Saturday, September 03, 2011

Cartoon of the Day: Green Jobs

By Lisa Benson.

More than a decade ago, Paul Gigot of the WSJ pointed out that "ethanol is produced by mixing corn with our tax dollars."  In that case, solar energy is produced by mixing sunlight with our tax dollars. 

40 Comments:

At 9/03/2011 9:27 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Lots of talk about the government waste that is ethanol. No argument here. But let's not forget that the government has also used your tax dollars to create some pretty good things, like computers, the internet, satellite communication, GPS, lasers, commercial aviation, shipping container technology, an inter state highway system. These are all pretty important things.

Neil de Grasse Tyson made an interesting point about George Bush's government spending on science. Who's more pro science, Republicans or Democrats? OK, in rhetoric Bush sounds anti-science. But look at how he actually spent his money. He increased science funding. Know why? He understands the importance of government spending in driving our economy when it comes to science.

Solar could be a lot like computers. It could drive our economy in the future.

 
At 9/03/2011 10:44 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

We Do have a Trade "Surplus" with the World, including China, in Photovoltaic Panels.

Solyndra was a unique product that had promise. They just couldn't foresee the plunge in prices for standard Photovoltaic panels.

 
At 9/03/2011 10:46 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Well jon the problem you have here is thinking that government had a hand in inventing things on your list whereas in reality the federal government had more of hand in exploiting the, 'inventions' which is not necessarily a bad thing...

BTW jon you might find these Neil deGrasse Tyson Asks Why It’s OK To Be Ignorant of Science worth a look at...

 
At 9/03/2011 10:58 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

When asked about the impending demise of the Blenders' Tax Credit (the primary ethanol subsidy,) I think it was Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, that said it didn't make much difference, "since, basically, it was just passed back to the consumer, anyway."

In the meantime, as we pump 2 Million barrels/day of oil, and products out of the OECD "Strategic Reserves," would anyone care to guess what the price of gasoline might be if we didn't have that 1.8 Million Barrels/Day of Biofuel (mostly ethanol) production?

 
At 9/03/2011 11:01 AM, Blogger Rufus II said...

That 1.8 Million Barrels/Day is "Global" Production, btw. U.S. production just runs a bit over 900,000 bbl/day.

 
At 9/03/2011 11:20 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Solyndra, which just filed for bankruptcy, was funded by $535 million in DOE loan guarantees and $1.1 billion in private funding. Direct funding of companies with loan guarantees by the feds is wrong.

There is an abundance of proof that federally supported basic research and iniatives can lead to great tech advances in such as: the Internet(DARPA), GPS(NAVSTAR) and microchips (space programs). Government should not be funding the industries that can result from these programs.

 
At 9/03/2011 11:48 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

When DOE guaranteed loans fail, the funds come from the Federal Funding Bank (FFB) pay off the loans. The taxpayers, of course, ultimately pay.

Interestingly the FFB loaned Solyndra $2,356,708 in June, 2011, which was probably emergency funding to meet payroll.

BTW, Solyndra declared bankruptcy on August 31st and taxpayers rank below investors in recovering investment.

 
At 9/03/2011 12:21 PM, Blogger Rufus II said...

Don't we have something like $15 Billion set aside for loan guarantees for Nuclear?

Any comments about that?

 
At 9/03/2011 3:11 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"There is an abundance of proof that federally supported basic research and iniatives can lead to great tech advances in such as: the Internet..."...

Almost right buddy...

Larry Roberts of MIT (who also doing some other work for ARPA) figured out how to use Leo Kleinrock's 'packet switching' theory over the phone lines is how networking got started...

Roberts and another researcher by the name of Tom Merrill put together the first interstate connection that actually had a carrier detect via the 'swapping of packets...

Then as buddy notes it was off to the races with plenty of ARPA funding and the genius of people like Vinton Cerf (and a host of others) to help it along...

 
At 9/03/2011 4:59 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

almost right Juandos,:>)

JCR Licklider wrote a paper with Welden Clark called "On-line Man Computer Communication", in Aug. 1962. By October 1962 Licklider was employed by DARPA to actualize his networking vision and connect the Dept. of Defense main computers.

Licklider's vision of a universal network led to ARPNET in 1969.

BTW, Larry Roberts home page where JCR Licklider is given credit as Father of the Internet.

 
At 9/03/2011 10:12 PM, Blogger ElleRich said...

Sunlight is free, ethanol is not.

 
At 9/03/2011 10:14 PM, Blogger ElleRich said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/04/2011 2:29 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"JCR Licklider is given credit as Father of the Internet"...

Something else that I've often heard and read and really can't find any reason to quibble with that judgement either...

Vinton Cerf though sure garnered a lot of the praise (deservedly so) for the part he played in it...

Licklider was a humble man too... I think of him as one of the first credible futurist too...

I've often wondered if Kleinrock hadn't come up with packet switching would there have been an internet?

