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Thread: Running out of resources?

  1. #1
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    Running out of resources?

    Occasionally, I still run into folks that are always worried about running out of resources. This is a very old idea, that in my opinion, has been debunked. This article does an excellent job of explaining why man has NEVER run out of resources and most likely, never will.

    Here's a paragraph to wet your whistle with.

    The specter that Malthus described was summarized as population increases geometrically, food increases arithmetically. Based on that logic, starvation and suffering were seen as inevitable. Malthus, in other words, was saying that England's economic growth was not sustainable. It was that profoundly pessimistic theory that resulted in economics being described as "the dismal science." England, of course, has gone on to experience over 200 years of historically unprecedented economic growth...

    Obviously, Malthus's predictions did not come to pass. Why not? Malthus's error, in a nutshell, was failing to appreciate the impact of an increasing stock of knowledge and the resulting technological revolution. The sustainability crusade is wrong for essentially the same reasons Malthus was wrong...

    When in the history of civilization have we actually exhausted or totally depleted any significant resource? The answer is never. What makes us believe we will in the future? Somehow we buy into the notion that something that has never happened in history is going to doom us in the near future. It is another reflection of the inflated self-importance and myopia of the current generation.
    The best part of the entire article, is the one that follows:

    The Stone Age did not end because of a stone shortage. It ended because an expanding supply of knowledge created superior alternatives to stones. That dynamic represents a central theme in the history of civilization. Iron ore was around before and during the Stone Age, but the information needed to make it useful did not exist at the time. Petroleum was not even a resource until we knew how to access it and refine it. We also invented new ways to use it, especially for transportation purposes. Sand was not a resource until we learned how to turn it into glass and concrete. As the late Julian Simon observed, "Resources in their raw form are useful and valuable only when found, understood, gathered together and harnessed for human needs. The basic ingredient in the process, along with the raw elements, is human knowledge."

    In the 19th century lanterns were the main source of illumination and whale oil was the main fuel for lanterns. If that had continued we might have driven some whale species to extinction. Why didn't that happen? (It certainly wasn't because Greenpeace was harassing whaling vessels.) We invented ways to convert coal to kerosene and later, petroleum to kerosene. Kerosene was about a tenth as costly as whale oil and smelled better. Then lanterns as a light source were made obsolete by Edison's invention of the incandescent light bulb.
    I'll leave some out so you can enjoy the entire article in order by clicking below.

    http://spectator.org/archives/2012/0...ustainability/
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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    Re: Running out of resources?

    It's kind of an interesting article, but its an emphatically political article who's goal is to attack the left. Therefore it is not an real objective consideration of the issue.

    When you have a finite amount of resources, and you keep using them.......you will run out eventually. It's not an odd or difficult idea. Just because you haven't run out yet, does not mean that earthly resources will last forever by magic.

    Spain cut down all their trees in the 1500's for the Armada. Their economy subsequently dived and they were dominated by Britain and the other colonial powers for many years.

    Technology does not replace natural resources. All technology requires them. It just makes us able to use less to produce more. But no technology allows you to use nothing and come up with something.

    When you destroy the environment and thereby eliminate the resource base, you reduce your ability to produce in the long term. The short-term thinker like this author will say 'don't worry technology will help us get more from less'. Of course this is never followed up by its the most obvious extension of that argument: why not preserve your resources so in the future you can get even more from more?

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    Re: Running out of resources?

    I am not sure why you think sustainability is bad. What's the problem with wisely usually the finite resources of the only Earth we have.

    When in the history of civilization have we actually exhausted or totally depleted any significant resource? The answer is never. What makes us believe we will in the future?
    Incredibly hubris to say that resource depletion will never happen. Ahem. Easter Island, Vinland, Chaco Canyon, The Mayan city states, Haiti, etc.,
    "So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by NHL Fever View Post
    It's kind of an interesting article, but its an emphatically political article who's goal is to attack the left. Therefore it is not an real objective consideration of the issue.
    If you say so.

    When you have a finite amount of resources, and you keep using them.......you will run out eventually. It's not an odd or difficult idea. Just because you haven't run out yet, does not mean that earthly resources will last forever by magic.
    Well, that's been the argument of many since the 1700s. It's true if the system is "closed". Generally, a free market system prevents one from running out of resources, if it's a true free market, thought it does need to be properly regulated. For instance, fur is a renewable resource, but but buffaloes were hunted to near extension but there was still plenty of fur. There is always that kind of thing we need to be careful about. But with things like oil, it's a scare tactic, IMO. Sooner or later the price of oil will get high enough (if oil gets scarce enough) so that other sources of energy become economical.

    Spain cut down all their trees in the 1500's for the Armada.
    Kind of like my buffalo example above. In this case though, it's an example of a government not caring about the free market. Kings can cut because they want to without regard to cost. Again, it's a closed system. With free trade making an open system of trading, the chances of something like this happening go WAY down.

    Their economy subsequently dived and they were dominated by Britain and the other colonial powers for many years.
    Any government that completely ignores free market principles will make that happen.

    Technology does not replace natural resources. All technology requires them. It just makes us able to use less to produce more. But no technology allows you to use nothing and come up with something.
    Of course. But the materials required for use changes with technology. Very few of us use kerosene any more or whale oil. That's the point of the article.

    When you destroy the environment and thereby eliminate the resource base, you reduce your ability to produce in the long term. The short-term thinker like this author will say 'don't worry technology will help us get more from less'. Of course this is never followed up by its the most obvious extension of that argument: why not preserve your resources so in the future you can get even more from more?
    The long term thinker like the economist who first suggested the theory of limited resources was wrong 300 years ago. It still hasn't happened. The author isn't a short term thinker. He rightly recognizes that technology shifts the resources required around. As man learns, he learns how to use things he was unable to before. The cost of oil will encourage conservation.

    What's interesting, we are even seeing the author's principles play out in the oil industry today. What once was unavailable, tar sands oil and shale oil, are now becoming available more and more. Technology is now available to get to that oil that wasn't available 20 years ago in a cost effective manner. That's the wonder of the free market. Eventually, the market will provide another resource as well, IMO.

    Thing is, the left has been screaming chicken little now for 300 years, too many people, too little food, too cold (the 70s), to hot (the 90s), etc.

    There's wisdom in conservation (see the buffalo). But let's not get carried away with it. The resources are here and we should be able to use them.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by fishbowlsoul View Post
    I am not sure why you think sustainability is bad. What's the problem with wisely usually the finite resources of the only Earth we have.
    The point of the article is that as man learns, the resources he needs changes. That's always been the case. This idea of limited resources (and they are) is right. The idea that we will run out and run out soon is not. That's the beauty of learning and a free market system. Learning and cost force mankind to find a substitute for things he needs that get too expensive or in his endeavor for security, he discovers a cheaper way to do things.

    Incredibly hubris to say that resource depletion will never happen. Ahem. Easter Island, Vinland, Chaco Canyon, The Mayan city states, Haiti, etc.,
    Those were all closed systems. And many of them are due to government corruption. However, I will admit that we have to be very careful with closed systems as I mentioned above concerning the buffalo. On the other hand, we really limit ourselves when we let fear of what might happen, when it really never has, on a world wide level.

