Cheaponomics

A top ten list of things that aren’t as cheap as you think.

#10 Bottled Water – Bottled water sounds like it should be cheaper – it’s 200 to 10,000 times more expensive than tap water. But in the US, the annual energy wasted on bottled water adds the equivalent to 100,000 cars on roads and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. And the price we pay for water doesn’t begin to address the longer term issues of global shortage for something that everyone needs to survive. Make a start: stop your local government from wasting your money on bottled water, as we did in San Francisco.

#9 Cellphones – We’ve all got them. The trouble is that one of the minerals inside our high tech toys – coltan – is bought very dear indeed. With around three quarters of the world’s reserves of coltan in the Democratic Republic of Congo, our demand for gadgets fuels bloody conflict and vast human suffering. The No Blood on My Cellphone campaign shows how we can stop it.

#8 Double cheeseburger – A value meal is a great way to eat if you’ve neither time nor money but this cheap food turns out to be ‘cheat food’. What if we had to pay the full environmental, labour and health costs of a burger? Some researchers think we’d end up paying over $200, and that doesn’t include the modern day slavery in our North American sandwiches.

#7 Fish fingers – The world’s oceans are being emptied. When I was a kid, our fish fingers were made of cod. Now the species is commercially extinct, and we’re within a generation of killing everything in the seas. Yet the price of fish is still just a few dollars a kilo.

#6 A Free Lunch – Rudyard Kipling came across the free lunch in the nineteenth century in San Francisco, where he “paid for a drink and got as much as you wanted to eat. For something less than a rupee a day a man can feed himself sumptuously in San Francisco, even though he be a bankrupt.” But the freebie ends up being a way to reel you in to consume more. And, yes, my own book is being sold this way too, with a free chapter and video . There’s no moral high-ground for me – I’m a moral low-ground sort of person. But that doesn’t stop me from encouraging folk to get the book from a library.

#5 Googling – Would it shock you to know that two Google searches produces the equivalent greenhouse gases of making a cup of tea. The London Telegraph reported this last year , and while Google denies it, it’s certainly true that global information technology is responsible for 2% of all greenhouse gases.

#4 Toxic waste – Larry Summers, President Obama’s chief economic adviser, was once a senior economist at the World Bank. When he was there, he wrote in a confidential but since widely cited memo that “Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]?” He argued that poor people valued a clean environment less than the rich, and so pollution should flow to them. And it has, with rich countries dumping their pollution on poor ones, undervaluing their lives and the damage it causes.

#3 Low income jobs. Part of the reason that food and energy are cheap is so that working peoples’ wage demands are kept in check. In Canada, average real wages have increased by just 1% in two decades – and in the US similar long term trends for working class people (and severe declines in the value of minimum wages.)
But around the world, minimum wages fall far below what families need to survive.

#2 Gas – The way we live to day depends on our not paying the full costs of fossil fuel – with thousands already dying and many billions being lost right now. While figures of $65 trillion a year for the real cost of fossil fuel are almost certainly wrong, with 300 million people affected, it’s already a disaster. We need to bring our governments to heel if we’re to leave a world worth living in to our children.

#1 Women’s work – The world wouldn’t turn without the work of raising children, and caring for family and community. But it’s the work that is most often and quite literally taken for granted. If the work that women did were to be paid, how much would it cost? Researchers put it at $11 trillion in 1995, or half the world’s total output. Movements demanding a basic income grant are laying the foundations for this new way of working and living. Valuing women’s work would, more than any other single thing, transform the way we think about our economy and society.

Update
Here are some other links from groups involved in coltan, toxic waste, and food. Feel free to suggest others in comments.

Another update
David Roberts at Grist has a fine response to this list. I omitted coal from the list simply because energy (coal, nuclear, natural gas, agrofuels,e tc) is hugely underpriced and the entire list might have been filled only with those examples, but David’s quite right to point out the real cost of coal. More here.

Yet another update
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44 Replies to “Cheaponomics”

  1. And a list of things that are not as valuable as their price tag would indicate: Medicines (certain types at least), Attorneys, Fund Managers, Taxes and the book Value for Nothing 🙂

  2. I painfully sat through Larry Summers being interviewed by Charlie Rose at Davos last week. This man is so in love with his own intellect, I don’t think he’s able to see too far beyond it.

