Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A New Model for Thought

Government as Anti-Economic Capitalism

We've all heard of Double Entry Book-keeping. So what if for every dollar spent on consumption, we set aside a dollar (or some reasonable proportion thereof as "the cost of government") as an offset and gave it to someone to alleviate the systemetized social and environmental costs of that consumption? Imagine there were a government fund that was used to actually develop technology and clean up oil spills and remediate Superfund nuclear EPA waste sites instead of litigating them for decades and writing regulations that prevented future development? For every dollar spent on creating problems, there was a dollar spent on a competititively developed economic alternatives that focused upon undoing the social and enviironmental effects resulting from the dollar spent on conspicuous consumption?

The regulatory model is working AGAINST capitalism and stymieing growth. Perhaps what is needed is an alternate anti/opposed economic model where the private sector competes for federal dollars to solve waste remediation problems (instead of merely regulating them away and thereby stalling economic development). Imagine a case where instead of regulating industry into a green NIMBY stagnation, EPA focused upon bringing to market industrial solutions to specific environmental problems, designing solutions that would allow industrial facilities to be sited in ecologically sensitive/fragile areas and expediting permits (instead of tying companies up in court). Wouldn't our economy double? Wouldn't this result in a true-er government/industry symbiosis?

The goal of government should be to unleash technological innovation, NOT regulate it into submission, stagnation, and eventual death as it does today. We should incentivize and financially reward politicans on the basis of their ability to MINIMIZE regulations... for isn't THAT truly the ultimate goal of "liberalism"? To allow us each as individuals and members of smaller social groups/collectives to realize his/her ultimate potential, not tell us that we can't, we can't, we can't with laws, rules and regulations?

Would the result of such a scheme be a much better model for "Guilt-free consumption"? Perhaps. But instead of "toppling" the capitalist system, let's DOUBLE DOWN on it! Let's use it to offset the need for regulation and government. Instead of punishing polluters, let's work towards solving the problems of pollution. If every dollar donated to Greenpeace or the Sierra Club went to actually cleaning up messes instead of trying to outlaw practices, wouldn't you donate? And if you were a corporation, imagine if the people you donated to had the effect of actually REDUCING the regulations you had to follow and opening up more tracts of land for resource development and plant siting... wouldnt THAT donation be worth something to you?

13 comments:

Elmers Brother said...

question...would this not devalue the service or good you're buying?

Speedy G said...

How so? If supplies were greater, doesn't that "devalue" (make cheaper) a product?

Speedy G said...

They wouldn't have to do the Starbucks additions...

Elmers Brother said...

? That's the problem with liberals they view the gubmint as all benevolent and taxes as their TITHE. Arthur Brooks wrote a book about this. He writes about how liberals donate less to charity because they view taxes as a charitable donation.

Elmers Brother said...

If I remember correctly he also compared economic systems and capitalist countries Gabe as muchas 27 times more than their socialist, mostly European counterparts.

Elmers Brother said...

gave as much. (Darn phone)

Elmers Brother said...

and when Brooks asked why?

Why do Americans give so much more than Europeans? Recently, Fran├žois Heisbourg, director of the Foundation for Strategic Research (a Parisian think tank), summarized the differences between Europeans and Americans: “The biblical references in politics, the division of the world between good and evil, these are things that [Europeans] simply don’t get. In a number of areas, it seems to me that we are no longer part of the same civilization.” According to a similar analysis in the New York Times by a former advisor to the late French President Fran├žois Mitterand, “Europe defends a secular vision of the world,” whereas the United States has “an altogether biblical self-assurance in its transcendent destiny.”

It is simply undeniable that Europe and America are drifting apart culturally, and the drift is nowhere more evident than in the area of religious faith. The percentage of the population that has no religion (or never attends a house of worship) is higher in almost every European country than it is in America, and the percentage that goes to church every week is lower in most as well. In many cases, the differences are dramatic. For example, according to the ISSP data from 2002, a British citizen is three times as likely to be completely secular as an American (63 to 19 percent).

This divergence in religiosity may be one explanation for the huge trans-Atlantic charity gap, given what research has found about the way religious behavior affects American giving. For example, according to the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey (a survey of about 30,000 Americans in 41 communities nationwide in the year 2000), Americans who attended their house of worship every week or more were 25 percentage points more likely to donate money to charity than secularists (people who never attended, or had no religion), and 23 points more likely to volunteer. Nor is this simply a matter of religious citizens giving to religious causes. Religious people were ten points more likely than secularists to give money to explicitly nonreligious charities and 21 points more likely to volunteer for secular causes. The value of the average religious household’s gifts to charity was more than three times higher than the average secular household’s.

Elmers Brother said...

And as Brooks notes its one way that we as Americans are exceptional.

Elmers Brother said...

The Christian right has a similar fault, with the mega churches...I believe in a form of relational giving, at least I know where the money is going.

There's even a new monasticism in some Christian circles.

-FJ said...

Sorry elbro, my FIOS went down over the weekend at won't be back up for a few days. I'll comment more when it comes back.

Elmers Brother said...

No prob. I'm just ramblin anyway.

-FJ said...

Secularist religions do substitute taxes for charitable giving. That was the danger that I believe Madison foresaw in his Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (espec. #3).

-FJ said...

To "volunteer" a charitable offering allows "virtue" to be exhibitted. To be forced to pay a tax... where does the "virtue" enter into it? Government forced charitable giving is almost certainly an anti-virtue.