Free Market Environmentalism In A Nutshell
(Here) is a pretty good article I got off the Cato institute.
(Here) is a pretty good article I got off the Cato institute.
I figured this would be the best place to post information about study groups or if you are looking for a study group for the upcoming test.
My uncle sent me this article on how some legislators have actually proposed the idea of taking away drug patents from companies and redistributing them to other smaller companies that agree to sell them at a lower price to the public. Of course the action would be justified under eminent domain and "just compensation" would be given. I don't know about the rest of you but the idea of government seizing private property so that they can sell it cheaper for the "good of the whole' sounds an awful like something a now extinct country that bore a red flag with a large hammer and sickle would do. And what happened to their economy????
I stumbled upon this paper (here) a couple of weeks back and finally read it this weekend. The subject of the paper is offshore lands and the present regulatory scheme that governs it, more precisely the regulation of offshore drilling. The driving force behind the regulation of offshore lands was, according to the author, the 1969 oil spill off of
The author recognizes that the prospect of oil spills in the future is a particular fear among those potentially harmed. According to the author, a private property system for offshore lands would create an incentive to “take precautionary measures that reduce the likelihood of accidents” and in the case of an accident would be better equipped to compensate those effected by the damage. He contends that a regulatory system cannot accomplish both these tasks. Indeed, it is only under a property rights system the individual has the incentive to make sure his property doesn’t interfere with yours and if it does then we can rely on the courts (tort law) to determine restitution. This part of the paper I really enjoyed because he relies on Richard Epstein a lot and I am reading Epstein for another class and I really like his views on government.
Environmental groups would not be silenced, of course, by adopting a property rights regime for offshore lands. Of course environmental groups have different motives but they would have the same ability as “big oil” to purchase these areas if they felt inclined to do so. In fact the Nature Conservancy bought a small oil field in
The moral hazard (Defined as precautions that are not taken because if there is an adverse consequence some other party will pay for the damages) in Moscow is very similar to that of the New London case. If the city of New London is allowed to confiscate the property because "economic revitalization" qualifies as eminent domain then I can foretell many development agencies lobbying zoning commissions and city officials screaming that their proposed development has economic benefits for the city justifying such private property seizure. Because the property will be taken and given to the developers at less than market prices, costs of development will not be internalized and more "strip malls" than would otherwise appear in response to the market will spring up. It is going to cause inflation to go through the roof, but I guess the planning commissions understand the economic consequences of the decisions they make. I am not on any payroll so I can not be fined if my predictions turn out to be wrong.
The City Council of West Jordan, Utah (where my parents live) has an ongoing debate with Utah Power over a zoning issue.
If we can't predict the weather, we can at least blame the forecasters for our problems, right?
Moscow Mayor Juri Luschkov said: "Weather forecasters in our city and the surrounding area will be held responsible for financial losses that the city incurs through their incorrect prognoses."....
He did not elaborate on how much the fines would be or if the cash would be taken from the weathermen, or the companies they worked for.
The fines come after the head of the Romanian National Meteorology Agency, Ion Poiana, was fired after he predicted warm weather fronts on days when temperatures plunged to a record minus 36 degrees centigrade.
Members of the state's Quality Growth Commission have received some hopeful news. Governor John Hunstman Jr. has asked lawmakers to provide a substantial boost to the Leray McAllister open-space fund. It looks promising that he will at least get some funding, due to the state tax revenue projections. You can find the article here.
I didn't receive the exam questions by email this afternoon- Did anyone else? If so, would you mind posting them here? Thanks very much!
I was looking around on the internet about urban sprawl and actually found something on urban fill instead. Urban fill is essentially filling in dead or abandoned parts of cities by redeveloping them into mix-use buildings. All of the examples that I came across at least on this site were in Colorado, mostly in Denver and Boulder. They have pictures and descriptions of sites that have recenlty been completed. It looks pretty cool and seems to me to be an ideal way to liven up abondoned and undesirable parts of cities. In a way it also counteracts the phenomina of urban sprawl by encouraging more growth inside the cities instead of outside them. While some people hit the suburbs because they want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life others leave because many big cities are run down and not taken care of properly. This site discusses the use incentives by local governments to promote the development of vacant and rundown land in urban areas. When the incentives are there for the private builder to take on the project urban fill becomes the best way to improve urban areas and make them a more desirable place to live. Notice the key being incentives for the builder. Once again the theme of an issue is "Incentives Matter"
The following is from Alex Tabarrok at Marginalrevolution.com: Brad DeLong has an arresting post on the costs of the civil war.