  3. Could Raj Patel be the reincarnation of Lenin?
    Joking aside, social and economic ills seem too many to try and patch them up. Some new and radical system to exchange goods and services needs to be introduced (instead of free markets)and everything else will fall into place.

  4. Very good post. I do agree that the price of these items do not include the environmental impact, and I don’t think you will find anyone that disagrees with you, but the question is how to incorporate it into the final price? As of now, it’s nearly impossible without seriously screwing with the markets. My suggestions to our politicians is to keep inflation low and stable regardless of the economy. High and unstable inflation hurts lower and middle-income families the most.

  5. Stephen –

    Good points, but Raj Patel would argue, I believe — and I would agree with him if he did! — that something more fundamental is needed than managing the markets to control inflation. When the source of one’s sustenance is at the mercy of politicians or other so-called higher-ups managing markets, something is very wrong, indeed!

    Food sovereignty is about such power being in the hands of the people themselves. Food is not a commodity, it is a basic right — and we’ve gotten so far away from this commonsense notion that we’ve lost sight of it.

    Cheers!

  6. I am very much behind you in most of your “Cheaponomics” statements, but find your statement concerning “womens’ work” beyond offensive. Oh, yes, please, just pay me for my life of drudgery instead of requiring that husbands/companions and fathers share in this work. Instead,shouldn’t the suggestion be to eradicate this scourge of the women of this world, the out-dated patriarchal society that still thrives world-wide today, even in such “enlightened” countries as my own U.S.?

  7. You’re right, Victoria – I think we need a three part approach (and I learned this from Diane Elson, one of the feminist economists whose ideas shaped The Value of Nothing). When it comes to domestic labour, we need to Recognise, Redistribute and Reduce. Recognise means to appreciate that the labour is actually taking place, and is an ongoing subsidy to capitalism. There’s a bit of a debate around whether paying for domestic labour defeats the purpose – but that’s why I think something like a basic income grant is good – it severs the link between work and income, and moves us to a new way of thinking about how we earn and pay for things. The second part is Redistribute: domestic labour needs, actively, to be redistributed away from women so that it is equitably shared. And finally, the work needs to be reduced insofar as we can come up with ways and technologies for reducing the amount of work that has to be done in the first place. I’ll write about this more in the future, but I’ve got to go make breakfast for my family!

  8. And another thing… who will pay for the anti-depressants I will have to take now after reading of all this wrechedness?
    I always wanted to be a pessimist anyway and now I have a reason.

  9. Great article, important information. Another item that could be on the list is PAPER! We touch it all day long, often in disposable products that we use for just seconds, because its so “cheap.” We hardly think about it, its so routine and pervasive. If we did think about it, there’s so much opportunity to reduce our use.

    But how could it really be that “cheap?” Of course its not, the costs are externalized on future generations. Learn more at http://www.whatsinyourpaper.com.

    and thanks!

  10. There is a simple idea available ( http://www.fairtax.com ). It’s a sales tax to replace all income taxes in the U.S.
    There’s a prebate for expenses of the poor buying necessities.
    It is initially introduced as ‘revenue neutral’, at around 23%.
    I think it needs to be doubled to become a real Consumption Tax, and the prebate should be raised to become your “basic income grant”.
    Simple. We buy stuff, and that demands more government programs to protect our stuff and our demand for stuff.
    The failure mode is that people might stop buying stuff and start living locally and bartering to avoid paying the tax.
    Win, win.
    The immediate problem is that it is proposed mostly by Republicans and the Democrats can’t see the beauty of it through the simplicity.

  11. Check out the Hillside Farmers Cooperative:

    http://shareable.net/blog/the-hillside-farmers-cooperative

    It’s an inspiring model of common sense, or “commons sense”. “The idea for the Hillside Farmers Cooperative was born when Haslett-Marroquin realized that many people around Northfield were unable to find or afford healthy, local food at the same time as new immigrants lacked the financial means to capitalize on their experience as sustainable small farmers. Even some farm owners were frustrated that their only chance for staying in business was to subcontract with large agribusiness corporations that did not respect the land or the agrarian traditions that had been part of their families for generations.”

  12. hey ya’ll, you pay for what ya get, if you don’t need it then you don’t have to pay for it! Remember, ya can shop around or try to do it yourself!

