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Author Topic: Carbon Tax to become Law in Australia  (Read 3713 times)
asdf
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June 06, 2012, 11:13:52 AM
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These enormously complex problems can only be solved by the market through the price mechanism. Price is determined be the subjective valuations of the individuals that make up the marketplace. So, in a free market, people get exactly what they think has the most value.

The above statement is so utterly naive it blows my mind. Actually, no, I come to expect it, especially from the membership here. The free market does not accurately price natural capital, and as a consequence, does not accurately price any derivative products based on natural capital.

How does it not? Supply meets demand and a price is set. What other price is there for natural capital that would be more "accurate"? Why is natural capital different from capital in general, in this regard?

The subjective individuals that make up the marketplace are borrowing from the future with no intention or plan of paying it back. The free market is failing.

This has everything to do with government policies. Artificial interest rates, government spending, etc. To blame freedom for this is... naive.
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June 06, 2012, 03:39:09 PM
 #22

How does it not? Supply meets demand and a price is set. What other price is there for natural capital that would be more "accurate"? Why is natural capital different from capital in general, in this regard?

It's not a difficult concept to understand. The harvesting of and consumption of natural capital (market driven) is based on the difficulty of harvesting, the knowledge (or lack) of the ramifications of harvesting, and the demand for it.

It is absolutely laughable that you think the free market appropriately addresses the long term future ramifications of over harvesting.

How can I make this simple for you to understand, given the near religious fervor you attach to the beauty and utility of the free market? I'll give it a shot, even though I can't nearly address all the issues. I'll just share a few, and hope you understand that there are many many more.

- Palm oil: is palm oil appropriately priced? Consider the costs: habitat destruction not just of the areas harvested, but adjoining areas due to edge effects. Destruction of habitat means species extinction. Species extinction means a reduced rate of bio-productivity on Earth, as well as a reduction of information, which can enhance our knowledge in the future. Biodiversity is information, useful for software, algorithms, material science, medicine. The study of biodiversity allows us to develop new materials (think spider silk), new drugs, new cures, new algorithms, new architecture, new methods useful for cultural growth. Biodiversity allows us to study systems and communities, and learn from those systems. Biodiversity allows the Earth's natural systems to engage in sustainability, soil turnover, atmospheric cleansing, water reclamation, etc.

- The Blue Whale: how did the market price blue whales in the mid 20th century? Did it accurately price blue whales? Ultimately, why did they not go extinct?

- Beef: what is the correct price for beef? Does the market correctly price beef, factoring in the extinction of numerous wolf species which were hunted to death? How do wolves contribute to the environment? Here's a hint: riparian zones and clean water.

- Burning coal and the cost of energy derived from such: what is the cost? Do you know?

- Agriculture: what is the cost? Do the crops use low-till or no-till techniques? What are the differences?

- Solar farms for energy production: what is the cost? Do you know?

I could go on and on.

The point is: any process to extract, harvest, or produce has costs that the market is ignorant of. I suggest you lose your religious fervor for the free market and your belief that it accurately prices things.  
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June 06, 2012, 04:18:25 PM
 #23

Let's examine free market dynamics as related to Sumatran rhino horn. Sumatran rhino horn is currently priced at approximately $50,000 per kilo (maybe more as the news report was a year old).

What does that do? It increases the effort to harvest the resource. More technology, and more resources are employed to harvest an ever dwindling resource. It can only lead to one final outcome. That's the free market at work. The consumers and the harvesters do not care about long term viability. They care about near term satisfaction. The free market is a dynamical system, that when unrestrained, unguided, creates destruction, often irreversible, because the participants do not factor in future costs.
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June 08, 2012, 12:07:18 AM
 #24

The study of biodiversity allows us to develop new materials (think spider silk), new drugs, new cures, new algorithms, new architecture, new methods useful for cultural growth.

Note that the date of the article linked to below is after I made the above statement. In other words, progress continues on a daily basis through the study of the vast information available within the biodiversity of this planet.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/06/07/this-psychedelic-shrimp-will-get-you-hammered-video/?WT.mc_id=SA_facebook
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June 08, 2012, 12:48:50 AM
 #25

Let's examine free market dynamics as related to Sumatran rhino horn. Sumatran rhino horn is currently priced at approximately $50,000 per kilo (maybe more as the news report was a year old).
$50,000 per kilo?!? Just for the horn? Holy shit, We should go over there, buy some land, and start farming rhinos. At that price they would be insanely profitable than cattle (which are in no danger at all of going extinct).

