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Author Topic: Negative Externalities  (Read 11013 times)
ribuck
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April 12, 2011, 06:46:11 PM
 #21

So, please, help add to the list.
Infectious diseases.

Diseases are a difficult class of externality, because the size of the effect is unknown to the infected person. If the person diagnosed with bird flu goes to the coffee shop, they may infect zero, one, or more people. Or, the diagnosis may be incorrect, and they may have something similar that's harmless or is ten times more deadly.
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April 13, 2011, 07:57:02 AM
 #22

Cannot a polluter rightfully ignore the complaints of the dysenteric and asthmatic on the premise that they consented to drink and breath?

Not if they're affecting the complainers properties. (well, I mean they don't have the right to, not that they "can't")
If a polluter is polluting your piece of a river, your lake, the water from your well etc, than you have the right to stop him.

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April 13, 2011, 01:16:37 PM
 #23

Not if they're affecting the complainers properties. (well, I mean they don't have the right to, not that they "can't")
If a polluter is polluting your piece of a river, your lake, the water from your well etc, than you have the right to stop him.
You imply that some can rightfully own more water and air than others? Such a property concept has negative externalities because it allows for polluters to own and rightfully pollute the water and air that I drink and breath. With every gulp and breath I would give my consent to some grotesque EULA.

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April 13, 2011, 01:20:19 PM
 #24

Cannot a polluter rightfully ignore the complaints of the dysenteric and asthmatic on the premise that they consented to drink and breath?

Not if they're affecting the complainers properties. (well, I mean they don't have the right to, not that they "can't")
If a polluter is polluting your piece of a river, your lake, the water from your well etc, than you have the right to stop him.

If there is no "public" ownership, it becomes a case of damages, not negative externalities.  If someone dumps a pile of manure in my yard, that's not an externality, it's damaging my property and I will sue him or at least make him clean it up.
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April 13, 2011, 01:38:19 PM
 #25

If there is no "public" ownership, it becomes a case of damages, not negative externalities.  If someone dumps a pile of manure in my yard, that's not an externality, it's damaging my property and I will sue him or at least make him clean it up.
My last post in this thread still applies. If I happen not to own my yard, or my home for that matter, the landlord can do whatever he pleases.

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April 13, 2011, 01:58:05 PM
 #26

If there is no "public" ownership, it becomes a case of damages, not negative externalities.  If someone dumps a pile of manure in my yard, that's not an externality, it's damaging my property and I will sue him or at least make him clean it up.
My last post in this thread still applies. If I happen not to own my yard, or my home for that matter, the landlord can do whatever he pleases.

If I happen to not own Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart can just do whatever they please, and they may decide not to stock things I want to buy.  I'll have no choice but to just buy things I hate then.

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April 13, 2011, 02:05:26 PM
 #27

Not if they're affecting the complainers properties. (well, I mean they don't have the right to, not that they "can't")
If a polluter is polluting your piece of a river, your lake, the water from your well etc, than you have the right to stop him.
You imply that some can rightfully own more water and air than others? Such a property concept has negative externalities because it allows for polluters to own and rightfully pollute the water and air that I drink and breath. With every gulp and breath I would give my consent to some grotesque EULA.

Scarce things are scarce, yo.

Ownership just means you can lay a claim to keep other people from using said resource if you rightfully acquired it (<---debate for another time in there).  If someone comes along and dirties it up or otherwise harms this resource, you have recourse.  It's just a combination of this notion of 'public property' and our inefficient court systems that favor (due to their expensive nature and laws written by lobbyists rather than dictated by natural rights) large corporations that allow 'acceptable levels' of pollution to happen today.

Without both of those in place, it would become trivial to seek redress vs. any damage to your property by another party, and this includes pollution.  Without limited liability laws, the stockholders and management of any company that decided to risk polluting others' property would be at personal risk of losing their assets if they wronged others.

Incentives matter.

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April 13, 2011, 02:57:10 PM
 #28

What about stray dogs?  Are those a negative externality?

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April 13, 2011, 03:31:09 PM
 #29

You imply that some can rightfully own more water and air than others?

Of course, as with any scarce resource.

Such a property concept has negative externalities because it allows for polluters to own and rightfully pollute the water and air that I drink and breath. With every gulp and breath I would give my consent to some grotesque EULA.

The same thing could theoretically be happening to food and everything else, right now....

OMG, we'll all starve!!!
 Roll Eyes

Competition solves the "issue". What doesn't help are regulations, barriers of entry, disrespect over people's property rights and so on...

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April 13, 2011, 04:57:15 PM
 #30

If I happen to not own Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart can just do whatever they please, and they may decide not to stock things I want to buy.  I'll have no choice but to just buy things I hate then.
Indeed, that's a crappy position to be in, wherein you can only choose to shop at Wal-Mart or not shop at all. Even worse is the choice to breath or not breath.

Scarce things are scarce, yo.

Ownership just means you can lay a claim to keep other people from using said resource if you rightfully acquired it (<---debate for another time in there).  If someone comes along and dirties it up or otherwise harms this resource, you have recourse.  It's just a combination of this notion of 'public property' and our inefficient court systems that favor (due to their expensive nature and laws written by lobbyists rather than dictated by natural rights) large corporations that allow 'acceptable levels' of pollution to happen today.

