“Save the Planet” Policies

I am deeply suspicious about the tendency for “save the planet” policies that create self-enrichment opportunities for people who are already the 0.1%.

You would have to explain this better to me? Keep in mind I am Norwegian so I am actually used to having a government you can trust, and I am accustomed to government having many successful policies making society better.

I strongly support a shift of the burden of taxation, off income and onto resource consumption.

This I am a very strong supporter of as well. With the right taxation we can continue economic growth with minimal increase in resource utilization. We should seek higher quality, longer lasting product rather than consuming lots of low quality short lasting products.

Instead of conceited central planning and rationing schemes such as the one that is now the new standard for urban land, all we should do is “get the prices right” and leave people to make a million different decisions at the “micro” level.

That is fine to say in the abstract but in reality I think that in a lot of cases it is simply very hard to get a market solution to work. Especially for anything related to the environment. Often the key ingredients required for a functioning market isn’t there. Nobody owns the air or the water. Nobody has a direct financial incentive in keeping the air and the water clean. We have a collective rather than an individual interest in that.

But I am a pragmatic. I am not an ideologue. If somebody can show me a working market solution for something, then I would prefer that over a centrally planned solution. I am leaning democratic socialist primarily for pragmatic reasons rather than ideological reasons. I don’t have some inherent strong aversion towards markets.

For example, it is self-evident that someone might live sustainably embedded in nature well outside the city; but urban planning laws now ban such an option.

Not sure specifically what you mean by that. I like to approach such questions with: “What would happen if a large number of people did this?” The planet is too overcrowded to allow millions of people living out in the woods.

I do not believe the 0.1% are generous donors to the “save the planet” movement for any other reason, they are using well-meaning politicians and activists as useful idiots in a classic “Baptists and Bootleggers” paradigm.

I really don’t get where these ideas are comming from. It is somewhat baffling to me. The rich are primarily opposing the green movements. They are not working with it! All industry does is symbolic action, like recycling more. No industry is saying: “Let us consume less. Let us get our customers to buy less over our products.” A lot of the 0.1% are rich from fossil fuels and dirty industriese. That some tech industry tychoons come across as green says very little about how they are in general.

In Norway, the government owned oil company Equinor loves to brandish their green credentials, such as powering their oil pumping with wind turbines. But they still push towards more oil extraction all over Norway.

I claim that abolishing the rationing of urban land alone would do it, with the planet being saved from the externalities of urban sprawl simply by pricing the externalities.

I think that is determined by what you view as the problem with urban sprawl today. What externalities you want to price. Without any concrete examples, I think it is hard to judge whether this is a workable solution or not.

Urban Planning Professor Alain Bertaud puts it thus: politicians mistake “reducing the externalities” for “reducing the thing itself”; “the thing itself” has benefits that we forego excessively by proscribing “the thing itself” instead of the externalities.

I can agree this is often an issue. E.g. in Norway they used to tax cars based on horse power based on the idea that they would consume more gasoline. I would rather have simply taxes the gasoline itself.

However without concrete examples in urban planning it is hard to judge how easy the alternative solution proposed by Alain Bertaud world work.

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Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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