it will have the same effect.

  15. PSC

    PSC – my answer is partly explained above. But imagine that money is diverted from climate change policy to some other area like, say, income redistribution. Future generations could then say, ‘we’re not paying for that’.

    I still don’t quite follow what you mean by “indicator”. Would the condition on the bond read (e.g.):

    1) Payment on the bond will be made in 2050 at the sole discretion of the Prime Minister of Australia if she feels that the people of 2010 made the right choice; or:

    2) Payment on the bond will be made in 2050 if a plebiscite determines the people of 2050 think the people of 2010 made the right choice, or:

    3) Payment on the bond will be made in 2050 if the following climate metrics are met … (e.g. we have a lower than expected global temperature), or:

    4) Payment on the bond will be made in 2050 if the Australia’s carbon emissions are < 3t/year per capita and the last 40 years the macro has been ok.

  16. Remove agricultural subsidies, encouraging sustainable agriculture and carbon sequestration.

    In material terms, there are no agricultural subsidies in Australia now.

  17. Dot – I agree with 1 and 3. I don’t know enough about 2 and 4 to have an opinion.

    We’ve either converted you or you had it in you all along.

    Bit of both.

    Karl Marx read Adam Smith and loved him but missed the basic point, that nations become wealthier if they stay out of their peoples’ business. Then people read Marx and got him wrong and we’ve been paying for it ever since.

    Remove agricultural subsidies, encouraging sustainable agriculture and carbon sequestration.

    Turnbull’s the guy. To do this would require huge cajones. He’d have to piss the National Party right off. He’d also need to be shit-hot in explaining it, just the opposite of John Hewson. He’d have to be able to sit thru a hostile interview designed to trip him up and explain it in a way that the electorate understand the deal. The deal needs to be a very good they won’t design it overnight.

    I was in open air when the deluge hit Friday night here in Melbourne. Five years ago I was in a similar rainstorm at the Gold Coast and I thought it was a bit weird. The sort of weather you only get north of Bundaberg in Summer.

    Friday afternoon felt the same. If this stuff keeps happening people will stop listening to those casting contempt on the AGW theory and there will be demands for action. Be good if the action that results made sense.

    Won’t happen.

  18. .

    I still reckon it would make a difference because the scope of the sequestration is so large.

    Some farmers could actually face a negative effective rate of assistance given the unfairness in the water regime.

  19. JC.

    5) payment on the bond will be made if economic growth/ standard of living doesn’t exceed that on date that the bond was issued applying a suitable measurement such as income growth.

  20. Sinclair Davidson

    PSC – something along the idea of (3) or to a lesser extent (4).

    (1) and (2) have serious problems – as you well appreciate.

  21. PSC

    Wow Adrien. We’ve either converted you or you had it in you all along.

    Well done old chap.

    Adrien’s statement is pretty close to Green’s policy. But the Greens want to use the funds for low-middle income welfare rather than tax cuts.

    My plan is to introduce the carbon tax – $5 year 1, $10 year 2, $15 year 3 and $20 year 4 and inflation-index thereafter. First get rid of payroll tax (needs state agreement) and import tariffs, and miscellaneous crappy taxes. Pay off the deficit, and use the rest to pay for zero/low-rated corporate tax zones in anyplace with persistent unemployment.

  22. JC.

    Pay off the deficit, and use the rest to pay for zero/low-rated corporate tax zones in anyplace with persistent unemployment.

    If it’s good there why not the entire country as a special economic zone.

    If you think a lower tax rate is going to entice Intel to set up shop 500 north west of Ayers Rock you need ti think again.

  23. entropy

    The problem with the ag subsidies theory is that we do not actually pay all that much in subsidies. Granted there is some biosecurity protectionism going on, and there is the regular bailouts for drought and natural disasters, but comparatively speaking the direct subsidy part doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

    My proposals:
    Forget attempts to mitigate. Heavy investment in adaptation – improved seasonal forecasting, climate risk management, appropriate regulation to reduce energy demand (eg building codes). These would all deliver benefits even if AGW doesn’t pan out.

    Other options would be x prize like rewards for private efforts at new energy technology.
    Oh, and Nukes.

  24. C.L.

    The real question is who should pay?

    The correct answer is nobody.

    Nothing Australia does will make any difference.

    The push to pudda pwice on carbon or play parlour games with various versions of phony ‘markets’ is driven by nothing but religious credulity.

  25. .

    C.L., I disagree. We can export a lot more uranium and thorium than what we currently do.

  26. C.L.

    Hey, I’m all in favour of that, Dot. I’m in favour of taking advantage of the warmenist hoax to make money, sure.

  27. PSC – Adrien’s statement is pretty close to Green’s policy.

    Really? Which one? They have several. I don’t recall that radically simplifying the tax system and killing a lot of taxes like income and payroll tax to be a concern of any of them.

    As far as I can see it’s actually pretty close your your plan.

    My plan is to introduce the carbon tax – $5 year 1, $10 year 2, $15 year 3 and $20 year 4 and inflation-index thereafter. First get rid of payroll tax (needs state agreement) and import tariffs, and miscellaneous crappy taxes. Pay off the deficit, and use the rest to pay for zero/low-rated corporate tax zones in anyplace with persistent unemployment.

    I wouldn’t know, it’s just a brain-fart.

  28. FDB

    CL – just fuck off.

    For once, this site is having a meaningful and realistic discussion about AGW mitigation.

    The chances of you making a worthwhile contribution are nil.

  29. ken n

    Then don’t read him, FDB.
    Easy.

  30. FDB

    Ken – if you don’t like it when I point out what a fuckwit CL is, don’t read me.

    Easy.

  31. OnTheBus

    CL – just fuck off.

    Been reading this site as well as others for a while now…

    The above sentiment seems to be the standard response from the pro-climate change people against anyone who questions or disagrees with them.

  32. FDB

    Get back on the bus, champ.

  33. OnTheBus

    Get back on the bus, champ

    another vitriolic hater doesn’t dissapoint me with his consistency.

  34. ken n

    Just trying to help you FDB.
    It was the FO – I was suggesting a simpler solution.

  35. FDB

    Onthebus and ken – I’m in a bad mood, sorry.

    I’ll do some gardening instead.

  36. ken n

    Good idea, FDB.
    I’m listening to Rosalyn Tureck play the Goldberg Variations.
    Helps the mood.

  37. C.L.

    Fuck off, explained drummer and ‘scientist’ FDB.

    LOL.

    Australia can’t do anything about ‘climate change.’ Cannot do one single thing to affect the temperature of the planet. Anyone who believes otherwise is either mentally unwell or operating pursuant to a religious impulse.

    Or perhaps both, as seen in Tim Flannery’s recent claim that Gaia would soon be made physically manifest as a theistic being amongst us.

  38. JC.

    Pull you head in, FDB, or you end up with a good clip over the ears.

    Apologize to Cl please.

  39. Fran Barlow

    Sinclair

    Thanks for reposting the question. I genuinely would like to see an answer falling within what people see as the centre-right libertarian paradigm.

    My initial impression of your proposal is that it would make the ETS look a fairly simple instrument by comparison, and would be unlikely to raise anything like the funds needed to deliver the comprehensive and effective retooling of the economy that would give good ROI on the bond.

    I also don’t share your view we can simply use the failure of policy in other jurisdictions — if that is indeed the case — to squib. We must go it alone if needs be, while seeking to leverage that to urge others to be parties to the mitigation process. To point at others is to introduce political argy-bargy into what should be a process based on measurable outcomes.

    I posted some ideas on the other thread on this matter.

    It seems to me that Australia ought to be aiming to get to, at least, about 40% below 2005 emissions by 2020. If the measures I proposed were adopted (as they could with a minimum of legislative complexity) then we would see accelerated retirement for our older (20 years+) coal-fired capacity, probably in favour of CCGT/OCGT. We would probably see very significant changes in business process, in the thermal efficiency of buildings — something similar happened in the US in the decade after the oil embargo and so forth. While it is hard to know for sure how well we might do, it seems to me that cutting emissions by at least 10% by about 2017 is plausible. Hazelwood alone accounts for about 5% of Australia’s emissions (about 9% of stationary energy emissions).

    One suspects that if businesses knew that Australia meant to achieve a 40% reduction by 2020 that they would attempt to configure to meet that target in the most tax and CO2-price effective way. In this case, uncertainty would be on the side of those seeking sharper reductions and those early adopters would be very much pressuring the government to stick to its goals.

    Sometime after the dust had settled (2014?) and we had reasonably good data on Australia’s emissions trajectory by 2020 we could bring in a cap and trade system which would be just strong enough to get us to the 40% below 2005 target. It would be ubiquitous and fully auctioned — covering agriculture, transport, forestry, mining — the whole box and dice. We would have foreshadowed this when we changed tax treatment of dirty energy and so this would probably have been figured into the measures taken then.