The Supremes heard Kelo v. City of New London on Feb 22. A decision is not expected until June. Here is the Institute for Justice story. Here is the basic information from Oyez, one of the best sites for tracking the Supreme Court. Here is the amicus brief filed by the American Planning Association. As you might imagine the planners like what New London is trying to do.
In Wednesday's USA Today, (February 23, 2005), they have an article discussing a recent Supreme Court ruling about a Connecticut town that is using their power of eminent domain to seize property from private land owners. The most outrageous aspect of this case is that the city of New London, Connecticut is using their power of eminent domain to seize land not only to build a road and a park, but also for private development that will "increase tax revenue" for the town of New London. In an article written by Joan Biskupic, (they don't have an internet link to this article, but the paper's website is here,) the Court Justice's ruled that the court shouldn't "interfere with decisions made by local officials." Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agreed with local officials because the town's "unemployment rate is depressed, and this would generate jobs." Justice O'Connor didn't believe that the justices should "second-guess" local officials.
This comes from when I was a little munchkin growing up near Houston. The town in which I lived, called The Woodlands, was a great place to live; I had a forest at the end of the street (essential for all young boys, as far as I'm concerned) and still lived close enough to regular urban development to have everything I needed. The forest area was originally intended to remain as it was, as it was officially in the Flood Plane. This was certainly appropriate, as we had severe floods on several occasions while I lived there.
As I was looking around on the web today I came across this article on the Economics of Open Space Conservation. There are so many reasons to have open spaces beyond just the great "view." We have to make sure that we keep open spaces to allow for a continued supply of ground water. I live in Chile for 2 years and it was amazing to see the water problems they would have in Santiago(the capital). Due to over-urbanization, when rain storms would come, the entire city would flood. In two days there could be over a foot of water in the streets. Then during the summer, the water prices skyrocked because water had to be pumped in. It's important that we try to create some types of open spaces rather than confine ourselves to the "concrete jungle."
I am concerned any time people start talking about "open space preservation" in Mountain West States. Most of my concern comes from the fact that the federal government owns generally over 50% of the land in these states. Why do we need to put more government regulation on our private land? It seems to me that these initiatives are misunderstood by the population in various circumstances. More regulations on private land affects what the private land owner is able to do with his/her land. When the government owns more that 50% of the land in mountain states like Utah there is no reason that the private land owners should be told how they can use their land while taxing the population to implement these regulations. I don't know if anybody else has noticed but there is plenty of "open-space" in the region. Even with rapid development, government land will remain government land.
In checking class participation, I noticed that there are two "juli" profiles, with the distinction that one "juli" is capitalized while the other is not. If these are two distinct people let me know who you are. If this is only one person, everything is okay.
I understand that this post is not about an environmental issue however I feel that it gets to the heart of everything we have been talking about. Regarding the recent removal of vioxx from the market and the subsequent out cry from those who benefit from such a drug reagarding their ablity to be able to choose their own risk benefit analysis, former FDA commissioner, David Kessler outrageously said that "To argue that people ought to be able to choose their own risks is to impose an unrealistic burden on people." (http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=10859)
I am here to tell you that I am from Tooele and have lived with the nulear waste for some 28 years It has been nothing but trouble since it came to tooele county. The nuclear waste is not right in Tooele but the nerve gas is 30 minutes to the south and envirocare facilities is over the 10,000 ft moutain and 30 min to the west in skull valley the name is kind of ironic. The goshutes that live in skull valley and own the land there took this waste to store and made millions. and neing the people they arte spent this money in ways imaginable and so now they have no money and lots of nuclear waste to store what idiots. Tooele county is one of very few places in the country that have the facilities to dispose of the waste. All of the nerve gass will be distroyed and gone by 2008. Which was a very comforting thought.
Coase Colored Glasses
Economists are unique people, no offense Randy. The ideas they propose to integrate markets into every day life can seem somewhat heartless. Yet, those proposed plans essentially not only solve the problems but increase the lifestyles of those involved as well. We live in a world of skeptics. In 1980 The Global 2000 Report to the President of the U.S. stated that “if presents trends continue, the world in 2000 will be more crowded, more polluted, less stable ecologically, and more vulnerable to disruption than the world we live in now.” What this doomsday report failed to mention was the ingenuity individual have when they are able to be creative in a free market society. 15 years later in The State of Humanity, Julian Simon, with the help of more than fifty scholars, would find that “our species is better off in just about every measurable way.”
