Re: [OPE-L] transition measures

From: clyder@GN.APC.ORG
Date: Mon Dec 04 2006 - 16:23:46 EST

Quoting ehrbar <ehrbar@LISTS.ECON.UTAH.EDU>:

> Paul,
> I would turn the argumentation around, put your point 3 as point 1, as
> follows:

Thanks for the suggestion, that may be the right way to do it.
> Your tradable voucher system is one element of this switch.
> Another element must be to remove all the subsidies to the
> environmentally damaging practices which are in place now.  You do
> have to advocate an increase of taxes on gasoline until a gallon of
> gas is about $15, which is in the ballpark of the real cost of
> gasoline.  These taxes should be phased in over time, just like the
> the national target for carbon emissions must be phased in over time.
> The tax revenues must be used for building or subsidizing energy
> efficient buildings, windmills, mass transportation, a bicyle path
> network which is intersection-free with streets for cars but uses
> bridges and tunnels, etc.

I am not convinced by this as it stands. I am leery of using taxes
for this for two reasons:

1) The level of taxes required to produce a 30% cut in carbon emissions is
   unknown, whereas with rationing you have precise control over the
   amount of carbon emited. One only needs to post customs inspectors
   at the exit gates of a half a dozen refineries and 20 coal mines
   to ensure nothing leaves the site without a surrender of ration tokens.

2) Taxes on fuel have a regressive effect on income. Vouchers achieve
   the same control without the regressive income effect. A secondary
   market will develop for the vouchers in which people with cars,
   unable to meet current petrol consumption will try to buy them
   from people who have no cars. Since the people with no cars are
   poorer, the net effect is a distribution of income towards the
   poorer at the same time as carbon emissions are being cut.

   Note that if airlines are to buy fuel, they will need ration tokens
   which they will have to buy from ordinary citizens. This will raise
   the price of flights, or they will have to ask travelers to give
   up some of their carbon tokens for every flight they make.

> A third element must then be phasing in an increasing minimum wage, in
> order to enable the working population to make the adjustments and
> bear the sacrifices necessary to make the switch to a localized
> low-carbon economy.  Perhaps the minimum wage must be gradually raised
> to about 75 percent of the value created by hour.  If you are
> unemployed, you should be able to earn a living wage just by going to
> school and retraining yourself for the different demands of tomorrow.
> Also the workday must be shortened, everything above 6 hours a day
> will get time and half overtime pay, and people should have the option
> to work only 6 hours if they wish.

But the suggested demand 1 is not for a minimum wage but for
the full value created by labour. Why make a demand for 75% of the value
created by labour not 100% ?

> Fourth, all businesses which go bankrupt in this process will be
> nationalized and will be integrated into a socialist network which
> uses your computerized means to allocate resources.

Not necesarilly nationalised immediately, could be put under worker
management and provided with credit by a state bank.

> Fifth, a confiscatory estate tax for all estates over 2 million pounds.
> Reason: if we don't do something now, then there will be no future
> generations.

This would be particularly relevant in addressing the question of
the aristocracy. They would survive the cancelation of debt with
their power intact, but I am only on the economics committee. Many of
the issues you address are being discussed by other groups.

> Just brainstorming,
> Hans.

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