Let's get some investors together and get to work in this right now. Since you said this is a free market there aren't going to be any arbitrary restrictions that would prevent entrepreneurs from increasing the supply of rhinos to meet the demand, are there?
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June 08, 2012, 03:31:22 AM
 #26

Let's examine free market dynamics as related to Sumatran rhino horn. Sumatran rhino horn is currently priced at approximately $50,000 per kilo (maybe more as the news report was a year old).
$50,000 per kilo?!? Just for the horn? Holy shit, We should go over there, buy some land, and start farming rhinos. At that price they would be insanely profitable than cattle (which are in no danger at all of going extinct).

Why would they be more profitable than cattle, if you're adding supply? Why do you think you can successfully breed Sumatran rhinos? By the time you have a rhino from which you can cruelly harvest the horn from, how you do know what the demand for horns will be, given the evidence that rhino horn is generally shown not to do what the superstitious consumers believe it will do? Why do you think that the free market, upon the introduction of your farmed Sumatran rhino horns, will suddenly cause poachers to cease their operations? In other words, why do you think your reply here is a defense of the free market? Why do you believe your reply here is indicative of any understanding you might have of the free market.

Quote
Let's get some investors together and get to work in this right now. Since you said this is a free market there aren't going to be any arbitrary restrictions that would prevent entrepreneurs from increasing the supply of rhinos to meet the demand, are there?

What do restrictions have to do with it? The free market finds its solutions wherever they may be.

Thank you for being absurd and pointless.
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June 08, 2012, 05:40:39 AM
 #27

How does it not? Supply meets demand and a price is set. What other price is there for natural capital that would be more "accurate"? Why is natural capital different from capital in general, in this regard?

It's not a difficult concept to understand. The harvesting of and consumption of natural capital (market driven) is based on the difficulty of harvesting, the knowledge (or lack) of the ramifications of harvesting, and the demand for it.

It is absolutely laughable that you think the free market appropriately addresses the long term future ramifications of over harvesting.

How can I make this simple for you to understand, given the near religious fervor you attach to the beauty and utility of the free market? I'll give it a shot, even though I can't nearly address all the issues. I'll just share a few, and hope you understand that there are many many more.

- Palm oil: is palm oil appropriately priced? Consider the costs: habitat destruction not just of the areas harvested, but adjoining areas due to edge effects. Destruction of habitat means species extinction. Species extinction means a reduced rate of bio-productivity on Earth, as well as a reduction of information, which can enhance our knowledge in the future. Biodiversity is information, useful for software, algorithms, material science, medicine. The study of biodiversity allows us to develop new materials (think spider silk), new drugs, new cures, new algorithms, new architecture, new methods useful for cultural growth. Biodiversity allows us to study systems and communities, and learn from those systems. Biodiversity allows the Earth's natural systems to engage in sustainability, soil turnover, atmospheric cleansing, water reclamation, etc.

- The Blue Whale: how did the market price blue whales in the mid 20th century? Did it accurately price blue whales? Ultimately, why did they not go extinct?

- Beef: what is the correct price for beef? Does the market correctly price beef, factoring in the extinction of numerous wolf species which were hunted to death? How do wolves contribute to the environment? Here's a hint: riparian zones and clean water.

- Burning coal and the cost of energy derived from such: what is the cost? Do you know?

- Agriculture: what is the cost? Do the crops use low-till or no-till techniques? What are the differences?

- Solar farms for energy production: what is the cost? Do you know?

I could go on and on.

The point is: any process to extract, harvest, or produce has costs that the market is ignorant of. I suggest you lose your religious fervor for the free market and your belief that it accurately prices things.  

For palm oil, blue whale and beef, this is the problem of the commons: There is unowned or collectively owned property (an artifact of government), which prevents the market from pricing the destroyed resources. The problems is government, not the market.

For coal, agriculture, solar, I don't see your point. the market sets the price... actually, the price in all these cases is largely distorted by government laws, resulting in massive miss-allocations and inefficiencies.

Besides, what are you suggesting; that a collection of bureaucrats can know and set the "true price" of... anything? That the price should artificiality be set using threat of violence? What is the "accurate" price, if not determined by the subjective valuations of individuals voluntary transactions?

