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Externalities

Reader comment on item: [Symposium:] Why Does the World Hate America?

Submitted by JHH (United States), Feb 6, 2004 at 11:24

I am impressed that the US is an economic giant, a powerhouse that leads the world in terms of fiscal growth. I think this country is the only country in the world capable of bringing about real change, if we are able to properly direct that change.

As a starting point we all know that scarcity in the world is what drives the inner-workings of econmics. Scarcity determines allocations of wealth, goods and services. Scarcity is a realty and inevitable.

But in crafting economic and social policies, shouldn't we as a successful nation try to encourage technological advancement and systematic implementation of sustainable practices and renewable resources, thus reducing the effects of scarcity? Rather than merely subsidizing further dependence on oil, our nation should transition toward renewable resources, alternative forms of sustainable energy, cleaner burning resources, and if we were able to eventually wean ourselves from our addiction to oil, think of what a huge shift that would be in our global policies. As a nation, as an advanced civilization that technology is just waiting to be primed; we just need to create incentives for research and further development of better technologies that provide sustainability in the area of energy. Right now, that technology is not being developed and is not financially supported because of myriad complicated reasons. But we all know that it is so possible. Scientists and engineers, given the right support, funding, and incentives can accomplish almost everything.

Part of the problem is the vested interests in existing energy sources. But I say that is not a problem. I say, we should give current energy and oil giants in this country first mover advantage to transition toward cultivating viable technologies in the renewable resources arena. They can straddle both markets temporarily, to ease the blow and reduce resistance to changing energy dependency. We will give them a temporary monopoly to develop and implement these technologies. No new players can compete. These companies can just hire the best minds, engineers, and environmentalists to help them innovate.

You say, that will never work, because an economy relies on scarcity? I say, yes, we need scarcity but we will always have scarcity. There is always a scarcity in intellectual goods, intellectual property, ideas, books, films, technology. But if we as a society eliminate scarcity in JUST the area of basic necessities, the minimum essentials for life, we can continue to ferment great compeition in intangibles. Imagine if we all could use renewable energy resources and bought our food in markets based on sustainable practices. Then as a society we could focus our energy toward competing in schooling, ideas, education.

The problem is that there are vested interests and it is very hard to act against forces already in motion. So that is why BiPartisan Campaign Finance Reform is necessary. Not only that, but a media forum in which after we have nailed down the candidates to lets say 6 or so, we have regulations on political advertising in the media. For every ad that is run by one candidate, an ad must be run by every other in a comparable time span. Same with bill boards, and the internet. We can never get over the constitutional issues of this, but maybe we can do this by Congressional fiat and agreement by the American people.

America is Great. It can be even better.
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