Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 20th Mar 2011 20:20 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless A major deal just went down in the United States, which seriously shakes up the mobile industry on the other side of the pond: AT&T has announced it plans to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom.
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RE[5]: Invisible hand
by ricegf on Mon 21st Mar 2011 23:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Invisible hand"
ricegf
Member since:
2007-04-25

Cap and trade is a plan by which the government creates a fixed level of allowable pollution, breaks it up into "credits", and sells them to businesses who create pollution as a side effect of running their business. Generating pollution without a credit results in a significant fine, but if a company has extra credits, it can sell them on the open market for whatever they will bring.

Yes, it's a form of taxation. But it makes pollution a business expense, so an otherwise $1 widget made with a lot of pollution may turn out to be less profitable than a $1.50 widget made with little pollution, and it offers competitive advantage to finding "greener" manufacturing processes. It also allows that "invisible hand" to help allocate the pollution we decide to allow in our environment to benefit the most people.

It has obvious disadvantages, of course. How does the government know how much pollution is the "right" amount? If enviro-nuts gain control of government, they may clamp down on credits and strangle the economy, while businesses have even more motivation to corrupt the process and create and endless supply of cheap credits.

C'est la vie.

All that is why I'm only mildly enthusiastic. Might work better than what we have now, which is a government demanding that businesses spend 50% of their profit to increase pollution filtration from 92% to 93%. *sigh*

Well, I also agree that nuclear isn't the long-term answer. It just has great base load characteristics to supplement the growing wind power system in Texas.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: Invisible hand
by Neolander on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 07:39 in reply to "RE[5]: Invisible hand"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I see a big, big issue with that : it decides on who can pollute based on financial criteria (can they pay ?) alone. Even if we see money as a reward for good work (which is questionable), it means that the right to pollute is a reward, which is not quite the mentality which we want to achieve.

It's like the developing countries problem when talking about environmental issues : as they start to develop an industrial ecosystem, they work on the cheapest areas first, which are also the most dirty. We "occidental" people are then only happy to leave it to them, wash our hands, and point our finger on them screaming "Look where the pollution comes from ! Them pigs !" on environment-related summits.

Reply Parent Score: 1