I've since come to the conclusion there probably would've been one at work hard today but for it to come around it might have possibly taken a bit longer...

 
At 9/04/2011 2:35 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Solyndra was a unique product that had promise. They just couldn't foresee the plunge in prices for standard Photovoltaic panels."

If they can't reasonably foresee the future of their industry, they are doomed to failure. Solyndra has been a failure from the start, with no hope of ever making a dime. Without loan guarantees, it would never have gotten off the ground.

 
At 9/04/2011 2:40 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Don't we have something like $15 Billion set aside for loan guarantees for Nuclear?

Any comments about that?
"

Government loan guarantees for any business is wrong, Rufus. If private investors aren't willing to risk their money on something, taxpayers money shouldn't be risked for them.

It isn't the governments job to promote winners and losers. the market will do that best, and the market hasn't chosen any of your favorite boondoggles.

 
At 9/04/2011 3:06 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"But let's not forget that the government has also used your tax dollars to create some pretty good things, like computers, the internet, satellite communication, GPS, lasers, commercial aviation, shipping container technology, an inter state highway system. These are all pretty important things."

Yes, it should be obvious by now that there's no way a private entrepreneur or business can ever hope to create as much good for humanity as those incredibly innovative bureaucrats in government.

In fact, our standard of living would no doubt improve even faster if we had more government. It has worked well in places like the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and North Korea. Oh, wait. Scratch the Soviet Union. I forgot - that great experiment failed.

Even though your assertions about the great inventiveness of government have been debunked in previous threads, you're back with the same silly claims. do you read the comments others post in response?

You should really ask yourself if those things you credit to government would have happened without government involvement in any case, or whether our money would have been better spent on other opportunities at those times Things individuals actually chose to spend their money on, rather than having it spent for them. What were the opportunity costs?

 
At 9/04/2011 3:21 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Sunlight is free, ethanol is not"...

Well ellerich, using sunlight might not be so free after all...

Consider the following from the blog site, "Watts Up With That": Solar’s lead balloon of pollution in developing countries

 
At 9/04/2011 3:24 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Things individuals actually chose to spend their money on, rather than having it spent for them. What were the opportunity costs?"...

Good point Ron H!

 
At 9/04/2011 10:52 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

Juandos,

I agree with you that without packet switching there is no Internet; just a concept exists. The ability to move packets of info between Internet Protocol addresses made it all possible.

 
At 9/04/2011 12:02 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

If I had to pick one thing that govt consistently does the worst (a daunting challenge), I'd say that being in the insurance business wins.

Name something that govt insures, and consider the consequence.
* SS
* SSI
* National health insurance
* Medicare
* Fed, state and local govt pensions
* Private pensions
* Hurricane insurance
* Flood insurance
* Nuclear plant insurance
* Mortgage guarantees
* Unemployment "insurance"

and on and on and on.

Even FDIC and other savings insurance removes depositors' concerns as to the viability of the banks, so they have no concern with how recklessly the money is loaned out.

Politicians are the LAST people you want making such decisions, as they are making POLITICAL decisions as opposed to RISK MANAGEMENT decisions. Almost without exception, such govt insurance results in the "moral hazard" problem -- as politicians can't have govt charging the full cost for their "service."

And in the end, it's the taxpayers (and our offspring) that really get "serviced" by these programs.

 
At 9/04/2011 1:49 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Sunlight is free, ethanol is not."

Everything in nature is "free". The cost is in getting it from where it is, in the form it's in, to where you are, as something you can use.

Every form of energy we use, except nuclear, originates or originated as sunlight.

 
At 9/04/2011 5:37 PM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

"Every form of energy we use, except nuclear, originates or originated as sunlight."

Or tidal power, or geothermal. Although I accept that geothermal is a form of nuclear energy.

 
At 9/04/2011 6:36 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Or tidal power, or geothermal. Although I accept that geothermal is a form of nuclear energy."

I guess to be safe from nit-pickers , :) I should have said "results or resulted from suns", rather than "sunlight", and left off the "except nuclear".

 
At 9/04/2011 7:09 PM, Blogger Jon said...

RonH, let's add a few more to your list of countries that have experimented with government intervention in developing their economies. The United States, Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, Germany. Basically all the economic powerhouses. Government intervention in the US is so massive and has been historically that the ability of people to fail to see it is rather astonishing to me.

And let's consider the failures you mentioned. The Soviet Union. Went from being third world to second world. Put men in to orbit. You don't see nations under US domination doing the same. What has free market Haiti or free market Jamaica accomplished, with their tiny tariffs, tiny government, no state provide health services. Or look at Brazil, which started at a place similar to Russia in 1917 and has since been subjected to US rule. Some wealth concentrated in cities, but most of the country has astonishing poverty.

People want to compare the Soviet Union to the US. But the US after WWII had half the wealth and only 6% of the population. What do you expect? And after they fall and the state provided health services disappeared the death was massive. Larger than the tolls due to Stalin's purges. That's what going through free market reforms produces.