    Haiti ran out of trees. The world did not. Spain ran out of trees. The world did not. A closed system, without proper checks and balances is more likely to run out of the limited resources. When trade is free over the entire world, cost generally will prevent resource extension. IOW, it generally gets to expensive for man to continue to use it until the resource is gone. (Keeping in mind that things like the buffalo are closed and specific. There's no shortage of fur. Just easy fur. The buffalo were easy and they went first.)
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    If you say so.
    Considering the author assaults 'the left' from the start, seems pretty clear that's his intent.
    Well, that's been the argument of many since the 1700s. It's true if the system is "closed".
    The system is effectively closed. The only input we get is from the sun, and the turnover from that input is not fast enough compared to the rate we use. Oil takes millions of years to make. If we farm land faster than the sun makes plants grow and die and return nutrients to the soil, same problem.
    Generally, a free market system prevents one from running out of resources, if it's a true free market, thought it does need to be properly regulated. For instance, fur is a renewable resource, but but buffaloes were hunted to near extension but there was still plenty of fur. There is always that kind of thing we need to be careful about. But with things like oil, it's a scare tactic, IMO. Sooner or later the price of oil will get high enough (if oil gets scarce enough) so that other sources of energy become economical.
    There was plenty of fur because there were other sources of fur. A free market in no way prevents resources from running out, in fact it is the faster driver of their use. Because they become more expensive as they diminish, does not mean the actual amount somehow stabilizes. Oil is the perfect examples because the free market has not found alternatives, and it has not made oil cheaper. Oil cost has increased many fold since 1946 as I indicated (or did I just think of typing that but didn't?)
    Kind of like my buffalo example above. In this case though, it's an example of a government not caring about the free market. Kings can cut because they want to without regard to cost. Again, it's a closed system. With free trade making an open system of trading, the chances of something like this happening go WAY down.
    Kings operated in the free market. The market was there, and they were free to do what they wanted with it. They could not produce magic anymore than today's corporations could, and when they ran out of resources they had to pay more from other countries to get more. Sometimes they bankrupted themselves doing so. Today we live in a global world. We consume on a global scale. We cannot just assume we can buy from someone else when things become sparse.
    There is a great myth in the conservative world that capitalism and democracy have anything to do with each other. They do not, capitalism has existed since the dawn of time, and was in full use during most of the medieval age. Whether you were paying servants to cut the wood, or paying taskmasters to force them to cut it, you were paying for resources that were privately owned and used.

    Any government that completely ignores free market principles will make that happen.
    True, but any government that embraces the unrestricted free market will also fall. We don't have any of those governments today in modern countries......because you cannot have modern countries with those types of governments. When you try, you get today's Russia were a small group of private actors dominate and restrict the freedom of everyone, or you just get total government non-action such as in Somalia.

    Of course. But the materials required for use changes with technology. Very few of us use kerosene any more or whale oil. That's the point of the article.
    I think the author's point is moot because kerosene and petrol come from the same source. So no we haven't stopped using it, we use many times more of it in fact. Whale oil to kerosene is a change in source, but kerosene to petrol is not.
    The long term thinker like the economist who first suggested the theory of limited resources was wrong 300 years ago. It still hasn't happened.
    Christ has not returned either. The guys who first suggested it 2000 years ago were wrong then?
    The author isn't a short term thinker. He rightly recognizes that technology shifts the resources required around. As man learns, he learns how to use things he was unable to before. The cost of oil will encourage conservation.

    What's interesting, we are even seeing the author's principles play out in the oil industry today. What once was unavailable, tar sands oil and shale oil, are now becoming available more and more. Technology is now available to get to that oil that wasn't available 20 years ago in a cost effective manner. That's the wonder of the free market. Eventually, the market will provide another resource as well, IMO.
    While we are using new sources, it has not succeeded in actually reducing the cost or stabilizing the availability of oil. The bottom line is that we will always get better at extracting resources, but those resources do not come back. At some point we will use them up, now matter how good we are at getting them.
    Thing is, the left has been screaming chicken little now for 300 years, too many people, too little food, too cold (the 70s), to hot (the 90s), etc.
    But resources devastation has indeed caused much suffering, there are many countries that are poor today because they could not manage what they had an allowed it to be stripped away. While we can get 10$ tomorrow with new tech compared to $1 today, unfortunately we seem to always choose $1 today.

    Also, the claim that scientists rang the alarm for global cooling in the 1970's is a total myth. It is believed only because the media of that nature tells it to people who already want to believe it. I recently ran across a guy who explains this very well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU_AtHkB4Ms
    Please watch, its very informative and done in a scientific way. The short story: there were 7 papers learning towards a 'cooling' theory form that time, and 49 suggesting 'warming'. The 7 papers are more convenient to use however, if that's what you want to push as a journalist, pundit etc.

    There's wisdom in conservation (see the buffalo). But let's not get carried away with it. The resources are here and we should be able to use them.
    Oil has a unique problem that buffalo skin did not. There were many ways to warm oneself, and if you chose fur, there were many options. But we don't have any other options apart from fossil fuels. And we don't just stay where we are if we don't find something else. We go backwards, because our entire civilization relies on it. There is a threshold of no return, and the market is may not be capable of responding to it in time. Recall that the market is only a function of the priorities of its users. Those priorities are short-term profits right now. I doubt they will change soon.

    Regulation can harness the market, they are not necessary enemies. The best example which openly flies in the face of 'let the market go' is when Japan imposed stiff fuel and emissions standards on its vehicles in the 1970's, and the US did not. Japan's market transitioned into.....simply building better vehicles, which then went on to dominate American vehicles in much of the world. Government intervention directly resulted in a better, more cost-efficient product which captured a larger market share. If we do the same with other things that use fossil fuels, we can gain similar advantages. If you are forced to build the plant now that uses only half the energy, in 20 years you sell that to everyone in the world and make the bucks and have the economic advantage of already having the low-energy use infrastructure in place. The market cannot make those plans, because they are on a scale far greater than the individuals actors can manage. Just like the benefits of the space program would not have happened without the government presenting the challenge, and letting the market meet it.

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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by NHL Fever View Post
    Considering the author assaults 'the left' from the start, seems pretty clear that's his intent.
    That doesn't mean he's wrong. There is much wrong with leftist thinking. If you believe it to be wrong, that doesn't make you right. But it doesn't make you wrong either.

    The system is effectively closed. The only input we get is from the sun, and the turnover from that input is not fast enough compared to the rate we use. Oil takes millions of years to make. If we farm land faster than the sun makes plants grow and die and return nutrients to the soil, same problem.
    True. But it's not completely closed in the sense that man has generally stayed ahead of the curve on such issues. One of the differences in the left and right, IMO, is the right doesn't care so much if the snail darter goes extinct if it doesn't impact the larger picture, while the left seems to care more for the snail darter than the man trying to feed his family.

    There was plenty of fur because there were other sources of fur. A free market in no way prevents resources from running out, in fact it is the faster driver of their use. Because they become more expensive as they diminish, does not mean the actual amount somehow stabilizes. Oil is the perfect examples because the free market has not found alternatives, and it has not made oil cheaper. Oil cost has increased many fold since 1946 as I indicated (or did I just think of typing that but didn't?)
    It will. If it is a true free market, the price eventually gets high enough that another source is found. That doesn't mean it's perfect. But the forces are active towards that outcome. Oil is a great example of that. Cheap oil is gone. But oil is by no means running out. The US is the Saudi Arabia of shale oil. The technology is now available to get it out of the ground. What drove that technology? The cost of oil going up. The market found a way around the road block.

    Kings operated in the free market.
    Not really. If they wanted something, they had the power to take it and pay nothing for it. Remember Ahab? Who said no to a king?