I found an article on Yahoo news linked to an LA Times story of an environmental group pushing for the inclusion of the Polar Bear on the Endangered Species List. The arguemnt being that global warming is "rapidly" taking away the bears habitat and shortening it's hunting season when it can hunt seals on the ice. It all sounds so tragic until you read further into the article and come to find that Polar Bear numbers have actually increased over the last three decades from 25,000 to 30,000. They are in fact quite well protected without being listed under the Endangered Species Act. The true motivation behind it all is that groups fighting against global warming are in search for a "poster boy" or in this case "poster bear" of the damaging affects of global warming. "We hope it will have a big educational benefit to bring this to the attention of the American public," said Kassie Siegel, the lead author of the petition. "People do like polar bears" The groups are using existence value of the polar bear to promote awareness of global warming. The Endangered Species Act is merely the vehicle for doing so. When people think of Arctic ice lands and glaciers they think of Big "cuddily polar bears" Like we have discussed in class it makes people feel good to know that they are there wandering the ice and playing in the snow. Claiming they are threatened is nothing more than a scare tactic directed towards to the masses so they will do their part to fight against global warming and protect polar bears. Whether or not this stategy will work will come down to how much existence value polar bears really do have for people and if they are truly willing to pay for that value. I personally think its just another example of how the Endangered Species Act is readily abused time and time again.
The land on which we live is made up of many types of areas. Some are fruitful and productive while some are too rigorous to do anything but enjoy their beauty. Of all the land in the world, how much can we use to produce the food we depend on? There is about 10% of the world where we can grow food. This land competes with society where we build our houses, schools, shopping malls and all the other places that we “can’t live without”. The best places to be are the same places where we used to grow food. Food production is moved to areas that must be modified; these modifications often cause the erosion of precious soil. Soil is created at a rate of about .4 tons/acre/year. This means we are rapidly losing the soil upon which our lives depend. How much soil do we really have? Even with these estimates, nobody knows exactly how much soil we have left now, or in the future.
When I hear air pollution I imagine a large polluted city like Los Angelos. Never did I imagine air pollution to exsist within my own home. After reading It's What's Inside That Counts http://www.nationalinspection.net/inspector/articles/itswhat.html I was blown away to learn that air pollution levels indoors is two to five times and has even been one hundred times greater than the air pollution out doors. This is particularly dangerous when you consider that many people spend 90% of their time indoors. Indoor air pollution much like outdoor air pollution carries health hazards. Some of the short term health hazards are hard to recognize because they have the same symptoms of common viral infections such as a cold. Many of the short term effects are easily treated. Indoor air pollution also carries with it the risk of serious long term effects such as respiratory diseases, heart diseases and cancer. Some of the long term effects are debilitating and at worst fatal. It scares me to think that I might be living in a home with poor air quality...especially with the heightened air pollution in Cache valley due to the inversion.
On monday we discused some of the possible reasons for the failure of initiative 1 in this last election despite it's seemingly high support. I remember talking with some students from California about this intiatve and thought their insights were interesting. They supported the idea of preserving clean water and open space(who wouldn't), but that they were skeptical of the method. In California, intiatives, a form of direct democracy, have basicly taken over the policy forming process. Some say the problem with this is that it bypasses the checks and balance built in to the normal form of legeslation. Another problem is the sheer number of initiatives on the ballots. Voters, with all thier incentives to be uninformed, rarely know anything about the intiative untill they step into the voting booth. As a result many initiatives that pass are found to be unconstitutional by the state legislature and then dropped. For more information on California's initiative process go to http://www.cainitiative.org/pdf/initiativereportfinal07feb2002.pdf
For those of us who spend time outdoors, it is obvious that the use of OHVs is dramatically increasing year to year. We also get to see first hand, the people who abuse the privelage of accessing public lands with these vehicles. I am happy to see the Forest Service and BLM beginning to take action towards effectively regulating and managing OHV use on our public lands. For some information on OHV use and management, click here.
Yes I know the wording in my title entails that I an inept at making an intellectual statement and for the most part I agree, though I have found an article that seems to agree with my statement.
