Patterico's Pontifications


The First Mistake Regulators Make…

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:49 am

…is to forget that those they regulate might either flee the jurisdiction or change their behavior so they are no longer under their regulation.  Its really amazing that liberals don’t get it, because conservatives tell them all the time.  All those signs asking “Who’s John Galt?” was our hint and yet this still seems to be missed.

[This is a guest post by Aaron Worthing]

John Galt represents the ultimate version of that ideal, a man who organizes a strike to tear down a collectivist system.  Of course in practice it is more likely to be expressed in people not withdrawing entirely but only partially.  Of industries refusing to deal with high risk areas (see, e.g., here and here).  And of course of businesses never coming into a jurisdiction in the first place, rather than business that is already there fleeing.

A case of this principle in operation is found in  the European Union and its carbon footprint.  For years environmentalists have lamented that we failed to join the Kyoto Protocol (often falsely attributing that failure to George W. Bush, too).  Oh, if only we could have been as enlightened as Europe…

Well, except that they were not so enlightened.  Walter Russell Mead explains that

while the EU’s emission of CO2 declined by 17% between 1990 and 2010, this apparent progress was bogus.  If you add up the CO2 released by the goods and services Europeans consumed, as opposed to the CO2 thrown off by the goods and services they produced, the EU was responsible for 40% more CO2 in 2010 than in 1990. The EU, as the Guardian puts it, has been outsourcing pollution — and jobs — rather than cutting back on greenhouse gasses.

It’s an interesting piece and I suggest you read the whole thing, but in short what they did was they squeezed emissions in the European Union so low, that the producers and the jobs went to other countries.  Meanwhile, in their smug self-satisfaction they more than doubled their carbon footprint.  And bear in mind that unlike America, Europe’s population is in decline.  It should have been easy to keep their emissions level.

And with respect to Patterico, in my mind that is the best argument for laws like Proposition 23 in California.  The basic idea of the law is that most, if not all, of California’s onerous environmental regulations would be repealed until their unemployment reaches 5.5% for a year.  Really, as a general proposition, it is absolutely insane for California to be doing this to itself.  I mean even if you believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming (and I feel there isn’t nearly enough proof of it to justify giving up prosperity or freedom for it), doing it in one state is just insanity.  The factories, the jobs, etc. will just go elsewhere.  It’s as simple as that.

Of course as a Virginian, those jobs might go to my state so… um, please California, vote “no” on Proposition 23 and keep sending us your jobs!  /sarcasm

So if anything a global approach would make the most sense—again, if you bought into this claptrap in the first place.  And no, not one where certain nations are held to one standard, while others are held to another.  Otherwise, you just get a clusterfrak similar to what Mr. Mead just told us about.  But doing it in one state, and one state only, in the middle of an economic downturn, is just insanity.

Also, let me note to commenters that if you are going to discuss the merits of AGW as a theory, please discuss it in Patterico’s original Proposition 23 thread.  It’s not that I am opposed to discussing it, but Patterico is trying to create one big thread where all the information is hashed out in a sort of open source way, and if you have something to say that wasn’t already said there, he would probably appreciate it all in one place.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

8 Responses to “The First Mistake Regulators Make…”

  1. I should point out that the correct term is Anthroprogenic not Antropromorphic

    Definitions of anthropogenic (adj)
    an·thro·po·gen·ic [ ànthrəpə jénnik ]

    1. caused by humans: relating to or resulting from the influence that humans have on the natural world
    2. relating to origin of humankind: relating to the origin and development of human beings

    an·thro·po·mor·phism [ ànthrəpə máwr fìzzəm ]


    attribution of human characteristics to nonhumans: the attribution of a human form, human characteristics, or human behavior to nonhuman things, e.g. deities in mythology and animals in children’s stories

    # Having the form of a man
    # (of inanimate objects, animals, or other non-human entities) given human attributes

    Sabba Hillel (dd522e)

  2. sorry for the disappearing post. i am not sure why it appeared and then disappeared, but its fixed.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  3. You are describing one of the great benefits of decentralized government. A strong federal government is more difficult to avoid than the governments of fifty diverse states. Not every state government is run by lunatics.

    Bar Sinister (a148e1)

  4. Case in point: Texas

    … More than half of the net new jobs in the U.S. during the past 12 months were created in the Lone Star State.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 214,000 net new jobs were created in the United States from August 2009 to August 2010. Texas created 119,000 jobs during the same period.

    LarryD (f22286)

  5. About escaping regulation, a novel one appeared on FARK yesterday.

    The EU already bans incandescent light bulbs (we are supposed to follow suit in 2012). So… enterprising people had some made (in China, alas) – then imported and sold them as “mini-heaters” for homes.

    John A (56ba4c)

  6. California is an exceptional state as the song said “it never rains in “and budgets can be balanced with iou’s ,and rectums are sex organs.

    DUNCE (b89258)

  7. Big-government types have real trouble wrapping their minds around the concept of capital flight.

    Tully (62151d)

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