Thank God for Global Warming!
Fear is not an option!

Conservation of Energy!

The concept is one we know well today.  The ‘socially conscious’ among us are often talking about ‘conserving energy’ as a means to helping the environment and specifically helping to curb Global Warming.

That energy they are conserving is electricity and fossil fuels.  Sounds good.  If I, an end user, conserve energy, it saves me money.  Many people are willing to modify behavior to save a little money.   For example, turning off unused lights.  Yeah, that saves money for the end user.  Well, not so simple.  Much of the prescribed change is much more expensive than the financial payoffs.  For example, it is an article of faith in the religion of ‘saving the planet’ to buy a hybrid.  Even though hybrids don’t pencil out on paper when you calculate the extra cost versus the fuel savings.  A person can buy a similar sized subcompact without all the hybrid technology and pay 2/3 the price.  They have a less expensive car with fuel economy close to a hybrid without the future problems with replacing batteries.  A major expense and a serious environmental concern.  The government gets involved and subsidizes some hybrids with a tax credit.  Without that subsidy the hybrid does not compete and either comes down in price or disappears. 

There are many examples of environmental prescriptions that are too hard to swallow.  From compact fluorescent light bulbs to rapid mass transit.  The costs far out-way the benefits.  In both cases subsidies give the appearance of increasing efficiency and reasonable costs.  Without the subsidies, the costs of both of these items and many in-between would make these perscriptions fade into nonexistence.  They simply can not compete.

All of the worst, or some would say the best, ideas to ‘save the planet’ are lacking the benefit of our economy.  What is the benefit of our economy?  Competition!  Through competition advancements are made.  Improvements are made.  Over time the competition eliminates poor or inefficient products and good solid products thrive. 

We have throughout our history looked forward and tried to guess what society would look like.  We have always been wrong.  Technology that we thought would dominate the future disappeared or never materialised.  Been driving your flying car or buzzing around with your jet pack lately.  Technology we over looked comes along and changes everything.  In the 1970’s, computers were an interesting and useless sideline that most people did not know anything about.  Now they are an essential part of everyday life for most people.  Whether it is your home or work computer or some other tool or device that uses a computer as part of its inner workings.

This short sighted devotion to old ideas of how our society should look is hurting the environment.  The real advances that give the benefits that people would gladly support may be retarded in their development because so many people want the final solutions from existing ideas and technology.  That is not how solutions are found.  That is how stagnation is bred. 

Our economy works because it is a lot like evolution.  I’m not referring the theory of how life was created or made diverse.  I mean the process by which good, useful genetic changes have an advantage and they are carried forward in more of the offspring, therefore becoming more common in the future.  Likewise, technology that has benefits to society and to the environment will prosper, while technology that supposedly benefits the environment but cost far too much or just doesn’t help,  will die away.  Through subsidy we are prolonging the lifespan of ‘dinosaur’ technology or plans that should have been allowed to compete and die a natural death.

What is the force that drives the ‘dinosaurs’ forward?  Greed and power.  In both government and business there have been investments made in these ‘dinosaurs’.  We are paying and will pay the price in the future.  Sadly, with little or no benefit to the environment.  The good gains will be forsaken for the status qua.

It’s not that conservation is a bad thing.  We see in the approach taken by any bureaucracy, however, that they conserve their effort and money at our expense.  We should be conserving energy alright.  Our energy.  Our earnings that go away in higher taxes or get wasted in stiffer regulations.  Our time that is used up by new chores and duties made up by officials that think that time is free and as abundant as the air they breath.  They say we should be recycling.  Spending our time sorting and hauling trash.  We should be waiting at the bus or train stop.  Giving up the freedom of our own vehicle that allows us to be efficient with our time as we see fit. 

The power of our society and our economy is that if there is a perceived benefit for the consumer they will pay someone else a profitable price for a new bit of technology that is developed to accomplish a given task.  Even if it is an old task that people would like done in a cleaner more efficient way.

My point is that the people who advocate these ‘dinosaur’ environmental changes do not understand or appreciate the power of our economy or our society.  If they did, their proposals would be geared toward taking advantage of the power of competition.  It would give us technology that would work and work better than what is being forced down our throats now. 

Another good reason to be skeptical.  When their ideas are not the best, just the most expensive.

Brutus

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