You sound like some socialist eco-hippy.
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June 08, 2012, 06:51:23 AM
 #28

...snip...

For palm oil, blue whale and beef, this is the problem of the commons: There is unowned or collectively owned property (an artifact of government), which prevents the market from pricing the destroyed resources. The problems is government, not the market.

For coal, agriculture, solar, I don't see your point. the market sets the price... actually, the price in all these cases is largely distorted by government laws, resulting in massive miss-allocations and inefficiencies.

Besides, what are you suggesting; that a collection of bureaucrats can know and set the "true price" of... anything? That the price should artificiality be set using threat of violence? What is the "accurate" price, if not determined by the subjective valuations of individuals voluntary transactions?

You sound like some socialist eco-hippy.

You keep making a false dichotomy between government and market.  You don't have a market without government because you don't have property rights without government.

If what you want to say is "Government policy needs to change" thats fine.  But its strange saying "market good government bad" since the market only works where you have a government.

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June 08, 2012, 02:56:48 PM
 #29

Finally a responsible country.


Price of 1 gallon of gasoline in Netherlands: 

1.43 BTC

Price of 1 gallon of gasoline in Australia:

0.61 BTC

Care to clarify your comment?  Smiley 

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June 08, 2012, 11:37:05 PM
 #30

The carbon tax is a transfer of wealth to Goldman Sachs et al.
Maybe create a video game where the Global Elites are the targets of a group of clandestine black ops special forces who have gone off the reservation on a take no prisoners mission, or use BTC to fund the real life version.

For Bitcoin to be a true global currency the value of BTC needs always to rise.
If BTC became the global currency & money supply = 100 Trillion then ⊅1.00 BTC = $4,761,904.76.
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June 09, 2012, 12:41:01 AM
 #31

Of course the free market can solve the problem!

First, allow me to defend against polluting aggressors by either:
A. making it really easy to sue them, or
B. allowing physical force, just as I can defend against a mugger.

Then I will join the other free-marketers and oppose carbon taxes. We can even do it gradually, or compromise if that helps. I just don't think the existing legal system is efficient enough to internalize most pollution costs on a case-by-case basis.
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June 09, 2012, 01:12:52 AM
 #32

First, allow me to defend against polluting aggressors by either:
A. making it really easy to sue them, or
That's actually how things worked in common law jurisdictions prior to the government getting involved in regulating environmental issues. During the early industrial revolution orchard owners in England were successfully suing factory owners for the air pollution they were creating until the government there passed a law exempting factories from liability for the property damage they caused. Factory owners paid more bribes to the politicians than the farmers so their needs were prioritized "for the greater good".
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June 09, 2012, 01:50:59 AM
 #33

You keep making a false dichotomy between government and market.  You don't have a market without government because you don't have property rights without government.

If what you want to say is "Government policy needs to change" thats fine.  But its strange saying "market good government bad" since the market only works where you have a government.

"rights" is such a loaded word. If you define rights as: privileges bestowed on the people by the government, then sure, you have no rights without the government.

Of course, you can still have a mutual respect for property, which can be enforced by market entities. Hence, the market can operate without a government framework of "rights".

We've discussed this before. You have yet to demonstrate why the market cannot provide the services that the government currently claims a exclusive domain over. Your position seems to be that people can't possibly protect their property without a monopoly institution forcefully extracting wealth to pay for such a service. Clearly, there is a market demand for protection of property. Entrepreneurs will supply this demand, just like they do in every other market (that isn't regulated out of existence).

It is you presenting the false dichotomy of government vs chaos.
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June 09, 2012, 03:23:36 AM
 #34

For palm oil, blue whale and beef, this is the problem of the commons: There is unowned or collectively owned property (an artifact of government), which prevents the market from pricing the destroyed resources. The problems is government, not the market.

Sadly, but typically, you are wrong, your ideals are misplaced, and your lack of knowledge on the subject shows. Regarding palm oil, it's safe to say you don't understand the details at all. Poverty is the problem. Regarding beef, again, you miss the mark. Ranchers own their land. With regard to the blue whale, I see you failed to really learn about the problem, its cause, and what saved the blue whale. And regarding the commons, I suggest if you want to cite something which you feel backs up your ideology, then perhaps you should really learn more about the well known document which discusses it. How much do you really know about Garrett Hardin and his colleague Herman Daly?

For coal, agriculture, solar, I don't see your point.