Ricoh Electronics has faclilitated a plan to eliminate waste to lanfill. This was a goal set in July of 1999, and the accomplishement date was set for 2001. To read what Ricoh Electronics is doing to aid in the objective of eliminating waste in landfills read this. This link explains the five R's that need to be implemented in order to achieve this goal. It also includes the concept of the zero waste to landfill abjective and their results. They had good results and the 5 R's are really something to think abnout. Not everything can be recylced but most can be reused or we can reduse our usage of many things. The results are positive and if we could all follow the 5 R's we would have even better reslults.
The recent removal of Vex from the market shocked and scared many people. Now there is talk of removing its cousin produced by Pfizer Celebrex. Some info can be found here about the COX-2 drugs and their possible affects. But what stands out most to me is what the article does not say, and even what information was released about the studies was not complete. The Celebrex study that had said it greatly increased the chance of heart disease is in my opinion flawed. In a discussion with a prominent hand doctor about the study I was told that the sample size was small and the entire sample consisted of cancer patients. Also the recipients took 800 mg, while the average dose that all doctors prescribe is 200mg, sometime 100mg. This is just an example of skewed science that does not always include every factor. The article does not even state how scientifically the COX-2 drugs affect the body only that it does. Vioxx has been removed form the market and Celebrex may soon follow; and all because of what I have come to believe is funny science. This shows exactly how powerful funny science is because our society views science as impartial, but rarely do they understand that many labs are bureaucracies funded by the government or special interest groups. In my opinion this 'funny science' needs to be looked at more carefully, and I do wonder what other 'discoveries' are based on funny science that have altered our lives. Because we as consumers often are not given a chance to choose the risk or not we are stuck with the result of this science.
The California Condor is on the endangered species list, both federally and in California. It is , personally, one of the most unattractive birds and is the most endangered bird in North America. We have been talking about the value that we place upon things and the subsequent care that we give, or do not give, to that object. This article discusses the California Condor and is well written and basically informative (ie. no deep stuff that only biologists understand).
As I was sitting listening in class to day I remembered that in Texas they have a big problem with ranches and people buing the land to make ranchettes. I found this article that hit hard because my wife is from Texas. The state looses about 178,700 acres of land per year to ranches to construction of roads and houses shopping malls and centers ect. Between 1992- 1997 the state lost about 893,500 acres of land to development. These numbers keep growing at an alarming rate each year. Out of the 50 states Texas ranks #1 in the country of land lost to development. There is some hope, though. While much of the Texas landscape was altered long ago to meet the needs of a growing agricultural and industrial economy, many natural communities that provide valuable wildlife habitat still exist throughout the state. But we must act now to protect these natural communities, so that the next generation can also enjoy the rich, uniquely Texan natural heritage
After reading through the blog and thinking about the existence value of the environment I searched for what the value of the Amazon rainforest might be. I found an excellent paper here. The paper discusses the total economic value of the Amazon rainforest. It is clear from the research that maintaining the forest is of far more value than the deforestation. As noted in the paper revenue per year for logging the forest is only about $400/yr/ha. Contrast that to the economic value of having an intact forest: nearly $1,000/yr/ha.
Class this morning has caused me to think a little more about intrinsic value, existence value, and how they can be measured. Goods valued intrinsically or for their existence value are not fundamentally different from consumption goods because they are both scarce (an argument often given for preservation). Because of scarcity we face tradeoffs.
For Monday, Feb 14 read the c.v article article posted here. For Wednesday, February 16. read the other article.
The state of Minnesota has enacted a new law that will require all diesel fuel sold in the state, beginning this summer, to contain at least 2% farm-based oil. This oil is a hybrid fuel, called biodiesel. It is composed of peanut oil, canola, soybean, recycled cooking oils, and animal fats. Supporters of this new hybrid fuel confirm that it will reduce diesel exhaust and pollution, although it is too early for research to support these claims. You can listen to this story here.
Coase Colored Glasses
(I'm very deliberately not using specific names in this post. If you know who is involved, you already know their names; if not, you can find out easily enough if you're interested.)
