January 30th, 2010

Keynesian economics vs. the environment?

It's my understanding that Keynesian economic theory operates on the idea that part of the goal of government spending is to increase consumer demand and hence, consumption, regardless for what is being consumed (it doesn't matter, as my understanding goes, only that the pump is primed and money is circulating).

On the other hand, increased consumption is something that is generally looked down upon for environmental reasons. No matter the good or service, by increasing consumption, we do increase pollution of various sorts, even if we're investing in "green" tech, increased

My question: has there ever been a recognizable level of friction between progressive economists who profess a Keynesian worldview and greens who hold the environment as high priority?

My question stems from the thought that if the Austrian criticism of Keynes being that recessions necessarily moderate the rate of growth to sustainable levels when markets exceed them, and that interfering by spending tends to have a hand in creating unsustainable levels of growth, artificial booms, etc... (a not unreasonable or irrational conclusion), how is it we do not hear of more greens adopting an Austrian economic model? There seems to be a glaring contradiction in goals.
Warrior of the Wasteland
  • mrbogey

Not that anyone cares about Honduras anymore...

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60K58420100121

The new president was sworn in the other day and Zelaya has accepted an exile deal which will remove him from the Brazilian embassy. The US has quietly accepted the new president and is restoring ties.

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=50132

A crisis that many declared the end of freedom in Honduras has come and went and Honduras is still as free as ever.
hat lasso

Vancouver Olympics

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics are just about upon us. No doubt they will advertise this during the Superbowl next weekend. Anyway the political issues surrounding the Olympics are many and varied, so I'll try to break them down for you.

#1 Canadian Prime Minister Harper is the only G20 to not personally attend the 2008 Beijing Olympics, remarkable for the host of the following Olympics. PM Harper has a firm consistent stand against China's Human Rights record. He let Canadian athletes attend the Beijing Games (there was some fear we would boycott) but it was understood that it wasn't fair to punish them for the crimes of others. Interesting to note that China buys 5x more goods from Canada then we buy from them. We are curious to see which Chinese diplomats attend the Vancouver games.

#2 The homeless issue. Vancouver is a beautiful setting where the ocean meets the mountains where in 12 minutes one can hop off a sailboat and be downhill skiing, no exaggeration. But the city also has the largest, most visible homeless and junkie population in Canada. Lots of speculation about what exactly will happen, but most suspect they will be shuffled out of sight, out of mind It would be politically incorrect to bus them to points east, or lock them in prisons, but the Olympic Games are not exactly politically correct anyways.

#3 McDonald's and Coca Cola have been sponsoring Olympic Games since the 60's. Neither is recommended for an athlete's diet, in fact these are two we think of when one thinks of poor dietary issues. At the 2006 Torino Italy Olympics these sponsors met fierce protests and even decided not to make their presence known at certain events to hide from bad publicity. I havn't seen too much anger over this here, but what little news there is, is disturbing. I expect people who take health issues seriously will try to get their message heard.

#4 The Fortress issue. The Whistler/Blackcomb resort town (site of many of the Olympic events) is actually up for sale. The foreclosure auction is supposed to take place during the Olympic games. The entire town is only 30yr.s old, very beautiful, very clean, and very expensive. Fortress Investments of NewYork is primary owner/investor of Whistler and Millenium Group but due to the economic downturn has run a foul of LemanBro.s, missing payments on billion+$ loans.

#5 Trademarking our National Anthem. Vancouver Olympic Committee had the balls to trademark a line from O'Canada. I suppose it's not a big deal, but I'm not sure Halliburton could get away with trademarking "Bombs bursting in air", lol

#6 Between Vancouver and Whistler there had been 3,300 accidents on the Sea-To-Sky highway from 1996 to 2001, and 34 deaths. The highway has been widened just in time for the games. Forgetting the controversy of the expense and the clain it disturbs the environment, we assume this means the highway has been made safer. Well, the evidence is in. So much for this assumption. World leaders will be helijetted in from Vancouver.

#7 The Lil'wat branch of the St'at'imc Nation is a co-host of the Olympic Games. You will no doubt notice a lot of Aboriginal influence during the games. The Mascots are taken from Salish mythology. CocaCola commissioned several 15ft+ tall Coke bottle totems (poles) using traditional native materials. All is good, right?

If your media is up to snuff you will hear the chant, "No Olympics on Stolen Native Lands!" Two friends of mine were arrested (detained really) for chanting this as the Olympic torch relay made it's way through Edmonton. The Mounties were trying to ensure that a scene didn't erupt and disturb the peace, however...

Olympics are a magnet for demonstrations of all kinds. Billed as major celebration of athleticism and peace, it seems they can be anything but.
Booze

(no subject)

I think we can all agree that the current healthcare system in the US has some flaws.
I would challenge anyone who wants to keep the system exactly as it is to tell me why the US system is ranked 37th best according to the UN.
37 aint bottom of the list, but seriously? we can do better.

So why is it so hard to get reform done?
Because people disagree as to what would solve the problem?
Because people make money off the problem?

My suggestion/solution is to make it a single-payer system. I believe this would help by promoting efficiency and ensuring protection for all Americans. Before anyone says: "The govt can't run healthcare properly!" I ask you where did John McCain go when he needed surgery? A govt run (military) hospital. Good enough for McCain good enough for any other American.

Canada and the UK, to my knowledge, have working single-payer systems. To my knowledge they rank above the US in the UN rankings.

It also prevents the entire "pre-existing condition" crap. It does entail a govt run company. But I don't see that as so bad. Capitalism is OK--so long as it doesn't spin out of control. I think that making money off others illness...is not what we, as a culture, should be about. Make money off other stuff--hard work and ingenuity. Doctors work hard--sure, and they should be payed. Doctors in England can earn up to a half million pounds (iirc). That's not too shabby. That's well above the average, and well above the amount needed to live comfortably.

It does run into the problem of ending insurance companies.
If America decides to go single-payer there is no more health insurance companies. But that's fine by me. Insurance companies are middle-men. The govt can in-sure our safety by providing medical coverage.

I really don't get why the *health and safety* of our citizens is shortened to 'safety' so that we still are willing to spend for military but not spend for medicine!

Other solutions for healthcare reform are of interest to me, but single-payer seems so simple and straightforward to me. Suggest other reforms, if you prefer those. I am here to listen and learn.

Problems w/ the current system:

The uninsured
The under-insured
Pre-existing conditions
Cost

What say you?