And take Cuba. They've been subjected to 50 years of terrorism coming from the US. A harsh embargo. And yet their health services are ranked just below the US by the World Health Organization. It's bad in Cuba. But if they relent and give in to US violence they can see across the waters what that means. They could be Haiti, which has government that is approved by the US. Things could be worse. No embargo on Haiti. Also 50-70% unemployment, 31 cents per hour minimum wage (imposed by the Obama administration).

Toyota is today the world leader in quality for automobiles. Entirely funded by the state for decades. Not just tax dollars. Blocking of competition. Same in South Korea. Hyundai, Kia. Excellent products today. South Korea was on the order of Haiti in terms of their economic development in the 50's. Today they are an economic powerhouse. Did it with massive state intervention in the economy.

What about the opportunity costs? Maybe Japan, Great Britain, and the US would have been better off freeing up those resources for private use. Then they would hae been so much richer. Like Haiti. Countries in Africa that have tried neoliberalism. I tend to think we should try what works though, not what has failed.

Free markets are imposed by the wealthy on the poor. But the wealthy become wealthy with government intervention.

 
At 9/04/2011 10:26 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"RonH, let's add a few more to your list of countries that have experimented with government intervention in developing their economies. The United States, Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, Germany..."...

Well jon what you're failing to see is that in spite of government interference capitalism drove these countries to be powerhouses...

All government adds to the mix is for the most part their parasitic weight on all transactions...

 
At 9/04/2011 11:11 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Poor jon you're wrong again: "The Soviet Union. Went from being third world to second world"...

Having been to that grand marxist experiment called the Soviet Union in the seventies and eighties I can tell you that it didn't remotely approach even a second world country even in Moscow...

Once one got outside of Moscow then it became a sixth world country (if that!) unless there was a military base in the area, then it was merely pure third world for the most part...

"Or look at Brazil, which started at a place similar to Russia in 1917 and has since been subjected to US rule"...

Wow! LMAO! That's just to funny for words...

"What has free market Haiti or free market Jamaica accomplished, with their tiny tariffs"...

Gosh! Who knew those countries actually had free markets?!?!

Is that a recent accomplishment?

BTW speaking of Haiti why is it that right next door on the same island Santo Domingo 'seems' to be doing so much better?

"What do you expect? And after they fall and the state provided health services disappeared the death was massive. Larger than the tolls due to Stalin's purges."...

Well now jon that's a rather amazing state and you have something credible to back that up?

"They've been subjected to 50 years of terrorism coming from the US. A harsh embargo. And yet their health services are ranked just below the US by the World Health Organization"...

Lions and tigers and bears oh my!

What was this alledged terrorism that the US has been doing to Cuba for the last fifty years?

Wasn't the Bay of Pigs that last official US shot at undermining the Castro brothers?

BTW who in the right mind takes anything the UN has to say at face value?

Remember if you think Cuba's medical system is so good then think about Dr. Hilda Molina...

"South Korea was on the order of Haiti in terms of their economic development in the 50's. Today they are an economic powerhouse. Did it with massive state intervention in the economy"...

OMG! Are you serious?!?!

Why was S. Korea like Haiti (it wasn't but for sake of argument we'll go with that) in the fifties?

Can you say 'Korean war'?

I knew you could...

S. Korea was a shambles and the reason they are now very well off is that it was due to their hard work, their cleverness, and the many, many very bright people working there and of course some US Aid money helped...

You ever see that satellite picture comparing N. Korea (massive government intervention there by golly) with S. Korea shot at night?

 
At 9/05/2011 1:24 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jon

Interesting view from wherever you are. I may ask for some references before I get through, as some of your latest claims are really fantastic. Lets look at a few things:

"And let's consider the failures you mentioned. The Soviet Union. Went from being third world to second world. Put men in to orbit. "

Is this an argument that the Soviet Union wasn't a failure?

Put men in orbit? So what? How did that improve the lives of soviet citizens? Does becoming a major world power help a country's people, I don't think so. You are confused about the role of government.

Here are some pictures from communal apartments in Russia. This standard of living was required so that the top down government could put men in orbit, instead of providing better housing for people. Is this what you want to hold up as an example of good government?

"What has free market Haiti or free market Jamaica accomplished, with their tiny tariffs, tiny government, no state provide health services."

The problems in Haiti and Jamaica are government failures, whether their own, or external. their problems have nothing to do with free markets. You may also be confused about what a free market is. One of the problems in Haiti is that small businesses can't develop because 40% of the GDP of Haiti is foreign aid.

Brazil is under US rule? That's news to me. I'll need a reference, please.

"People want to compare the Soviet Union to the US. But the US after WWII had half the wealth and only 6% of the population. What do you expect? And after they fall and the state provided health services disappeared the death was massive. Larger than the tolls due to Stalin's purges. That's what going through free market reforms produces."

I guess you mean that the US had 1/2 the world's wealth and only 6% of the world's population. If not, then that statement doesn't make sense.

I'll need references for those massive numbers of deaths since 1989. Between Stalin's political purges and the collectivization of farms in the 1930s, by some estimates, 30-40 million people died. That seems like an unusually large number to have died from free market reforms. are you sure you're not just making that up?

Cuba? Yes, Cuba has been harassed by the US government ever since the revolution. But if Cuba is such a great place to live, why is it that so many people are willing to risk being eaten alive by sharks so they won't have to spend another day in that tropical paradise? By the way, they come to the US. And what about Haitians refugees? When they leave Haiti, they don't just travel 50 miles to the blessed shores of Cuba, they travel 700 miles to reach Florida. Are they all nuts?

"And yet their health services are ranked just below the US by the World Health Organization."

Two things. There are two levels of healthcare in Cuba, one for the poor, and one for the elites, and the WHO gives a lot of weight to "fairness". Universal coverage can earn a high WHO ranking even if medical outcomes aren't so good.

If you like, we can also discuss differences in definitions of live births between countries also, which causes differences in life expectancy figures, another highly weighted part of the WHO rankings.

You may want to quit using that WHO ranking when you compare political systems if you want to be taken seriously.

 
At 9/05/2011 2:07 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Toyota is today the world leader in quality for automobiles. Entirely funded by the state for decades. Not just tax dollars. Blocking of competition. Same in South Korea. Hyundai, Kia. Excellent products today."

so you are in favor of central planning and top down government control?

You know, whenever I buy a car that has been subsidized by taxpayers, like Japan has done, I
feel like thanking all those people for paying for part of the cost of my car.

South Korea was on the order of Haiti in terms of their economic development in the 50's. Today they are an economic powerhouse. Did it with massive state intervention in the economy.

So is South Korea an economic powerhouse, or are the South Korean people economically well off?


"What about the opportunity costs? Maybe Japan, Great Britain, and the US would have been better off freeing up those resources for private use. Then they would hae been so much richer. Like Haiti."

Do you mean that government planners know better how to spend peoples earnings than they know themselves? It's a strange idea, but pretty common these days.

Without government guidance, people would soon squander any wealth they have, is that the message? I don't know where you live, but I think you need to get out more often.


"I tend to think we should try what works though, not what has failed."

I agree with that. We can see people living in the US are better off, by most measures of well being, than anyone else in the world, do to what has been in the past a fair amount of individual liberty, and fairly free markets. We can see that top down planning can't possibly provide for the needs of millions of individuals.

"Free markets are imposed by the wealthy on the poor."

You may not understand what a free market is. You can't use the term "free market", and the word "imposed" in the same sentence.

"But the wealthy become wealthy with government intervention."

That can be true, but I don't know if you mean that to be a good thing or a bad thing. I can assume it's a good thing that some become wealthy while others don't, as you consider government intervention to be a good thing in general.

By the way, if you provide references as I requested, please don't quote Ha-Joon Chang. I'm familiar with his work, and he has missed the boat. His one and only claim appears to be that correlation equals causation. I thought of him when you mentioned South Korea as an economic powerhouse, as that's one of his favorite examples.

Ian Fletcher is another source I won't accept. He appears to be having some trouble with basic economics.

You know, the more I think about it, the more puzzled I get. You seem like a smart guy, so I don't understand why you believe some government planner knows what is best for you, and better than you do how to spend your money. It just doesn't make sense.

 
At 9/05/2011 2:25 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

That should be "due to" not "do to".

 
At 9/07/2011 12:41 PM, Blogger Jon said...

The problems in Haiti and Jamaica are government failures, whether their own, or external. their problems have nothing to do with free markets.

This is somewhat complicated in my view because in reality there is no such thing as a free market. It's more a continuum. In Haiti you have low tariffs, low taxes, non-existent government regulation, no real labor laws to speak of, no unions. Charities are private. Schooling is largely private. That's governmental failure in a sense. There is hardly any government at all, but there are large multinational corporations with nobody putting them in check. This is in a sense the opposite of what the rich and powerful countries, like the US, Britain, S Korea, Japan, and Germany did to become wealthy.

Brazil is not under US domination now, but was from 1965 to 1985 as the US overthrew the government and installed a right wing military dictatorship.

The UN Development Program estimates tens of millions dead following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Here are a couple of sources (one and two).

I'd seen a source that contrasted them with Stalin's purges, but I can't seem to find it. I'll have to dig a bit more. In any case market reforms were a nightmare for Russians.

Why do Cubans risk life to come to the US? There's an overview of the facts here. In summary the US blocks legal means and yet makes illegal immigration very attractive. Cuba fights hard to get additional visas granted but the US won't. The reason appears to be to score propaganda points, and get smart people like yourself to think Cuba is a horror. Cuban immigrants have an easy path to full rights provided they arrive illegally. The Cuban government finds this to be outrageous since it consigns many to death. Like the mother of Elian Gonzales, who basically came because she was in love with a guy that wanted to come because he was a criminal and wanted better prospects. So they all loaded into a leaky boat with a bad motor and they all died, except Elian.