Medecine Bowl National Forest in Southeastern Wyoming is having problems with water pollution due to overgrazing of cattle in the area. The story can be found here. Apparently the abundance of cattle in the area has caused fecal coliform pollution in the water that is hazardous to humans, fish and other wildlife. But the Forest Service doesn't seem to care. They are the ones that granted the grazing permits and as of date have done nothing to reduce the number of cattle in the area. Conservation groups have filed suit against the Forest Service for failure to protect clean water. Basically there exists a problem of enforcement as the Forest Service is failing to enforce pre established standards for clean water. Little reason has been given as to why the Forest Service has failed to enforce the standards. Could it be that they value their contracts with domestic ranchers more than they do the clean water standards? Grazing contracts are an economic benefit to them while the same cannot be said for clean water. It appears that theme of the conflict is quite simple. Incentives Matter. The law suite filed by the conservation groups may provide the incentive to change for now, but what of the future?
On Monday the White House issued the budget for 2006. After being hammered by fiscal conservatives over the past few years for letting the federal deficit balloon, the Bush administration offered an olive branch to this key constituency by planning a reduction in “overall discretionary spending” that will, according to the administration, cut the federal deficit in half by 2009. For an overview of the 2006 budget click (here). The White House contends that the economy will continue to grow at a rapid rate leading to increased tax receipts, and there will be no need to rescind the tax cuts passed during the President’s first term.
One major news story out of the budget was the proposed reduction in farmer’s subsidies. As the New York Times Robert Pear points out in his article, “the proposal puts Mr. Bush at odds with some of his most ardent supporters in the rural south” namely cotton and rice growers. Mr. Pears piece can be found (here). As the article goes on to say, most of the subsidies payments go to large farms and not “family farms.” The support for this move has come from a strange partnership of fiscal conservatives and environmental groups. Groups like the Heritage Foundation and environmental groups have been in pursuit of the same goal: more stringent caps on agricultural subsidies. Such strange partnerships are not unique when their interests coincide on a particular issue.
According to the Environmental Working Group website (here) farming subsidies have tallied over $103 billion dollars from 1995-2003, with most of these subsidies going to, as mentioned before, cotton and rice growers. The opposition to the proposed cuts is already forming from large and small farm organizations. The new chairman of Senate Appropriations Committee, Thad Cochran from
I guess a general question I would like to propose, just for fun, is whether any of you think that President Bush is spreading himself to thin with all these proposed reforms (social security, tax code, etc.) and is perhaps overreaching?
Sorry, the link for 'SUWA' is here.
Is there a problem in southern utah with these ORV's? I would agree that there is and something needs to be done, but what? I own a 1969 Jeepster Commando, now, obviously it would not pass any kind of emisions test, it also has a small oil leak that I have tried to figure out but have been unsuccessful. My dad along with my four brothers also own Jeepsters between the years 1967 and 1970, all of which are in about the same condition as mine. Every year we go to moab to go out on the jeep trails. This has been a fun family vacation for about ten years. It is also very benificial finacially to the city of Moab. Every year thousands of people go there with there jeeps and dirt bike motorcycles to have fun and in turn end up spending a heathy amount of money in the city. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance 'SUWA' is fighting to make laws to control where the ORV's can go. Here is more info. The SUWA is battling with the BLM to have them enforce the laws that are already setup. The SUWA wants to have defined areas or roads where the vehicles can go and actually enforce this. I agree that the ORV's should stay on marked trails but I don't think that SUWA is dealing with the problem in the correct way. With thousands of people in different areas and on different trails how could you control them and make sure that they are staying on the marked trail? It would be literally impossible, you can't watch everyone and if someone goes off the trail how would you punish them or let alone know who it was? I feel that you do have to make designated trails for the vehicles but that does not mean that everyone is going to stay on them. I think you need to somehow teach the people that use the trails WHY they are staying on them and not going off where ever they want. Like we have discussed in class they need insentives to help them obey the rules and/or laws. You can't just say 'well I am a tree hugger or I am a bark eater and I want you to stay on the trails' and expect the people using the trails to listen, you need to give them good valid reasons. I personally try to stay on the trails as much as possible because I like seeing the wilderness in its natural state, but not everyone cares about that so I think the answer or atleast a great start would be to educate the trail users why they should stay on the trail as much as possible. After people have been educated I think they will feel like there is a reason or insentive not to go off the trail and to keep the southern utah wilderness in a beautiful natural state.