  13. Fish is just a few dollars a kilo there. Increase the price of fish there and we will be left with no fish to eat in India. Everything caught here will be exported to the USA.

    When you increase prices for fish please also reform the currency rates to make one INR = one USD.

  14. Thank you for your work, Raj.
    I want to add the following to the bottled water issue:
    it is often said, that tap water contains residues from pharmaceuticals – which bottled water doesn’t. Have you got any information on this topic?

  15. In response to Tom – tap water contains chlorine to ensure that the water is still bacteria free by the time it comes out of your tap and into your glass. It might make the water taste a bit different but it’s not a health hazard.

    My question is I clicked on the link for the No Blood on My Cellphone campaign and found no usable information – and by that I mean what can I do? If I need to get a cellphone where do I get it? What company? Do we have options in the US to get an “ethical” phone?

  16. oh oops, I just realised what Tom asked was about pharmaceuticals and not chemicals, from what I know bottled water is just as likely to contain pharmaceuticals as tap water. The sources of the 2 are the same and I don’t think bottling facilities undertake any special removal processes.

  17. As long as tap water is being poisoned with fluoride, I will drink bottled water whenever I can afford it.

    Also, this whining and frearmongering over greenhouse gasses is ridiculous. Nobody believes in manmade climate change and those evil greenhouse gasses anymore.

  18. I understand that all these informations should have an alarming effect and should arouse consciousness of the responsibility that we all have for each other and for the nature which is entrusted to us.

    But I also see a depressing and overwhelming effect. (See also comment from Jeff, Feb 9.) It seems to be totally impossible to live on this planet without getting guilty about anyone (or anything). One finally gets the impression that one is already guilty by just existing. Anybody could always be accused of something. After all, what about all the things we unconsciously do wrong?

    A total change of global economy away from capitalism to a world of fair sharing sounds quite paradisiac. But even in the face of global crisis I can’t imagine this could be practically realisable in a worldwide way without lawful regularisations (which immediately would annihilate the paradisiac touch).

    I believe we need a total change of our hearts.
    In my experience, human hearts can be changed by nothing but Jesus Christ.
    (And that’s the good news: They really can be changed!)
    Nevertheless, we’ll rely on God’s mercy and forgiveness as long as we live on earth.

    (Speaking of it: Sorry for any language mistakes, I’m from Germany.)

  19. Interesting/scary information. Though, this applies primarily to the developed countries. In India, we have lack-of-employment generated poverty to worry about.

    It would be a good idea to mention the alternatives to these ‘cheap items’. What can they be substituted with?

    I read recently that the Hilsa fish in West Bengal is dying out, because the trawlers are catching both the adult as well as the young fish. The logic of profit-making coupled with an utter disregard for our environment is visible in this case. In fact, in a particular community, the fisher folk grind the leaves of a particular plant into past, which is then dissolved in the ponds and rivulets. This stupefies the fish and then they catch the adult ones. It certainly is time to ponder about our values/tradition/customs.

  20. I’m curious about this list and fascinated about your motivations, Raj. On the one hand, I find myself agreeing completely with your sense of where things have gone wrong and the fact that a lot of power has been subversively co-opted out of the people’s hands, but am somewhat orthogonal to what I see of your economic analysis, perhaps completely opposed.

    First, you talk of the existence of a “free market,” but I have not seen any example of such a thing in history lasting except in some basic ideal, what we have now is a combined form of Mercantilism, Corporatism and Protectionism on a global scale. Third world countries have been caught in loans they cannot repay and were consulted by rich Western organizations in useless ways (there are examples of steel refineries, with no access to the metal/ore required), and forced by organizations like the IMF into accepting de-stabilizing practices.

    You are apparently fiercely anti-statist and anti-corporatist, and I laude this aspect of your writings. However, I simply do not see you with viable solutions (I will be reading more of your work, perhaps I have not had enough exposure yet). Would you oppose any sort of capitalism out of some principle? On the most basic level, capitalism is purely the exchange of goods with some kind of manageable intermediary, or capital (historically this has been gold)– frankly, I draw parallels with your basic views and those of Ghandi, who was basically an early form of anarcho-capitalist (he speaks of the neutral nature of capital itself). Capital ought to be anything which holds value to a people, and not be restricted and artificially bloated, like in today’s world.