    Today we live in a global world. We consume on a global scale. We cannot just assume we can buy from someone else when things become sparse.
    Exactly. IMO, it helps keep the resources safer. The prices go up, consumption goes down. The laws of supply and demand have not changed.

    There is a great myth in the conservative world that capitalism and democracy have anything to do with each other. They do not, capitalism has existed since the dawn of time, and was in full use during most of the medieval age. Whether you were paying servants to cut the wood, or paying taskmasters to force them to cut it, you were paying for resources that were privately owned and used.
    Democracy and capitalism may not go together. But liberty and capitalism do! You can't have one without the other though you can have impure forms of capitalism without freedom, it is still not capitalism without freedom.

    True, but any government that embraces the unrestricted free market will also fall. We don't have any of those governments today in modern countries......because you cannot have modern countries with those types of governments. When you try, you get today's Russia were a small group of private actors dominate and restrict the freedom of everyone, or you just get total government non-action such as in Somalia.
    I am not for an unregulated free market. For instance, even baseball games are regulated. But everyone plays by the same rules. The NY Yankees play by the same rules at the Philadelphia Phillies. The poorest team plays by the same rules as the riches team. The most talented team plays by the same rules as the least talented. IMO, that's necessary for a truly free market. The other thing that's necessary is for people to have the freedom to live, invest, prosper, etc. and be rewarded for their labors. That doesn't mean we turn our backs on bullying, loan sharking, extortion, etc.

    If someone has a great idea, like say Steve Jobs, and he becomes a billionaire as a result, we are ALL better off because of his idea. He put tons of people out of work that made records, cds, cd players, etc. But those people are now free to work in something else that is more productive for society. Society is better off and the standard of living went up because the cost of music went down.

    I think the author's point is moot because kerosene and petrol come from the same source. So no we haven't stopped using it, we use many times more of it in fact. Whale oil to kerosene is a change in source, but kerosene to petrol is not.
    The overall principal is still valid.

    Christ has not returned either. The guys who first suggested it 2000 years ago were wrong then?
    Christ return is a prophetic word from God. Scare tactics from the left are not.

    While we are using new sources, it has not succeeded in actually reducing the cost or stabilizing the availability of oil. The bottom line is that we will always get better at extracting resources, but those resources do not come back. At some point we will use them up, now matter how good we are at getting them.
    The point is not that oil price stabilizes or is even reduced, yet. It will get there. The growth in the use of oil in the US has slowed. The percentage of our economy that depends on the price of oil has changed over the years. In the 70s, a spike in oil prices meant a recession. Today it no longer means that. The transition has happened. Cost has made cars more economical. It has made buildings more economical. The average buyer today wants to know what his energy cost will be and that wasn't the case in the 70s or at least it wasn't as important.

    Eventually, as the cost of oil gets prohibitive, changes will be made. The market will demand it. People that cannot buy gasoline will look for another source. The person(s) that come up with that source, will be billionaires.

    But resources devastation has indeed caused much suffering, there are many countries that are poor today because they could not manage what they had an allowed it to be stripped away. While we can get 10$ tomorrow with new tech compared to $1 today, unfortunately we seem to always choose $1 today.
    Not managing resources is bad. Haiti is a prime example of that. But the left uses a small country example and then tries to apply that to the huge world wide economy with oil. It's not the same, IMO. As I mentioned above, the US has more oil than Saudi Arabia tied up in shale. It's just now becoming accessible. The price of oil and technology has made it accessible.

    In time, solar will be affordable. I am not sure if wind will be or not but it could be. Energy is too important for us not to find a replacement. But that doesn't mean we have to stop using it now. There's plenty in the ground if the environmentalist will let us get it out. Alaska has tons of oil! The Soviets are drilling up there now. Why shouldn't we?

    Also, the claim that scientists rang the alarm for global cooling in the 1970's is a total myth. It is believed only because the media of that nature tells it to people who already want to believe it. I recently ran across a guy who explains this very well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU_AtHkB4Ms
    Please watch, its very informative and done in a scientific way. The short story: there were 7 papers learning towards a 'cooling' theory form that time, and 49 suggesting 'warming'. The 7 papers are more convenient to use however, if that's what you want to push as a journalist, pundit etc.
    I'll look into it. I was coming of age in the 80s and seem to remember the whole cooling thing back then. Even so, I'll back away from the cooling comment. Thing is, the left loves environmentalism because it is anti-free market and anti-land ownership rights, and anti-freedom, IMO. So I am not so trusting of them when it comes to such issues.

    I was an engineer at a paper mill back in the 90s. An environmental group told the local paper that we were putting dioxins into the river from our water discharge. They did the testing and provided the paper the numbers. I remember when the article came out. That day, our whole mill was in an uproar. The environmental engineers were going through their own numbers and re-checking everything. Turns out, the dioxin levels in the water we were taking in was higher than the water we were putting out. IOW, we were cleaning up the water. Did the enviros ever acknowledge that? No. They slunk away and the paper dropped the story. They wanted us shut down. Dioxin was a convenient tool.

    [quote]Oil has a unique problem that buffalo skin did not. There were many ways to warm oneself, and if you chose fur, there were many options. But we don't have any other options apart from fossil fuels.[.quote]

    Agreed. Not yet is what I would say. Also, we have lots of oil left to mine if we are allowed to mine it.

    And we don't just stay where we are if we don't find something else. We go backwards, because our entire civilization relies on it. There is a threshold of no return, and the market is may not be capable of responding to it in time.
    This may be true if you hold to peak oil. Thing is, the era of cheap oil is over. The cost of oil is high enough now that getting it from oil sands and shale oil is now economical. That provides us with another HUGE reserve of oil, not to mention deep water oil.

    Recall that the market is only a function of the priorities of its users. Those priorities are short-term profits right now. I doubt they will change soon.
    But the cost of oil is high now. The feedback loops are often short. But there are also long term feedback loops. Oil has gone up. Oil companies saw easy/cheap oil going away. They invested in technologies to try and find a way to get to shale oil, oil sands, deep water oil, etc. They have succeeded. It's only a matter of time before fusion, or solar, or wind are worth while. Also, fission should get another look.

    This is another area where I see that government could be a BIG help. Instead of spending money on solar, it would be better, IMO, to spend money on a proven resource. The US is sitting on top of a HUGE reserve of natural gas. Why not set up natural gas "service stations" and provide incentives for car makers or car buyers to convert to natural gas use? If a portion of the money being spent on solar, electrical cars (which I think are way overrated and some are even a sham) would be spent on natural gas vehicles, we would have far cleaner burning cars on the market and less dependance on foreign oil.

    Regulation can harness the market, they are not necessary enemies. The best example which openly flies in the face of 'let the market go' is when Japan imposed stiff fuel and emissions standards on its vehicles in the 1970's, and the US did not. Japan's market transitioned into.....simply building better vehicles, which then went on to dominate American vehicles in much of the world. Government intervention directly resulted in a better, more cost-efficient product which captured a larger market share.
    I have no problem with some regulation. Though I will tell you that I hate fuel efficiency edicts. Personally, I don't care so much about the economy in that situation as much as I care about the freedom to buy what I want when it comes to that. It's not the government role, IMO, to regulate that way.

    I think too that because we protected our markets, we fell behind. When the US had to compete, we did. The markets worked without regulation of the sort you mention.

