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Author Topic: What is environmentalism, really?  (Read 7633 times)
FirstAscent
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August 16, 2012, 05:32:39 PM
 #161

So when you say let an individual have private ownership over large amounts of land and let them do whatever they want, but sue them if they negatively affect you, or appoint some kind of regulators -- this is a completely impotent strategy.

Just as dangerous (and this is what makes libertarianism so dangerous to the environment) is the idea of the land being divided up into small parcels and owned by many thousands and millions of individuals. In the libertarian environment, where there exist no regulations, each parcel is subject to the random whims of the individuals, some knowledgeable, some ignorant, some who care about the environment, some who don't. Each individual has their own agenda and view of life and the world. You'll get a classic checkerboard of damage and preservation, which is equal to less than the sum of preserved checks.
If you do something stupid on your parcel, there will be coalitions of people to sue. If you reject arbitration, there will be severe sanctions applied. If you do something stupid again, good luck keeping your land.

Think about it: if a forest is in your land, but by cutting it down you will have caused damage to the thousands of landowners adjacent to you, how will you win?

Prediction: he calls all the other owners idiots by implying or stating that they won't know that their land has been affected.

Your prediction exists in part because you've actually learned the mechanics of the situation. As for a large part of the owners being idiots and being ignorant of the real damages caused by other owners, I think it's very clear from the responses to my posts in this forum that the majority do indeed not understand the consequences of others.
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August 16, 2012, 05:41:32 PM
 #162

So when you say let an individual have private ownership over large amounts of land and let them do whatever they want, but sue them if they negatively affect you, or appoint some kind of regulators -- this is a completely impotent strategy.

Just as dangerous (and this is what makes libertarianism so dangerous to the environment) is the idea of the land being divided up into small parcels and owned by many thousands and millions of individuals. In the libertarian environment, where there exist no regulations, each parcel is subject to the random whims of the individuals, some knowledgeable, some ignorant, some who care about the environment, some who don't. Each individual has their own agenda and view of life and the world. You'll get a classic checkerboard of damage and preservation, which is equal to less than the sum of preserved checks.
If you do something stupid on your parcel, there will be coalitions of people to sue. If you reject arbitration, there will be severe sanctions applied. If you do something stupid again, good luck keeping your land.

Think about it: if a forest is in your land, but by cutting it down you will have caused damage to the thousands of landowners adjacent to you, how will you win?

Prediction: he calls all the other owners idiots by implying or stating that they won't know that their land has been affected.

Your prediction exists in part because you've actually learned the mechanics of the situation. As for a large part of the owners being idiots and being ignorant of the real damages caused by other owners, I think it's very clear from the responses to my posts in this forum that the majority do indeed not understand the consequences of others.
BitcoinTalk Forum ≠ General Public.

Just because 90% of BitcoinTalk users won't care doesn't mean 90% of the public won't. In fact, it's quite likely 90% of the public will.
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August 16, 2012, 06:04:53 PM
 #163

Scenario:

I own land which I have kept a forest because I like old-growth forests. My new neighbor doesn't like old-grown forests, he likes cows. So he cuts down the forest on his land, which, as you stated, causes the border area to have thicker undergrowth, a different sort of wildlife, and generally no longer act like old-growth forest. Now, as stated, I kept my land forest because I like old-growth forest. If suddenly, large tracts of my land aren't acting like the old-growth forest that I bought, I'm going to be upset. Why would I not be?

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FirstAscent
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August 16, 2012, 06:15:01 PM
 #164

Scenario:

I own land which I have kept a forest because I like old-growth forests. My new neighbor doesn't like old-grown forests, he likes cows. So he cuts down the forest on his land, which, as you stated, causes the border area to have thicker undergrowth, a different sort of wildlife, and generally no longer act like old-growth forest. Now, as stated, I kept my land forest because I like old-growth forest. If suddenly, large tracts of my land aren't acting like the old-growth forest that I bought, I'm going to be upset. Why would I not be?

It's a little bit late though. And your neighbor will probably counter sue you claiming that your suit against him affects his liveleyhood, which it does, to some extent. A more uniform policy named in advance with reasons set forth has more strength with regard to protecting lands.
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August 16, 2012, 06:18:10 PM
 #165

Scenario:

I own land which I have kept a forest because I like old-growth forests. My new neighbor doesn't like old-grown forests, he likes cows. So he cuts down the forest on his land, which, as you stated, causes the border area to have thicker undergrowth, a different sort of wildlife, and generally no longer act like old-growth forest. Now, as stated, I kept my land forest because I like old-growth forest. If suddenly, large tracts of my land aren't acting like the old-growth forest that I bought, I'm going to be upset. Why would I not be?