    Fairly obviously, I strongly support lifting the ban on nuclear power. If one had to focus on a single energy policy in this country that is wrong, it would be this one. As much as people like to blame The Greens for this, the key offenders here are the two major parties. There was no national Greens presence at all until the early 1990s and I cannot recall the last time either of the majors felt pressured into taking the advice of Bob Brown.

    Instead, in the late 1970s early 1980s the two parties allowed the argument over nuclear power to become part of tribal warfare at election time. It was probably the last hurrah of the Cold War in this country, and post-Chernobyl, attitudes hardened. Now the LNP won’t propose it until the ALP does does too and vice versa. (Gosh that approach has a familiar ring!) Nobody wants to be wedged — and it’s not Green voters who are the filling for the wedge, but voters with fears over safety and property values. It seems that the ALP is taking tentative steps in the direction of nuclear power and it would be a good thing if this became a matter of non-aggression between the parties.

  40. Sinclair Davidson

    Fran – you asked for a libertarian solution, I provided. Whether you agree with it is another issue.

  41. Fran Barlow

    Michael Sutcliffe claimed

    You know, if it’s proven that CO2 emissions are going to kill people you have a moral prerogative to even go to war to save yourself from harm if you need to. Anyone for invading some developing nations who won’t change their evil ways? China perhaps?

    Ethically and practically, this would be indefencible. Per capita China emits about 1/5th what we do, and moreover, is not at all responsible for anything like the proportion of anthropogenic CO2 currently in the flux between the oceans and the atmosphere that Australia, America and Europe are. Not even close. Ditto other late-industrialising jurisdictions

    And of course, much of China’s emissions (and those of other late-industrialising jurisdictions) are exported western emissions. All those cheap consumer goods are being produced there rather than here. That is western demand rather than Chinese profligacy. Really, those emissions ought to be added to the emissions of the importing jurisdictions.

    Putting aside the technological absurdity of us invading them, would it not be amusing if we invaded China to stop them producing our cheap flat-screen TVs and computers? Might we simply not cancel the orders? This puts the finger on the problem.

  42. JC.

    To point at others is to introduce political argy-bargy into what should be a process based on measurable outcomes.

    Yea, we’ve heard that one before. Don’t criticize dear leader.

    One suspects that if businesses knew that Australia meant to achieve a 40% reduction by 2020 that they would attempt to configure to meet that target in the most tax and CO2-price effective way.

    Yea, good point. They would simply pick up the tent and move to a place where they would be welcomed with all sorts of breaks in countries not governed by silly unilateralists. The effect on emissions would be zero, while our economy would continue to be hollowed out.

    The Greens for this, the key offenders here are the two major parties. There was no national Greens presence at all until the early 1990s and I cannot recall the last time either of the majors felt pressured into taking the advice of Bob Brown.

    How do you blame the Libs for such an anti-science policy? The party supports nuclear power. It’s the leftwing that is causing the damage and your portrayal is simply dishonest. The Greens would now go all out and simply lie about nuclear power scaring labor in making the right decision.

    It seems that the ALP is taking tentative steps in the direction of nuclear power and it would be a good thing if this became a matter of non-aggression between the parties.

    Oh please. The anti-science trogs have always been in the left attempting to frighten the horses. The libs have never resorted to this sort of crap about nuclear power.

    Stop the delusions.

  43. Fran Barlow

    Fran – you asked for a libertarian solution, I provided. Whether you agree with it is another issue.

    Quite, and I thank you for making the effort. It does at least get us closer to clarity, which I regard as important.

  44. Peter Patton

    Fran

    I am currently on bended knee when I beg this of you. Can you PLEASE post here a lot more. I have been electrified since your blog debut over at LP, where you took on about ten blokes over the nuking of the Nips, and the extent to which the Enola Gay was attacking Russia more than China.

    Since that time, at least once a week, I verbalize a “whoa” after finishing one of your astonishingly articulate posts. You intrigue me more than just about any other personage I have enountered on blogs.

    Let me explain why.

    It is now a pretty strong consensus that a couple of Verbal subtests of the more comprehensive IQ tests, such as WAIS, share a very high correlation – 0.9 or so – with IQ generally, particularly ‘g’. Anybody who pays any attention to your diction, the so bang on analogies, the working vocabulary, quickly works out you are a standard deviation beyond those swine at whose cloven hooves, you cast your pearls. My fascination went into overdrive when you said you were a school teacher. Not because there is anything at all wrong with teaching kids, but just how could you stand spending all day with your colleagues, the youngest of whom now average IQs of 92, and declining.

    So how is it that once we cannot escape your obvious 3 standard deviations removal from your pals, that you can so consistently and voluminously reveal such historically ill-informed, ethically deplorable vacuous quasi-religious idiocy, whenever you sally forth on Australian society, geopolitics, distributive justice, the media, education, and so on? How have you reached this age, with that intelligence, and yet remaining that great boneheaded tragic of the mid-20th century – a disciple of Marx, who is not for turning.

    While this is clearly a matter for a gifted cognitive neuropsychologist, I nevertheless have full confidence we can progress quite far by providing you with the more tolerant salon of Catallaxy, world-renowned as it is for its nurturing of genius.

    Trust me when I say that it is only with love I have to inform you, you have been shedding whole IQ points weekly for quite some time now in your current hivemind. It is not too late to free yourself, and to recover what is rightly yours, and rightly ours to be charmed by on a daily basis.

    Whatta ya say, girlfriend?

  45. Jarrah

    “The real question is who should pay? I believe the beneficiaries of the policy should pay the bulk of the costs – that means future generations and those who would be more likely to be more adversely affected by AGW. This would be a difference from the polluter pay principle.”

    I disagree with this starting point. If I’m punching you in the head, the beneficiary of stopping is you. Should you therefore pay me to stop?

    My reasoning is quite straightforward. Emitters are transferring costs and risk to the world at large. Therefore we have more emissions than would be the case otherwise. The costs and risk should instead be internalised, so that we get an efficient amount of emissions.

  46. Sleetmute

    I believe the beneficiaries of the policy should pay the bulk of the costs…

    The only economic argument for making beneficiaries pay for something is if doing so influences their decisions in a way that promotes efficiency. For example, making the buyer of an apple pay the cost of providing the apple ensures that the apple will only be produced if the buyer values the apple more than the opportunity cost of the resources expended in producing the apple. However, if the beneficiary cannot influence what decisions are made, there is no economic point to sending them the bill – the costs should just be recovered in the least-distortionary manner (which may, but need not be by billing beneficiaries). In the present case, imposing the costs of 2011 abatement measures on 2050 citizens will not beneficially change the measures introduced now. That said, there may be good ethical reasons for billing future beneficiaries.
    Putting the principle to one side, the instrument you propose, Sinc, would obviously trade at a massive discount to face value reflecting real interest rates in the market and the uncertainty of their redemption value. Say they trade at an implied real IRR of 5% (double the real rate on 10-year government bonds), the 2011 government will have to issue that many more of these instruments to raise the money it needs to finance its present investments in abatement. This means that 2050 citizens will effectively pay a real rate of 5% on the abatement investments made by 2011 governments. Given that this is much higher than the actual value to society of these investments, 2050 citizens will suffer even if the measures are effective. This seems like a way of encouraging bad decisions by present governments for which they will not be accountable.

  47. Fran Barlow

    It’s an appealing entreaty you make Peter, not much diminished at the swing you make at my analysis in your fourth-last para. I fear however, that you were continuing your excursion into the world of tongue-in-cheek when you said:

    I nevertheless have full confidence we can progress quite far by providing you with the more tolerant salon of Catallaxy, world-renowned as it is for its nurturing of genius.

    Either that, or you missed the Natural Disaster thread, where my interlocutors failed so abysmally to address the matter of substance I raised, but the good Sinclair Davidson felt moved to start this very thread. Not satisfied with this exercise in the “nurturing of genius”, one poster said effectively, that I was the dupe of putatively murderous psychopaths, another that I was dumb as pigshit and another, who’d attempted a strawman-based deflection, tried claiming that I was a waste of time and [had] no credibility.

    I am, as you’d have noted from the Hiroshima stoush (and perhaps others) a robust personality. One can’t survive teaching without it but I suspect that your titillation at my offerings is not widely shared here. I’m OK with that. I have long been comfortable being counted amongst tiny minorities of eccentric dissenters. As someone famous once said: individuals can make a difference, but most of the time, they probably shouldn’t.

    How have you reached this age, with that intelligence, and yet remaining that great boneheaded tragic of the mid-20th century – a disciple of Marx, who is not for turning.

    These days I use Marx as a guide — a kind of scaffold rather than something prescriptive. I’d be surprised if Marx (or even many of his most orthodox successors — Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin, Luxemburg, possibly Gramsci, Trotsky) had anything at all to say on cap and trade or contemporary transport or education or housing policy. I do find it curious, Peter, that you hurl at me the charge of quasi- religious idiocy on a site where people say without blinking “the market will find a solution” and then begin to cite technologies that will appear as if in a scene from Jason and the Argonauts, conjured by the same hidden hand.