    You speak of the third-world poor not being able to afford food and so becoming starved, but they cannot afford food simply because they are not allowed the means of production (farming or otherwise) — this is in fact a property rights issue. I believe that property rights are simply one of the most difficult to resolve, and are similarly difficult in Nature.

    Anyway — your anti-statist, humanistic principles would appear to be tied to the natural rights a human grows into. To me, this seems directly in conflict with your desire to redistribute and parcel out labor. How would you approach redistribution without a state? The only way you could do this without violating human freedom would be through voluntary exchange. What any system ever comes down to is the consent of the people based on their consciousness and awareness of themselves and the world around them, and to this end I believe your approach and teaching of value is extremely important.

    From the connotations of what you’ve written about, my greatest worry is that you will over-emphasize differences and over-compensate inequality.

  21. what bullshit realy
    #5 Googling – Would it shock you to know that two Google searches produces the equivalent greenhouse gases of making a cup of tea. The London Telegraph reported this last year , and while Google denies it, it’s certainly true that global information technology is responsible for 2% of all greenhouse gases.
    plz why dont u look at the Un or theses giant Corporation that on a daily bases Transfer masssive Amounts of data from one server to another, which dont forget there are Rooms Full of mainframes!!!!

    and all the ppl over at the World Bank can GO SUCK MY DICK same with the UN and all Your interconnected Governments.

    Nice to live the High Life well millions live in the dirt.

    EG Foreign Aid Money Spent on $23 Million Art Ceiling at U.N. Human Rights Council
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,454191,00.html

    International Marxism-Socialism Is a live and well and Nepotism follows suit right behind.

    and also raj how many Trees went in to your Book?
    😉

  22. Micheal

    I wouldn’t really know Raj’s stance on a viable alternative. However, I think his real stance is on questioning. There is no doubt that something has and is wrong with the current way society functions. It’s just unsustainable on so many levels.

    Also, I know of one viable alternative that is non oligarchic, non political system of government which uses energy accounting instead of money. It is secular and humanitarian. That is the Technate design of North America located in the Technocracy Study Course

    http://www.archive.org/details/TechnocracyStudyCourseUnabridged

    If you want a brief overview then you can check out this site.

    http://technatedesign-tnat.blogspot.com/

    The ideas represented above had its movement in the 30’s and actually influenced many “progressives” in the FDR administration. There were 18 Technocrats who served in his cabinet. Also, the early FEMA system was created as transition to a technate in the event of a price system collapse. The history of this movement is astounding. I wish more people knew about this. Go ahead, research and criticize, this movement has lasted since the 30’s.

  23. Jason — you are suggesting a highly Statist form of government, essentially a socialist system with a specially designated ruling class. This is great for people who believe that most people deserve to be ruled by academics who know better — I tend to believe no one needs to be ruled by such an authority, for the simple fact that it’s degrading and insulting to the natural intelligence and ability we are born with.

    What I do find interesting in this system is the exchange rate being tied to the energy units… but the units themselves are not a useful measure of value because they don’t take any idea of the scarcity of material into consideration, and you are faced with a value meltdown if too much of one material is desired. Reading the overview of the argument against money, it’s apparent that it’s talking about currency, and is against both artificial and natural increase of value.

    It’s important to have a solid system of value in place, and the technocracy you describe is not based with this foundation. It makes many claims which it soon afterward contradicts.

    Excerpt: “The design of the Technate precludes any and all contract by and between individuals, groups, party`s, organizations or persons.

    The ONLY contract that can exist that is valid, thus enforceable, in the Technate for North America, is that contract which is made between the various governments of the world and the Sequence responsible in the North American Technate.

    These contracts will exist to facilitate exchanges of raw natural materials for raw natural materials required by the Technate to operate as designed.”

    Seriously, you cannot claim freedom or humanistic intention and bog it down with such utter slavery. It is ironic that the Technate is implied to be free of opinion, it is based in psuedoscience and is itself an opinion. Not only that, but it encourages all people to live in isolation.

  24. Micheal

    It’s strange how you became an instant expert within a few hours. Did you even read the T.S.C? The Technate design is in the last two chapters.

    Ruling class? A class system depends on money for people to have their identity and place in it.
    Technocracy is not remotely like that. It is uses a meritocracy system of administration that is not political. It has no connection with Communism, Socialism, or Capitalism.