    If we do the same with other things that use fossil fuels, we can gain similar advantages. If you are forced to build the plant now that uses only half the energy, in 20 years you sell that to everyone in the world and make the bucks.
    Government doesn't do so well at picking winners and losers. It's track record is not all that good. Why? Because too often government is interested in politics more than good investing. Find me men of character, then I might be willing to agree with you... a little... on this point.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    True. But it's not completely closed in the sense that man has generally stayed ahead of the curve on such issues. One of the differences in the left and right, IMO, is the right doesn't care so much if the snail darter goes extinct if it doesn't impact the larger picture, while the left seems to care more for the snail darter than the man trying to feed his family.
    Two points here: 1) If you are talking about resources and energy, yes it is essentially completely closed. Using resources more efficiency has nothing to do with the definition of an open or closed system. The system is still closed (except the sun), even if you are using less.
    2) It's not that the right doesn't care if the darter snail does not affect the big picture, its that the right has no idea if the darter snail affects the big picture, and is not interested in finding out either. Answering those questions are incredibly complicated, and stand in the way of the bucks, so best left unanswered.
    It will. If it is a true free market, the price eventually gets high enough that another source is found. That doesn't mean it's perfect. But the forces are active towards that outcome. Oil is a great example of that. Cheap oil is gone. But oil is by no means running out. The US is the Saudi Arabia of shale oil. The technology is now available to get it out of the ground. What drove that technology? The cost of oil going up. The market found a way around the road block.
    You can say it will, but I will believe it when the price and availability of oil actually stabilizes. So far it has not.
    Not really. If they wanted something, they had the power to take it and pay nothing for it. Remember Ahab? Who said no to a king?

    Exactly. IMO, it helps keep the resources safer. The prices go up, consumption goes down. The laws of supply and demand have not changed.

    Democracy and capitalism may not go together. But liberty and capitalism do! You can't have one without the other though you can have impure forms of capitalism without freedom, it is still not capitalism without freedom.
    No way man! Liberty and capitalism have nothing explicitly linking them. Check the definition, political liberation has nothing to do with it. The liberation just allows more people to benefit from capitalism, but it does not make it 'more capitalistic'. When people were property (slaves), capitalism existed and dealt with them the same way it deals with other commodities. Liberation of people allows more people to benefit from the upside of whatever system is in place.
    If someone has a great idea, like say Steve Jobs, and he becomes a billionaire as a result, we are ALL better off because of his idea. He put tons of people out of work that made records, cds, cd players, etc. But those people are now free to work in something else that is more productive for society. Society is better off and the standard of living went up because the cost of music went down.
    Sure, but if Steve Jobs manufacturing of iphones polluted the air (I know it doesn't but just to use an example) and caused millions of people to get asthma, COPD, headaches etc, it could be a net economic loss in the end. Not a loss for Jobs, but for the overall economy. This applies to burning of fuels and other industries primarily. But its not too far off, because iphones are made totally in China and they have very severe environmental problems in many places. Despite their over-regulation in some places, they have dramatically under-regulated their environment and are dealing with the consequences.
    The overall principal is still valid.
    I don't think it is, because his conclusion (that we can converted) is not supported by his premise (that we converted to a new source), as we did not in fact convert to a new source.

    Christ return is a prophetic word from God. Scare tactics from the left are not.
    But they don't accept that. What I'm telling you is you are both using the exact same logic. Because something has not happened yet....does not mean it is not going to happen.
    The point is not that oil price stabilizes or is even reduced, yet. It will get there. The growth in the use of oil in the US has slowed. The percentage of our economy that depends on the price of oil has changed over the years. In the 70s, a spike in oil prices meant a recession. Today it no longer means that. The transition has happened. Cost has made cars more economical. It has made buildings more economical. The average buyer today wants to know what his energy cost will be and that wasn't the case in the 70s or at least it wasn't as important.
    Ok fair enough. We do use less oil relative to GDP today than before.
    Not managing resources is bad. Haiti is a prime example of that. But the left uses a small country example and then tries to apply that to the huge world wide economy with oil. It's not the same, IMO. As I mentioned above, the US has more oil than Saudi Arabia tied up in shale. It's just now becoming accessible. The price of oil and technology has made it accessible.
    There is no fundamental reason why that argument can not apply on a larger scale than only Haiti. Because the scale is bigger, does not mean the same thing cannot happen. Many different policies are going to result in protecting resources differently in different places. But if we just let the market mine and extract whatever it wanted, such a thing could still happen.
    In time, solar will be affordable. I am not sure if wind will be or not but it could be. Energy is too important for us not to find a replacement. But that doesn't mean we have to stop using it now. There's plenty in the ground if the environmentalist will let us get it out. Alaska has tons of oil! The Soviets are drilling up there now. Why shouldn't we?
    I will refer back to the argument about Buffalo fur. There already were alternatives, and they were used. We do not have alternatives, just fossil fuels. We can say they 'will become affordable', but that is a hope. It's not the same as turning to look at the beaver and saying 'well we'll just use more of that'. Right now, we don't know if solar and wind are a beaver that we are familiar with. They are more like a moving animal in the shadows that we hope will have a coat of fur when we catch it.
    I'll look into it. I was coming of age in the 80s and seem to remember the whole cooling thing back then. Even so, I'll back away from the cooling comment. Thing is, the left loves environmentalism because it is anti-free market and anti-land ownership rights, and anti-freedom, IMO. So I am not so trusting of them when it comes to such issues.
    Yes they have an agenda which is largely political, which is unfortunate. But the environmental position is not necessarily left, it has just become so because its realities are inconveniently located in the way of profit in some cases, convenient to co-opt for other purposes for those who would want to.
    This is another area where I see that government could be a BIG help. Instead of spending money on solar, it would be better, IMO, to spend money on a proven resource. The US is sitting on top of a HUGE reserve of natural gas. Why not set up natural gas "service stations" and provide incentives for car makers or car buyers to convert to natural gas use? If a portion of the money being spent on solar, electrical cars (which I think are way overrated and some are even a sham) would be spent on natural gas vehicles, we would have far cleaner burning cars on the market and less dependance on foreign oil.
    Ya I think natural gas stations would be a great idea. Natural gas is becoming very cheap.
    I have no problem with some regulation. Though I will tell you that I hate fuel efficiency edicts. Personally, I don't care so much about the economy in that situation as much as I care about the freedom to buy what I want when it comes to that. It's not the government role, IMO, to regulate that way.

    I think too that because we protected our markets, we fell behind. When the US had to compete, we did. The markets worked without regulation of the sort you mention.

    Government doesn't do so well at picking winners and losers. It's track record is not all that good. Why? Because too often government is interested in politics more than good investing. Find me men of character, then I might be willing to agree with you... a little... on this point.
    The government doesn't need to pick winners and losers. They just have to create the challenge that needs overcoming and let the best man win. Japan did not tell Toyota how to build cars, they just told everyone that had to be x more efficient. Rather than funding something like Solindra which we all know was a massive failure, the government could just artificially increase the cost of oil for everyone. Then let the market find the solution. When it does, you have a huge advantage going into the future. You also get a built-in buffer to oil shocks both from the decreased reliance, and the ability to fluctuate the tax when needed.

  9. #9
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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by NHL Fever View Post
    Two points here: 1) If you are talking about resources and energy, yes it is essentially completely closed. Using resources more efficiency has nothing to do with the definition of an open or closed system. The system is still closed (except the sun), even if you are using less.
    I understand the technical definition of open and closed. The point is, man's technology keeps it "open" in the sense he moves on to something new and different.

