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Old 05-09-2008, 02:08 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LostCause View Post
This thread has made me think: Why is an American's day spent digging ditches worth more than an African's day spent digging ditches?
- LostCause
OK, I will follow you down the rabbit hole a little farther. Take the following as just an explanaition. An Americans day spent digging ditches is worth more becuase the African has nothing of value to the rest of the world. As you said, viewing the world on a pure barter system is pretty accurate. To bring a good or wealth into a country you need to trade something to get it. When was the last time you bought something that was made in Africa, I cant think of anything myself. Some African countries have natural resources but these are also the countries with major civil unrest so nobody can get the goods out to trade.

The idea that we can cut the pie fairly for everyone doesnt apply if there is no pie to cut.

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Old 05-09-2008, 03:00 AM   #32 (permalink)
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An American and an African both provide the same exact good. Just as oil has an innate "value," so too does human labor.

The problem is that innate "values" are meaningless as far as economies are concerned. While the pie is only so big at any given moment, it's distribution is not equalized. Oil has always been "expensive," but the United States has historically been able to convice the world it deserved a bigger, and thus cheaper share. Labor will always be "expensive," but somehow the world has convinced Africa to maintain a big, cheap labor pool.

The African ditch-digger makes less money because the world views him solely on economic terms. The value of his work is only equal to the value of the goods it can provide. With labor, oil, or any commodity, it is that kind of short-sidedness that drives many contemporary issues. Oil is hurting the American economy (i.e. each citizen's way of life), the environment, and stability because it is viewed solely in economic terms. Since economics disregards the true "value" of any given thing, it's only end is exploitation and destruction.

The problem is not that the African has nothing of worth, it is that the world sees nothing of worth in him.

Revolutions do not come from hurting pocketbooks, but rather hurting souls. Society will not be better off if conservation is stimulated primarily through economics. People can't be forced to live virtuously, they must realize its merits on their own.

- LostCause

Last edited by LostCause; 05-09-2008 at 03:20 AM..
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Old 05-09-2008, 05:38 AM   #33 (permalink)
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I haven't researched it, but I have two friends who wish gasoline prices would stay around $3.50. They claim that price level would make alternative fuels cost effective, and stimulate production, development, competition, etc.
That's unlikely. Gas costs $10 in Norway and a similar amount in Germany, but ethanol is still not price competitive without subsidies.

The high gas prices have arguably caused people to drive smaller cars in Europe. Germans drive a lot faster but they still emit less GHGs per mile driven.

Personally I'm not in favor of legislating a slower speed limit. Especially in Germany, once they put speed limits on the Autobahn, then they'll never get rid of them, even if people are driving fuel cell vehicles powered by solar arrays. Honestly, 55 is just way too slow in the US. It would push even more people onto planes, which are much worse with respect to GHGs, since our train system is basically none-existent. I drive a lot of highway miles, and I would go insane driving 55. That turns a 9 hour drive through Montana and North Dakota into a 13+ hour drive.

Also, no one in America digs ditches, so that's a silly thing to even consider. People in America use digging equipment, and as such produce more ditches for the same input of labor, therefore, their labor is worth more. We could stop all trade with Africa, and their living standard would not increase. If they had higher productivity then they would have more material goods, because they would produce more things to consume and trade.

Personally I think talking about conservation so much is counter productive. The third world wants vaccines, modern medicine, modern conveniences and they will get them regardless of what we tell them they should do. Instead we need to focus on developing technologies which allow us to continue to live lives of similar comfort while vastly reducing our impact (cheap solar panels, nuclear power, fusion power, super capacitors).
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Old 05-09-2008, 12:32 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Yep. Gas hasn't moved against most commodities at all. If the prices of wheat, eggs, vegetables, etc were posted on 3' glowing numbers 40' off the ground, people would ***** about those too. This is a DOLLAR problem, but if the sheeple rally around Hillary to steal profits from those big bad oil companies, well they deserve the government they get.

The four banger in me says "bring on $5 gas!". Fewer retards in rolling living rooms I have to deal with. On the other hand, the next time I fill up my V8 Porsche, I don't think I'm going to look at the pump display. I'll never be able to enjoy the drive after that.
Totally agreed on both points, the rolling living rooms will become obsolete, excempt for when there needed, and most large vehicals for many passangers will probably go the route of those dodge mercedias sprinter vans, those things get 30 mpg with there diesel engines.. and can haul 12 people.. I rode in one and was verr very impressed with them..

The other think that will happen is cars wont be able to do 110 miles a haour they will be designed to go 80 mph max, why any one needs a car besides for fun that does 100 mph is sad, even our old 4cylinder cavalier would easly hit the speed limiter and still be pulling like mad to go faster.. totally unneeded.. but "americas" want to drive around in a car the size of a Asian home and have the horse power to get from 0-60 in 4 seconds and top speeds of 150 MPH..

I secretly cant wait till car ads are saying our cars get 50 MPG instead of "320 HP and 3.4 seconds 0-60". Until then Ill make my own 60+ mpg cars and laugh at the "living rooms" rolling down the highway.. I already do that in my veggiemobiles, when I pull up to a gas station for a drink and potty break, been over a month since I've added any petro-fuel to a car, its sad every time i fill up it seems prices go up $.25 minimum.