    So, it’s an administration of science which uses thermo-economics and sustainability as a metric. Energy is measurable. And is very important in understanding the survival of any biological system. Energy Accounting as formated by Technocracy Inc. is our only way out of the price system.

    Not sure what you mean by pseudoscience, so far, the laws of thermodynamics are still heavily regarded in the science community.

    “It doesn’t take any idea of the scarcity of material into consideration”

    That’s funny. If it did take that into account, you’d be creating another price system that relies on beliefs and defies the basic laws of thermodynamics.

    With our high technology, we are vulnerable for a price system collapse. Here a link to M. King Hubberts work on that subject.

    http://mkinghubbert-technocracy.blogspot.com/

    My suggestion to you is to read the T.S.C. and take some time to think about it. You might change your mind.

  25. Jason — I see the allure of this system, but its absurd to say it has no connection with communism, socialism or capitalism (it may not have direct historical connection, but the definitions of these terms in a political context are definitely applicable). Have you read “The Giver” ? It’s practically describing this political structure.

    I read the article on money, and I read most of the last two chapters.

    First, it seems that currency and economics are being interpreted as fiat currency controlled by a central bank (what they are arguing against). If money was tied to something people want or need, without law on what it must be, there would be no inconsistency. It is only when money is up to some central authority that it can become bloated and controlled. When certain native North American tribes partially traded with various beads, did they suffer from massive inflation and economic stagnation? No — and the principle applies no matter the technological advancement of a society. We are not defined by our technology, but our opinions and interpretations of principle may be.

    Second, you can’t get around the scarcity of material – the author of the blogspot link says as much, but doesn’t apply it to the political structure. Within the technocratic society, it appears that you cannot have an “object of value,” perhaps being applied to anything purely for leisure (it’s left kind of vague)? The focus of their system is that people ought not have more than they consume, which is totally in keeping with not allowing anything value.

    Third, there is a central authority within the technocratic system, and a very strict social hierarchy based on some idea of merit (how to determine the merit is subjective, and explicitly put in the hands of the “most knowledgeable” of their craft). This is something full of opinion, as people vary in their judgments and perceptions.

    Fourth, there is the existence of a standing army and a large group of peace-keeping armed police. I cannot support a system which explicitly rules by force.

    Fifth, there is the explicit existence of nations with the supposedly limited scope of providing materials and making deals relating to material. Material will run out eventually if treated like something to tear out of the Earth to transport elsewhere for a single use (text is explicit as to the limited-use of material)

    Jason — I admit that technocracy has a few important points on the theory of trade and value, but it also has crippling disadvantages especially in being able to make one’s own choices, and in having the ability to act outside, or opt out of a collectivist state.

  26. Yes, I have read The Giver. Great Book.

    No, the Technate design is NOT a political system and not linked in any way to the books imaginary social structure. Also, it is not ‘applicable’ to link non distinct terms to this idea as you did with Communism. It is a meritocracy that relies on non market economic system(energy accounting), which is not money, but a resource based way to keep track of what people want, and what is available. Everything is free as a right of citizenship.

    Your first point is very flawed. Inflation and stagnation have occurred in all price systems. Even if they use beads or shells. “A price system is any economic system that effects its distribution of goods and services with prices and employing any form of money or debt tokens. Except for possible remote and primitive communities, all societies use price systems to allocate resources.” You wouldn’t happen to be a libertarian conservative?

    Point 2: Well, you can get around the scarcity of materials…through technology. The price system relies on scarcity for the purpose of profits. Water is probably a prime example. You don’t see companies running left and right to produce clean available water all across the world? No, cause it’s not profitable. Technocracy Inc. actually laid out plans for a Continental Hydrology and electric grid in the 40’s. That wouldn’t turn out to well for businesses. So, it was never adopted. Now there is a water crisis looming in the not to distant future.

    Point 3: It is not a social hierarchy. Everyone has an equal share in the available energy that can be consumed in the Technate. The administration is a hierarchy. That is why there is a vote among their peers and are appointed from above. It is based on competence. It works very well in business, and many organizations. Subjective? Maybe, but PROVEN affective. Which is what science is about.

    Point 4: The army is completely separated from the peace officers in a Technate. They are not armed and trained in psychology to deal with disputes. There is much information at the Technocracy Inc. site, which is only a research and educational organization. However, they are in the process of creating a new web page.