It's a little bit late though. And your neighbor will probably counter sue you claiming that your suit against him affects his liveleyhood, which it does, to some extent. A more uniform policy named in advance with reasons set forth has more strength with regard to protecting lands.
You and your neighbour are not the only people who own the old-growth forest. Everyone else affected will join your lawsuit. People aren't stupid, and one can never beat a thousand.
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August 16, 2012, 06:22:51 PM
 #166

Scenario:

I own land which I have kept a forest because I like old-growth forests. My new neighbor doesn't like old-grown forests, he likes cows. So he cuts down the forest on his land, which, as you stated, causes the border area to have thicker undergrowth, a different sort of wildlife, and generally no longer act like old-growth forest. Now, as stated, I kept my land forest because I like old-growth forest. If suddenly, large tracts of my land aren't acting like the old-growth forest that I bought, I'm going to be upset. Why would I not be?

It's a little bit late though. And your neighbor will probably counter sue you claiming that your suit against him affects his liveleyhood, which it does, to some extent. A more uniform policy named in advance with reasons set forth has more strength with regard to protecting lands.
You and your neighbour are not the only people who own the old-growth forest. Everyone else affected will join your lawsuit. People aren't stupid, and one can never beat a thousand.

Concessions, counter suits, and randomness will all lead to a less than consistent outcome. And it will all cost everyone money just as taxes would. Not that the current situation works perfectly either. Help me work out a solution that would work.
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August 16, 2012, 06:27:10 PM
 #167

Scenario:

I own land which I have kept a forest because I like old-growth forests. My new neighbor doesn't like old-grown forests, he likes cows. So he cuts down the forest on his land, which, as you stated, causes the border area to have thicker undergrowth, a different sort of wildlife, and generally no longer act like old-growth forest. Now, as stated, I kept my land forest because I like old-growth forest. If suddenly, large tracts of my land aren't acting like the old-growth forest that I bought, I'm going to be upset. Why would I not be?

It's a little bit late though. And your neighbor will probably counter sue you claiming that your suit against him affects his liveleyhood, which it does, to some extent. A more uniform policy named in advance with reasons set forth has more strength with regard to protecting lands.

Let me introduce you to a phrase: "Due Diligence". If the new neighbor had done some of that before cutting down the forest, or, better yet buying forest with the intent of cutting it down, it wouldn't have happened. Because of that, his countersuit would fall flat. I agree though, once the damage is done, it's too late. Thus why you should do the due diligence, so as to not do damage.

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August 16, 2012, 09:47:54 PM
 #168

How? I agree trying to take the Fed to task for destroying your savings or Rio Tinto for strip mining Australia would be futile, but that's because the way to do that would be through the government courts. And in the Government courts, companies with a government license to do exactly what they have been doing will ultimately win. Take that government license away, and take them to a private court, and you'll have a better chance.

Well then why does bitcoin need strong ownership? We should just have a central payment processor or a single web wallet, and just go to bitcoin court if something goes wrong. All those hard disks full of blockchains, and miners running 24/7 just to take away a few jobs from some lawyers.. ? What a waste.

Dude, you are all over the map. WTF are you even talking about?

Again I will try to be more clear. Bitcoin is designed exactly in such a way as to avoid needing to use courts in the first place -- and to avoid placing your trust in any individual. Every user has strong ownership of their coins, such that no court can take them away, and all transactions are final. If we are going to trust courts, public or private, to enforce justice and solve disputes, then the whole design of bitcoin is pointless. We can just have a centralised payment system and just sue someone if we are wronged. Alternatively we don't need every user to run a full node, we can just have a web wallet that everybody trusts, and just sue it if something goes wrong. Bitcoin is designed exactly to avoid all trust in any court or system or even any other individual. The only thing that is trusted is that 51% of the network is going to be honest.

You on the other hand suggest to trust individuals with large amounts of power over the environment, even to the point where they can seriously harm the entire world, but to use the threat of courts and regulations to keep them in line, and to provide them with positive incentives to make them good custodians of the environment. Do you see how this is totally inconsistent with the philosophy of bitcoin?
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August 16, 2012, 09:58:01 PM
 #169

So when you say let an individual have private ownership over large amounts of land and let them do whatever they want, but sue them if they negatively affect you, or appoint some kind of regulators -- this is a completely impotent strategy.

