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Bill Gates Dismisses Free Market's Ability To Counter Climate Change

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Ktowntslafan, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. Ktowntslafan

    Ktowntslafan Member

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    #1 Ktowntslafan, Nov 3, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  2. Ktowntslafan

    Ktowntslafan Member

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  3. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    Bill Gates is correct. The "Free Market" does not solve problems.
     
  4. artsci

    artsci Sponsor

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    The free market argument is just BS promoted by the likes of the Chamber of Commerce and all of those other free market advocates. The free market is what got is unto the climate mess we're in as it takes no account of extreme social costs of carbon emissions. If we count on free market advocates the human race will be extinct in less than 100 years and the earth will say "good riddance." And all of those free market advocates and their families will be gone with the rest of us.

    They are self-inetersted fools of the highest order.
     
  5. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    Exactly. I was waiting for the usual arguments to knock them down, but you beat me to it pre-emptively. :tongue:
     
  6. Ktowntslafan

    Ktowntslafan Member

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    Excellent!
     
  7. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    Hmmm... Bill's argument is more that the private sector will not respond unless carbon emissions are correctly priced. There is nothing new or surprising there and I don't know that I've ever heard an economist argue otherwise. This is not a condemnation of the free market. It's a simply reflecting on the fact that external costs need to be correctly accounted for and that if they are, the market can respond correctly.

    As to private industry being "self interested fools".... The reality is that most businesses operate on fairly thin margins. Businesses that make decisions to do more expensive "green" things when their competitors don't, don't survive or grow. Businesses don't have a big issue with something like a carbon tax as long as it's an even playing field; all competitors need to pay for external costs equally.

    It's up to governments and voters where applicable (both groups often being fools of the highest order) to set the right carbon taxes and to make sure that a manufacturer in NA pays the same carbon tax as one in China, Europe, or elsewhere. Only an idiot runs a race with a 50lb pack on their back, while others don't.
     
  8. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    By definition, a _free_ market does not have social costs added to prices. So, yes, it's a condemnation of the _free_ market, although it does not necessarily preclude _market-based solutions if you can price in externalities.
     
  9. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    #9 sandpiper, Nov 3, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
    Not by any definition of "free market" that I've ever seen. "Free market" simply refers to the free interactions between the buyers and sellers and the way that the market sets transfer prices. The right to emit carbon is just one more good that is required to produce something - no different than water, electricity, raw materials and labour. If the owner of that one good (the right to emit carbon) chooses to simply give it away for free then they, not the buyer, are a fool of the highest order.
     
  10. Ktowntslafan

    Ktowntslafan Member

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    Self interested fools=Private industry who lobby government to the benefit of shareholders and the detriment of citizens.

    Big Oil, Big Tobacco, Big Pharma all come to mind...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Lobbying Spending Database | OpenSecrets
     
  11. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Wikipedia:
    "A free market is a market economy system in which the prices for goods and services are set freely by consent between vendors and consumers, in which the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government, price-setting monopoly, or other authority."

    If the free market worked, decarbonization would be happening because consumers would be choosing low-carbon solutions. They don't, they don't give a monkey's and that's why free markets don't work. Libertarians insist that they work, despite obvious evidence to the contrary from the 19th century and China. Sorry, I'm begging the question of whether "work" can include treating unskilled laborers like cattle.
     
  12. Ktowntslafan

    Ktowntslafan Member

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  13. ScepticMatt

    ScepticMatt Member

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    The free market doesn't work because pollution or green house gases are mostly externalizes for polluters. Carbon trading is/was one idea to mitigate this.
     
  14. tander

    tander Member

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    I'll play devil's advocate here and suggest that free markets do solve things like climate change with the caveat that people like Tesla/SolarCity/etc. look at these problems as opportunites and find ways to take advantage. They are using free markets/private enterprise to basically undercut the incumbent technologies and pretty much make them so obsolete that nobody will invest in them anymore, which might actually be a faster/better way of solving the problem than doing it bureaucratically, probably a more profitable way if nothing else.
     
