1.The assumption is that each individual and each
company is working to further their own interests.There is no altruism put forward to
rationalize a decision in capitalism.
2.Flexibility is the key. The power of the free
market is flexibility.As socio-economic
realities change there are a multitude of entrepreneurs and small businesses
thinking of ways to best service new needs.
3.The cost of providing a product or service must
be borne by the consumers of that product or service.Products may be priced according to demand,
but should never be priced artificially low.If a product is extremely expensive to produce, but artificially priced
at a low point, then consumers will buy more of that product and less of
competing products.This breaks the
ability of the free market economy to respond to the current needs of society
in the most efficient way possible.Artificially
low prices disrupt the supply and demand relationship that keeps capitalism
flexible and responsive to needs.
In economics the environment is what is called a “public
good”.It does not belong to any one
individual or company.Thus it is not in
the best interests of any individual or company to be respectful of the
environment.Their job is to make
money.This does not mean that a public
good has no value.It means that the
value is generalized across the population.
Pollution damages a public good.It removes wealth from society.Pollution exacts a cost.In order for the laws of supply and demand to
effectively direct resources, the cost of providing a product or service must
be borne by the producers and ultimately the consumers of that product or
service.Otherwise those consumers will
purchase more of that product than they would if it were priced appropriately.When coal mines dump toxic waste into
streams, a portion of the cost of the coal is distributed in an economically
random way across the population downstream, regardless of whether or not they
purchase the coal or any energy produced with that coal.The people living downstream are effectively subsidizing
the coal mine and therefore all the coal consumers and consumers of energy from
Production costs go up with environmental regulations.This is appropriate.Let’s say I setup a business next to your
house, and dump my trash in your yard.This saves me the cost of trash hauling and I can sell my goods for less
than other similar businesses.But I
have not provided a lower cost option.In
the absence of laws to stop my behavior I am simply making you pay the cleanup
cost.If I had come up with some
creative process that truly allowed me to produce my product at a lower cost I
would be able to price the product lower, and claim a larger share of the
market.Soon other creative people would
figure out my method, or even a better method, and the price would drop
The point here is that allowing businesses to pollute the
environment does not lower the cost of producing those products or services to
society.It simply allows particular
businesses to effectively dump their trash on someone else’s lawn.They have not earned their market share
through any particular creativity or hard work.By allowing them to pollute the environment we give them an unfair advantage
over businesses that produce their goods in an environmentally friendly way. When consumers purchase a product they look at
the price.The price of the goods
produced in an environmentally friendly way will likely be higher.The goods produced without environmental
regulations will likely cost less.Consumers
will choose the item with the lower price tag at the store, but it may well be
the higher cost item.By allowing the
producer to freely pollute the environment during production we have
artificially lowered the price of that product.The laws of supply and demand are circumvented when pollution costs are
not included in the price of goods.
The EPA is the organization that makes and enforces the laws
to prevent my business from dumping trash on your property.As the business owner, I’m likely to find
them unreasonable.My goals are to make
money.Yes, there will be some business
owners who would not dump refuse on someone else’s property even if it were
legal to do so.There will be plenty
more businesses that will use every tool legally available to them to lower the
cost to their consumers.With no law to
prevent the behavior, capitalism rewards the businesses that dump their trash
on your lawn.Environmental protection
laws force businesses to assume all the costs of production, so that the price
of their goods will reflect the true cost, and consumers will then make
appropriate decisions based on the real costs.
The true flexibility of capitalism is from small and medium businesses.Large businesses are no more flexible than
large government institutions.An example
is the energy industry.There are a
myriad of innovative small firms coming up with renewable and clean energy
solutions.These businesses are
showcasing the power of capitalism to develop needed products and services.Yet we are finding ways to subsidize the oil,
gas and coal industries, large firms who lack the flexibility to respond like
smaller firms.Yes, the energy giants
have diversified, but they are clinging to a dated technology, and asking us to
subsidize them by allowing pollution so they can offer an artificially low
price to consumers and score a larger market share.If they are truly dinosaurs, let them go
extinct.The new generation of energy
companies is here:small; creative;
flexible; and ready to take us forward.
Life, death and weather do not care about time. Saturday my mother's older sister Marlene died. Though she was not young, this was unexpected. Marlene was a tough and difficult woman who had a hard life. A single mother, she worked three jobs and put her son Bob through school. She made sure he kept to a path of education and hard work. He did her proud, an accomplished professor at University of Chicago. A loving son who grew up to understand and appreciate what she had given.
Marlene wasn't easy, but she could laugh. She and mom shared much time exchanging stories and laughing on the phone. We went to Erie, the spread family together for weddings and funerals. It has been a long time. Bob's son and daughters have grown from the children I last met to kind and fascinating people. At the service I passed the family ring, that had come from my grandmother to me, on to Bob's eldest daughter Elizabeth. The ring meant a great deal to Marlene. It was right that it go to her oldest granddaughter. I had told Marlene of this decision years ago.
The drive home sampled most every type of winter weather you don't want to drive in. Torrential rain, ice, gusty wind, fog. Bless the highway teams treating the roadways and the other drivers who prioritized life over schedule and drove accordingly. Because life and death and weather don't care about time.
Home, to my animals who were cared for by so many good friends on short notice. Take your time, love your family and your friends. Schedules have their place, but well after taking care of ourselves and one another.
