[FoRK] Closing funny bits, was Re: Malthusian machinations

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca
Wed Jun 16 20:37:49 PDT 2010

--- On Wed, 6/16/10, Aaron Burt <aaron at bavariati.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 04:59:54PM -0700, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
> > Re the markets pricing things in .. this has been one major source of my
> > ongoing mistrust of anything related to "free market" fairydust. When it
> > comes to e.g. environment or resources almost none of the things that
> > matter are priced in.

> Externalities. ...

I say this with respect, Aaron, because I agree with the rest of what you said. "Externalities" in this context is pure unadulterated bullshit. It's the crap that those who loudly espouse "free markets" or "fair markets", and who honestly want neither, excrete when they are trying to avoid any form of restriction on their activities.

This is Spaceship Earth. It's very nearly a closed system. As Eugen has so kindly pointed out on numerous occasions, the only external inputs are from the sun. So you could class sunshine as an externality and fairly price it at $zero$. Everything else matters.

> ... We usually use governments to (clumsily) price them in, or
> at least see that they're accounted for.
> All in all, it's a dumb and unstable way to coordinate a civilization, but
> with effective control systems, it beats central planning.
> I do think we're running a bit underdamped these days,


PS. I'm not a proponent of *more* regulation. We just need the right sort of regulation and *enforce* it. There have to be consequences that are meaningful. It has to cost more to ignore it than you save. That's how you price it in.


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