[ExI] External costs (was Re: are all cultures equivalent?)

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun Apr 19 21:24:55 UTC 2009

On Sun, Apr 19, 2009 at 5:19 AM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

> Obviously the ruthless selfish strip-mining owners out for a quick
> profit are not seeking agreement from future generations. Nor do they
> strive to maximize utility over the whole set of present and future
> entities (but that's their right because they own the land).
> Since the destructive owners impose enormous recovery costs on us
> after they move on, they are an insufferable, immoral  imposition and
> a nest of minions of Belial himself. 'Nuff said.

### Obviously, since they own the lake, they do not impose any
restoration costs on anybody but themselves, should they change their
minds and want to reverse their actions. But why should anybody want
to restore a radioactive waste dump? A dump is more useful as a dump,
isn't it?

Since as I assume you read my previous post, you also realize that by
striving to maximize their long-term profit, owners implicitly include
future generations in their economic calculation, as I wrote, to a
much higher extent than the EPA, who care only about preserving their
power over us. Waste-dumping lake owners are not minions of Belial
(who is the lord of Earth demons, not water demons), they are servants
of Mammon, and thus very respectable folks.

I note that this discussion may have triggered your sacredness
detector. You feel that the purity of an idyllic lake was breached, a
sin that cannot be outweighed by mere money counting. I took some of
Haidt's tests, and it looks like this particular pillar of morality is
almost entirely absent from my mind. A lake, even a beautiful one, is
not sacred - only human desires are (sort of). Analyzing our desires
(such as the desire to argue here using computers that use electricity
that is made in power plants that cause some damage to lakes) is the
bedrock of my approach. It's fine to turn a lake into a grotesque
inferno glowing with Cherenkov radiation, if needed to support your
internet pastime, Bill.

But of course, in a real market economy the most beautiful lakes would
be the least likely to be turned into dumps, since you can get more
money by renting a beautiful lake to tourists.


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