    2) It's not that the right doesn't care if the darter snail does not affect the big picture, its that the right has no idea if the darter snail affects the big picture, and is not interested in finding out either. Answering those questions are incredibly complicated, and stand in the way of the bucks, so best left unanswered.
    Sometimes that's true. I don't think it's true most of the time. There have been countless extinctions. Some hurt worse than others. The left wants control. That's why I don't buy the environmental things as much. I assume you read my story about when I worked at the paper mill.

    You can say it will, but I will believe it when the price and availability of oil actually stabilizes. So far it has not.
    I never said the market caused stable prices. I said the market moves on when the cost is too high. Oil doesn't function under a free market anyway. It's price is largely influenced by politics. Let any kind of political upheaval occur and watch the price of oil change. If it was supply and demand, it would be MUCH cheaper right now. But it's not. The left won't let us drill. The crazies control the cheaper oil. War is everywhere. These things impact the price.

    No way man! Liberty and capitalism have nothing explicitly linking them. Check the definition, political liberation has nothing to do with it. The liberation just allows more people to benefit from capitalism, but it does not make it 'more capitalistic'. When people were property (slaves), capitalism existed and dealt with them the same way it deals with other commodities. Liberation of people allows more people to benefit from the upside of whatever system is in place.
    They have EVERYTHING to do with one another. If a man isn't free to live as he sees fit, then he's not free to invest as he sees fit. If authority tells him how to live his life, then he is limited in what he can invest in, what he can buy, etc. Freedom and free market go hand in hand. You can have limited freedom and a limited free market. But you can't have a free market without freedom.

    Sure, but if Steve Jobs manufacturing of iphones polluted the air (I know it doesn't but just to use an example)
    But it does pollute the air. It uses energy, creates waste, and I could go on and on.

    and caused millions of people to get asthma, COPD, headaches etc, it could be a net economic loss in the end. Not a loss for Jobs, but for the overall economy. This applies to burning of fuels and other industries primarily.
    This is true and why I don't have a problem regulating pollution. It's not right for companies to put the cost of doing business onto the local community through pollution.

    But its not too far off, because iphones are made totally in China and they have very severe environmental problems in many places. Despite their over-regulation in some places, they have dramatically under-regulated their environment and are dealing with the consequences.
    Right. And that's why we should remember such things in free trade agreements. To an extent, if the chinese want to pollute their waters to provide me with cheaper material, I am ok with that. It's their country, their land, their people, etc. But before that pollution impacts me, it will need to be addressed. IMO, trade agreements should take such things into account but only so far as it impacts each nation. I should have little to no say in how much pollution the Chinese are willing to live in. But if their pollution makes it over here, that's another matter.

    I don't think it is, because his conclusion (that we can converted) is not supported by his premise (that we converted to a new source), as we did not in fact convert to a new source.
    I understand, but it is happening. The principle is still working. It's just that there is still plenty of oil out there to get. It's not as cheap to get but that doesn't matter as much as it use to. When oil gets too expensive, another source will take it's place.

    But they don't accept that. What I'm telling you is you are both using the exact same logic. Because something has not happened yet....does not mean it is not going to happen.
    I agree it doesn't mean it can't happen. But I do think it's not likely to happen. Do you know how much oil we have in the US in shale oil? The biggest problem to getting it out right now is the environmentalist don't want us to. Same with the oil sands in Canada.

    There is no fundamental reason why that argument can not apply on a larger scale than only Haiti. Because the scale is bigger, does not mean the same thing cannot happen. Many different policies are going to result in protecting resources differently in different places. But if we just let the market mine and extract whatever it wanted, such a thing could still happen.
    It's less likely to happen. Haiti was corrupt and that plays a major role in such things. Checks and balances are necessary and the market is full of them (banking and government aside). History shows us that man finds a better way. For instance, the left has been screaming for eons about over population and how we can't feed the world. Feeding people is generally an issue when governments are corrupt or governments try to "do good" and have unintended consequences. Any economist could have seen food prices going up when ethanol was given a huge tax break. It was stupid for the government to do it. It got involved in the market and skewed things in the same way it did with the housing fiasco.

    I will refer back to the argument about Buffalo fur. There already were alternatives, and they were used. We do not have alternatives, just fossil fuels. We can say they 'will become affordable', but that is a hope. It's not the same as turning to look at the beaver and saying 'well we'll just use more of that'. Right now, we don't know if solar and wind are a beaver that we are familiar with. They are more like a moving animal in the shadows that we hope will have a coat of fur when we catch it.
    We still have plenty of fossil fuels. Nuclear energy is already viable alternative if the left will let us do it. Headway is being made in the others but I do agree with you about wind. Solar on the other hand is showing great promise. Besides, there's still plenty of fossil fuel around. That's one thing that drives me nuts with the left. We have 100 years or more supply of natural gas in the US alone! Given that in the last 100 years we went from mules pulling a plow to walking on the moon to the internet and drone planes, the next 100 years will have tremendous advances as well. We don't stay in the "stone age" forever. And the current model is that each age is happening faster and faster.

    Yes they have an agenda which is largely political, which is unfortunate. But the environmental position is not necessarily left, it has just become so because its realities are inconveniently located in the way of profit in some cases, convenient to co-opt for other purposes for those who would want to.
    And it has hurt their cause with people like me. I love to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors. I don't want my rivers polluted or my air or seas polluted. But I do want to be able to drill for oil, to use my land, etc.

    Ya I think natural gas stations would be a great idea. Natural gas is becoming very cheap.
    Yea. I still don't know why a president hasn't moved on this. It's a no brainer.

    The government doesn't need to pick winners and losers. They just have to create the challenge that needs overcoming and let the best man win.
    Agree when it comes to setting new goals.

    Japan did not tell Toyota how to build cars, they just told everyone that had to be x more efficient.
    Not a role that I desire from my government. I would just as soon they keep their hands off this kind of decision making even if it is better for the economy (which I am not convinced it is). The only time I would agree to such a thing is for national security for a short time.

    Rather than funding something like Solindra which we all know was a massive failure,
    and it was a handout to a financial supporter. It was graft.

    the government could just artificially increase the cost of oil for everyone. Then let the market find the solution.
    Again, not a role I want for government. It's too much an infringement upon my freedom as a tax payer, a consumer and a business man.

    When it does, you have a huge advantage going into the future. You also get a built-in buffer to oil shocks both from the decreased reliance, and the ability to fluctuate the tax when needed.
    If it works. Problem is, if other countries don't go along, then you lose your competitive advantage until the real price of oil goes up. By then, you may have lost so much it won't matter any more. A better way, subsidize research into such things but do not try to get into the market by taxing, etc.

    Or, if you have a situation where a market cannot exist, i.e. natural gas cars, then see what you can do to create one. It's generally not a good idea for government to try and cap or limit resource use. That's just another form of rent control that doesn't work. Like I said, if oil is 200 years from being priced out of use, and you move to do that now, you better hope other nations raise their price too or you won't be able to compete. Of you better hope that as a government, you have timed the market right. Or you won't be able to compete.
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    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    Sometimes that's true. I don't think it's true most of the time. There have been countless extinctions. Some hurt worse than others. The left wants control. That's why I don't buy the environmental things as much. I assume you read my story about when I worked at the paper mill.
    The fact is we can't say whether some extinctions have hurt more than others. The actual effects may be far down the line, or unrecognizable to us. I think its kind of silly to say its not true most of the time. I think its much more realistic to look at human nature and say that obviously when presented with a financial incentive (coorporate profit), the entity will move based on that incentive. That incentive is never to protect or preserve in these situation, its always to exploit. Why would we assume anything but that entities will be biased to their own financial benefit? This is no reason to assume that.