    Your conclusion is nothing more than false opinions and shows your ignorance on the subject. The individual can choose to volunteer his or her services whenever, wherever they so choose. They can also decide to leave if they so please. Like I said, this idea is humanitarian, secular, and non oligarchic. We are not into Fascism either. We want what all people want… freedom of belief and freedom from belief. Which is what the Technate design offers.

  27. Okay, but what you just described is quite different from the design specifications and documents you linked me to (in talking to you and reading what you’ve linked me to, I have noticed a sharp disconnect). There is no need to get angry with me — I have tried to specify my issues with the Technocracy as I have seen it documented.

    So long as the Technate is voluntary on an individual basis, I have no issue with it.

    Also, as to your point with water — I don’t think that’s quite accurate. There has been a massive entrepreneurial trend in recent years toward being able to produce clean water in third world countries. I have seen so many kinds of hand-powered urine-purification pumps, bicycle-powered filtration systems — even a barrel which purifies water as it is rolled. An interesting invention I saw recently and which is in active production is a kind of paper bag to excrete in — once used, it can be buried and is formulated to ease decomposition into fertilizer. It’s true that most corporations do not innovate, but such corporations would not exist without forceful interference and lobbying.

    I trust in human innovation, and the human will to grow. The value of money is more as a language than anything else. To me, your reliance on energy units sounds analogous to everyone using Lojban for its objective superiority over other languages — perhaps useful, but I think it’s unnecessary for the intended purposes. I can definitely see a place for energy units in society, but do not see the principle involved with their necessity — it seems redundant. Regardless, there is a certain allure to tying trade to something supposedly a priori.

  28. You not understanding is the perceived disconnect. What I’ve been saying is subscribed by all Technocrats.

    The value of money is based on scarcity. There is no other mambo jumbo involved. It is not a language, it’s medium of exchange. The nature of the price system is inherently flawed. With our high technology we are very vulnerable in any number of ways for price system to fail. Which is well covered in the T.S.C. and other places as well. There is a very bleak future if we stick with it. I don’t see language threatening our social order.

    Energy units are not money. It is an entirely different concept. Not authoritarian, political, or otherwise. Energy accounting is what it is…an accounting system. How is it redundant? I don’t see money doing this. What I see is a class system dependent on growth of debt and resources. Creating inefficiency and planned obsolescence in many aspects, some of which Raj points out. It’s alluring because it is a viable solution.

    Don’t worry, I’m not angry, no problem here.

  29. The solution to problems Patel identifies includes getting commercial entities de-recognized as holders of the same rights as human individuals.

    Agencies with no feelings and ethics cannot be allowed the same rights as people. We must start curtailing the rights of corporations to sue, to enjoy free speech etc and restrict these only to agents with feelings and ethics.

  30. I’ve been thinking about this issue and reflected on the technocratic documents you’ve provided… and realized that the energy units simply cannot be considered anything but a highly-restricted form of currency — you receive items made by others based on your energy units. This is a medium of exchange by definition! That is all money needs to be (and in a metaphysical sense, it can certainly be considered analogous to language — language is a medium of exchange).

    In order for this system to work, it needs to take into account the utility provided by price signals, and a solution for the economic calculation problem. The largest issue with the centrally-planned Technate is distribution of available resources versus the needs of those resources, as well as the allocation of capital goods and a social aspect of what is desired versus what is actually needed. Whenever I mention resources, you claim that technology will solve this problem because that’s it’s purpose and the modern world is different in this respect — not a very convincing argument.

    Again, the core argument of all the anti-capitalism Technate writing you’ve linked me to is against a regulated, central-bank managed market where banks get special interest, and the market prices do not reflect reality. I will agree that the system is f*ed up and unsustainable, but it is not a flaw of using capital (and maintain that energy units are a highly regulated, centrally-distributed capital) — it is a flaw of a centrally-managed economy. The great strength of modern technology is in bringing a heightened consciousness and awareness to people of their world and themselves — this does not need to be overemphasized.

    Please, consider the differences between a free market in the modern world, and a corporatist, bank-centered market.