Just as dangerous (and this is what makes libertarianism so dangerous to the environment) is the idea of the land being divided up into small parcels and owned by many thousands and millions of individuals. In the libertarian environment, where there exist no regulations, each parcel is subject to the random whims of the individuals, some knowledgeable, some ignorant, some who care about the environment, some who don't. Each individual has their own agenda and view of life and the world. You'll get a classic checkerboard of damage and preservation, which is equal to less than the sum of preserved checks.


That's a good point as well. Owning a piece of the environment seems like just too much power to not be decentralised, for me. Should a private individual be able to run his own nuclear power station station on his parcel of land? Then his neighbours can sue him if he has a meltdown? Then I guess they will be compensated financially and all will be well...
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August 16, 2012, 10:06:10 PM
 #170

One other point is that most of the time people are interested in short term profit and are not going to care about their property value 150 years from now. If I can build a chemical weapons factory and make a large profit today, someone else is going to inherit the hole in the ground in a few decades. Yet a lot of environmental damage is lasting and it is easy to externalise the economics of it. Financial incentives to protect the environment are complete bunk.
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August 16, 2012, 10:10:46 PM
 #171

How? I agree trying to take the Fed to task for destroying your savings or Rio Tinto for strip mining Australia would be futile, but that's because the way to do that would be through the government courts. And in the Government courts, companies with a government license to do exactly what they have been doing will ultimately win. Take that government license away, and take them to a private court, and you'll have a better chance.

Well then why does bitcoin need strong ownership? We should just have a central payment processor or a single web wallet, and just go to bitcoin court if something goes wrong. All those hard disks full of blockchains, and miners running 24/7 just to take away a few jobs from some lawyers.. ? What a waste.

Dude, you are all over the map. WTF are you even talking about?

Again I will try to be more clear. Bitcoin is designed exactly in such a way as to avoid needing to use courts in the first place -- and to avoid placing your trust in any individual. Every user has strong ownership of their coins, such that no court can take them away, and all transactions are final. If we are going to trust courts, public or private, to enforce justice and solve disputes, then the whole design of bitcoin is pointless. We can just have a centralised payment system and just sue someone if we are wronged. Alternatively we don't need every user to run a full node, we can just have a web wallet that everybody trusts, and just sue it if something goes wrong. Bitcoin is designed exactly to avoid all trust in any court or system or even any other individual. The only thing that is trusted is that 51% of the network is going to be honest.

You on the other hand suggest to trust individuals with large amounts of power over the environment, even to the point where they can seriously harm the entire world, but to use the threat of courts and regulations to keep them in line, and to provide them with positive incentives to make them good custodians of the environment. Do you see how this is totally inconsistent with the philosophy of bitcoin?

Ah. I think I see your problem. You're assuming I am referring to a centralized court system. I am not.

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August 16, 2012, 10:23:29 PM
 #172

Ah. I think I see your problem. You're assuming I am referring to a centralized court system. I am not.

I thought this is what you meant. So how does a decentralised court system work? Is it going to be akin to direct democracy by any chance?
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August 16, 2012, 10:34:00 PM
 #173

Ah. I think I see your problem. You're assuming I am referring to a centralized court system. I am not.

I thought this is what you meant. So how does a decentralised court system work? Is it going to be akin to direct democracy by any chance?
Basically, anyone can set up a court. Whether others support the court depends on its PR, strategy, and previous decisions. If the court wishes to employ direct democracy, it can.
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August 16, 2012, 10:42:54 PM
 #174

Ah. I think I see your problem. You're assuming I am referring to a centralized court system. I am not.

I thought this is what you meant. So how does a decentralised court system work? Is it going to be akin to direct democracy by any chance?

Free market arbitration firms offer dispute resolution to people. These decisions are binding because the parties involved have agreed ahead of time (sometimes long before even the dispute) to be bound by the decision.

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August 16, 2012, 10:55:42 PM
 #175

Right so basically like bitcoin court. So since we have entities like bitcoin court, why do we need strong ownership in bitcoin? Why not just use the courts?

From wikipedia's article on decentralisation:

"A central theme in decentralization is the difference between:

    a hierarchy, based on authority: two players in an unequal-power relationship; and
    an interface: a lateral relationship between two players of roughly equal power.

The more decentralized a system is, the more it relies on lateral relationships, and the less it can rely on command or force."

But in the case of libertarian private land ownership, you have the land-owner party that has power to physically affect the lives of many others, and then you have private courts that you hope to use to control this. Doesn't seem like decentralisation to me. Why would the land owner agree to be arbitrated by some private court?
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August 16, 2012, 11:03:52 PM
 #176

Why would the land owner agree to be arbitrated by some private court?