    Perhaps that’s just my eccentric take on things …

    PS I do enjoy my role in fostering inquiring minds, and am not at all discouraged by the thought that some of them may be cognitively, somewhat less able. Every contribution I make to the empowerment of another gives me heart.

  48. Michael Sutcliffe

    Per capita China emits about 1/5th what we do, and moreover, is not at all responsible for anything like the proportion of anthropogenic CO2 currently in the flux between the oceans and the atmosphere that Australia, America and Europe are.

    Fran, my point was hypothetical just like yours. Your hypothetical was

    “Imagine that you are persuaded that anthropogenic augmentation of atmospheric inventories of GHGs really were causing quantifiable harm both to humans alive now and prospective harm to humans in the future…….”

    and my hypothetical was: imagine that was the case and we corrected our behaviour but there was another nation that kept emitting the evil CO2 which was endangering us all…….

    Are you trying to imply your scenario is not hypothetical but mine is?

  49. Fran Barlow

    Michael Sutcliffe suggested:

    and my hypothetical was: imagine that was the case and we corrected our behaviour but there was another nation that kept emitting the evil {let’s lose the strawmen/Crichton allusions hmmmm?} CO2 which was endangering us all…….

    This is inadequately specified as the value of the variable corrected behaviour need not include inviting China to emit on our behalf. Ditto the other ethically upright jurisdictions on the planet.

  50. Sinclair Davidson

    Sleetmute – what you’re suggesting is that the costs of doing something about AGW are very high. That may well be the case, but without an explicit mechanism to raise that finance we cannot know for sure. My proposed mechanism makes that cost explicit, while vague talk about carbon taxes or ETSs don’t.

    I agree the beneficiary pays principle is a moral choice – see Jarrahs argument above. Yet even that analogy doesn’t work well. To the extent that we might think that carbon pollution is a problem it has occurred over 150 years (carbon is a stock pollutant) so we can’t use the polluter pay principle.

    Also the default option allows them to renege if the AGW argument turns out to be false, so future generations are in a no-lose position. If AGW is a problem for them, they have paid to fix it, if it turns out to not be a problem for them, AGW concerned investotrs in the present have paid for it (and lost their money).

  51. Jc

    We have high emissions because we have highly energy intensive industries in which we have an absolute advantage in some respects which is access to cheap and abundant sources of power.

    Those industries can simply move to a place that doesn’t give much of the shit about emissions like chain for example and global emissions wouldn’t change or in some cases would be worse off because the coal they use is inferior.

    These arguments are totally specious.

    Economic efficiency produces better outcomes for emissions no matter where they are created.

  52. OnTheBus

    PS I do enjoy my role in fostering inquiring minds, and am not at all discouraged by the thought that some of them may be cognitively, somewhat less able. Every contribution I make to the empowerment of another gives me heart.

    From reading the threads, in an attempt to get a general feel of this forum I have managed to get general immpressions of peoples posts.

    You come accross as a very intelligent person. However, you also appear to be an elitist who is used to teaching younger people.

    I would guess your word is never questioned in your role as a teacher, and if it is, that person would be shot down via methods including correcting their syntax, grammar and spelling, just to make them feel inferior.

    It seems,from reading your posts,that you believe you have much to teach these mere mortals, who could never introduce, on this forum at least, an idea for you to consider. Consideration is not necessary as you know everything already.

    Of course, as I say, this is just the impression I get from the tone of your posts.
    Sneer and condescension.

  53. rog

    Not sure how you define clarity Fran, around here it is measured in candlepower.

  54. OnTheBus

    Above post has quite a few commas missing as well as spelling mistakes.

    It is boiling in my house and the sweat is in my eyes since the bloody air-con went on the fritz.

    However, I am sure Fran will derive great pleasure in pointing out how smarter she is than me by correcting said mistakes.

  55. Myrddin Seren

    Detention for you – OTB

  56. Fran Barlow

    OTB said:

    I would guess your word is never questioned in your role as a teacher,

    Then your guess would be wrong.

    and if it is, that person would be shot down via methods including correcting their syntax, grammar and spelling, just to make them feel inferior

    Wrong again! When I correct the syntax of mys students (actually, adjust it to recocile register with audience) I never do this in concert with an intellectual challenge, precisely because I want to encourage them to ask questions.

    If you review my emendments to the text of my interlocutors here, I’ve either made no comment beyond acknowledging my role or made it because the person’s text was an attempt to misrepresent what I was claiming. Of course, when one is dealing with a 14-year-old, one is a good deal gentler.

    It seems,from reading your posts,that you believe you have much to teach these mere mortals, who could never introduce, on this forum at least, an idea for you to consider. Consideration is not necessary as you know everything already.

    My text doesn’t support that inference. I sought an explanation of libertarian positions on CO2e-based externalities. Until Sinclair’s effort above, nobody took the qiuestion seriously and instead, they either became abusive or attempted to change the subject.

    There’s where the material for your ‘impressions’ rightly lies.

  57. Fran Barlow

    oops … Mods … please close quotes at “as a teacher”; “just to make them feel inferior”;

    If you have the time and inclination, TIA …

  58. Gabrielle

    Agree with your assessment OTB and it’s a damn shame Fran uses her intelligence and syntactic skills for evil purposes. :)

    However, please can we now resume the topic under discussion?

  59. Fran Barlow

    I should add that one of my eccentricities is a horror at typos, especially when they appear in my own text. Reviewing my own text above:

    {mys students (actually, adjust it to recocile reconcile register); nobody took the qiuestion}

    Oh dear … mea culpa

  60. daddy dave

    Agree with your assessment OTB and it’s a damn shame Fran uses her intelligence and syntactic skills for evil purposes.

    Someone copy-edits blog comments and now their intelligence and ‘syntactic skills’ are being lauded. You’re all too generous by half.

  61. .

    “These days I use Marx as a guide”

    Well, you’re a misguided bloody idiot.

    1. Marx is based on the cranky labour theory of value. It is a crock of shit.

    2. It is also mathematically impossible, re: the assumptions about “the internal contradictions of capitalism” and it’s conclusions about outcomes, see Okishio’s theorem.

    We’ll help you snap out of it.

  62. Jarrah

    “Until Sinclair’s effort above, nobody took the qiuestion seriously”

    Unfortunately you missed my comment in the previous thread.

    “Someone copy-edits blog comments and now their intelligence and ‘syntactic skills’ are being lauded.”

    It’s not the editing that indicates intelligence. It’s the intelligent comments that do so.

  63. .

    “where you took on about ten blokes over the nuking of the Nips, and the extent to which the Enola Gay was attacking Russia more than China.”

    Does Fran belong to the reality camp where the nukes saved lives or the pixie dust and incense mob where a land invasion would have only ten times the allied casualty rate on Okinawa, and the IJA High Command wanted to surrender after the second bomb and didn’t consider rebellion after Hirohito signalled he’d broadcast a general unconditional surrender order?

  64. Fran Barlow

    Jarrah said:

    Unfortunately you missed my comment in the previous thread.

    Well yes Jarrah, I’ll plead guilty to overlooking your contribution in the other thread which I had described as “on the right track”.

  65. Sinclair Davidson

    Let’s stay on topic.

  66. Sleetmute

    Sinc, what your proposal makes explicit is not so much the high costs of action, but the fact that the market cost of funds for a risky investment is much higher than the social discount rates used to undertake typical CBAs of abatement action.
    The default option is fine if AGW turns out to be false, but it doesn’t help 2050 citizens if AGW is real because they are forced to pay a cost based on a much higher rate of return than the social rate of return used to justify the action.
    I don’t know what the solution is because any action now will displace spending on something else that likely has a higher real return than the social discount rate. Not sure how Stern and Garnaut addressed this issue or whether someone like Quiggin can explain.

  67. Michael Sutcliffe

    This is inadequately specified as the value of the variable corrected behaviour need not include inviting China to emit on our behalf. Ditto the other ethically upright jurisdictions on the planet.

    What is this garbage?

  68. THR

    1. Marx is based on the cranky labour theory of value. It is a crock of shit.

    2. It is also mathematically impossible, re: the assumptions about “the internal contradictions of capitalism” and it’s conclusions about outcomes, see Okishio’s theorem.

    We’ve been through both of these, more than once, and you’ve again gotten both of them wrong.

  69. .

    Bullshit.

    You are just making stuff up.

    1. Is indisputable.

    2. Relies on an absurd toy model of the economy to be “correct”.

    Failing that, the demise of every Communist nation in the world is a big hint that should have dropped.

    No. You think the DPRK is a happy place with abundant fruit.

  70. Michael Sutcliffe

    Really, what is the basis of your garbled ramblings, Fran? The Chinese are not responsible for their behaviour in terms of manufacturing goods because presently those goods are bought by white people? You are an idiot who has nothing to offer.

  71. .

    Michael,

    The Indians who are less well of and burn cowshit for fuel are clearly morally superior even if they emit more CO2.

    We have gotten to the rotten core of “Green” issues. The destruction of the economy.

  72. THR

    1. Is indisputable.

    It’s not the least bit ‘indisputable’. In fact, what is indisputable is that labour is a key determinant of surplus value. The only thing up for dispute is whether labour is the primary determinant.

    2. Relies on an absurd toy model of the economy to be “correct”.

    Neoclassical economics makes wide-ranging and fantastical assumptions on a regular basis.

    No. You think the DPRK is a happy place with abundant fruit.

    What does the DPRK have to do with Marxist theory?

  73. Sleetmute

    Just saw what the Garnaut Review has recently said and that is that it preferred a normative discount rate (ie a social rate rather than a market rate), but that action was worthwhile under both types of rates. So maybe your proposal won’t overly penalise future generations Sinc. Although I can’t believe Garnaut’s finding that action is worthwhile with a market discount rate is correct…

  74. .

    1. Labour theory of value cannot explain the value of certain goods. It’s a hare brained theory that would suggest a society with really odious unions and rampant featherbedding would have high productivity etc.

    2. This is not true. There are some whacky assumptions in a few models but they lead to useful conclusions. Can you name any of the contentious ones?

    3. “Communist country has nothing to do with Communism” Um yeah sure.

  75. .

    “Although I can’t believe Garnaut’s finding that action is worthwhile with a market discount rate is correct…”

    I’d love to see a basic breakdown of the maths here. Stern was obviously unworkable with market rates.

    This is so stupid. This forum has mentioned many alternative solutions that will yield better outcomes.

    Instead, people are too keen for a nobel and go on continuing to design silly and complex systems, in order to dazzle the media as to their skills.

  76. daddy dave

    Frean started out well, but has devolved into reflexive dismissals and refusal to engage in arguments she sees as beneath her. Here are some excerpts (I’ve taken snippets for brevity, and have tried to do this in good faith and not distort through lack of context). These are some important arguments and Fran’s responses.

    me: “I have never heard a good reason why we should act outside of a global accord”

    Fran: “you need to read more widely”

    me: “If we act outside of a global accord, our actions will achieve nothing”

    Fran: (paraphrase:) ‘wrong, we can work towards building a global accord’ (actually I’ll pay that one).

    me: the “harm” you keep talking about is not as bad as you think. It’s not like the human race is going extinct

    Fran: “you haven’t read the claims made by people who have thought these matters through”

    Michael Sutcliffe: carbon tax is just a tax, like the GST.

    Fran: “another strawman”

    Michael Sutcliffe: “I’m really curious what you think the benefit are?” [of carbon pricing']

    Fran: “I disagree. you’re not really curious.”

    Michael Sutcliffe: expressed skepticism that so-called Green jobs are not real economic advances.

    Fran: “another straw man.”

    dot: alternative solutions are “sustainable agriculture, nuclear, iron seeding and cutting off energy subsidies as four free market solutions which would require removing protectionism and regulatory bias.”

    Fran: “Good ideas are those that can be implemented when they are likely to make a positive difference rather than those that merely give you a warm inner glow”

    If anyone thinks we’re still having an intelligent debate, I suggest you reconsider that opinion.

  77. Last night I read an article about Freeman Dyson’s attitude to climate change. It is not clear he doesn’t believe in AGW but he certainly doesn’t believe in the proposed solutions. He advocates a techno optimist approach. People like myself and JC have been making the same claim.

    I want to electrify the world, all energy production via electricity made cleanly. Not because of AGW so much but because ultimately we want lots of energy and it has to be clean and efficient over the long term.

    People just don’t want to face up to the inevitable. The 6th mass extinction has already occurred, climate change is already here, the ecology has been irrevocably transformed, carbon reduction strategies have their place but will be to little effect in the long term. Current technologies, politics, and economics cannot provide solutions. Too much wishful thinking. Go for broke or go broke. Get over it.

  78. .

    ” but has devolved into reflexive dismissals and refusal to engage in arguments she sees as beneath her”

    She’d have something if she didn’t skirt issues, produce evidence of her own and not demand fact finding missions for silly, non existent “gotcha” moments.

    I responded to fran by saying the solutions were costless and had better outcomes. She said who would fund them and implement them. I then responded that wasn’t necessary. She skirted and went completely OT.

  79. daddy dave

    Too much wishful thinking. Go for broke or go broke. Get over it.

    I like your thinking on this, John.

  80. PSC

    effective retooling of the economy that would give good ROI on the bond.

    The problem is Sinc’s effectively suggesting a kind of catastrophe bond. The attraction of cat bonds is the diversification play – the returns on the bond will be uncorrelated with the rest of the market.

    The thing I don’t have a sense of from Sinc’s proposal is the degree the “AGW non-catastrophe” is correlated to the rest of the economy – i.e the degree to which the bond performance is related to other macro parameters.

    But it will be hard to raise any material sum of money with it. I think total cat bond issuance is about $5-10bn annually – typical tenor maybe 2-3 years – it’s a niche product.

    I strongly doubt you’d sell a lot of 40 year bonds at any price – certainly not as a zero coupon bond – I can’t see why any investor would want it.

  81. Sinclair Davidson

    PSC – you’re suggesting that AGW mitigation/prevention etc. isn’t a good investment. That may well be true. If the private sector won’t invest why should the government?

  82. Michael Fisk

    Green fanatics forcing our children to sweat in class.

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/save_the_planet_boil_the_children/

    PARENTS from hundreds of schools have resorted to paying for basic resources such as airconditioning, even while the federal government’s Building the Education Revolution has spent millions on new “green” classrooms with only natural ventilation.

    As temperatures reached 42.2 degrees in Sydney yesterday – and after a record run of extremely hot days – the NSW Parents and Citizens’ Associations said families were commonly being asked to fund cooling that should be publicly funded.

  83. G

    OK so there are some cowards using expletives ‘cos they do not understand Marx or his theory.

    They speak shit.

    [Name has been edited to something more appropriate. Sinc]

  84. PSC

    Sinclair – there’s lots of excellent investments you’ll never get sold because the characteristics don’t meet up with what the investors want.

    The only reason anyone would want a long dated zero coupon bond is the high duration – it’s an interest rate play. You’re using something with high interest rate sensitivity to hedge against interest rate moves. They’re a great hedge if they’re liquid – say for insurance liabilities, or annuities, or something like that, but not much use for anything else.

    But “AGW bonds” have this monster duration, and simultaneously bizarro-world credit risk properties where the final payment may or may not appear.

    Maybe someone wants long-dated zero-coupon bonds to hedge interest rates. Maybe someone else wants to hedge the AGW risk – but I suspect they’re (rationally) waiting for governments to flick the costs onto taxpayers and bail them out.

    To sell the bonds you need to find someone who wants to hedge lack-of-AGW risk. Who?

  85. JC.

    Sinclair – there’s lots of excellent investments you’ll never get sold because the characteristics don’t meet up with what the investors want.

    Lol.. Name them.

    The only reason anyone would want a long dated zero coupon bond is the high duration – it’s an interest rate play. You’re using something with high interest rate sensitivity to hedge against interest rate moves. They’re a great hedge if they’re liquid – say for insurance liabilities, or annuities, or something like that, but not much use for anything else.

    Easy solution to that, shorten the rollover duration. There are also perpetual bonds which all sorts of investors buy. I own some. I bought ANZ perp at a 26% interest rate in 09 at the height of the GFC and still have it.

    But “AGW bonds” have this monster duration, and simultaneously bizarro-world credit risk properties where the final payment may or may not appear.

    Ummm so it’s not a sure thing.

    To sell the bonds you need to find someone who wants to hedge lack-of-AGW risk. Who?

    All the believers should be buying this bond, not?

  86. Sinclair Davidson

    PSC – there are a whole bunch of people who claim to be worried about AGW. If they buy the bonds, and they are correct, they’ll clean up.

  87. .

    “I bought ANZ perp at a 26% interest rate in 09 at the height of the GFC and still have it.”

    …and I thought NABHA was a good deal!

  88. Fran Barlow

    If there were a strong cap and trade system, where all permits were auctioned, and the rules were tightly policed and the cap tight and declining, I’d happily buy permits and not sell them.

  89. Told you Sinclair. More money than sense.

  90. Fran Barlow

    DavidLeyonhjelm said:

    Told you Sinclair. More money than sense.

    I donate to what I regard as worthy causes all the time. Don’t you?

  91. PSC

    PSC – there are a whole bunch of people who claim to be worried about AGW. If they buy the bonds, and they are correct, they’ll clean up.

    I still don’t understand “AGW bonds” properly, but I think the assumption that real-world spreads = risk-neutral spreads sits behind your comment.

  92. PSC

    Sinclair – there’s lots of excellent investments you’ll never get sold because the characteristics don’t meet up with what the investors want.

    Lol.. Name them

    In 2009 we saw many good companies shut out of debt markets because no-one was buying. And those who bought on the secondary market (like yourself) did very well indeed.