I am writing in reply to Kents comments on the miles tax. First, I have to say that I would love to see a miles tax, and I think anyone who drives a truck or SUV would feel the same. As far as fuel efficiency and emissions goes, this seems to be a poor policy. It creates incentives only to drive fewer miles, not to purchase cars that use less gas, in fact, it creates incentive to buy larger cars that burn more gas. A truck that gets 8 mile to the gallon is taxed at a lower rate than a car that gets 30 miles to the gallon. Like I said, this wouldn't bother me since I like SUVs and trucks. However, I don't think it would fly with the environmentalists. Second, although I don't have any idea about the cost of the GPS system, it seems to me like it would be costly to install, track, and maintain the systems, which ultimately would be passed onto the consumer, which in turn raises the cost of automobiles. Third, a miles tax in my opinion would not help the inversions, even if there was a great tax placed on cars that drove on that day. Since a miles tax would eliminate the need for smaller fuel efficient cars, there would be more trucks and SUVs driving, burning more fuel, and causing a worse inversion, even if fewer people were driving.
The Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska is a prime example of economics vs. environmental/sentimental issues. ANWR is “Renowned for its wildlife, Arctic Refuge is inhabited by 45 species of land and marine mammals, ranging from the pygmy shrew to the bowhead whale.” 80 million acres are designated as wilderness area. Currently the government doesn’t allow any development of resources on this refuge in fear of disrupting and hurting the migration pattern of the animals that occupy that space.
We have been warned that the growing amount of carbon dioxide in the air coming from the burning of fossil fuels is killing a number of fish and the reefs they live on. If this escalates we could be eating no fish whatsoever. This could be prevbented by watching what we burn or by puting some type of filter on our refineries to make the air coming out cleaner and less harmful to our oceans.
There are those people that think that by burning fossil fuels and putting carbon dioxide in the air we are making our oceans more acidic and so doing we are killing the reefs and marine life that are there. This problem if it escalades might have us eating no fish whatsoever. If there is a way to come at this problem it could be driving less like we talked about before, and looking at what kind of emissions that our refineries are putting in the air. and finding a way to filter out the impurities.
Well as we a know California has very strict emissions laws. There is a bill the the state of Washington is trying to pass that would make their laws the same as California (House Bill 1397 & Senate Bill 5397). If this bill gets passed it will be effective in 2009, and by 2016 all cars would have to be equipped with the necessary parts.
The reasons Summer’s outlines in his memo are very much grounded in the Coasian concept of relying on market allocation of pollution rights to there most efficient position. On a normative level Summer’s comments are disturbing, on the other hand if economic efficiency is our goal his proposal has a great degree of validity.
Although the adoption of Coase has been widespread within the U.S., I am not so sure that Summer's proposal has as much acceptablility by other countries around the world. Especially in countries with a large Green faction the idea of receiving alien toxic waste is unthinkable. Indeed, the transaction costs on an international level seemingly kill Summer's proposal.
I just finished reading an article that states that Oregon is developing a trial system to tax on milage traveled instead of gas taxes. The article is titled, "Driving While Intaxicated". The focus of the new program is to increase revenues from taxes to fund state roads. Currently, with the increase of fuel efficient cars Oregon is not bringing in as much in gas taxes as needed. I thought that a similar program could be used to help internalize the externalities caused by pollution.
I am not a big fan of most environmentalists decisions but sometimes they do have some good ideas. I ran across this page from southern utahs wilderness and about george w bush's plan to do away with the wilderness area that george senior and bill clinton had created. The reason that he is trying to do away with this is so that the government can begin drilling for petroleum and oil in these areas. I know that utah has a fair amount of oil in the southern part of the state but if mr president has his way we will have oil fields as far as the eye could see. I wish I had a solution for this but I have no idwa what will happen.
I found the State of the Union to be more than just a bunch of rhetoric. Actually, the President brought up an issue that may change the outcome of our future retirement, "Social Security". Not only has he proposed an overhaul to the system but he has started a tour to promote his plan. To me, that isn't just a bunch of rhetoric, it actually sounds pretty serious. As we're talking about free markets, I would like to learn more about the President's plan, how it would be implemented, and how potentially beneficial or detrimental it could be if passed. From what I understand, it will be privatized and each payer would have their own account. The money would be invested and whatever the payer puts in is invested in themself. I'm sure it's more complicated than that, but if it really worked the way that I understand it, it would be much better than paying for everybody else's retirement and then not having any when it's our turn to retire.
