Sunday, October 12, 2003

Conservation bill light on conservation... [Forbes].

I really think the conservatives misunderstand the economy. They look at growing unemployment, the glut in the market and determine that the thing we need to do is to increase consumption.

The problem is not with the amount of consumption, but with the quality of consumption. Were the Bush Administration to jump on the conservation band wagon and demand that we improve energy efficiency, it would due more to create jobs than feeding the glut of resources currently on the market.

Let's approach this from a different direction: The BLS essentially is trying to define productivity as the amount of goods (material wealth) that a worker creates in hour. Well, when we find a short cut to making more of something, the labor is still around. The labor then gets wasted on something less productive. The big productivity jump in programming means no more jobs for second rate programmers like me; so I must do something inefficient like affiliate marketing.

Conservation, on the other hand, concentrates on resource productivity. By employing extra labor, we get more for our gallon of gas. It increases the quality of consumption.

Let's try another tact. The US places its highest taxes on wages. In many cases the US actually subsidizes the extraction of material. Taxing something means you want less of it. So taxing jobs means we want fewer jobs. Subsidizing oil extraction means we want more fuel burned. The conservationist sees this equation as backwards. What we should do is tax labor less and resource production more...this creates jobs as companies employ more and more workers to get the most out of the resources we do put into production.

As soon as this founding fathers talk talk is over I hope to get some time to work out ideas on Crass

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