  93. Ernestine Gross

    The real question is who should pay? I believe the beneficiaries of the policy should pay the bulk of the costs – that means future generations and those who would be more likely to be more adversely affected by AGW.

    Sinclair Davidson, I take as a given that you have provided a representatitive libertarian answer to Fran Barlow’s question. I conclude that the libertarians have a solution but it is not a solution to the actual problem because several generations of beneficiaries are already dead.

    .

  94. Peter Patton

    Oh, and Fran, while there are no many near the numbers posters here as your current abode, I can assure you will quickly find more than a few gems, who are 100% onside re AGW, think many libertarians here are silly than religious wheels, (and those that do are still very cordial).

    There are Labor voters – who should be ashamed of themselves, Liberal stalwarts who hate Abbott, and a recent 2 or 3 week long discussion revealed about 75% of posters here are totally up for gay marriage, even more support complete criminalization of drugs.

    On the issue of immigration, the average IQ of positions here is about 20 more than what you’ve been used to hearing, with the added bonus that there are more non-white/Europeans here than the sum total of zero, in your current hivemind, with I’d comfortably say 90% occupying that extreme of the bell curve you’d probably call “progressive”. Around these parts, self-identifying as a “progressive” is a sign of both being not too bright, and an excellent reason to collapse a whole lot of yucky characteristics on them.

    One thing that will surprise you, because you haven’t paid attention, is that I calculate more than 50% of the posters could fairly be described as “gentlemen”. They would never even in a million years dream of uttering the insults that the remainder will never cease using. They will respect your views and engage with them, regardless of how they differ from their own, they will readly acknowledge a shift in their position, even that he have changed their mind as a result of debates here.

    The one piece of advice, I would give you to make it worth your while engaging with the rest – of whom I number myself – is to succeed in conveying your sincerity, whether it’s just to shoot the breeze, debate the ethics of extracting value, or MySchool. Just about all the hotheads quickly cotton on if someone is trying to reach out to them in goodwill, and will pull their heads in within hours. Do not set yourself up for disappointment to believe this cordiality has a long future, but enjoy while it lasts/

    But the most, most crucial thing you must stick in your busy neurocircuitry is that Catallaxy is very male heavy. Passing this stage will probably present you with the greatest challenge of your life. Men and women are different. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I read you said you have some kids, including boys. The realities that attend that fact, to someone with your IQ taught you along ago, that there are significant chunks of the male, whose reality exists a galaxy away from the crap they go on with in certain spaces. If they are employed in a university the galaxy they live on, we could not travel to in 100 lifetimes.

    Catallaxy does not have a library the size of the Vactican’s filled with tragically passively aggressive commandments against offending the Commandments of modern Gender Feminism. The rules take up one page are aren’t much different than don’t be a complete and utter asshole. The ONLY banned utterance is the 4 letter ‘c’ word.

    If you find you need to post about the ‘Other’, try and acore points by acuusing someone of ‘ableism’, or deny Julia Gillard’s has the biggest ear lobes known to mankind, and a bucket ass that expands by the minute, there’s tonnes of spaces where you’d get a much larger adoring audience. But I think you already know that the cost you have to pay is their 30 IQ point deficit.

  95. 2. Make iron seeding legal in Australian controlled waters, helping to replenish fisheries and significantly sequestering CO2, especially problematic oceanic CO2.

    High iron loading is so bloody dangerous for organisms. It is a key feature in aging bodies. High iron loading induces massive oxidation, can even be used in experiments to induce the same. It is a great way to rot nervous systems. It is strongly implications as a causative factor in Parkinsons Disease.

  96. Jarrah

    You are a strange man, Peter.

  97. I like your thinking on this, John.

    I like Freeman Dyson’s thinking. He is not alone amongst physicists who suggest thoughts like below. It is one reason why I think people who believe science excludes the possibility of god are nuts.

    Metaphysics
    Dyson has suggested a kind of cosmic metaphysics of mind. In his book Infinite in all Directions he is writing about three levels of mind: “The universe shows evidence of the operations of mind on three levels. The first level is the level of elementary physical processes in quantum mechanics. Matter in quantum mechanics is [...] constantly making choices between alternative possibilities according to probabilistic laws. [...] The second level at which we detect the operations of mind is the level of direct human experience. [...] [I]t is reasonable to believe in the existence of a third level of mind, a mental component of the universe. If we believe in this mental component and call it God, then we can say that we are small pieces of God’s mental apparatus” (p. 297)

  98. Boris

    @sinc: “If the private sector won’t invest why should the government?”

    It is a very good question. But the thing is, it already pays for many things in which the private sector does not inverst, or does not invest enough to make it viable. Be it flood relief, classical opera, or football stadiums. Or your favorite one, basic research.

    Of course your position is libertarian, and all the above things are wrong. We can take your argument to funding of the military. Say, instead of using taxation, we could leave it to private sector. And if that is not nearly enough then… we don’t need the ADF. How is that?

  99. Boris

    When I saw Dyson’s name, I looked it up. I used Dyson’s equation in my PhD work (too many years ago to admit), and never heard this name again. It did not occur to me that he could be alive…

    Great man!

  100. When I saw Dyson’s name, I looked it up. I used Dyson’s equation in my PhD work (too many years ago to admit), and never heard this name again. It did not occur to me that he could be alive…

    Great man!

    Did you read the part where as a teenager he was raided because the cops believed he was the main pot dealer in his high school? They found lots of seeds.

  101. Boris

    I am saddenned by the observation that some intelligent people still take Marx seriously, even after his theory has been tested and has demonstrated total failure.

    Not many economic theories have a luxury of being tested in a series large scale real-world experiments.

    Of course having been one of many guinea pigs makes me particularly sensitive to such phenomena.

    To be clear, I am quite a tolerant person and get along well with people with a wide variety of political and economic views. But Marxists? You cannot be serious!…

  102. Well then Boris, you would not like Dyson’s view on some of these matters. Not a marxist but not exactly a fan of free markets either.

  103. Boris

    I don’t mind people with diverse views.

  104. Fran Barlow

    Peter Patton says:

    There are Labor voters – who should be ashamed of themselves,

    I agree with that. I haven’t cast a vote for the ALP in any election since 1977. In the last election, despite campaigning for the Greens, I voted informally to avoid preferencing the ALP. In NSW, I will have the luxury of legally exhausting after the Greens.

    Liberal stalwarts who hate Abbott, and a recent 2 or 3 week long discussion revealed about 75% of posters here are totally up for gay marriage,

    While I certainly support gay marriage, since it seems that this is what many gays want, I’d prefer the separation of marriage entirely from the state. Instead, two or more parties to marriage-like relationships could enter into “domestic partnerships” (perhaps a better term might be found) with terms specified by them and recognised by a local magistrate. What church-like bodies did about marriage would be a matter for them.

    even more support complete criminalization of drugs.

    Well I don’t. I’d prefer a legal regime for mind-altering substances, with properly regulated chains of supply, oversight by something like the TGA etc. Perhaps you meant “decriminalisation” above?

    On the issue of immigration, the average IQ of positions here is about 20 more than what you’ve been used to hearing

    I’m not sure what you intend here, but personally, I’m for a far more permissive immigration regime than we have and certainly support an end to administrative detention for longer than would be necessary to establish that an applicant for residence was not a palpable prospective harm to the community.

    The one piece of advice, I would give you to make it worth your while engaging with the rest – of whom I number myself – is to succeed in conveying your sincerity

    I never wittingly mislead. I always post as I see matters.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I read you said you have some kids, including boys.>

    Two boys: 17 and 26.

    FTR, I never self-describe as a feminist, and certainly, I’m no respecter of what has come to be known as radical feminism or separatism. I have never been a sectoralist. I do support deeming as presumptive everyone’s humanity and their consequent ethical claims to live and love in the manner they see fit.

    I am uninterested in Julia Gillard’s ear lobes, buttocks or any other of her physiological attributes or their current disposition, and lower my estimation of anyone who makes them the subject of contention by about half.

    I don’t seek adoring audiences. I seek intellectual engagement. I often offend the LP crowd, but again, although that is never my decisive reason for saying what I do, the prospect of giving offence is never a constraint when there is, in my view, an important point to be made.

  105. ken n

    “I don’t seek adoring audiences. I seek intellectual engagement. I often offend the LP crowd, but again, although that is never my decisive reason for saying what I do, the prospect of giving offence is never a constraint when there is, in my view, an important point to be made.”

    And Fran (though as you point out, I can only speak for myself) you are welcome here. I don’t think you have offended anyone here – we are difficult to offend – though you will always be told when someone believes you are saying something foolish. Don’t take it personal, it happens to us all.
    I (personally, again) would be interested in your opinions in issues other than AGW.
    PP says this place is very heavy male. I’m not sure about that – we have one regular poster and number of commenters who identify themselves as women and, of course, we don’t know the gender of all those who visit here.
    The blogosphere is pretty strongly male skewed and I don’t think we are much more so than the other blogs you frequent.
    Anyway, next time you have a boring Sunday. please drop in.