Without both of those in place, it would become trivial to seek redress vs. any damage to your property by another party, and this includes pollution.  Without limited liability laws, the stockholders and management of any company that decided to risk polluting others' property would be at personal risk of losing their assets if they wronged others.

Incentives matter.
But people often use and depend on things that other people (legally) own. Wherein everyone (legally) owns only that which they procure through their own labor, use, and occupy themselves, then I think you have something.

You imply that some can rightfully own more water and air than others?

Of course, as with any scarce resource.

Such a property concept has negative externalities because it allows for polluters to own and rightfully pollute the water and air that I drink and breath. With every gulp and breath I would give my consent to some grotesque EULA.

The same thing could theoretically be happening to food and everything else, right now....

OMG, we'll all starve!!!
 Roll Eyes

Competition solves the "issue". What doesn't help are regulations, barriers of entry, disrespect over people's property rights and so on...
So, living according to an EULA of another person's creation does not count as a negative externality? Even if one can escape the terms of the EULA through death or exile, all the choices represent a potentate imposing harm on that person. As such, all forms of usury are negative externalities.

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April 13, 2011, 05:11:22 PM
 #31

So, living according to an EULA of another person's creation does not count as a negative externality? Even if one can escape the terms of the EULA through death or exile, all the choices represent a potentate imposing harm on that person. As such, all forms of usury are negative externalities.

Who is the potentate?  Who is imposing harm on whom?  Property owners?

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April 13, 2011, 05:22:13 PM
 #32

Who is the potentate?  Who is imposing harm on whom?  Property owners?
In the pollution example, it is whomever pollutes, and thereby imposes harm on others, with impunity.

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April 13, 2011, 05:26:24 PM
 #33

And in the usury example?

Who is the polluter in this case?

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April 13, 2011, 05:28:59 PM
 #34

And in the usury example?
Whomever takes the product of your labor while giving back relatively less with impunity.

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April 13, 2011, 05:32:11 PM
 #35

Whomever takes the product of your labor while giving back relatively less with impunity.

Because labor has inherent value?

Or all trades must be equal trades?

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April 13, 2011, 05:32:37 PM
 #36

Who is the potentate?  Who is imposing harm on whom?  Property owners?
In the pollution example, it is whomever pollutes, and thereby imposes harm on others, with impunity.

Only the state grants impunity.

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April 13, 2011, 05:33:42 PM
 #37

And in the usury example?
Whomever takes the product of your labor while giving back relatively less with impunity.

If your labor is worth more, go find a job somewhere else.

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April 13, 2011, 05:42:19 PM
 #38

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Indeed, that's a crappy position to be in, wherein you can only choose to shop at Wal-Mart or not shop at all. Even worse is the choice to breath or not breath.

The point is that you're worrying about a non-issue.  If people are worried about something bad happening, there will be demand for people to ensure bad thing 'x' doesn't happen.  If everyone in the world owned a private factory spewing carbon monoxide over a wide radius making most of the world uninhabitable, and it seemed like no one cared, then I'd be a little worried; but it's obviously not the case, and government has only codified that pollution is okay, as long as it's under arbitrary limit 'y,' and then made it impossible for the average person to ever recover any damages, even if an entity goes above arbitrary limit 'y.'

Even if there was a problem here, violence is not the way to solve complex, social problems.

Quote
But people often use and depend on things that other people (legally) own. Wherein everyone (legally) owns only that which they procure through their own labor, use, and occupy themselves, then I think you have something.

Everything with mass is excludable.  You cannot say some atoms are special and need to be un-owned or that you have some master plan to distribute atoms fairly to people.

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April 13, 2011, 10:05:42 PM
 #39

Because labor has inherent value?
No. The labor one might expend to exploit others is worthless because it produces nothing.

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Or all trades must be equal trades?
If they qualify as fair trades, yes.

Only the state grants impunity.
A state is just an entity with the power to do so. A usurer will have to become a state himself or find another one to rely on to continue his usury.

If your labor is worth more, go find a job somewhere else.
My labor is worth the product I produce by it, no more, no less. That I'd have to flee my workplace, a second home really, to find fair compensation is an injury to my humanity. As if that's not bad enough, I'd have to flee my home because there are no engineering cooperatives nearby.

The point is that you're worrying about a non-issue.  If people are worried about something bad happening, there will be demand for people to ensure bad thing 'x' doesn't happen.  If everyone in the world owned a private factory spewing carbon monoxide over a wide radius making most of the world uninhabitable, and it seemed like no one cared, then I'd be a little worried; but it's obviously not the case, and government has only codified that pollution is okay, as long as it's under arbitrary limit 'y,' and then made it impossible for the average person to ever recover any damages, even if an entity goes above arbitrary limit 'y.'

Even if there was a problem here, violence is not the way to solve complex, social problems.
Can the demand be so great that people will break their EULAs, or will they have to enter into others by buying protection from strongmen?

Quote
Everything with mass is excludable.  You cannot say some atoms are special and need to be un-owned or that you have some master plan to distribute atoms fairly to people.
I never said that and I do not. I find it curious though that some atoms, after a worker uses his labor to arrange them in some fashion so as to create a product, become more valuable after the employer takes it. Must be magic.

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April 13, 2011, 10:11:59 PM
 #40

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Or all trades must be equal trades?
If they qualify as fair trades, yes.


Please define "fair" in this context.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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