[lit-ideas] Re: The continuation of Eco-hobgoblins

  • From: Teemu Pyyluoma <teme17@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 26 May 2008 03:34:30 -0700 (PDT)

--- On Mon, 5/26/08, Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> From: Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
> 
> That what irks about Eco-hobgoblin media movements: they
> start by blaming everyone, ignoring that not everyone has access to
> the same  infrastructure. It's almost a Voltarian parody:
> "The Green Movement, in 
> all its populist majesty, allows both those with clean and
> toxic water to drink from the tap."
> 

Hmm, most of the European green movement had a rift between realos and fundis 
(German origin) in 80's, not unlike the rift between Aristotelians and 
Platonists. Realos won, and I'd put most American environmentalists I've heard 
off on the realo camp.

I do agree with Eric, it is all about infrastructure, but changes the to infra 
do come through consumers which are not entirely immune to moralizing. Brad 
DeLong but it pretty well recently:

"There are in general two ways that you can match private incentives with 
social outcomes. The first is to take individuals' preferences over material 
goods as given, and use taxes and subsidies to raise the prices of goods that 
have negative and lower the prices of goods that have positive "externalities," 
as economists call them. The second is to try to shift individuals' 
preferences: appeal to altruism, or to the moral sense, or to the mirror 
neurons to get people to feel good about doing deeds that have positive 
externalities, and rearrange social markers of status and approval to shift 
people's preferences over goods without changing their material characteristics 
or prices. Economists generally prefer to work on the tax-and-subsidy side 
rather than on the preferences side, out of a disciplinary commitment to the 
idea that cash-on-the-barrelhead is strong and pats-on-the-back are weak. But 
we do what we can: if we cannot pass a BTU tax, telling
 people who fund carbon offsets or drive fuel-efficient cars that they are 
good, responsible, moral people is a perfectly orthodox and constructive thing 
to do." http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2007/07/in-that-case-we.html


My limited understanding is that most of USA is rebuilt every 20 years anyway, 
so chances should actually be easier over there. But in the mean time...


Cheers,
Teemu
Helsinki, Finland


      
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