Employees of NASA and the National Park Service have gone
rogue, tweeting established science despite the gag order.They’ve setup private accounts so they can
The entire top management level of the State Department has
resigned.This is not the usual
shuffling of staff that comes with a change of administration.These are career foreign service
professionals who have served under both Republican and Democratic
Some Republicans are daring to break ranks and disagree with
new policies.Nevada governor Sandoval has
publicly disagreed with the border wall and highlighted Nevada policies
supportive of immigrants.
The press is stepping up, with headings like “Our president
is a pathological liar”.Yes, it is
their job, but intrepid with such a vindictive administration backed by right
wing zealots who think nothing of attacking anyone who dares disagree, facts be
damned. Six journalists were arrested while covering protests, and
charged with felony rioting.
Millions of people marched, all over the country and all
over the world, while 10 states have proposed legislation criminalizing
These are the resistance.These are people who are risking their livelihoods and their safety to
speak up for what they believe in.Do
not squander their courage.
Now is not the time to give up.It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer
volume of reactionary changes in our government.Science and the press have been labeled our
enemies.The propaganda machine
justifies “alternate facts”.Press that
dares to report honestly is attacked, said to be left wing liars.If you ever are tempted to consider the Trump
administration credible, just remember the faux debate over the inauguration crowd.They repeatedly told us that the crowds were
huge, while we all stared dumbfounded at the photo evidence to the
There will be trolls who get on posts and attack.I’ve had someone threaten to use their right
to punch me in the face.Block
them.This is not discourse.Don’t waste your energy on these people.
Remember that not even 60% of the eligible voters went to
the polls, and Trump lost the popular election.Fewer than 30% of eligible voters supported him.And I’m pretty sure some of them are starting
to question their choice.Give them
quiet reasons to question.Check your
facts first, then ask a pointed question.Be polite.Try to draw from them
their reasoning. That alone may be
enough to get them to question themselves.
March, call your senators and representatives, speak up when
you hear racism or discrimination of any kind, be ready to support targets of bigotry,
run for local government, get involved in organizations like the ACLU, buy
subscriptions to mainstream news like the NYT, Washington Post and the Guardian
so they can afford to keep good journalists working, support NPR.Don’t whitewash your language.Lies in support of a political agenda are
propaganda.Euro-centric groups and the
alt-right are white supremacists.Social
conservatives are bigots.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself.Find a way to keep yourself grounded as this
is not a short term battle.Pace
yourself.Make a realistic schedule to
call a lawmaker every week, review and comment on political posts during certain
times of day, or only on Fridays.Join a
protest march each season.Whatever it
takes to fit your personal methods of resistance into your life without consuming
or exhausting yourself.
Remember the scientists, foreign service officers, prominent
Republicans, reporters, and others who are taking significant risks to fight
the Trump administration.Do not
squander their courage.They are
leaders.Help form the army that fights
for our constitution, our values, our country, and our planet.
It seems the right wing likes to cherry pick the science they believe the same way they cherry pick the Bible passages they believe. They use cell phones, cars, and doctors but don't believe in any science that might hurt their pocketbooks. Much the same as they yell about homosexuality and abortion, but it is infidelity that made God's top 10 list.
I love Jesus of Nazareth. I grew up in the church, a Presbyterian church. I sang in the choir, joined the youth group, attended the special classes for confirmation and was proudly confirmed. I remember our minister, Reverend Crawford. Mostly I remember the kindness and acceptance. Our church had one rule, the Golden Rule. The Christianity that I was taught was the humility, generosity, and tolerance that Jesus showed us every day of his life regardless of hardships. When our family moved to another town I found horses, and in typical teenage fashion I traded church for teenage activities. But I continued to be inspired by the life of Jesus, and continued to celebrate his birth and his death. While in college I once attended another Presbyterian church in Philadelphia. The minister spent his entire sermon condemning us for the sins we had surely committed, never encouraging us to go forward in kindness and generosity and peace. It was unfamiliar and unwelcome. I did not return. As I grew older I recognized that I don’t believe much of the Bible, or any other religious text. I am an atheist. This hardly precludes my love of Jesus, the humble carpenter who put love first. I believe in Jesus as an example of the wondrous potential in each of us. The man with the courage to speak the truth in the face of hypocrisy, to embrace the weak and the poor who could do nothing for him in return, to live his love despite the consequences. Unencumbered by various passages in the Old Testament, uncensored by organizations that may judge my actions by their own interpretation of faith, I am free to follow the Golden Rule, my conscience, and the example of Christ.
This Christmas season think not so much of the child, but of the man he became, a man who loved and aided his fellow man, no exceptions. Within each of us there is a capacity for kindness and tolerance and love. Open your heart to the world, breathe deeply of the humble love that Jesus showed us.
I was thinking of using my young dog Poe to put the sheep in the pen on town common for the living nativity. When I arrived with the trailer I realized that the pen was surrounded with caroling kings, robed shepherds, a few outside fires, and a veritable road map of votive candles. I decided to use Song, a seasoned veteran. Good thing. The replacement lambs came out of the trailer like wild deer straight for the woods, and once turned drove hard for Bethlehem, brightly robed pageant participants be damned. It took a sure partnership to settle them and gently guide them through the obstacle course into their waiting pen.