no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Free Markets Put and End to Deep Sea Drilling

August 19th, 2010

In a free market, transnational oil companies (among others) that are destroying Nigeria, the Gulf Coast, parts of South America, and contributing to endless war in the middle east would’ve probably long ago been supplanted by something better, cleaner, safer and more efficient.

Jim Mulva, ConocoPhillips’ chief executive, says that the unlimited liability some are proposing in Congress to punish operators for further spills in the Gulf of Mexico is inappropriate… He said to analysts:

We will not develop the resources if we have that situation.

… Mulva’s intent, of course, was to argue against imposing unlimited liability for oil spills. But assuming his statement was more than bluster, his implicit admission is that the risks of oil spills are so great that in a free market, the costs of paying for spill damages would outweigh the benefits of developing the resources.

via Financial Times

Because they could not afford to obtain and refine oil-based products if they had to bear the true costs.  Their costs would rise, and they’d have to raise prices in-step.  Yes, high prices suck. No, we wouldn’t have to put up with them (and stagnation) forever, because as the adage goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

The more expensive is oil, the less costly becomes the tradeoffs for alternative energies and other methods of lighting up the lightbulbs and motoring the cars and microwaving dinners.  And the less burdensome (relatively) is that opportunity cost, the more innovation and effort flows in to those alternatives. This is what’s known as competition.  It is not a dirty word.

It’s how shit gets done.  And it’s a process of discovery in which some people are inevitably wrong.  And that makes everyone better off.

The sooner governments stop subsidizing, bailing out, and propping up these monsters, the sooner the rest of us can get on with building a better tomorrow.

The Real Problem

August 1st, 2010

In my estimation this is the only problem that really matters. It’s all encompassing, and it’s practically insurmountable. Commenter Don sums it up succinctly:

These monsters have done things that can never be undone and the total consequences will never be known.

You’re right, Don, but I will go one further: It’s not just depleted uranium or agent orange or Nigerian oil spills that nobody in the developed world ever hears about or the other explicit (albeit hidden) costs of imperialism. The stockpiles of nuclear and other weapons of mass- and indiscriminate destruction; the use of such weapons including depleted uranium, etc., the de facto strip-mining of the Earth’s resources — these are globally existential threats to peace and humanity.

Most people are probably aware of nuclear stockpiles, that cold war remnant with which nobody knows exactly what to do. But there is a reason you’ve probably never heard about the Nigerian oil spills or countless other exploitations of a people and an ecosystem; a reason you’ve probably never heard much about depleted uranium or white phosphorous. They do not want you to know.

And so you don’t.

These aren’t naturally occurring, rather the people at large were manipulated in to sowing the seeds (which will probably one day become the source of our collective destruction), all of these threats had their genesis in the ruling classes’ interests, as a means towards achieving some outcome they desired, consequences be damned.

The issue is this: There are simply no means available to deal with or to mitigate the loss or potential for loss attributable to  many of the problems that the State has created.  Even if we could abolish the state tomorrow, these problems they created which nobody wanted in the first place, remain.

What is the True Cost of American Empire?

June 30th, 2010

On military expenditures, the U.S. spends nearly as much as the rest of the world, combined. Why? A common refrain alludes that the world is a dangerous, asking , “We need someone (the military) to protect us from them!” But as I’ve previously written:

America’s chief export is war — and practically all of the countries that “hate us” are running a massive trade deficit in that department.

the death starWithout the state using our tax dollars, our sweat, blood and labor, to finance the military-industrial complex and to push capitalist-imperialism all over the globe, how many enemies do you think “we” would really have?

At the end of the day we are talking about a system the sole purpose of which is to make the rest of the world “safe for American interests”. And make no mistake about this: you are emphatically not one of the “American interests” which the military-industrial complex has any interest in safeguarding. You and your family are merely collaterally “safe”, which is more attributable to geography than to military spending.

“American interests” in this context means almost exclusively multinational corporations and their shareholders, who grease the wheels of politics around the world in order to look out for their own interests.  Aside from full-scale invasions (like an un-winnable war with neither objective nor identifiable enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan) or exporting prohibition (another un-winnable war) to lands near and far (like Mexico and Afghanistan), the Empire has other means at its disposal:

  • Flooding lesser-developed countries with “capital investments” in the form of loans from the IMF/World Bank which are then used to finance large-scale construction/infrastructure projects in what amounts to a kickback scheme writ large (contracted out to “American interests” like your pals at Halliburton, etc., of course), resulting in unsustainable debt-burdens which are eventually leveraged for political favors and further exploitation of the native people, lands, and resources.  Just look at the track-record of countries on the receiving-end of the IMF butt-ram stick: “Any list of countries ‘helped’ by IMF programs reads like a casualty list.”
  • Financing coups or paramilitary hit-squads in order to assassinate political leaders who are not willing to suck American c*ck, and then hand-picking the new “leaders” (those willing to sell out their constituency) for the puppet governments of those banana republics. The people of Ecuador or of Nigeria, doubtless, would never have agreed to the programs which now destroy their ecosystems and livelihoods while simultaneously siphoning all that lucrative crude straight in to the pocketbooks of BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, etc.

    “The Niger Delta, where the wealth underground is out of all proportion with the poverty on the surface, has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez spill every year for 50 years”

  • Or as in Afghanistan, where the mainstream media has reported that there are an estimated $1 Trillion worth of valuable minerals under the country’s soil. Under the terms of the mineral rights belong to the puppet government put in place by the U.S., they do not belong to the people of Afghanistan or their provincial/municipal governments. The history of occupied nations lends credence to Justin Raimondo’s theory, that the Afghan government will probably sell these minerals, or lease the rights thereto, to U.S. corporations at a fraction of their fair-market prices. That’s why the U.S. can’t abandon Afghanistan: there is too much money buried beneath the soil, and the people who want that money have sufficient sway in American politics and foreign policy.

The price tag for imperialism is over half a trillion dollars a year — not so much less than last year’s Bank Bailout, which was rejected by a near unanimity of the public-at-large. The military-industrial complex spends that much money every year, and nobody bats an eye.

This enormous sum only pays for the explicit military costs of imperialism, the true costs of American empire, which would reckon the costs in human live (yes, brown people in Nigeria and Mexico count, too) and destruction of the environment, the fomenting of terrorist factions which “hate us”, and the productivity gains which we could’ve realized had that military budget been reduced or eliminated (anyone else in favor of a 20-hour work week?), etc., are several orders of magnitude greater.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics