The Socialized Costs of Climate Change

How should society be organised, if at all?

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Science Fan
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The Socialized Costs of Climate Change

Post by Science Fan » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:33 pm

In economics, if one wants to have an efficient transaction take place, then the goal is to have the private costs and benefits associated with the transaction equal the social costs and benefits associated with the transaction. Presently, however, we have numerous instances where the private gains and costs do not reflect the social gains and costs, and, are thus, economically inefficient. A key example is with respect to purchasing gasoline at the pump. The price for a galloon of gas does not cover all of the social costs associated with that purchase, assuming one is actually going to use the gasoline to drive around in a car. There is a public expense associated with keeping sea lanes open, there is a public cost on the financing of terrorism if the gasoline comes from a terrorist-exporting nation, there is a public cost associated with climate change, as well as health concerns due to the rising carbon levels in the atmosphere as well. In order for these costs to be paid for at the pump, it is estimated that gasoline prices would have to triple.

Isn't this the privatization of profits and the socialization of costs? If the costs are being absorbed by the public, then this is socialism. If not for the socialization of costs, oil companies probably would have gone out of business already, because when the actual costs are factored in, alternative fuels are cheaper. So, yet again, with climate change being a serious problem, we see that socialism does not work. Rather ironic too, since those who promote this system of too-low gas prices claim to be supporting capitalism and not socialism.

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Bill Wiltrack
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Re: The Socialized Costs of Climate Change

Post by Bill Wiltrack » Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:57 am

.





The element of socialism exists IN EVERY FORM OF GOVERNMENT...and, happily, socialism DOES WORK.


...beginning to understand how decentralization may, one day, allow for individual to trace back the source of goods.


The Digital Revolution is characterized by the expansion & use of renewable energy which may also serve to ease your fears as to the scereno that you expressed above.


Good luck to you.







.

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Greta
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Re: The Socialized Costs of Climate Change

Post by Greta » Fri Mar 09, 2018 8:38 am

Science Fan wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:33 pm
In economics, if one wants to have an efficient transaction take place, then the goal is to have the private costs and benefits associated with the transaction equal the social costs and benefits associated with the transaction. Presently, however, we have numerous instances where the private gains and costs do not reflect the social gains and costs, and, are thus, economically inefficient. A key example is with respect to purchasing gasoline at the pump. The price for a galloon of gas does not cover all of the social costs associated with that purchase, assuming one is actually going to use the gasoline to drive around in a car. There is a public expense associated with keeping sea lanes open, there is a public cost on the financing of terrorism if the gasoline comes from a terrorist-exporting nation, there is a public cost associated with climate change, as well as health concerns due to the rising carbon levels in the atmosphere as well. In order for these costs to be paid for at the pump, it is estimated that gasoline prices would have to triple.

Isn't this the privatization of profits and the socialization of costs? If the costs are being absorbed by the public, then this is socialism. If not for the socialization of costs, oil companies probably would have gone out of business already, because when the actual costs are factored in, alternative fuels are cheaper. So, yet again, with climate change being a serious problem, we see that socialism does not work. Rather ironic too, since those who promote this system of too-low gas prices claim to be supporting capitalism and not socialism.
Yes, the public is largely carrying the costs of pollution. There is no way around it because governments everywhere no longer represent people but corporations - and note that corporations are not actually a collection of people as the name might imply but distinct entities with their own goals and interests that may or may not coincide with those of their staff.

That looks less like socialism than feudalism, a takeover. Humans were once top of the tree and lorded it over nature. Now we are starting to get a taste of how it might have felt to be an animal when humans were first starting to take over everything - to be powerless as we are increasingly over-matched, outclassed, superseded and controlled. It's fascinating to watch happening if one forgets the exploitations and simply steps back to "watch the show" as a naturalist might.

Science Fan
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Re: The Socialized Costs of Climate Change

Post by Science Fan » Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:42 pm

Bill: Government involvement in capitalism is not socialism, which is a common claim among socialists, but, it just ain't so. One can go back to Adam Smith and see that he never once claimed that if people pursue their own individual self-interest, this will lead to beneficial societal outcomes. What he stated instead, even giving concrete examples, was that under certain institutional frameworks, people pursuing their own individual interests will lead to beneficial societal outcomes.

It's also true that currency exists through some form of government, and property is also dependent on some political organization, and without property rights and currency, there are no markets.

Socialism is the government setting prices of goods and services without any regard to markets. That system never has worked.

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Re: The Socialized Costs of Climate Change

Post by Science Fan » Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:48 pm

Greta: I'm not entirely convinced that there is no solution to this problem, but am also not very optimistic. We, as evolved social primates, have brains wired to defend ourselves against military aggression from enemy tribes, but seem to have a very limited ability to recognize the dangers from human-caused climate change, which definitely has the potential to wipe out a large part of humanity, or, maybe even everyone, depending on how bad it gets.

I also don't see this as a problem solely caused by corporations. After all, insurance companies are concerned about climate change, as they are going to be one of the first to experience financial losses from climate change. Big Oil couldn't get away with its lies about climate change, unless a large percentage of people adopted the lies from Big Oil. At least, I can see why Big Oil would llie to people about climate change, it certainly has an economic incentive to do so. But why anyone believes those lies, when it places themselves in danger? That is hard to explain, and I think much more blameworthy, because these ignorant people have nothing to gain by refusing to acknowledge the scientific facts regarding climate change. They are literally placing their lives, and the lives of their children and grandchildren in danger, to support the interests of Big Oil. That's truly scummy.

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