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Reply #157: "Extreme right-winger" [View All]

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Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-19-07 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #145
157. "Extreme right-winger"
Edited on Tue Jun-19-07 05:11 PM by Febble

The Market: Why Worship It?

(Jim, this isn't directed at you - just a related rant.)

There are so many non-"Oh my! Gas is $4/gallon!" reasons to demand alternative energy sources.

If we know that our petroleum consumption is not sustainable, causes environmental damage, and supports terrorist nations, then our government should take steps to push the market to supply alternatives.

"Market" theory, when dealing with anything other than rivalrous/excludable goods, often fails, or only works itself out in the "long run." Well, in the long run: a) we're all dead; or b) irreversible long-term damage is done before the market kicks in.

Like lemmings, we design our regions so that the car is for most people the only feasible mode of travel. We fill tank after tank of petrol but know that we contribute marginally to the cumulative problem, so the free rider effect wins and we keep sucking the petrol.

Poisonous air, polluted runoff, acid rain, terrorist attacks - all products of our reliance on oil - are examples of externalities not adequately considered by our idol, the market.

My idea of a good Republican is one who understands economics well enough to know that markets are rarely perfect, and the only time they work well is when dealing with a certain type of good (pure private goods). A good Republican realizes that government can prime markets or push them to move in certain directions through taxation, regulation, and prohibition. A good Republican believes that government can be a good compliment to the market, not an enemy. A good Republican would have supported higher gas taxes to fund R&D of alternative fuels a long time ago. If this Republican isn't considered a "conservative" for her worldview, so be it.

Unfortunately, most Republicans I know continue to worship their idol, the market, ignorant of its theoretical and practical limitations. Markets aren't perfect. The government isn't perfect. Why worship either?

The river of truth flows through the valley of two extremes. Market economics is not the answer. Socialism is not the answer. But moderate government intervention of markets can be a very good thing.

As for his views on Katrina, if you read his blog you will find that Rick probably knows as much about Katrina and its aftermath, and has responded with as much dedication, as the most ardent progressive you could wish for.

And no, that doesn't make me a Republican.
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