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Thursday, November 17, 2016

allowing the collapse 1 of 2


THE INEVITABILITY OF ALLOWING THE COLLAPSE TO PRECEDE

Reading someone or other yesterday I came across a single, sarcastic throw-away line having to do with the entire electrical industry allowing the inevitable collapse through deferred maintenance.  These comments always tend to elude to the gross inexcusable greed of businessmen and almost suggest that better leadership and just a smidge more money would solve this problem lickity split with little fuss or muss.  Of course, this explanation ( or, suggested explanation as little is blatantly explained ) leaves a bit a be desired.  Granted, the whole thing could have been mere sarcasm with little intended meaning other than cynicism or even humor.  But I can’t just leave things be, when I can take a simple occurrence and blow it all out of proportion.  Therefore, we shall discuss all that is wrong with both capitalist and fascist viewpoints and then precede to dissect the inevitability of allowing the collapse to precede.  And not only is there no choice but to allow infrastructure to degrade, it is of course picking up speed, AND has plenty of company.

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I used to be a capitalist shrill.  Our economic system could do no wrong.  I studied economics extensively in the ’80’s and in the ’90’s had little reason to doubt my Austrian Economics worldview.  I distinctly remember ( amidst a time I’ve blocked out most memories due both to years long sleep deprivation, the trauma of losing my children and from being flung into the working poor pool from the relatively lofty heights of middle class ) my monthly extravagance of getting a copy of Forbes magazine ( Fortune was too generic for me-and the last time I could barely afford a subscription to The Economist was nearly ten years prior ) and sitting in a coffee shop reading it and eating the midnight special price breakfast ( eating, with tip, and the magazine all under $7 if I recall correctly ).  I had just walked to the brand new Wal-Mart Super-Center to buy my $10 worth of weekly groceries.  What a great time to be poor!  Sure, I was in the process of divorcing, most of my $25k a year job ( this was early ‘90’s, and a very decent wage ) going to support the soon to be ex living elsewhere with the kids, with only a few hundred a month for my own budget, but everything was so affordable.  I did like most undereducated folks do and attributed it to our political/economic system rather than our control of the energy supply. 

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And once I discovered the role in surplus energy in an economy, I sure as heck wasn’t all that in love with capitalism any more.  Granted, you can live under worse and I’m well aware of that.  But after Enron and the Tech Wreck and American gun companies pushing for weapons bans to sell their own low quality crap at higher prices, plus much more, I still accept our system as better than some but I’m no longer a blind follower as I was twenty years ago.  I grudgingly accept the illusion of a free market knowing full well our system is fascist as big corporations are playing footsy with government for the mutual benefit of both.  So I tend to look at both views, wanting capitalism to work but knowing our current practicing one is deeply flawed.  What I’m getting at is that I look a little deeper than just “free market” greed at fault, or for that matter falling for the myth that less government is only good.  I can see both sides, both for more and for less intervention.  Actually what we have is the worst of both worlds, just like in medicine.

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In health care, you can do almost as well with 100% public funded health care or with 100% fully free market health care.  With a public system, you have almost no cost doctor education so salaries can reflect that and close to no cost drugs ( public university sourced ).  With a free market system you can get costs lowered with competition and no regulation.  So what does America do?  The inefficiency of government regulation with the high cost of monopoly education and a crippling tort disincentive.  We didn’t stick to the relative low cost on either end but met in the middle with no benefit to any except those that have gamed the system.  Part of the Casino Economy which has distorted so much of our economy to benefit the bankers and their whores.  Our whole system is comprised of no competition due to government regulation which cripples small business ( the exact entity you need to stay competitive ). 

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So, when it is artfully suggested that greed is at the heart of infrastructure neglect, I have a hard time believing that.  Yes, corporates are insanely greedy bastards.  The CEO gets a $100 million bonus for laying off 25% of the workforce, for instance, or banks too big to fail pay their workers millions in bonuses taken from government bailout money.  But almost all of our infrastructure in this country isn’t even private corporations given a monopoly like the electrical grid.  Most are straight up government owned ( roads and bridges and sewers and water ).  And ALL our infrastructure is falling, not just the electric grid ( although, yes, greed does make things worse and they should be the first to fail due to both that and the higher danger from hacking into the control system ).  Greed never helps, certainly.  Government inefficiency and stupidity ( although that is just as relevant with private companies ) doesn’t help.  There is even public servant greed but is no where near the unbridled avarice of the private leaders.

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But who wants the very structure that makes them money to fail?  Both government job security and private company profits derive from using infrastructure ( as we’ve talked about before, most private companies believe in freebies from the government to increase their profits.  The Navy protecting Exxon-Mobil’s oil shipping routes, free land and funding for the railroads, free college to educate the workforce, etc. ).  Why “allow” that to fail?  It makes little sense that this would be voluntary.  More tomorrow.

END 

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8 comments:

  1. Yep, if they could afford to fix the infrastructure they would do so, if only a token amount at a time, or just enough to maintain (most of) the infrastructure and status quo . But they clearly cant afford to do that. Not for lack of money. They can print that quicker than it can suffer inflation. But for lack of resources. Stone steel glass can be recycled and rebuilt, but energy -once used- is gone forever...

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    1. Public spending would be a great '30's style stimulas. But it actually has to create things and jobs. At 2 million a mile for asphalt, I guess there is no hope for more involved infrastructure. And people say "$2million" like it is the most natural thing in the world.

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    2. "Money" isn't enough. The money has to purchase energy (man hours, machine hours, etc.) And if they start spending money on that the cost of energy will increase too much to offset the advantage of printing the money for infrastructure in the first place. And of course over the past 30+ years it takes more energy to get stuff built because we have put so many layers of regulation and bureaucracy over every step - when it takes 6 months to get all the red tape done to be able to make one small change to the infrastructure. Money as you seem to be using it seems to me to be a synonymy for energy when in fact it is a (usually closely) related thing that can be traded in energy's stead.

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    3. True, money is always the default prism, with energy almost never getting its due.

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  2. The Dingo that ate your BabyNovember 17, 2016 at 6:34 PM

    In my neck of the woods (not US) the state government took the money that the state owned power network made and used it to fund other government functions (largesse's) instead of reinvesting that money back into the network ensuring it ran.

    After a number of years doing this the network all of a sudden needed a lot of work.

    Now prices are through the roof.

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    Replies
    1. Its reassuring that it isn't only the US that has their head up their ass.

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  3. You been reading the unibombers manifest, Jimbo?

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    Replies
    1. I never actual read that, as interesting as it seems.

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