For the simple reason that if he did not, he would not be protected by that court system. Along the same lines, he might have difficulty entering into any private contract, since he's already violated one, or at the very least, demonstrated his willingness to refuse arbitration in the face of having caused damages.

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August 16, 2012, 11:44:03 PM
 #177

Why would the land owner agree to be arbitrated by some private court?

For the simple reason that if he did not, he would not be protected by that court system. Along the same lines, he might have difficulty entering into any private contract, since he's already violated one, or at the very least, demonstrated his willingness to refuse arbitration in the face of having caused damages.

Well I suppose this makes sense. But you have to trust the courts and the individuals that work there. You have to trust the land owner to abide by his contract. What if he can make a lot of money by breaking the contract? For eg. how many of the ponzi scheme operators on these forums are going to abide by all of their contracts? Will the bitcoinica customers get any restitution?

Probably a decentralised court system is better than the traditional one, but it not true decentralisation. In this model, the land-owner has an unequal power relationship with all his neighbours (unless you count that they can fight him by destroying their environment as well -- something that happens a lot in neighbourly disputes). The court has a concentration of power. I guarantee you that in practice this will never work and the environment will just continue to degrade, while we squabble about money.
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August 17, 2012, 12:02:08 AM
 #178

Probably a decentralised court system is better than the traditional one, but it not true decentralisation. In this model, the land-owner has an unequal power relationship with all his neighbours (unless you count that they can fight him by destroying their environment as well -- something that happens a lot in neighbourly disputes). The court has a concentration of power. I guarantee you that in practice this will never work and the environment will just continue to degrade, while we squabble about money.

Then what do you propose instead?

I would argue that if there is any unequal power relationship, it's the neighbors who have power over the landowner, not the other way around. He is very narrowly confined in what he can do without negatively affecting his neighbors, and as soon as he does, he'd be in deep trouble, to pay all those damages to his neighbors. As for the concentration of power, I would say you'd be hard pressed to say that a single arbitrator has any concentration of power.

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August 17, 2012, 05:06:51 AM
 #179

Then what do you propose instead?

I would argue that if there is any unequal power relationship, it's the neighbors who have power over the landowner, not the other way around. He is very narrowly confined in what he can do without negatively affecting his neighbors, and as soon as he does, he'd be in deep trouble, to pay all those damages to his neighbors. As for the concentration of power, I would say you'd be hard pressed to say that a single arbitrator has any concentration of power.

So if I hold a gun to your head, you have the power because you can sue me? Are all of the ponzi scheme operators at a disadvantage because they face legal repercussions if they lose their clients' money? They have the money now, and it's a whole struggle to get justice after the fact. Just look at all the recent cases of fraud and negligence. With Madoff, the court found him guilty but still the clients didn't get their money back. How would a private decentralised court get a different result?

My proposition is simply that not everything should be for sale. Land ownership should be thought of more like long-term renting, and projects that can affect the community at large should go through a democratic approval process.
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August 17, 2012, 05:54:01 AM
 #180

Then what do you propose instead?

I would argue that if there is any unequal power relationship, it's the neighbors who have power over the landowner, not the other way around. He is very narrowly confined in what he can do without negatively affecting his neighbors, and as soon as he does, he'd be in deep trouble, to pay all those damages to his neighbors. As for the concentration of power, I would say you'd be hard pressed to say that a single arbitrator has any concentration of power.

So if I hold a gun to your head, you have the power because you can sue me? Are all of the ponzi scheme operators at a disadvantage because they face legal repercussions if they lose their clients' money? They have the money now, and it's a whole struggle to get justice after the fact. Just look at all the recent cases of fraud and negligence. With Madoff, the court found him guilty but still the clients didn't get their money back. How would a private decentralised court get a different result?

My proposition is simply that not everything should be for sale. Land ownership should be thought of more like long-term renting, and projects that can affect the community at large should go through a democratic approval process.

You don't seriously equate detriment to your property to holding a gun to your head? Violent situations are different. The problem with the Ponzi scheme operators is that they're anonymous. Give your money to someone you don't know, whose fault is it when they run off with it? With Madoff (and other Ponzi schemes), people don't get their money back because it's already gone. But holding the perpetrator responsible for paying them back will eventually result in them getting their money back - if he's held to it. Simply finding him "guilty" and tossing him in a cage doesn't help anything, especially if you then force his victims to pay for the cage. You need to make him pay restitution, and that's how a private decentralized court would get a different result.

As for the property, renters have historically been much worse on their property than have owners. And I propose that projects that would impact more than just the owner of the land require not just a democratic approval (simple majority, usually), but approval of all affected people. Due diligence, remember? If you don't get approval of someone who is affected, you have to pay damages.

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