Thursday, January 2, 2014

Resource Insights shines a light on oil industry and "free-market" propaganda

Resource Insights: 7 things everyone knows about energy that just ain't so (2013 Edition): "Anonymous tells us that he "believes" in markets. This is really a statement of faith, not fact then. What he believes markets will do beyond mediate supply and demand is unclear. Certainly, markets have not provided cheap abundant fossil fuels in the last decade as the market fundamentalists such at Daniel Yergin predicted they would.

And markets have done nothing to curb emissions of greenhouse gases. There are places where markets fail. And, we must also acknowledge that oil and natural gas are not really free markets. They exist within a framework of government tax breaks (the depletion allowance, for example), government-funded research, export limits, and indirect subsidies such as highways which encourage the consumption of oil products.

So, a truly free market in fossil fuels doesn't exist.

I hope Anonymous would acknowledge that there are limits to markets. Would he advocate a market in human organs, for example? As a society, we find such a thing repugnant and we've made it illegal. We think that such decisions should be made based on need and likelihood of success, not financial capacity.

If there are some things which are off limits to markets, then Anonymous must acknowledge that it is really just a question of where we draw the line and for what purpose.

This is what politics is all about and it will never be separated from our economic lives no matter now much we wish for it.

So, public policy in energy continues to be an important factor. And, the last decade has shown that markets are not all-knowing. Otherwise, the problem of high energy prices would have been solved.

And, so would the problem of dumping pollutants and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The principle here is that no one should have the right to pollute the air I breath for free and without responsibility for the consequences. Certainly, Anonymous doesn't believe that those who are powerful enough and connected enough should be allowed to do whatever they want to the atmosphere just because they are powerful and connected. That issue must be solved by public policy."

'via Blog this'

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