I think WHO is perfectly respectable. But it's not just WHO. International polls show the same thing. See my blog here.

Japan did not implement central planning in the Soviet sense, with top down control. They provided subsidies and other incentives and protected Toyota from superior foreign products in order to protect it so it could develop and become as good as it is today. Reagan did the same. When Japanese products reached the point where they were superior he blocked them in order to protect US automotive companies from the superior competition. I support such measures if they are done properly because they work. Going the free market approach works in theory and in the minds of right wing economists, but not in reality. Take a look at the countries that try that approach. They are in Latin America, Africa, and other locations dominated by the World Bank and IMF.

 
At 9/07/2011 12:45 PM, Blogger Jon said...

So is South Korea an economic powerhouse, or are the South Korean people economically well off?

Maybe powerhouse is not the right word, but they are light years from where they were in the 50's. Astonishing economic growth. Few countries if any have a more impressive economic growth trajectory.

Do you mean that government planners know better how to spend peoples earnings than they know themselves? It's a strange idea, but pretty common these days.

It's not that the government knows better. It's that the government has different incentives and different goals.

So I know best how to spend my money if all that matters is my own pleasure and my own wants. In other words, in a purely selfish world. When I spend my money on myself I'm interested in satisfying my needs and I'm not necessarily concerned with others that suffer due to my transactions. So suppose I was really rich and preferred French water, Egyptian stone, and Lebanese wood, so I had all the materials for my home flown in on cargo planes and everything I ate was imported, but I lived in the US. Yeah, that's great for me. What about the costs I impose on the public, like environmental destruction (global warming and all it's consequences). No big deal for me. I'm rich and can afford air condition. I know best how to spend my money.

I'm not beholden to the public. But the government is (in theory). The government might consider others. A corporation is concerned with profits. If that means crapping all over the rainforests in Ecuador or dumping oil all over Nigerians, so what? That doesn't affect Shell Oil. Shell Oil is best at spending their own money if their only concern is their own profits and returns for shareholders, even if that means wiping out the indigenous people. But the residents, soaked in oil and starving, are affected by the way Shell spends their money. Who's going to come in and put a check on them? Who's able to stop them? Only government. If you have another alternative let's hear it. But right now 24,000 people starve every day because of costs imposed on them by people concerned only with their own well being. In Ecuador and Nigeria the governments (at the behest of the US) have no teeth and allow private companies to crap all over them. Strengthening those governments and giving the people a voice is the only solution I see at this point.

We can see people living in the US are better off, by most measures of well being, than anyone else in the world, do to what has been in the past a fair amount of individual liberty, and fairly free markets. We can see that top down planning can't possibly provide for the needs of millions of individuals.

Nonsense. The limited governments of the world are in Africa and Latin America. The US has had all kinds of protectionism and all kinds government involvement in the economy.

 
At 9/08/2011 5:29 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9/08/2011 5:35 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"This is somewhat complicated in my view because in reality there is no such thing as a free market. It's more a continuum."

So, were you a little hasty in your previous comment referring to "free market Haiti" and "free market Jamaica"?

"The UN Development Program estimates tens of millions dead following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Here are a couple of sources (one and two)."

Magazine articles? Those are your sources? Your #1 doesn't mention deaths at all, and #2 mentions an unsupported number of 5 million deaths from alcohol, suicide, and drug use. An economist for the UN Development attributes these to a transition to market economies, although there's no explanation of the specific mechanism involved, except that "sadness" plays a major role. These are pretty lame, Jon, and in any case, don't exactly amount to the "tens of millions" you assert.

Excess deaths due to 'sadness' aren't quite the same as intentional murder and starvation of 40 million people.

People in former Soviet countries haven't transitioned successfully to market economies. That's the problem. Their system, such as it was, collapsed. They had NO workable system and, for the most part, haven't yet developed anything workable.

"So I know best how to spend my money if all that matters is my own pleasure and my own wants. In other words, in a purely selfish world. "

Essentially, yes; but it's not a bad thing. Consider what happens when you set out to serve your own self interest. You will create wealth for others by buying their goods and services, perhaps creating jobs along the way. You are creating demand for more of those things you spend money on.

"So suppose I was really rich and preferred French water, Egyptian stone, and Lebanese wood, so I had all the materials for my home flown in on cargo planes and everything I ate was imported, but I lived in the US. Yeah, that's great for me. "

Indeed! consider how you became really rich. You have provided goods or services to others so that they are willing, maybe eager, to hand you their money. "Please take my money. I want that gizmo you are selling more than I want the money I have." That's what we all say every time we buy something. Both parties are better off.

Think of all the the workers you are supporting with all those imported goods, and all the transportation jobs involved! You are a godsend to working people all over the world.

If you don't understand my responses, I suggest you learn some more economics.