  106. .

    “It is a very good question. But the thing is, it already pays for many things in which the private sector does not inverst, or does not invest enough to make it viable. Be it flood relief, classical opera, or football stadiums. Or your favorite one, basic research.

    Of course your position is libertarian, and all the above things are wrong. We can take your argument to funding of the military. Say, instead of using taxation, we could leave it to private sector. And if that is not nearly enough then… we don’t need the ADF. How is that?”

    Boris,

    I don’t know why you think the private sector doesn’t do those things, bar opportunistic politicians spending money they shouldn’t on things which equate to bribes, then leaving the private sector with no profitable opportunities. The Government is running businesses. Why is this good? Sydney Olympic Park has a Novotel on it. Where does the constitution mention hotels – or why should it?

    We would have a military if it was voluntarily funded. You have missed the point. Regardless of the amount of funds it would receive, there is an argument that people would free ride.

    This is short sighted and incomplete. What matters is if the free riding level of contribution is more or less than an objectively quantified optimum size of the military.

  107. Peter Patton

    Fran

    Each of your own takes on the Catallaxian diversity of positions on the issues I presented above, turn out to be a much closer to the positions of those Catallaxians actually hold than I expressed.

    The pro-drug decriminalizers have no time for legislation being passed suddenly permitting anything goes, flog your branded heroin in the local park if you wish. No, they tack more toward laws regarding quality control, registered distribution outlets, and such.

    Equally, folks here split and overlap, or – if I may be allowed to coin a new verb – Venn diagram, over the State’s jurisdiction to limit the legal limits of the kinds of relationships poofs and lezzies may wish to enter. Between 90 and 100% of folks here passionately favour the excision of the marriage power from the Constitution altogether. And I am not telling tales out of school when I share that one or two of those who score 250/100 on the heathen to Catholic spectrum, also share this view.

    If the State refuses to give up this power – as is the wont of any state – there is debate here among those who advocate just drop the words referring to gender from The Marriage Act altogether, while others are not so willing to devote much energy beyond legally-recognized civil unions. To whit, you’d probably get the shits discovering the ordinariness of your views on this issue in this space; ‘ordinariness’ being an appellation, I suspect, you receive with the same grace of a Muslim being told he is really little different from a Xian.

    On the Gillard issue, I chose it for his trollishness, more than as a sincere piece of advice of life Chez Cat. No one has mentioned her ear lobes here since their stunning debut during the election, though, the bucket ass issue has been less reluctant to die, with the main fans preferring the less vulgar, “duck bottom”. Your frank laying out of the impact on your estimation of those who do treat such matters as High Matters of State could not be more appropriate and rational; again, a similar estimation is shared by many here, but they long ago ran the numbers, and reckoned a Prime minister can do just fine without their advocacy, which anyway would steal blogging-time they’d rather to devote to discussing research recently published confirming the increasing number of higher cognitive functions, and even emotions, which alter proportionality to changes in the cerebellum; how particles can be linked, despite not only huge spatial separation, but even time.

    None of this to deny the considerable attention given to the differences in pricing for “looseys” between the US and Australia; whether or not it is fair to describe Muhammad as a pedophile; the extent to which fractional banking exceeds pedophilia and genocide in its wickedness; strategies to entice all Asian women to migrate to Australia (admittedly more an inter-blog field of research initiated outside Catallaxy; the same blog that insists Martians built the pyramids); and whether the bombers will ever fly up again?

    My own particular obsession at the moment is did Verity Firth’s husband intend to go halves with his missues, when buying a single ecstasy tablet, and if so, what boring party guests they must be.

    Oh, and their’s plenty on Stalin or Trotsky; an ongoing challenge to any left-winger on earth to show they actually mean something when they say “Neoliberal”; what does and does not constitute a Dead Weight Loss; again, another current favorite of mine is can the IS relation be used to prove the superiority of Socialism as a wealth creating social and political organization?

    There’s enough poison for you to pick and choose your preferred one, and probably a lot more, whose toxicity you have not witnessed since the Maoists invaded that Spartacist meeting you were chairing back in ’71. Except this time, you neither have to listen to them, nor discontinue whatever it was you were yabbering on about.

  108. Peter Patton

    Jarrah

    You are a strange man, Peter.

    What a cryptic and spooky heads-up for a man to be greeted with first thing in the morning. Please explain.

  109. Fran Barlow

    Peter Patton said:

    Your frank laying out of the impact on your estimation of those who do treat such matters as High Matters of State could not be more appropriate and rational; again, a similar estimation is shared by many here, but they long ago ran the numbers, and reckoned a Prime minister can do just fine without their advocacy

    That’s as may be, but off in Twitterverse, ostensibly unflattering references to elements of Gillard’s physiology are stock in trade for self-identifying right-of-centre persons. I’m sure it is not my leftist outlook that drives me to think them a total waste of cybertime. Sometimes I suspect they think this is the way to manipulate Twitterverse since inevitably, those who count themselves non-conservatives can scarcely resist responding with their own vituperation. Nuking the game is winning if you have nothing to say.

    My own particular obsession at the moment is did Verity Firth’s husband intend to go halves with his missus

    I regard the vicissitudes of the NSW government as rather less interesting than a long running soap opera. I’d be scandalised if I’d once thought better of them, but of course, I never have. At most, I’m surprised by their political ineptitude. I once thought that the upside of being unscrupulous was that you had more freedom to act in your own interest, but it seems that even this isn’t so. As it turns out, you become the human equivalent of flotsam, and thus a mere plaything of forces you neither understand nor can direct.

    whose toxicity you have not witnessed since the Maoists invaded that Spartacist meeting you were chairing back in ’71.

    Chairing a Spartacist meeting at 12 or 13? I don’t think so. At that stage I was running a lucrative trade in gambling at my local high school based on drawing various coloured marbles from a bag, while protected by two rather large ethnic peers called Aldo and Fidel. Perhaps it wasn’t so far from chairing a Spartacist meeting after all.

    ;-)

  110. JC.

    That’s as may be, but off in Twitterverse, ostensibly unflattering references to elements of Gillard’s physiology are stock in trade for self-identifying right-of-centre persons.

    You of course can show evidence of your disgust towards leftists at the absolutely merciless attacks on Howard and his appearance, yea?

  111. JC.

    I vividly recall how the leftist press went orgasmic when Keating referred to Howard as a dessicated coconut. The ABC Fairfax went hog wild over that abuse from a man who isn’t exactly an oil painting himself.

    Perhaps you can show us where you turned on your leftist comrades during that abuse, Fran.

    Referring to Gillard’s huge rear, which seems bigger than North Africa is not too different.

  112. Peter Patton

    JC

    I think Fran’s made it pretty clear she regards obsessive and Touette’s repackagings of insults regarding our PM’s ever packed junk in her trunk as juvenile, an unfortunate choice to spend their time devoted to our PM COMPLETELY on her ass and ears, seemingly not interested in anything at all about her performance as , you know, like our PM and stuff.

    Fran hasn’t said much more than its flooding of the Twitterverse gives her the shits coz it takes to long to trawl through to get to other stuff, and ultimately reveals the over abundance of people who are dumb. Similarly, she does not regard the issue as trumping all others as matters of political and cultural urgency, but nevertheless would be much happier if all the no doubt Adonises engaging in the obsession would either fuck off and die, and/or be aboard the next firey plane crash, or have their penis sizes revealed by Wikileaks.

    That’s all.

  113. Peter Patton

    Fran

    I have never used Twitter in my life, and closed down a Facebook page a few years ago, and refuse to visit other people’s. Whenevee I read blo post saying, “as I said on Twitter” or “as one if mt Facebook friends remarked agreeing with me completely” the safety catch on my Browning is immediately released.

  114. Peter Patton

    dot

    “These days I use Marx as a guide”

    Well, you’re a misguided bloody idiot.

    1. Marx is based on the cranky labour theory of value. It is a crock of shit.

    2. It is also mathematically impossible, re: the assumptions about “the internal contradictions of capitalism” and it’s conclusions about outcomes, see Okishio’s theorem.

    We’ll help you snap out of it.

    That is just a tad over-wrought. Look, I am clearly no Marxist or Socialist, but oddly enough I wrote my Honours thesis on Marxist economics, which the examiners thought was the bollocks, as did David Harvey, who offered me a place at Oxford to complete a PhD, with him as my supervisor.

    I turned Harvey’s offer down at the last minute, when I was offered a job at JP Morgan selling derivatives to a global client base. An offer which was much influenced by the chapter from my thesis I submitted as part of my job application.