  31. Yes I have, unfortunately you’re missing the point.

    Here it is again. The price system is anything that employs any form of commodity valuation, or debt tokens. Technocracy Technate is against Austrian economics, Gold standards, central-bank managed, etc. The flaw is the Price System. It’s basic characteristics make it unmanageable in a high technological society. I do not want to argue this, it is well known the imbalance socially and physically the price system afflicts. Understand?

    http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dfx7rfr2_70cmz88f

    The energy accounting system is a medium of distribution. It is not in any way part of a price system. The energy units are non negotiable and are canceled at the end of the balance load period if not spent. It is only an account of what CAN be consumed by the citizens. If something like a toaster oven was not consumed, then it(energy cost) would be transfered to the next balance load period. You obviously have a hard time understanding this. I would suggest you read the entire T.S.C., that’s its purpose anyway.

  32. It has become a pattern that when I try to argue with you in terms of reason and in terms of principle you send me the same or similar links and suggest that I just don’t understand. I have read them. I understand what the documents say (I have no interest in reading the entire TSC, but I did read the design chapters on the Technate Design you provided to me). I will not just accept what they say as truth, especially when I see glaring holes in the system. So please — stop being condescending.

    I have fundamental objections to the system and have voiced them repeatedly with no answer other than a link to something else. If you do intend to reason with me — I need you to engage in a conversation about the principles themselves and show me how the Technate can work (yes, it’s annoying to have to explain them yourself but I can’t get both the ideas and their context from the same sort of literature).

    PS, how would the Technate resolve the economic calculation problem?

  33. You still betray your general ignorance with the question and assertions you post here. You claim to see ‘glaring holes’, yet have no interest in researching this yourself, or explaining those holes? Why do you think they wrote the T.S.C.? I can’t argue for something that you don’t want to understand. You seem only interested in what you already know and post thesis on subjects you don’t. That doesn’t seem very creative, does it?

    As far as truth goes, what is proposed and concluded is supported by facts which is published in the T.S.C. which can’t be said about Austrian economics, or other belief systems. The price system is a throwback idea for a low energy conversion society. It no longer functions adequately in todays modern world, which is acknowledged by many well known economist and educators. Look up Thermo-economics for starters. Choose not to believe it, I don’t care, facts are facts.

    What you think about Technocracy Technate, I can’t say much, you are entitled to your opinion. I would caution you to take the time to research and understand the subject before glancing and naming it pseudoscience, among other things, which you have done.

    Technocracy Technate uses a science administration as the decision making process along with Energy Accounting as the distributive method. It uses knowledge from all fields to determine what is the most efficient and sustainable use of materials. Hence, the organizational structure proposed in the Study Course can only work well with energy accounting. Energy and resources can be measured. Money cannot. Understand how the question is irrelevant?

  34. In reference to bottled water, what about the issue of flouridated water? I’m still trying to decide whether there is a negative long term effect on ones health because of flouridation. Could this subject be a clever marketing ploy for bottled water and expensive filters? Difficult to say, maybe someone could enlighten me on this? Read the first chapter of ‘The value of nothing’ online and went an bought a copy that day!

  35. The largest issue with the centrally-planned Technate is distribution of available resources versus the needs of those resources, as well as the allocation of capital goods and a social aspect of what is desired versus what is actually needed. Whenever I mention resources, you claim that technology will solve this problem because that’s it’s purpose and the modern world is different in this respect — not a very convincing argument.

  36. “Women’s Work” WTF??? SO TOTALLY SEXIST! This entry really pissed me off. What decade is the author from?

  37. Re the daily telegraph google search thing – I thought about it and then asked my resident geek who said ….

    it’s too simplistic a way of looking at the world to warrant looking at such a statistic on an individual basis.

    Google are better at power management than we are with our desktop machines.

    What would we otherwise have done to get the information we searched for, taken a bus to the library? bought Encyclopaedia Brittanica every year?

  38. Well, some very high brow type coments, I may be well out of my league but I will weigh in anyway. Labour, MOM’S I read some where once the Anual Cost To Pay For The Services A Mother Provides Aproximates To $65,000 Per Year (Can) If you consider what is done on a daily basis by a mom, Consueler, Nurse, Coach, Teacher, Cook, House Keeper, Cabbie,ETC ETC ETC. No Small Feat! And Yet It Is So Often Overlooked. So Take A Minute After Reading My Post And Berating Me For A Sap, Then Phone YOUR MOTHER and tell HER “Thank’s MOM I Love You”

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