  15. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    "Bill Gates Dismisses Free Market's Ability To Counter Climate Change Because The Private Sector Is 'Inept'" is a terrible click-bait title. He was basically dissing the status quo, saying that business wasn't going to solve the climate change issue without an incentive to do so. He's right. He also points out the solution:

    “Without a substantial carbon tax, there’s no incentive for innovators or plant buyers to switch”

    That's pretty much bang on the point. If we want to solve the problem, we have to put a dollar value on the unpriced externality. Basic economics 101. A carbon tax is actually the most sensible solution, if you want the private sector to be motivated to solve the problem.
     
  16. William13

    William13 Member

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    Free markets work better than all other markets, including for climate change if costs are included. Carbon tax. Carbon tax. Carbon tax. Incentives work.

    I support a Carbon tax because it is the purest way to mitigate Anthropomorphic Climate Change. Other ways are possible and are likely to be used but are less efficient. Less efficient = more potential for special interests.

    Bill Gates is smart. The author is not nearly as smart and just is looking for clicks. Bill Gates may help mitigate ACC but we all need to help. Luckily many youngsters understand but many do not.
     
  17. Ktowntslafan

    Ktowntslafan Member

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    #17 Ktowntslafan, Nov 3, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
    I think there's more to it then that:

    In A World Of Capitalists, Elon Musk Is Out Of This World


    "Therefore the battle between Musk and his rivals is about far more than just businessmen squabbling over profits—it cuts to the heart of what kind of capitalism we want to see succeed and thrive in the coming century. One kind, documented at length in the blockbuster new book by Thomas Piketty, demonstrates clearly how an unchecked, monopolistic capitalism of the type practiced by the entrenched interests Musk is now battling, leads inevitably to highly unequal, politically unstable polities where politics and economics becomes dominated by an undeserving ultra-wealthy who inherit and monopolize rather than innovate and create. Indeed, we are now seeing exactly that kind of capitalism taking over the country we used to call America."

    http://www.mintpressnews.com/world-capitalists-elon-musk-world/190109/



    - - - Updated - - -


    Two very recent and relevant interviews on The Agenda with Steve Paikin:

    Saving Capitalism | TVo_Org

    Business Behaving Badly | TVo_Org
     
  18. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    Pricing carbon doesn't qualify as government intervention; it's no different then then a city sells city land to a developer at fair market price. Right to pollute is a limited supply public good and it should be sold at a fair market price.

    The free market will work just fine. Our elected and un-elected officials (worldwide) just seem to be incapable of getting their $hit together to agree to properly pricing this publicly owned good. Any mechanisms OTHER than carbon taxes & the free market are going to be massively inefficient and will undoubtedly screw things up worse than what they are now.
     
  19. Jim MacInnes

    Jim MacInnes Member

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    #19 Jim MacInnes, Nov 4, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015
    [SUP] Gates may be right. A recent paper from the Stockholm Environment Institute discusses both demand side (such as a carbon tax) and supply side climate policy. http://www.sei-international.org/mediamanager/documents/Publications/Climate/SEI-WP-2015-13-Supply-side-climate-policy.pdf Table 1 outlines a range of alternatives. This report argues that supply side policies may be more effective and less expensive in achieving a low carbon energy supply than the demand side approach alone. [/SUP]
     
  20. Ktowntslafan

    Ktowntslafan Member

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    #20 Ktowntslafan, Nov 4, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015
    Thanks for this. Here's what sticks out to me:

    "For decades,policy-makers and international agreements have sought to achieve this goal through energyefficiency, low-carbon technology, carbon pricing, and other measures aimed at reducingdemand for fossil fuels. Focusing on the point of combustion makes intuitive sense, but effortsso far have yet to put fossil fuel use on a trajectory consistent with keeping global warmingbelow 2°C. "

    Decades!

    Now contrast with Norways EV incentives. Tremendous impact in just a few years.

    So there are short term options while we work on long term solutions.

    Cutting subsidies to to the Oil and Gas industry and redirecting to EV's is a no brainer.

    IMF Pegs Canada's Fossil Fuel Subsidies at $34 Billion - TheTyee.ca - Mobile
     

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