    My honours thesis, while lacking the economteric skills and knowledge that would have made it quite amazing, was still based it on an incredibly intricate data set, my supervisor found, which had just been published by I can’t quite remember whether or was the OECD or World Bank or whoever. When my supervisor first sounded out my interest, I wasn’t too keen, as the report was on the auto industry. A whole year pouring on stats on the changing trade volumes in car parts and such? Hmmmm…

    Mt persisted, by directing me to all this Marxist scholarship, which I very quickly learnt rarely relied on any data at all, whose only numbers were those at the bottom of each page. He succeeded by impressing me on me the kudos integrating data, an actual industry, and the latest in marxist theory. I finally agreed, which allowed me to write a date-intensive thesis on the international auto industry, including all sorts of data on costs, revenue, trade in parts, tariff rates across the globe etc. I also spent a massive amount of time building this spectacular three dimensional picture of globally interlocking directorships, which fed into relations with banks, and so on.

    The Chapter I submitted with my application to JP Morgan was titled:

    “The socio-spatial dialectic blindspot: How Marx over-emphasized the articulation of the concentration and centralization of capital. A case study of the theorization of space implicit in the strategies responsible for international auto companies’s successful restructuring from a moribund nation-based Fordist regime of accumulation to the emergent flexible global regime of accumulation. Theoretical lessons from the value-augmenting power of spatial disarticulations to rupture any profit destroying dialectics, whether capital-labour; capital-capital; or and capital-state”.

    Even to this day, there is a hell of a lot of Marx, which is incredibly worthwhile, much of which still informs a lot of my views.

    But here’s the kicker.

    In the final term of my Honours year, about three crucial aspects of both Marx’s and marxist thinking began to stick to high heaven with me – theoretically, empirically, historically, and ethically – my supervisor had kittens, begging to delay exploring them until my thesis had been submitted, which it was I did.

    My conclusion today is I still admire Marx greatly, but regards Marxists with a combination of utter confusion, repulsion, and annoyance, for the unjustified disproportionate space they occupy in public debate. As for the one’s in universities, the number of Catallaxy house rules I would break by being frank is not worth it.

  115. Fran Barlow

    Pretty much what you said above, Peter @9.23, though I’d have chosen different words.

    FTR, I can’t recall much focus on Howard’s physiological attributes for good or ill, but that might simply have been because I wasn’t the slightest bit interested. I do recall the “dessicated coconut” comment, and I found it quite as puerile as anything said of Gillard — not that Keating or his fans qualify as leftists.

    I do suspect there is more focus on the appearance and demeanour of women in public life generally. Amanda Vanstone was much more harshly treated than was Howard or Rudd in this respect.

    An obvious way to gauge this is the newsreader test. How often does one see a female newsreader who couldn’t appear in a glossy fashion magazine or appear as the love interest in a soap opera? How many of the men would make GQ or the front cover of some gay magazine?

  116. JC.

    Good point about Vanstone, Fran. Yea leftwingers went all out but, you know, if you carry around that sort of weight, you’re asking for trouble.

    Beasley used to cop hell too for being lardish.

    not that Keating or his fans qualify as leftists.

    Lol. How lame. But then as an admitted Greens supporter Keating would appear that way.

    How often does one see a female newsreader who couldn’t appear in a glossy fashion magazine or appear as the love interest in a soap opera?

    Quite a few. The 7 reader in Melbourne is quite easy on the eyes and even the ABC has quite a few lookers although the woman that took over from Brissendan as the 7.30 report Canberra correspondent is a bit of an old boiler.

    How many of the men would make GQ or the front cover of some gay magazine?

    Dunno. Don’t really care.

  117. Peter Patton

    Let’s pick this up tomorrow, but I largely agree, and do lean to agreement there are significant gender biases. I am on the record as having been a Gillard disciple for over 5 years now. Still, a duck bottom is just that. Girlfriend, I said pet, I said love, you’re the freaking Prime Minister, surely you can afford a tread mill. John Howard had orthodontic work, and spent 50,000 hours during his PMship to avoid duck bottom.

    But what strikes me much more is the bewlidering complete autism of many feminists who fixate on this issue. When I was growing up, it was called selection and confirmation bias. The idiocy on that recent LP thread about Gillard, confirmed something I have long discovered. A lot of women, whose main identity is “feminist” share certain cognitive defects, which I can name, which amount to a disability in their complete inability to read men, or even click that such a thing as masculinity is real. I’ve been reading them for a few years now. If we were to draw a table identifying every comment they ever made regarding XYs, you would have to conclude they are were either spastics, brain damaged, have never left the house, or long-long overdue for a jolly good root.

  118. .

    “That is just a tad over-wrought. Look, I am clearly no Marxist or Socialist, but oddly enough I wrote my Honours thesis on Marxist economics, which the examiners thought was the bollocks, as did David Harvey, who offered me a place at Oxford to complete a PhD, with him as my supervisor.

    I turned Harvey’s offer down at the last minute, when I was offered a job at JP Morgan selling derivatives to a global client base. An offer which was much influenced by the chapter from my thesis I submitted as part of my job application.”

    If only I knew…what a shit shocker.

  119. Jarrah

    Quiggin has an update to your update, Sinclair:

    The title was meant as a snark, but in an update, Davidson asserts that “we all know” that the rate of interest on US 30-year bonds is too low. He links to a piece on monetary policy in the mid 2000s, but, as I pointed out above, the current real interest rate is close to the average for the last 120 years. So, Catallaxy really doesn’t like bond markets.

    To expand a bit on this point, there is a large literature suggesting that, because of capital market failures, the average rate of return to equity is too high, and the real bond rate is too low. Simon Grant and I have done a lot of work on this issue, and its implications, such as the fact that privatisation is often undesirable. However, correcting the market failure would only raise the bond rate to levels consistent with Stern’s estimates (there’s room to fiddle a bit with the parameters, but Stern’s default choices are pretty plausible).

    Will you make a rejoinder?

  120. JC.

    Will you make a rejoinder?

    You don’t borrow money at the real rate, Keyze. You borrow money at the nominal rate.

    Stern’s estimate didn’t include as far as i know the cost of capital at the market rate or in his case the rate published by the UK Treasury which uses or used 7% as the guiding rate for long term discount rates. So the real rate isn’t consequential in this discussion.

  121. .

    Yes. Market rates should be used because they are the price of the opportunity cost.

    Stern used about 1.3%.

    No rejoinder is needed Jarrah. The Stern report is bad economics.

  122. Sinclair Davidson

    Jarrah – yes. He’s talking about the equity risk-premium. John believes that the idea that the RP is too high means that government can efficiently own some assets and the market shouldn’t. I did see the rejoinder and I did mean to write something about it, but got overtaken by my day-job and spent time working on a conference paper that needs to be sent of ASAP. I would like to write something about that too, because even though John and I have been snarking each others posts, it is an interesting point.

  123. .

    “To expand a bit on this point, there is a large literature suggesting that, because of capital market failures, the average rate of return to equity is too high, and the real bond rate is too low.”

    How on earth does this relate to seniority of creditors?

    Shareholders may theoretically own a firm, but a major debtholder can effectively call the shots. As did the junk bond traders.

  124. Sinclair Davidson

    . – not sure what you’re on about.

  125. JC.

    Sinc;

    If the equity premium is too high couldn’t it be actually be used as an argument supporting your thesis that the government should borrow money for 50 years and let the richer generations pay.

    I don’t quite see how it would wouldn’t support your thesis.

  126. Simon

    If the people who benefit from the policy should pay for the policy, do you advocate that the existing policy of allowing unrestrained greenhouse gases into the atmosphere should be paid for by those who profit from that policy? In other words, polluter pays?

  127. Sinclair Davidson

    Simon – the polluter is the household sector. It seems to me that current households don’t want to pay. If the problem is serious enough (and that is the premise of the original thought experiment) then somebody needs to be found who will pay and who wants to pay. Given that the costs of inaction would be incurred in the future and not the present, it seems then that future generations should pay.

  128. Simon

    There’s two policies here:

    1) allowing unrestricted greenhouse gases
    2) restricting greenhouse gases

    I’m asking about paying for the first, and you’re repsonse is “no-one wants to, so we have to make people pay for the second”.

    So much for the idea that people who benefit from a policy pay for that policy. All they have to do is say “we don’t want to”.

  129. dover_beach

    There’s two policies here:

    1) allowing unrestricted greenhouse gases
    2) restricting greenhouse gases

    How does 1 amount to a policy? We might as well say that allowing drivers to travel unrestrictedly, in terms of distance and direction, itself amounts to a policy even though policies do require some specification since, for one thing, how else are we to determine whether or not they’ve been satisified?

    Isn’t it also a problem that in respect of both these policies that we can neither identify or quantify a specific harm or benefit, environmentally speaking? Compare this with the discharge of a poison into a river that does led to quantifiable harm to another’s enjoyment of that same river which they also have a right to.

    So much for the idea that people who benefit from a policy pay for that policy. All they have to do is say “we don’t want to”.

    Because the enjoyment of a right (engaging lawfully in commerce and industry) requires no further justification even though its enjoyment may procure a benefit; the only thing that can restrict this right is if its use unjustly harms the right of another.

  130. daddy dave

    The people who benefit from the policy haven’t been born yet.
    Sinclair already pointed that out.