"What about the costs I impose on the public, like environmental destruction (global warming and all it's consequences). "

Sorry, jon, I don't consider that an issue, so it's pointless to bring it up.

 
At 9/08/2011 6:34 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Maybe powerhouse is not the right word, but they are light years from where they were in the 50's. Astonishing economic growth. Few countries if any have a more impressive economic growth trajectory."

That didn't answer my question about the well being of the people. That's what should be important, not how well "countries" do. Don't confuse society with state. They aren't the same thing.

"In Haiti you have low tariffs, low taxes, non-existent government regulation, no real labor laws to speak of, no unions. Charities are private. Schooling is largely private. "

That sounds like heaven. Now, if they only had a government that would protect property rights, enforce contracts, and then stay out of the way except to reject misguided foreign aid, the people could find economic opportunities and become well off. Too bad they've been saddled with tyrannical and despotic governments all these years.

"Why do Cubans risk life to come to the US? There's an overview of the facts here. "

Jon, you're kidding, right?

"After the triumph of the revolution..."

LOL

Do you really consider this an objective view? You're funny.

"Since 1st January 1959, the US immigration policy has been aimed at encouraging illegal migration from Cuba..."

Encouraging illegal migration by limiting legal immigration? Why should emigration from Cuba be illegal, and why would large numbers of people want to leave Cuban nirvana in any case, especially doctors, technicians, and skilled workers? You still haven't answered that question.

"...by sheltering the murderers, henchmen, torturers, embezzlers and thieves of the tyranny led by dictator Fulgencio Batista."

I'm surprised that many of those types survived, after Che, the "butcher of La Cabaña", personally shot hundreds of political prisoners and counter-revolutionaries.

Face the facts: Cuba just isn't a fun place to live. The thousands of people that flee tell the real story.

You probably don't want to use that link again, if you want to be taken seriously. I'm still chuckling.

"[free market]Take a look at the countries that try that approach. They are in Latin America, Africa, and other locations dominated by the World Bank and IMF."

I'm not sure which countries you are referring to, but if you look closer, you will find that most don't have free markets, but tyrannical and dysfunctional governments. No market doesn't mean free market.

Jon, you might want to consider putting down that big glass of progressive kool-ade. It's not serving you well. Enlarge your view a little.

 
At 9/08/2011 10:46 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Magazine articles? Those are your sources?

Like I said, I had seen a source from the UN Development Program that said tens of millions dead. Regardless, the point doesn't change. Massive death followed market reforms in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. I provided sources on life expectancy. Speculate on the causes if you like, but this is what happened.

Essentially, yes; but it's not a bad thing.

Just because it's not a bad thing for the buyer and seller this doesn't mean it's not a bad thing for others. A buyer and seller consider the costs to themselves. But that's not all of the costs. There are other costs. Economists call them externalities. These are costs that will be paid, but not necessarily by the buyer and seller.

So let's suppose I need oil to fuel the jets that fly in the Egyptian stone I need. This creates jobs for mercenaries in Ecuador. The mercenary is happy to get paid. I'm happy to have stone. But you don't see other costs to be paid. The indigenous people getting shot and fighting wars against the oil companies. The wiped out rain forests and extinct species. Well, that's a job for the indigenous people. Now they are warriors. In my world that's not the best use of their efforts. The incentive structure of a buyer and seller prevents them from considering these costs, but a government does consider them. They need money to provide the check on the oil companies/mercenaries that are producing so much mayhem to improve their profit situation.

Do you seriously not have a problem with the BP oil spill or Exonn Valdez? Because in Nigeria they've suffered one Exonn Valdez every year for the last 50 years. Maybe you don't care about them. You want to fly in your planes and not be bothered. Maybe you are a psycopath. I'm not. I care about others. If you don't feel the same way I guess what I'm saying won't make a whole lot of sense to you.

The people of S Korea are doing very well as compared to how they were doing 50 years ago. Is this something you need me to prove?

The source on Cuba is not objective, but it still outlines the relevant laws and history. Do you deny that the US blocked flights out of Cuba in the 60's or that the US has not permitted the # of visas they committed to? Do you deny that the US grants special privildges to Cubans that arrive illegally.

Lots of people want to come live in the richest country in the world. Not just Cubans. All kinds of people. Heck, lots of people want to move to lots of countries. Frankly I think it would be cool to live in Spain or Germany long term. Let's suppose Spain and Germany allowed full citizenship only to those that arrived illegally and made it difficult to come legally (it is difficult to go legally by the way). What would we expect would happen? Some Americans would come illegally, even if that meant they had to swim across a river. Would you then say "What a crappy country the US is. People risk their lives to go to Germany." That's to be expected based on German laws. To blame the US or pretend this shows the US sucks is not reasonable.

I'm not sure which countries you are referring to, but if you look closer, you will find that most don't have free markets, but tyrannical and dysfunctional governments.

Tell us which countries are free market?