That's because you willfully choose to wear blinders. Your obtuse desire to remain ignorant on the complexity of the problem does not reinforce your point of view.

Besides, what are you suggesting; that a collection of bureaucrats can know and set the "true price" of... anything? That the price should artificiality be set using threat of violence? What is the "accurate" price, if not determined by the subjective valuations of individuals voluntary transactions?

Would you mind telling me where I advocated price fixing?

You sound like some socialist eco-hippy.

I am an environmentally conscious individual who knows a heck of a lot more than you do, and I am not one who advocates price fixing, but I am also someone smart enough to know that unregulated free markets result in exploitation to make a quick buck by individuals with little more knowledge than you - thus resulting in unsustainable and irreversible damage to our planet's biosphere and ecosystems.

You are proof of the the damage the free markets can cause, by virtue of your willful ignorance.
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June 09, 2012, 06:49:41 AM
 #35

You keep making a false dichotomy between government and market.  You don't have a market without government because you don't have property rights without government.

If what you want to say is "Government policy needs to change" thats fine.  But its strange saying "market good government bad" since the market only works where you have a government.

"rights" is such a loaded word. If you define rights as: privileges bestowed on the people by the government, then sure, you have no rights without the government.

Of course, you can still have a mutual respect for property, which can be enforced by market entities. Hence, the market can operate without a government framework of "rights".

We've discussed this before. You have yet to demonstrate why the market cannot provide the services that the government currently claims a exclusive domain over. Your position seems to be that people can't possibly protect their property without a monopoly institution forcefully extracting wealth to pay for such a service. Clearly, there is a market demand for protection of property. Entrepreneurs will supply this demand, just like they do in every other market (that isn't regulated out of existence).

It is you presenting the false dichotomy of government vs chaos.

Property requires something called legal title to be useful.  You can't raise a mortgage on a patch of land just by saying "A market entity will support me if I pay it" as someone else can pay a bigger "market entity" and take it off you.

A market requires enforcement of contracts.  That means you needs courts and lawyers.  If you rely on the free market, you will have competing courts giving alternative verdicts. 

Absent a government, these problems get solved by a single "market entity" overpowering all the others so that only land title it recognises and only contracts it validates count. 

That "market entity" is now a government - unelected; unrestrained and it will be a tyranny.  Congrats!

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June 09, 2012, 07:01:21 AM
 #36

Property requires something called legal title to be useful.  You can't raise a mortgage on a patch of land just by saying "A market entity will support me if I pay it" as someone else can pay a bigger "market entity" and take it off you.

A market requires enforcement of contracts.  That means you needs courts and lawyers.  If you rely on the free market, you will have competing courts giving alternative verdicts. 

Absent a government, these problems get solved by a single "market entity" overpowering all the others so that only land title it recognises and only contracts it validates count. 

That "market entity" is now a government - unelected; unrestrained and it will be a tyranny.  Congrats!
You are confusing your own lack of imagination for a immutable law of nature. You can't figure out how property is useful without a government-granted title. You don't know how to interact with people or resolve interpersonal disputes without a government.

That's fine - you're under no obligation to know or learn alternative ways to solve these problem but by stating these things as if you know them to be true you're just putting your own unexamined prejudices forward as fact.
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June 09, 2012, 10:45:49 AM
 #37

Property requires something called legal title to be useful.  You can't raise a mortgage on a patch of land just by saying "A market entity will support me if I pay it" as someone else can pay a bigger "market entity" and take it off you.

A market requires enforcement of contracts.  That means you needs courts and lawyers.  If you rely on the free market, you will have competing courts giving alternative verdicts. 

Absent a government, these problems get solved by a single "market entity" overpowering all the others so that only land title it recognises and only contracts it validates count. 

That "market entity" is now a government - unelected; unrestrained and it will be a tyranny.  Congrats!
You are confusing your own lack of imagination for a immutable law of nature. You can't figure out how property is useful without a government-granted title. You don't know how to interact with people or resolve interpersonal disputes without a government.

That's fine - you're under no obligation to know or learn alternative ways to solve these problem but by stating these things as if you know them to be true you're just putting your own unexamined prejudices forward as fact.

When you have a moment to spare, google "ad hominem."  Its a logic error and your post is a classic of its kind.  After reading up on it, feel free to make a post in which you engage with the arguments.