  131. rog

    Given that the costs of inaction would be incurred in the future and not the present, it seems then that future generations should pay.

    That reads like the victim pays not the user.

  132. daddy dave

    Simon, your thinking is muddled here.

    1) allowing unrestricted greenhouse gases
    2) restricting greenhouse gases

    I’m asking about paying for the first, and you’re repsonse is “no-one wants to, so we have to make people pay for the second”.

    The first policy (if you can call it that) is economically cost-free right now. We don’t have to do anything, buy anything, tax anyone, or shut anything down. The only potential costs are in the distant future. There’s nothing to “pay for”.

    The second one has costs, but nobody alive today will reap the benefits. The beneficiaries of policy 2 (your preferred policy) live in the distant future.
    By your own logic, the people who should pay for the policy (the beneficiaries) are those same people in the distant future.
    By your logic, they benefit so they should pay.

  133. daddy dave

    A final point for you to consider, Simon, is that Australian public policy of “restricting greenhouse gasses” won’t actually benefit anybody, now or in the future, because climate change will occur regardless of what Australia does.

  134. Sinclair Davidson

    Simon – I’m not following your logic on there being two policies. Why would anyone need to pay for policy 1? It’s policy two that has a price associated with it. Policy 1 is unpriced. If it should be priced then policy 2 applies.

  135. Sleetmute

    Henry Ergas makes similar points (and more) to the one I made above on the appropriate discount rates to apply in the Oz today.

  136. .

    “That reads like the victim pays not the user.”

    Future generations don’t benefit from our capital accumulation?

    Who’d thunk it?

  137. JC.

    quodger.

    Stay out of this discussion as you’re not mentally equipped to participate. buzz off.

  138. Fran Barlow

    Sinclair said:

    Given that the costs of inaction would be incurred in the future and not the present, it seems then that future generations should pay.

    Not unless the remedies available then could be borne by them and prove immediately effective (a schedule feasibility question)

    If the remedies avaibale to them would not be effective on timelines meaningfulto them then the burden of remedy must falls on those creating the harm, much as someone who plants a tree that unsettles a neighbour’s house must be responsible for the remedy rather than the “beneficiary”.

    In a sense, the term “beneficiary” used here is misleading, since they are the “beneficiaries” of people not prejudicing their interest in ecosystem services. This policy is rather more a tort with a long lead time.

    I not a tendency here to narrow the definition of policy to committed acts rather than suffered acts. This probably reflects the culture of this site but the distinction is specious. Allowing things is no less a policy than compelling things. Right now, the environmental policy is to allow people in the present to prejudice the interests of people in the future and yet this site’s principals think frivolously accrued debt is poor policy. That seems rather inconsistent.

  139. Sleetmute

    So, Fran, are you responsible for the deaths of people in the third world because you have not donated your entire wealth to charity? Really, the issue is about what decision should be made – getting hung up on labels is a bit pointless.

  140. Fran Barlow

    I might add further that if it be so that action taken today to remedy problems that cause the bulk of harm in the future does prejudice growth or wealth creation then it follows that the beneficiaries of this policy (those whose future harm has been staunched) will inherit circumstances prtejudiced by the long term relative diminution in growth, so in a sense, they will have made the sacrifice in being slightly less wealthy than they might otherwise have been in exchange for standing somewhat better in their abaility to make use of ecosystem services.

    We who pay now, will of course be on the wrong side of that ledger, but OTOH we have “benefited” through the failure of our predecessors to take the appropriate action so we are better placed to bear the costs, or at least, we ought to be. We are simply handing back benefits that we ought not to have had in the first place and which were purchased on poor terms by our recent ancestors due to their ignorance and hubris.

    Intergenerational equity is always a tough one, but the vast majority of us hope that our descendents willlive at least as well as we have, and areprepared to go without to make it happen. We regard those who neglect their children to gratify themselves as poor role models. That applies to whole societies as well.

  141. Fran Barlow

    So, Fran, are you responsible for the deaths of people in the third world because you have not donated your entire wealth to charity?

    Of course not. I am responsible to the extent I don’t act reasonably to ensure the well-being of people in the developing world. Last time I looked, nobody in charge of governance here or there sought my advice on what to do and to the best of my knowledge, hasn’t accepted the advice I would have given.

    Really, the issue is about what decision should be made – getting hung up on labels is a bit pointless.

    That would be fair comment if the dispute were purely semantic but in this case, the labels are obscuring understanding of the ethical basis of the policy.

  142. rog

    Doesn’t make much sense to me, we create a liability which future generations will have to pay for. What ever happened to the responsibility of the individual for their actions?

  143. rog

    Hey JC, ken wants to go for a walk. His lead is by the door, doing forget the poo bags.

  144. rog

    the polluter is the household sector. It seems to me that current households don’t want to pay.

    What happened to the user pays principle?

  145. dover_beach

    If the remedies avaibale to them would not be effective on timelines meaningfulto them then the burden of remedy must falls on those creating the harm, much as someone who plants a tree that unsettles a neighbour’s house must be responsible for the remedy rather than the “beneficiary”.

    That is only true because the root of the tree has no right to be on/under his/her neighbour’s premises. Whereas the shadow cast be the same tree might also inconvenience his/her neighbour but since s/he is entitled to plant the said tree and it is entitled to grow upon his/her property the shadow cast must be borne by the neighbour whatever the inconvenience.

    I not a tendency here to narrow the definition of policy to committed acts rather than suffered acts. This probably reflects the culture of this site but the distinction is specious. Allowing things is no less a policy than compelling things. Right now, the environmental policy is to allow people in the present to prejudice the interests of people in the future and yet this site’s principals think frivolously accrued debt is poor policy. That seems rather inconsistent.

    Not at all. What needs to be noticed is that allowing people to engage in activities or not which it is their right to do or not is not a policy. A ‘policy’ to allow people to do as they please in the privacy of their own homes, in accordance with the law, is not a policy at all because nothing has been specified. A policy is in this sense an order; it involves the desire to procure/ avoid an occurrence/ thing and this requires specification.

  146. dover_beach

    Correction: A policy is in this sense likean order;…

  147. Fran Barlow

    dover_beach said:

    That is only true because the root of the tree has no right to be on/under his/her neighbour’s premises.

    True enough, and of course the same applies to encroachment by CO2/other GHGs emitted as a consequence of the profit-making activities of the temporal near neighbours of future generations.

    Whereas the shadow cast be the same tree might also inconvenience his/her neighbour but since s/he is entitled to plant the said tree and it is entitled to grow upon his/her property the shadow cast must be borne by the neighbour whatever the inconvenience.

    Yes, but in this case, that right has been made explicit — it’s a matter of the local district’s policies, whereas at the moment, the policy we have is one of default. We haven’t declared a right to cast “shadows” over future human habitat — quite the reverse. We’ve adcknowledged that this would be wrong and are now arguing how to avoid doing that and whether it’s technically or financially feasioble to do so. Inevitably, since we all recognise that the solutions are not easy, some people are pleading the an ethical case that we can let the chips fall where they may. This may make us feel better, salving our injured sense of self-worth, but it won’t change the fact that people in the future will be a lot worse for people in the present doing a runner.

    A ‘policy’ to allow people to do as they please in the privacy of their own homes, in accordance with the law, is not a policy at all because nothing has been specified.

    Not at all. The policy of the authorities is to enforce the law as specified and ignore all activity that is not apparently contrary to it. In fact of course, the police surely know that illegal activity is going on in the privacy of people’s houses all the time, but instead of enforcing the law by raiding everyone’s house at random just in case, they await some obvious reason for believing criminal activity is afoot. This is sensible because police resources are limited and such activity would harm their standing and be a poor use of police time. Their decision to merely enforce the law and to do nothing until exigent circumstances arise is a policy.

  148. Sleetmute

    Fran, ok then, is the Australian government responsible for poverty-related deaths in the third world?

  149. dover_beach

    We’ve adcknowledged that this would be wrong and are now arguing how to avoid doing that and whether it’s technically or financially feasioble to do so. Inevitably, since we all recognise that the solutions are not easy, some people are pleading the an ethical case that we can let the chips fall where they may. This may make us feel better, salving our injured sense of self-worth, but it won’t change the fact that people in the future will be a lot worse for people in the present doing a runner.

    Who’s acknowledged what to be wrong? At the moment, you cannot even specify a harm that is done by X’s emissions, emissions which s/he has every right to make. And you haven’t anywhere demonstrated that people will be worse-off in the future because of X’s emissions.

    Not at all. The policy of the authorities is to enforce the law as specified and ignore all activity that is not apparently contrary to it.

    But when the authorities cannot specify what it is people are doing or not doing that is not contrary to the law it cannot count as a policy; otherwise you’re compelled to argue that it is a policy of the government that people knit(or not) even though it appears nowhere in their program. Further, a policy to be a policy has to involve a substantive end; policy 1 has no substantive end, whereas policy 2 does. The rest of what you say in that paragraph misses my point.

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