Did I ruffle a few feathers? :)

Chris M. Sciabarra sciabrrc at is2.NYU.EDU
Thu Sep 21 11:42:57 MDT 1995

On Thu, 21 Sep 1995, Louis N Proyect wrote:

> The type of planning we need is not planning that will make sure that the
> consumer gets a microwave oven with all the latest features, but planning
> that will save the lives of our children and grandchildren. The free
> market system is destroying the planet. Check out the recent articles in
> the NY Times on global warming. As long as decisions about how many
> hydrocarbons are emitted into the air are left up to private enterprise,
> we have a grim future indeed.
> The problem with your approach, Chris, is that it approaches things from
> the point of the view of the individual. Unless we face these major
> ecological problems as collective humanity, we're in deep trouble.

	I still believe however, that many ecological problems could be
addressed in the context of the rule of law, rather than the rule of a
planning board.  If corporations have to PAY for their pollution, and pay
dearly, they will be compelled to try other means for either cleaning up
their pollution, or, for non-polluting methods of production.  It is
after all, a technological problem, and markets are pretty good at
responding to technological problems IF market participants are forced to
take into account costs -- that is, market "failure" can become market
success if externalities are internalized in the property rights
structure of law.
	There are plenty of things wrong with this planet -- but please
remember too, that we don't have One World Government, and that the
problem of global warming is going to be perceived much differently by
poorer countries -- most of whom rely upon regimented economies in their
efforts to enter the 20th century.  The problem is very complex, and I'm
not entirely sure if all of the scientific data is in either.  I just
don't believe that planning boards have been very successful delivering
simple commodities, and I'm not willing to trust the technocrats to do
much better.
					- Chris
Dr. Chris M. Sciabarra
Visiting Scholar, NYU Department of Politics
INTERNET:  sciabrrc at is2.nyu.edu

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