Last week I posted an article on the costs of reintroducing gray wolves some western states, namely Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. I found a somewhat related article on at cnn.com . It talks about how a U.S. Disctric Court Judge found the Bush Administration in violiation of the Endangered Species Act. The Administration had granted permission to ranchers in certain areas to shoot the wolves on site to protect livestock. It turns out that only a few wolves were actually shot in a small area of Montana but it created enought attention for a District Court Ruling.
Here is the EPA site reporting the results of 'allowance' auctions (after clicking on a year, click on the 'results' link to see them displayed). It's interesting to note that every year environmental groups are also purchasing allowances. It's also interesting to note that elementary schools bought some in 2003 - I'm guessing that the students weren't the driving force behind that activism...and we wonder why school budgets can't cover the basic costs of education, but that's another issue. The point is that environmental groups could be very successful if they were to put their money into something like buying allowances instead of lobbying.
I found this news story from the Billings Gazette both interesting and pathetic. The Preble's meadow jumping mouse which has been on the endangered species list until recently ruined the plans of a Housing Developer because he had to preserve much of his purchased land to protect the habitat of this mouse. Apparently the mouse is now off the list because it has been determined that the mouse is not part of a distinct subspecies. The damage to the development has already been done and all that can be placed where what used to be the protected habitat is a park. As I was reading this I had to ask myself, is a certain kind of mouse all that important that it should be so costly for housing developers and others who want to use the land? It seems rather ridiculous that a tiny feild mouse could hold so much power. I understand that protection of endangered species is important but in situations like this I think it goes too far. It's just a mouse! I have a whole community of them living in my basement! How are housing developments going to hurt a mouse?
President Bush's State of the Union address was fairly typical of such speeches: full of rhetoric, raising several issues of the problems we need to solve but rarely offering solutions. The general idea was familiar: increase spending to pet projects while miraculously decreasing overall spending.
and I’m guessing that if not for global warming according to the current thought, it would have been 3 degrees. We are all in danger, we may all fry. This must be fought at all costs, that extra degree to boost us to 4 could destroy the world, get out your sunscreen. I found this lovely article on BBC, a chat with Michael Crichton about his new book here somewhat similar to the article we read the first day in class.
My point to this post is what if there really is no such thing as human caused global warming, and we (humans) identify global warming as the sole problem as here and not look at possible other problems. Global warming is being blamed for causing so many of Africa's problems and that is the reason according to the article. In the article it estimates trends for the next fifty years, but yet we only started noticing global warming in about the last twenty years or so. If the trend continues as the author of the second article says it would be 6 degrees this morning, and than boy would we be in trouble. They say global warming affects the weather and say how it would affect the weather, and we all know how accurate weather predicting is. So in 50 years Logan this morning would have been 6 degrees and only have had 7.2 feet of snow this winter and that is a worst case scenario. Run for the hills or your local environmental group to save us from this frightening future.
As I read our class blog one problem seems to jump out, the class understanding of free markets. As we talk about Coase and free market solution to environmental problems it is imperative that a true understanding of what exactly constitutes the "free market" that is being talked about. Private property advocates view of markets are not those left without fetters (regulation). Don Boudreaux captures this idea perfectly
First I would like to apologize there is no link for my source. I got it out of "The Constitution of Liberty" by Friedrich Hayek. In chapter two(pg.22-51) he talked about the market determining various rights as they pertain to trade. He felt that the government should stay the heck out trade all together, to prevent any loss of information that would be exchanged. He felt that information exchanged thru trade brings about progressive change in human civilization. Any institution that makes guidelines or seeks to control markets restricts progress and makes society constrained and thus un-free.
I posted a comment to a recent post on water rights and how those rights should be determined. I stated quite simply that those rights should be determined by the market and that whoever values it more will own the rights and can trade or sell them as they please. I began looking for sources on the topic and came across an article at www.perc.org that reveales that its not always that simple. The article is entitlled "Rescuing Water Markets" and discusses the effects of the water market that existed between the city of Los Angeles and rural Owen Valley in the early part of the 20th century. Because of the rapid growth of L.A. more water was needed as the surrounding area lacked a large enough watershed to provide for the growing community. The answer to the problem was Owen Valley which is located in Southeastern California near Nevada. It was an agricultural community that had an abundance of water. The city of L.A. began to buy property with the included water rights and began to send the water to L.A. Initially both sides were becoming better off. L.A. was receiving their water and the farmers were making more money selling their water than they were selling their crops.