    They have EVERYTHING to do with one another. If a man isn't free to live as he sees fit, then he's not free to invest as he sees fit. If authority tells him how to live his life, then he is limited in what he can invest in, what he can buy, etc. Freedom and free market go hand in hand. You can have limited freedom and a limited free market. But you can't have a free market without freedom.
    Of course you can. Slaves were traded for many years on the 'free' market. That is not freedom, but I'm sure it was profitable. The simple fact is that a free market and freedom are describing completely different things, and their definitions do not refer to one another. A man living free makes many economic models better, it is not exclusive to capitalism. Capitalism has existed for far longer than democracy or anti-slavery or anything like that. If you legalized slavery, the function of the free market would be to instantly enslave people wherever it is profitable. Liberty is neither necessary to it, nor the consequence of it.

    I understand, but it is happening. The principle is still working. It's just that there is still plenty of oil out there to get. It's not as cheap to get but that doesn't matter as much as it use to. When oil gets too expensive, another source will take it's place.

    I agree it doesn't mean it can't happen. But I do think it's not likely to happen. Do you know how much oil we have in the US in shale oil? The biggest problem to getting it out right now is the environmentalist don't want us to. Same with the oil sands in Canada.

    We still have plenty of fossil fuels. Nuclear energy is already viable alternative if the left will let us do it. Headway is being made in the others but I do agree with you about wind. Solar on the other hand is showing great promise. Besides, there's still plenty of fossil fuel around. That's one thing that drives me nuts with the left. We have 100 years or more supply of natural gas in the US alone! Given that in the last 100 years we went from mules pulling a plow to walking on the moon to the internet and drone planes, the next 100 years will have tremendous advances as well. We don't stay in the "stone age" forever. And the current model is that each age is happening faster and faster.
    Well I do hope you're right about finding better sources, but I have not really seen much of that yet.
    Not a role that I desire from my government. I would just as soon they keep their hands off this kind of decision making even if it is better for the economy (which I am not convinced it is). The only time I would agree to such a thing is for national security for a short time.

    and it was a handout to a financial supporter. It was graft.

    Again, not a role I want for government. It's too much an infringement upon my freedom as a tax payer, a consumer and a business man.

    If it works. Problem is, if other countries don't go along, then you lose your competitive advantage until the real price of oil goes up. By then, you may have lost so much it won't matter any more. A better way, subsidize research into such things but do not try to get into the market by taxing, etc.
    Problem is that Solindra is the result of trying to subsidize specific projects. I completely agree that the private market can do it better in most (not all) cases.
    Or, if you have a situation where a market cannot exist, i.e. natural gas cars, then see what you can do to create one. It's generally not a good idea for government to try and cap or limit resource use. That's just another form of rent control that doesn't work. Like I said, if oil is 200 years from being priced out of use, and you move to do that now, you better hope other nations raise their price too or you won't be able to compete. Of you better hope that as a government, you have timed the market right. Or you won't be able to compete.
    I think rent control would be subsidizing, whereas taxing something would seem to be the opposite. There have been examples in history like in Japan or like NASA or the manhattan project or military needs where this really works. Subsidizing research for example might be like pouring money into developing a new drone that can fly and then dive into the water and operate like a submarine. Instead, IMO the best option would be to put out the contract for such a unit and see what the market can produce. This is bit of a bad example because of how aggregated and nepotism-based military contractors have become, but you get the point.

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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by NHL Fever View Post
    The fact is we can't say whether some extinctions have hurt more than others. The actual effects may be far down the line, or unrecognizable to us. I think its kind of silly to say its not true most of the time. I think its much more realistic to look at human nature and say that obviously when presented with a financial incentive (coorporate profit), the entity will move based on that incentive. That incentive is never to protect or preserve in these situation, its always to exploit. Why would we assume anything but that entities will be biased to their own financial benefit? This is no reason to assume that.
    Because more profit can be made when a resource is taken care of. Look at the diamond market or the tree market.

    Of course you can. Slaves were traded for many years on the 'free' market.
    It wasn't a free market. Much was lost because the slaves could not engage in commerce. It's only free when all have the freedom to participate even if all don't have the ability to participate.

    The simple fact is that a free market and freedom are describing completely different things, and their definitions do not refer to one another.
    I disagree. As I stated above, the slave wasn't free to engage in the market, therefore the market wasn't free either. It was a limited and controlled market by the government and by those in power. They prevented the slave from engaging in the market, thus neither the slave, nor the market were free. Free market means all are free to engage, IMO. You cannot have one without the other. If you remove freedom, then there is someone allowed to engage in the market, thus the market is no longer free and is being influenced by forces outside of supply and demand.

    A man living free makes many economic models better, it is not exclusive to capitalism. Capitalism has existed for far longer than democracy or anti-slavery or anything like that. If you legalized slavery, the function of the free market would be to instantly enslave people wherever it is profitable. Liberty is neither necessary to it, nor the consequence of it.
    Again, we disagree. If the slave is not allowed to trade by government, then the market is limited and not free. Only when the slave is allowed economic freedom to engage in the trade as well is the capitalism free. Otherwise, it's just another form of government controlled economics. It may be free to an extent, but it's certainly controlled. When man is free to engage in business, is the market truly free.

    Now, having said that, I am not against regulation and a truly free market is not the best model. But freedom and free markets go hand in hand. If people are not free, then the markets are not either by definition. Whether you limit capital or limit people or limit products, the end result is the same. it's just whether you limit and control on the supply side or demand side.

    Well I do hope you're right about finding better sources, but I have not really seen much of that yet.
    I don't think we'll have to for many years to come. Still, we need to get going on natural gas. I still don't understand that.

    Problem is that Solindra is the result of trying to subsidize specific projects. I completely agree that the private market can do it better in most (not all) cases.
    And I agree that the private market is not best in all cases. I would much prefer government handle things like policing, soldiering, and if necessary, rationing during times of war, or sever famine, etc.

    I think rent control would be subsidizing, whereas taxing something would seem to be the opposite.
    It's two sides of the same coin to me. Either way, the government is trying to influence the market by moving the competitive advantage one way or another.

    There have been examples in history like in Japan or like NASA or the manhattan project or military needs where this really works.
    Sometimes. But the military, while done well, was not done efficiently ditto NASA. However, some projects are often too large for private industry, i.e. natural gas stations throughout the country.

    Subsidizing research for example might be like pouring money into developing a new drone that can fly and then dive into the water and operate like a submarine. Instead, IMO the best option would be to put out the contract for such a unit and see what the market can produce.
    That's how the military complex works and it works very, very well. Not cheaply or efficiently but very well. Having worked in the defense industry, I can tell you that many technologies there are awesome and don't come out for public consumption until decades later. We reap a lot of good advantages from our military complex. However, it doesn't come without cost. The deficit will catch up with us sooner or later. It has to because at some point, people will stop buying bonds.

    This is bit of a bad example because of how aggregated and nepotism-based military contractors have become, but you get the point.
    Yes. I do. And I think there is room in government for such things. I just think they have to be targeted. Going to the moon was something that has paid benefits. That could not have happened without government for one single and big reason... government has HUGE resources that the market does not have.