 
At 9/09/2011 4:55 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Let's suppose Spain and Germany allowed full citizenship only to those that arrived illegally and made it difficult to come legally (it is difficult to go legally by the way)."

It seems obvious in that case, that if I want to emigrate to Germany or Spain, I will do it illegally. I doubt that I'd go to these lengths , however to get to Germany or Spain.

Which leaves the question you still haven't answered, which is, why so many thousands of people have been willing to risk it all to leave Cuba and come to the US. I'm not sure what you think US immigration policy has to do with it.

IIRC, there was an equally obsessive urge, on the part of some people in the former East Germany to leave for the West. They risked being shot or killed by dogs to get there. What is it with people in socialist paradises? Are they all nuts? Can't they even be happy with the obvious blessings of top down central planning government?

It seems that any socialist government must fence in the population, or they will wander off the reservation.

"Regardless, the point doesn't change. Massive death followed market reforms in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. I provided sources on life expectancy. Speculate on the causes if you like, but this is what happened."

You have shown that life became harder after the existing system in Soviet countries collapsed. "Massive deaths" must mean different things to you and me. The cause of people dying makes a great deal of difference. Don't you think government jailing and killing tens of millions of a country's citizens and starving tens of millions of others to enforce collective farming is on a different scale from more people dying from alcoholism, drug use, and sadness?

I'm not sure what point you were trying to make here.

"So let's suppose I need oil to fuel the jets that fly in the Egyptian stone I need. This creates jobs for mercenaries in Ecuador. The mercenary is happy to get paid. I'm happy to have stone. But you don't see other costs to be paid. The indigenous people getting shot and fighting wars against the oil companies. The wiped out rain forests and extinct species. Well, that's a job for the indigenous people. Now they are warriors. In my world that's not the best use of their efforts."

Jon, this is a really imaginative story! Have you considered writing adventure novels?

I don't actually see the conections between all the various characters in your story, but you are apparrently unhappy about some situation in Ecuador. Based on what I know of it, it sounds like Ecuadorians neet to get their house in order. I don't see what responsibility you or I might have there, unless you thing we should boycott someone, and in that case who should it be? Do you think the problem will be solved if I give up flying jets around the world? What about my car, should I stop driving that also?

It looks like petroleum is a major source of GDP for Ecuador, at 1/2 of the economy. If oil jobs dissapear due to our no longer using so much oil, what will these poor people do?

"In my world that's not the best use of their efforts."

And what, in your world, IS the best use of their efforts? Is it really up to you to decide, or should they be allowed to decide that for themselves?

 
At 9/09/2011 4:58 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Do you seriously not have a problem with the BP oil spill or Exonn Valdez? Because in Nigeria they've suffered one Exonn Valdez every year for the last 50 years."

Jon, I don't like oil spills. I think they should be prevented as much as possible, and cleaned up as quickly as possible, in a manner that causes the least possible damage.

I also realize that if we are to use oil, and we WILL continue to do so, it isn't possible to prevent all damage from oil.

Short of stopping all oil production, what do you think should happen differently?

As for Nigeria, it seems that most spills are due to sabotage and theft of oil. What should you or I do about that?


"The people of S Korea are doing very well as compared to how they were doing 50 years ago. Is this something you need me to prove?"

Yes, they are doing well because they are resourceful, innovative, and hard working people. They have done well despite the impediments placed in their way by a government that restricted their prosperity by erecting huge barriers to imports through the use of large tariffs. Think of how much more prosperous they might have been without that government interference in their lives.

 
At 9/09/2011 7:29 AM, Blogger Jon said...

You seriously don't understand why Cuban's risk life to come here? It's basic economics. You incentivize things you get more of them. Cuban's have a unique situation. Come illegally, by dangerous means or whatever, and you get rights no other immigrant does. You can stay in the world's richest country. That's pretty appealing for any country. Those that flee the (relatively) free market paradise that is Haiti get sent back. The Coast Guard patrols the waters off the coast of Haiti to prevent them from leaving, even leaving for Cuba. Why do you think we have such different policies towards Cubans and Haitians.

Haitians do flee to Cuba. You claimed they didn't, but they do. See here. Or here. Notice that Cuba, Canada, and Jamaica will not turn back refugees. The US policy of turning them back is very cruel.

You say East Germans fled as well. True. People that lived under Soviet domination did flee. But have you heard about life in countries that are subjected to US domination? Colombia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Brazil? What is the refugee status for people in those countries? You're obviously unaware that Haitians are fleeing as well. If a Haitian, under US domination for years, died and woke up in East Germany under Soviet domination he would probably be quite pleased. In (relatively) free market Haiti he's probably unemployed (50-70% are), maybe starving, can't afford to send his kids to schools which are blessed with a large degree of privatization. Not the same in East Germany where life, while tough, is much better.

You don't get my point on Russia? Free market reforms meant massive death. The obvious reduction in life expectancy meant much death. And death from "sadness" I suppose means suicide. That's pretty serious in my view.

