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?