    I wouldn't mind the government taxing oil some, and sending that money directly to such products. Thing is, I in no way trust the left or environmentalist to push this issue for our economic good. They want people out of business and that is just not going to happen. I don't trust them no way no how because they want oil to no longer be used. If I thought they would be happy with a small tax to then invest in other forms of energy, I would support that. But I won't support it to get back at oil companies making money, or to discourage the use of oil, or to provide health insurance for others, etc. But that is because of the way I see freedom.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    Because more profit can be made when a resource is taken care of. Look at the diamond market or the tree market.
    Those are referring to the resource itself, not the the environment that may support or degrade that resource. For trees or diamonds, the corporation can see the direct benefits of preservation. For the slug, they cannot. In complex systems, you can do damage and not understand the effect. As long as the damage does not directly impair the exploitation of that resource at that time, the corporation will not care. The problem is one of scale and of incentives. They can understand that a single entity should preserve a single source of income. But they cannot understand that all regional entities need to preserve all regional ecosystems in order for it to work for everyone. A good example to illustrate this is air pollution. No person is going to limit their own personal burning of fuels, because it puts them as no advantage. But if everyone does it, it benefits everyone. In complex questions, the market cannot respond. But they are no less important, and in many cases much more so.
    It wasn't a free market. Much was lost because the slaves could not engage in commerce. It's only free when all have the freedom to participate even if all don't have the ability to participate.
    According to wikipedia, a free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. A bunch of other definitions say the same thing. Political freedom is not part of the definition. You are imposing a political belief into a definition that is non-political. A 'free market' is free based on its economics, not based on its availability to the general population. What makes a market not free, is that it is regulated, not that it disallows universal access. This is the formal definition of free market, insofar as those sources which offer one.

    The success of the US economy over others is routinely touted by the right as being the result of a free market as a founding principle. By your definition, it did not become a free market until the abolition of slavery. I don't think this is correct. Abraham Lincoln did not create the free market in America, it existed in whatever form prior to that.
    Again, we disagree. If the slave is not allowed to trade by government, then the market is limited and not free. Only when the slave is allowed economic freedom to engage in the trade as well is the capitalism free. Otherwise, it's just another form of government controlled economics. It may be free to an extent, but it's certainly controlled. When man is free to engage in business, is the market truly free.
    I think the problem with your criteria, is that in a capitalist economy where the government taxes high-earning businesses more than individuals, but where people are free from slavery, you would consider this a more free market than one with no government regulation but with slavery. I doubt many would agree with that.

    You also assume that the value of an individual to an economy is maximized when they are free. Although it would be nice to think so, that may not in fact be necessarily true. Its entirely possible that a given person as a slave may contribute more net economic value to an economy than a freeman. I don't support it, but we cannot just dismiss it conceptually because of that.

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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by NHL Fever View Post
    Those are referring to the resource itself, not the the environment that may support or degrade that resource. For trees or diamonds, the corporation can see the direct benefits of preservation. For the slug, they cannot. In complex systems, you can do damage and not understand the effect. As long as the damage does not directly impair the exploitation of that resource at that time, the corporation will not care. The problem is one of scale and of incentives. They can understand that a single entity should preserve a single source of income. But they cannot understand that all regional entities need to preserve all regional ecosystems in order for it to work for everyone. A good example to illustrate this is air pollution. No person is going to limit their own personal burning of fuels, because it puts them as no advantage. But if everyone does it, it benefits everyone. In complex questions, the market cannot respond. But they are no less important, and in many cases much more so.
    I agree, in general with what you are saying. A corporation doesn't generally care if they can pollute a river. That's a cost they can put on the community. Government shouldn't allow them to do that.

    I have no problem with making generators of pollution pay for generating that pollution. It's a part of doing business.


    According to wikipedia, a free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. A bunch of other definitions say the same thing. Political freedom is not part of the definition.
    My point is that without political freedom, supply and demand are not allowed to be what they ordinarily would be. Therefor prices are not really determined by supply and demand, thus, the market is not free.

    If you have 10 people in a room. But only allow 3 of them to engage in trade. Then there is "free trade" among 3 people. But, IMO, it's really not free. Real supply and demand is not at play because 7 of them are not allowed to influence supply and demand. That's why I say by definition, free market and freedom go hand in hand. Otherwise, supply and demand are being impacted by political forces, instead of real supply and demand.

    Free the slaves to enter the economy and supply and demand are impacted. Keep them slaves, and supply and demand are impacted. Only if supply and demand are free, is there free trade. And that can only truly happen with a free people.

    You are imposing a political belief into a definition that is non-political. A 'free market' is free based on its economics, not based on its availability to the general population.
    I understand what you are saying. But without freedom to participate in a market, the market is rigged and not free. That's my point. Just because 3 people can freely trade between themselves, doesn't mean their economy is market based. They are limiting demand by not allowing others to trade with them. That's the point I am trying to make. Until all are free to trade, then supply and demand are skewed, not by market forces, but by who the political party says can participate.

    What makes a market not free, is that it is regulated, not that it disallows universal access. This is the formal definition of free market, insofar as those sources which offer one.
    It's a "clean" definition which means it makes it easy to use. But in a pure sense, if demand or supply are impacted by politics and not the market, then the market is not free.

    The success of the US economy over others is routinely touted by the right as being the result of a free market as a founding principle. By your definition, it did not become a free market until the abolition of slavery. I don't think this is correct. Abraham Lincoln did not create the free market in America, it existed in whatever form prior to that.
    It existed only in a limited way. The greater the political freedom, the greater the freedom of the market. They go hand in hand. When slaves were freed, it allowed all kinds of things to eventually happen and happen faster, IMO. The cotton gen came along. The steam engine. Etc. So long as a man could keep a slave to do his work for only the cost of room and board, there was little market incentive to improve upon the efficiency of his labor. When he was forced to pay a healthy wage based upon supply and demand (instead of relying on political law to allow ownership of people) he had to find a way to be more efficient. Thus freedom encouraged efficiency. It almost always does.

    I think the problem with your criteria, is that in a capitalist economy where the government taxes high-earning businesses more than individuals, but where people are free from slavery, you would consider this a more free market than one with no government regulation but with slavery. I doubt many would agree with that.
    Slavery is, by definition government regulation. It is only the laws of men that enable us to own other human beings. On the other hand, government also set those same men free! That is a good regulation because it bore the sword of the Lord on evil doers.

    High taxes on high earners isn't free enterprise either, IMO. That concept came from Karl Marx. Tax all the same so that all are treated the same. Tax the man making 10 dollars an hour at the same rate you tax the guy making 100,000 an hour. Now you have a true free market.

    I would have no issue not taxing income at all! If I had my way, one would be taxed on what he spent not what he earned.

    You also assume that the value of an individual to an economy is maximized when they are free. Although it would be nice to think so, that may not in fact be necessarily true. Its entirely possible that a given person as a slave may contribute more net economic value to an economy than a freeman. I don't support it, but we cannot just dismiss it conceptually because of that.
    See my thoughts above on this issue. I think slavery hindered economic progress. I will say this though. When it comes down to it, economics is a hobby. Freedom is far more important to me than economics. I will gladly be poor so long as I can keep my freedom from government intrusion into things they do not belong in, i.e. gun control, health care choices, the kind of car i can buy, etc.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  14. #14
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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    My point is that without political freedom, supply and demand are not allowed to be what they ordinarily would be. Therefor prices are not really determined by supply and demand, thus, the market is not free.

    If you have 10 people in a room. But only allow 3 of them to engage in trade. Then there is "free trade" among 3 people. But, IMO, it's really not free. Real supply and demand is not at play because 7 of them are not allowed to influence supply and demand. That's why I say by definition, free market and freedom go hand in hand. Otherwise, supply and demand are being impacted by political forces, instead of real supply and demand.

