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« Immigration deal falls through | Main | The army and its provinces: Steady, but slow progress in Iraq »

June 08, 2007


Christopher Taylor

That is a good point - it also assists scam artists and con men, but tyranny is a more serious concern. It basically pays corrupt governments to not develop their nations.

Frank Warner

It seems it might be more productive if we reward people for producing less pollution and more energy, not less pollution and less energy.

Christopher Taylor

In truth, producing more energy with less pollution is self-rewarding, so nobody should need to hand out rewards at all.

jj mollo

This is very interesting. I think it's related to the Resource Curse, where countries with the richest natural resource have the hardest time developing their economies normally. The reason is that money must funnel through a narrow economic sector, magnifying the effects of corruption, social inequity and government ineptitude. The valuable resource trumps every other economic activity because of its high relative productivity and saps any independent initiatives.

I never thought about it this way before, but the carbon offsets act as a sort of special resource. This resource, like farming skill, resides with each citizen, is spread widely throughout the population, who earn the offsets by their poverty, but it is the central government who collects the money. The "carbon farmers" don't get to collect a cent.

It's clear that carbon offsets should only be purchased from broad representative groups or from industrial organizations who can show specific carbon capture processes. I'm not sure what I think about the idea. Exchanges within a country make more sense. Rosett is showing us that the international market is just a bribe to shut them up.

jj mollo

This does highlight an important aspect of market capitalism. It would definitely work! It would suppress CO2 in poor countries and make them poorer, generating even less CO2. Market approaches work at whatever your goals may be, but sometimes the side effects can be nasty.

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