Externalities, Equity and Democratic Principles
Gaia Brain, Hegel and the Capitalism - Communism Synthesis
Externalities, Equity and Democratic Principles

If we believe that everyone has equal claim to natural resources, (we all
own the air and water, fish in the sea, biodiversity), then we might agree
that all people should share in deciding what limits we ought to put on
pollution and the taking of resources.  If we limit our impacts on the
environment to sustainable levels, we can avert the injustice and tragedy
of our squandering these resources to the point that they are not
available to the younger generation and future generations in years to

If we believe that all people together can legitimately set absolute
limits on levels of pollution and rates of takings of natural resources,
then, to the extent that any one person or corporation decides to pollute
or take resources, they are precluding others from doing so--to the extent
that the takers of the resource have already used a portion of the limited

Fees on putting pollution and taking resources can be the means whereby we 
ration resources or discourage behaviors that must be limited.  Fees can
be raised when the feeling among the people is that a behavior that
adversely affects the earth ought to be further limited.  In this way,
the expressed will of the people will translate to reality.  And if the
proceeds of the fees are shared among all people equally, they can be the
means whereby those who use more of the resources belonging to all
compensate those who use less of these resources.

The natural resource fees / pollution fees would encourage all businesses
to adapt processes to reduce demand on resources and emissions of
pollutants.  Everything in the marketplace would have as part of its price
a measure of the demands on the ecosystem involved in its production.
Those things that cause more environmental damage would have higher
prices.  Consumers always pay at least some attention to price, and they
choose the lower price when all other things are equal.  Market demand
for those things that harm the environment will fall.  People's behavior
will change.  Fees on resource use will cause the free market to move the 
economy toward a more sustainable state.

Distribution of the fee proceeds to all people will mean a reduction of
disparity between rich and poor.  No one would live in abject poverty.
Profits in business will accrue to those who are best able to meet
consumer demand with the least impact on the environment.

I say let's get on with it.

Let's ask our politicians:

Do you agree that all people ought to share in deciding what limits we
will put on human impacts on earth--pollution, resource depletion,
paving, etc.?

Do you believe that the people own the air and water and other natural
resources and that when some individual or corporate entity degrades the 
quality of these publicly owned resources, they should be required to pay
the people in compensation?

And should those who appropriate natural resources pay the people in
consideration of the fact that they have been allowed to use a publicly
owned resource in limited supply, and their use has precluded others from
using that portion of the resource?

Given the need for limits on pollution and the taking of resources,
should we adopt a fee-based system so that the free market can allocate
efforts at reducing human impacts on the environment in the most
efficient way?

Read more about it at:  http://lonestar.utsa.edu/jchampag/

                        (mirror and spillover) 

John Champagne   jchampag@lonestar.utsa.edu 

Hegel would predict a synthesis of competing ideas. Is this a capitalism - communism synthesis? From jchampag@lonestar.jpl.utsa.eduThu Jun 11 17:16:17 1998 Date: Thu, 11 Jun 1998 16:18:04 -0500 (CDT) From: "John C. Champagne" To: "Werner E. Heiber" Cc: ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS Subject: Capitalism Communism synthesis, Re: Revisiting "Is Capitalism , Sustainable"? On Wed, 20 May 1998, Werner E. Heiber wrote: > Are some of the excesses of capitalism not based on fear of > insufficiency, not being secure? I think you have a good point. I think 'greed' is self-interest over-emphasized, given a bad name, by the pressures of our current system. My understanding of Hegel is that he argued that a historical period is defined by its dominant idea. Over time, problems with the dominant way of thinking show themselves. A competing idea arises to address these problems. This alternative paradigm shows problems of its own over time. There is conflict or competition between the two ways of thinking about the world until, eventually, the 'thesis' and 'antithesis' are joined into a new way of thinking that incorporates elements of both systems - the 'systhesis'. If we charge money, a fee, for use of natural resources, and make the fee higher for those actions that we most want to discourage, with all the people sharing in the decision of what levels of resource-takings and emissions of pollution will be allowed, we will have direct democratic management of natural resources. If we disburse the fee proceeds, (an economic measure of the natural resource wealth of earth), to all people equally, we will have direct democratic ownership of natural resources vested in the people. Essential elements of capitalism, (free markets and free movement of capital), and communism, (ownership of natural resources--a means of production--vested in the people). The constant threat of poverty that Mr. Heiber alluded to would be eliminated. This equal sharing of earth's natural resource wealth would be a powerful liberating force, I think, because it would free people to seek employment more according to psychological rewards and less according to economic considerations. The ability of each of us to share in sculpting, in shaping our human impacts on the earth, by voting on which human actions ought to be more strongly discouraged, would mean that whatever feelings of alienation we may feel today as a result of the fact that we continually participate in the creation and perpetuation of a world that we would not choose, would be greatly deminished or eliminated completely. When we arrive at a consensus about what portion of our natural resource income and other income will be subject to tax, what portion will be dedicated to support public and community projects, we can allocate these public funds in a way similar to the way we manage our natural resources: We can each vote on whether fire and police protection, city parks, schools, libraries, etc., ought to receive more or less funding. In this way, we will have public programs that enjoy the support of the people funded at levels consistant with the will of the people, in proportion to our expressed priorities. This fact will strengthen our perception that we all are sharing in the creation of a world and society of our choosing. Please tell me, what are the flaws in this way of thinking? Or, pass it on to as many people as you think might be interested. Thanks! John Champagne Gaia Brain page and Cronkite Draft Gaia Brain Theory Gaia Brain abstract Cronkite for President Cronkite on nuclear war vote on Gaia Brain at MIT You can vote as many times as you like, (once would be great!), and help to counter-act an apparent attempt at 'ballot stuffing'. I have not noticed any bursts of very high votes, but on three occasions there were bursts, 40, 10, 92 votes, that must have been all '1', (the lowest possible), judging from the amount that the overall rating fell after each burst. Someone does not like the idea of a 'capitalism-communism synthesis'. (If not for those bursts, the overall rating would be about 75%.) vote on my proposed response to these attempts to stuff the ballot box

Gaia Brain: democratic ownership and free market management of natural resources

Cronkite for President - Can we find someone, (someone over 35 years old), who we could most all agree on for our next President?

1998 jchampag@lonestar.utsa.edu

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