    Free the slaves to enter the economy and supply and demand are impacted. Keep them slaves, and supply and demand are impacted. Only if supply and demand are free, is there free trade. And that can only truly happen with a free people.

    I understand what you are saying. But without freedom to participate in a market, the market is rigged and not free. That's my point. Just because 3 people can freely trade between themselves, doesn't mean their economy is market based. They are limiting demand by not allowing others to trade with them. That's the point I am trying to make. Until all are free to trade, then supply and demand are skewed, not by market forces, but by who the political party says can participate.
    I wouldn't accept that definition because there are endless possibilities which then could either invalidate or prove a free market. Like perhaps we don't have a free market because we don't let children under a certain age buy or sell, or obtain driver's licenses. Or we have not yet contact aliens who could be participants in the market and increase value, or involved that form of really smart dolphins, or its not free because we haven't been able to use Mars yet etc....it could go on forever. Likely for this reason, a free market is defined by its mechanism and lack of regulation (see below), not by its participants or geography or scope.
    Slavery is, by definition government regulation.
    This is where you are wrong IMO. Slavery is not by definition government regulation, unless government mandates slavery. But that has rarely been the case in any significant historical example, and in absolutely no modern example. Allowing slavery is not government intervention, that's government non-intervention. When the Pharoah made the Egyptians slaves, perhaps is intervention. But in almost all other cases including our time, it is not. Saying its intervention is like saying the fact that I was able to buy a jacket, proves that its not a free market because government regulation allowed me to buy this jacket. Clearly, that does not make sense. Slavery exists where government does not forbid it. It is more prevalent in places where government has less authority. Government intervention is why slavery is gone in our nations, not why it existed. If you removed that regulation, it would return. How do I know? Because people do it right now, breaking the law and hoping not to be caught, for the economic benefits of it.

    It is only the laws of men that enable us to own other human beings. On the other hand, government also set those same men free! That is a good regulation because it bore the sword of the Lord on evil doers.
    To be fair almost all significant OT biblical characters had slaves.
    High taxes on high earners isn't free enterprise either, IMO. That concept came from Karl Marx. Tax all the same so that all are treated the same. Tax the man making 10 dollars an hour at the same rate you tax the guy making 100,000 an hour. Now you have a true free market.
    No what I'm saying is if we take 2 types of markets:
    A) A market where the wealthy are much more heavily taxed, and government controls some commodities but all men are free
    B) A market with little government intervention, but with legal slavery
    By your criteria you would have to call market A more free. In reality using formal definitions, market B is the better example of a free market. Market A would be considered socialist by many.
    I would have no issue not taxing income at all! If I had my way, one would be taxed on what he spent not what he earned.
    Hey then buying Chinese stuff would also benefit the domestic coffers more.

  15. #15
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    Re: Running out of resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by NHL Fever View Post
    I wouldn't accept that definition because there are endless possibilities which then could either invalidate or prove a free market. Like perhaps we don't have a free market because we don't let children under a certain age buy or sell, or obtain driver's licenses. Or we have not yet contact aliens who could be participants in the market and increase value, or involved that form of really smart dolphins, or its not free because we haven't been able to use Mars yet etc....it could go on forever. Likely for this reason, a free market is defined by its mechanism and lack of regulation (see below), not by its participants or geography or scope.
    That's ok. I don't mind. Thing is, though, a nation that prevents people from participating in a market is not free. The market is free on a limited basis. We can define it any way we want. Doesn't make it true.

    This is where you are wrong IMO. Slavery is not by definition government regulation, unless government mandates slavery.
    I see it as a function of government. Government allows or disallows slavery. I probably should have been more clear. You are right though. What I wrote was wrong.

    But that has rarely been the case in any significant historical example, and in absolutely no modern example. Allowing slavery is not government intervention, that's government non-intervention. When the Pharoah made the Egyptians slaves, perhaps is intervention. But in almost all other cases including our time, it is not. Saying its intervention is like saying the fact that I was able to buy a jacket, proves that its not a free market because government regulation allowed me to buy this jacket. Clearly, that does not make sense. Slavery exists where government does not forbid it. It is more prevalent in places where government has less authority. Government intervention is why slavery is gone in our nations, not why it existed. If you removed that regulation, it would return. How do I know? Because people do it right now, breaking the law and hoping not to be caught, for the economic benefits of it.
    Slavery existed because government regulation allowed it. Not all regulation is bad. It is necessary because men are evil. If we don't regulate, things like slavery, murder, theft, etc. will all occur. I should have picked my words better.

    To be fair almost all significant OT biblical characters had slaves.
    Not in the same sense of modern slavery. Those slaves were sometimes heirs to the biblical folks. Abraham sent his "slave" on a long journey with lots of wealth. That guy could have taken that wealth and just disappeared. But he didn't. Also, there was always the jubilee year to set people free from slavery. Finally, some people became slaves because of their debt or were born into it because of their parents debt. They could pay it off, be redeemed, or were set free for the jubilee year. Slavery in scripture was nothing like modern day slavery.

    No what I'm saying is if we take 2 types of markets:
    A) A market where the wealthy are much more heavily taxed, and government controls some commodities but all men are free
    B) A market with little government intervention, but with legal slavery
    By your criteria you would have to call market A more free. In reality using formal definitions, market B is the better example of a free market. Market A would be considered socialist by many.
    I wouldn't call either market free. That's my point. In market A, government is controlling product and through taxation, is redistributing wealth and therefor controlling wealth (something I do not agree with at all). In market B, the market is not free because supply and demand is controlled by controlling the people instead of the product.

    Whether one controls the product (socialism) or the people and the product (communism) or the people but not the product (slave type societies or highly regulated societies) all have an impact on the supply and demand. Supply and demand would both be different the government kept their hands off the goods and the people (excepting for making the rules the same for everyone). The only way supply and demand are free in a society (i.e. a free market society) is if the people in the society from which supply and demand originate are free. Otherwise, the economy is being controlled. The question is which way is it being controlled. Is it controlled by controlling the people or controlling the goods?

    In my way of thinking, if a referee tells one batter, you only get 1 strike and the next batter, you get 3 strikes, and the next guy, he can't bat at all, that is not a "free market" of baseball. If one player prevents another player from entering the game (i.e. slavery), then the baseball game isn't free. It's only free when all can choose to play or not based upon their skills and resources. There's still a need for the ref, but it's a different need. he just makes sure we all play by the same rules. He doesn't give out home runs, or wins, or catches based on need. He lets the best win. It is up to God to distribute skills and equality of outcome. It is up to man to make sure the rules are the same for all. Government wields the sword of the wrath of God. It, IMO, doesn't wield the bread basket of the Lord.

    Hey then buying Chinese stuff would also benefit the domestic coffers more.
    LOL. True dat. But it wouldn't be just the Chinese that were targeted. All goods would be targeted. That way taxes are not hidden. The consumer of goods and the consumer of government see exactly how much each is costing. If the tax payer wants bigger government, he should be willing to pay for it. (Right now, the tax payer is getting $1 of government for $0.60. Who in their right mind wouldn't take that deal!)

    I think it would be great for the economy to have a sales tax instead of an income tax. (BTW, incomes taxes originated with Karl Marx, if I recall correctly. IMO, he is the most influential economist to ever live.) All users of government should pay something into it even if it is very little. The more one has, the more he would spend and the more he would use government and therefore the more he would pay for it. (There are holes in that last statement but it is generally true.)
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

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