People wonder why I have such a huge grin on my face when I pull into a gas station , then they start getting hungry of french fries and cant figure out why
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:27 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Totally agreed on both points, the rolling living rooms will become obsolete, excempt for when there needed, and most large vehicals for many passangers will probably go the route of those dodge mercedias sprinter vans, those things get 30 mpg with there diesel engines.. and can haul 12 people.. I rode in one and was verr very impressed with them..
I totally agree about that. I do think that it makes sense to encourage people to use more efficient vehicles. That can happen for both cultural and economic reasons, by making high impact vehicles both un-cool and expensive.

Telling people to "conserve" in all areas of their life though is I think the wrong thing to do. Like Greenpeace Australia telling people they will all need to start riding bikes, not own cars, and live in much smaller homes. No one is going to do all that crap, and it will just cause them to ignore you (rightfully).

The "conservation" argument also annoys me, because it's used far too often to justify inaction. When the people planning our infrastructure point out that we will need a stable base load of energy, like nuclear power, then the Greenpeace people say "NO! We don't need that nuclear power plant, because we could just conserve that amount of electricity instead." That statement is true by itself, but it's a lie by omission, since it fails to consider that the base load source we will be using instead is coal.

http://www.stopthecoalplant.org/down...sions_data.pdf.

That's just in Texas. And that's just the plants waiting for approval.
Not the ones already being built.
Or the ones for which an application has been drawn up but a plant not yet deployed.

We're currently building more coal power plants right now in the US than any time in our history. (~120 coal fired plants are currently under construction in the US)

Too bad the numb skulls at Greenpeace don't really protest against those, because they're not scary like nuclear plants
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:45 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Lost Cause,
It is not so easy. In economic terms labour is just a factor of production or something that can be traded exactly like a commodity for money which is just a store of value. Goods such as gasoline vary in price around the globe, in oil rich counties like Venezuela and Arab nations gas can be bought for 10 cents/Litre while other countries are paying in the ballpark of what you or I pay because we don’t have more oil than we know what to do with. It also follows that different areas of the country have different minimum wages than others because things cost more or less in different areas.

The supply and demand model does a pretty good job of explaining prices for nearly everything and labour is no different. As Hvatum said “Nobody in America digs ditches…. People in America use digging equipment.” Hits the nail squarely on the head. Production requires two things, capital and labour where capital can be anything from buildings, to tools and machinery. When labour is scarce then the returns from production flow largely to labour and not capital, so we have high wages and low dividends for investors. The opposite is true when labour is abundant relative to capital. The best way I can illustrate this example is to think of farming in the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. farmer has an abundance of capital in the form of tractors and combines while the Mexican has none and does everything by hand. The American farmer is obviously as productive as a couple hundred Mexican because of his machinery and will receive a higher wage because of it.

So the African’s labour is worth less because as a region they have an abysmal Capital to Labour ratio and because the region has no wealth there is no trickle down to the poor either. Again this is just an explanation, not that I view Africans as worthless human beings.

Mods: sorry for getting off topic, a question was asked, I answered.
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Old 05-09-2008, 01:49 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Too bad the numb skulls at Greenpeace don't really protest against those, because they're not scary like nuclear plants
x2
I myself am getting sick of the lies from the extreme left and the extreme right of the political spectrum. It is to bad we dont teach our kids to think for themselves and see through the heaps of BS.
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Old 05-09-2008, 03:29 PM   #38 (permalink)
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x2
I myself am getting sick of the lies from the extreme left and the extreme right of the political spectrum. It is to bad we dont teach our kids to think for themselves and see through the heaps of BS.
Too bad we can't teach everyone to think for themselves and see through the heaps of BS.

I could imagine a world where peer-reviewed scientific studies with neutral viewpoints were looked at and learned from for their own merit instead of being filtered through politics, politicians, and corporate greed.

Imagine what the world would be like if JP Morgan hadn't asked Tesla "Where can I put the meter?" Its too bad the betterment of society so often suffers for the betterment of individuals' bank accounts. Do people need to be forced to conserve? Yes; in this case its geo-political and market forces. Is the majority of people smart enough to see the writing on the wall and be proactive about it? Nope. I just hope to put myself in a position where energy prices don't impact me as much as the next guy and hopefully spread the word, but then phrases relating to leading horses to water and herding cats begin to apply.
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Old 05-09-2008, 05:56 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Nuclear sux, I don't want that poison laying around, unless there's a better way to deal with it.
Yeah neither do I.

Luckily it isn't, unlike the crap coal plants put out. Just the fly ash from a Coal power plant contains enough thorium and uranium that if it were coming out of a nuclear plant then it would need to be treated as low-level waste! But it isn't, they just let it blow away in the wind or bury it next to your house.

Waste from nuclear plants is safely stored away in below ground temporary repositories for now. In the future, if we reprocessed the waste (as France does), then we could store it in Yucca mountain and it would be no more radioactive than the original mined uranium in a few thousand years.

Dioxins released by coal burning power plants are a well established cause of cancer, and will be in our environment for hundreds of thousands of years. Also, unlike long lived radioactive isotopes, it actively accumulates in the Biosphere, getting worse as one moves up the food chain. It's a problem that will be even worse for our children. Of course, that problem isn't really scary, and doesn't serve as nice scapegoat that Greenpeace can continue to abuse to scare the public into supporting them.
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:12 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Coal definitely keeps the lights on here in Ohio.

I don't see any black smoke coming out. There is white vapor coming out, it looks like water vapor from the scrubbers.


Last edited by diesel_john; 06-09-2008 at 10:38 PM..
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