You don't see our responsibility in Ecuador. Really? They need to get their house in order? Their house was in fine order until US corporations came in with massive construction projects and wrecked their land. Why? Among other reasons to get oil. So you can fly around and buy cheap gas. It works. We do have cheap gas. It's massive suffering imposed on others so you can enjoy life. Because you know best how to spend your own money. More efficient than government. My point is that mentality has severe consequences for innocent people.

Is it up to me to decide what Ecuadorans do? No, but I'm assuming they'd rather not have to fight with oil companies so that the price of gas stays low for you.

You think the oil spill should be cleaned up. What do you mean? Who should pay for it? Should the oil companies have to do it? They don't want to. Are you going to force them? And if so how do you suggest this be accomplished?

What I think should happen is Nigerians should be permitted democracy. What you advocate (limited government and free market capitalism) is what they have now, which is not at all democracy. In Nigeria decisions are made based on wealth. The oil companies have the wealth, so they do what they want and wreck the lives of the people. If the values of the people could be limited this would constrain the freedoms of these corporations. That would do it. People with values other than pure profit should have a voice in how their environment is treated. If we can bring those values to the fore (democracy is the only way to do it that I know of) then these problems could be resolved.

 
At 9/09/2011 10:14 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You seriously don't understand why Cuban's risk life to come here? It's basic economics. You incentivize things you get more of them"

Are you just being deliberately obtuse? I asked you why thousands of people were willing to risk death by leaving Cuba for the US, and you say it's for economic reasons. Does that mean that you believe people have more opportunities and freedom in the US and that it's a better place to live than Cuba? That would be my argument, are you trying to make it for me?

When you provide links to support a point, do you not check them yourself, or are you hoping no one else will check them either? You may have assumed that the link about Haitian refugees off the coast of Cuba meant that they were headed for Cuba , but if that was their goal, they could have saved a lot of sailing by going directly there. Instead, they were found by the USCG almost to Key West FL. If you chack a map, you will see that they had travelled hundreds of miles along the north coast of Cuba to get to where they encountered the Coast Guard.

Why would you assume they were going to Cuba?

Your other link is kind of dated. Aristide is no longer in power, as you probably know, and there is no longer an armed rebellion going on, causing people to flee for their lives.

Maybe I need to write more clearly and carefully so you will understand me. When I asked you why you thought Haitians fled to the US instead of Cuba, I didn't think you would read that as a claim that no Haitian had EVER fled to Cuba, I just meant that currently, Cuba doesn't seem to be a major destination for fleeing Haitians. Is that better?

 
At 9/10/2011 1:44 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Not the same in East Germany where life, while tough, is much better."

But what about West Germany? Were people better off in East Germany, and why the flood of escapees to the West Why was a massive wall through Berlin necessary to keep East Berliners in?

"You're obviously unaware that Haitians are fleeing as well."

Wait. Didn't I ask YOU why so many Haitians flee to the US instead of much closer Cuba?

Are you forgetting your previous comments? Do you remember your original comment or are you now just intent on pushing a failed agenda for socialism as the best system for poor childlike people in other countries who can't think for themselves, and need someone kind and smart like you to plan their lives for them?

Think about it Jon, people flee from socialist countries to market systems in almost every case. Why is that? Do you suppose they know something you don't?

You keep asking about the former Soviet Union, but I'm not sure what you expect to hear. The great socialist experiment failed, the economies collapsed, the structures disappeared. Lots of people have suffered, as they haven't successful built something to replace them. No one is "doing things" to them, it's just what they have left, which isn't sufficient.

At least you admit that 10s of millions haven't died from market reform, as it it was a disease.

"You don't see our responsibility in Ecuador. Really? They need to get their house in order? Their house was in fine order until US corporations came in with massive construction projects and wrecked their land."

If Ecuadorians had their house in order, their government would be in the business of protecting and serving the people of Ecuador. It sounds like it has failed at its most basic task.

I'm going to assume that foreign companies didn't invade Ecuador with armies, and occupy the country, so they must be there at the invitation of the Ecuadorian government. If you wish to point to a problem, that's a good place to start laying blame.

What would you like to see happen in Ecuador?

Nigeria must be suffering from a similar failure of government to protect and serve the people. I believe that corruption is endemic in Nigeria. That's, no doubt a major part of the problem.

Do you understand that the many oil spills in Nigeria are caused almost entirely by sabotage and theft of oil, not evil oil company negligence?

So, you think Nigerians should be permitted democracy, eh? Are they forbidden democracy somehow? Who is doing this?

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

You do understand that pure democracy is as evil as a single tyrannical ruler, right?

A limited, republican form of representative government is preferable, which is what they have, more or less. This form makes it extremely difficult for a majority interest to dominate. It's more likely that minority interests will be represented also.

Is oil the problem? Should I park my car? Would people all over the world be better off if there were no evil oil companies?

What should we all do, Jon?

 

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