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June 09, 2012, 10:31:20 PM
 #38

Property requires something called legal title to be useful.  You can't raise a mortgage on a patch of land just by saying "A market entity will support me if I pay it" as someone else can pay a bigger "market entity" and take it off you.

A market requires enforcement of contracts.  That means you needs courts and lawyers.  If you rely on the free market, you will have competing courts giving alternative verdicts. 

Absent a government, these problems get solved by a single "market entity" overpowering all the others so that only land title it recognises and only contracts it validates count. 

That "market entity" is now a government - unelected; unrestrained and it will be a tyranny.  Congrats!
You are confusing your own lack of imagination for a immutable law of nature. You can't figure out how property is useful without a government-granted title. You don't know how to interact with people or resolve interpersonal disputes without a government.

That's fine - you're under no obligation to know or learn alternative ways to solve these problem but by stating these things as if you know them to be true you're just putting your own unexamined prejudices forward as fact.

When you have a moment to spare, google "ad hominem."  Its a logic error and your post is a classic of its kind.  After reading up on it, feel free to make a post in which you engage with the arguments.

He didn't attack your character. He specifically attacked a fallacious element of your argument: "You are confusing your own lack of imagination for a immutable law of nature.". You reasoning boils down to this: I can't think of how a market will solve these problems, therefore they can't be solved. This is false logic.

google: "conflict resolution in a free society". There's plenty of info on this.
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June 09, 2012, 10:40:05 PM
 #39

You reasoning boils down to this: I can't think of how a market will solve these problems, therefore they can't be solved. This is false logic.

That's funny. The words you're putting in Hawker's mouth are very expressive of your own views. Was it not you who basically said: "I can't think how a market would solve these problems, therefore, you must advocate price fixing."
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June 09, 2012, 11:08:26 PM
 #40

For palm oil, blue whale and beef, this is the problem of the commons: There is unowned or collectively owned property (an artifact of government), which prevents the market from pricing the destroyed resources. The problems is government, not the market.

Sadly, but typically, you are wrong, your ideals are misplaced, and your lack of knowledge on the subject shows. Regarding palm oil, it's safe to say you don't understand the details at all. Poverty is the problem. Regarding beef, again, you miss the mark. Ranchers own their land. With regard to the blue whale, I see you failed to really learn about the problem, its cause, and what saved the blue whale. And regarding the commons, I suggest if you want to cite something which you feel backs up your ideology, then perhaps you should really learn more about the well known document which discusses it. How much do you really know about Garrett Hardin and his colleague Herman Daly?

For coal, agriculture, solar, I don't see your point.

That's because you willfully choose to wear blinders. Your obtuse desire to remain ignorant on the complexity of the problem does not reinforce your point of view.

Besides, what are you suggesting; that a collection of bureaucrats can know and set the "true price" of... anything? That the price should artificiality be set using threat of violence? What is the "accurate" price, if not determined by the subjective valuations of individuals voluntary transactions?

Would you mind telling me where I advocated price fixing?

You sound like some socialist eco-hippy.

I am an environmentally conscious individual who knows a heck of a lot more than you do, and I am not one who advocates price fixing, but I am also someone smart enough to know that unregulated free markets result in exploitation to make a quick buck by individuals with little more knowledge than you - thus resulting in unsustainable and irreversible damage to our planet's biosphere and ecosystems.

You are proof of the the damage the free markets can cause, by virtue of your willful ignorance.

The only thing you said which came close to a counter argument was "Ranchers own land". With the beef example, you're assuming the wolves have value worth saving. Also, the wolves are unowned, hence the problem of unowned capital (assuming anyone want's to own them). Likely, they are a liability, hence there is value in destroying them. They have been priced appropriately.

If you are so well versed in Garrett Hardin, perhaps you can condense his central argument into a short paragraph and present it here. After a glance at this http://www.garretthardinsociety.org/articles/art_tragedy_of_the_commons.html He seems to be highly critical of The Commons as the cause of social problems. Which is exactly what I'm telling you; all these social problems result from the concept of common property. The government is one big fat problem of the commons, preventing the price mechanism from allocating scarce resources properly, resulting in environmental pillaging.

I'm glad you don't advocate price fixing, but what then do you advocate? If the price of a commodity isn't set by voluntary trade, then by what mechanism would it be accurately priced? If you believe that the market pricing is "inaccurate" then you must be comparing it to something that you believe is accurate. Else how could you make this determination?
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