The idea that we are entering an era of techno-feudalism that will be worse than capitalism is chilling and controversial. We asked former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to elucidate this idea, explain how we got here, and map out some alternatives.

  • @CookieOfFortune
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    93 months ago

    I’d like to think most democracies would enact some socialist policies if there was less money involved in politics… but I’m not sure what the best way to prevent that is.

    You can craft laws but the legal system is also profit driven. And you’d need some way to either prevent corruption or get the motivations to line up correctly. But I can’t think of any practical solutions that also align with freedoms.

    • @[email protected]
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      fedilink
      93 months ago

      My perspective is that the larger the organization is, the more likely it’ll get a carve-out in the law. The more complex the law, the more carve-outs special interests get.

      So making more laws isn’t the solution here, we should be striving to make simpler laws. For example, instead of a complex system of carbon emissions standards for vehicles based on type, just charge a carbon tax that approximates the cost of removing that carbon. The former gave us massive SUVs because they’re regulated as light trucks instead of passenger cars (so they have lighter regulations), the latter would encourage higher efficiency without a slew of regulations.

      get the motivations to line up correctly

      That’s the preferred solution imo.

      But I can’t think of any practical solutions that also align with freedoms.

      A lot of leftists look at government as the hammer to solve problems. Sometimes that’s the right approach, but often it’s not.

      What seems to work consistently is to make bad things expensive/criminal. If people die due to negligence (e.g. irresponsible cost cutting), put anyone involved in jail. If the payoff is higher than the penalty for bad behavior, increase the penalty.

      • @CookieOfFortune
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        13 months ago

        Yeah it would be nice if we could simplify instead of add a bunch of special cases.

        However it’s easier said than done. In your example for carbon tax, how do you determine the cost of removing carbon? Does creating a new solar/wind power plant count? Does increasing efficiency in an existing home count? What’s the difference between that and just paying for carbon capture? This is what the carbon offset economy was supposed to be about but it’s ultimately difficult to implement correctly and inherently full of complexities. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try, but it’s really hard to simplify some things.

        I think there’s evidence to show that even though punishments may be heavy, if the chance of getting caught is low people will still do it. So that means you’d need to increase surveillance and enforcement which comes with it’s own issues.

        • @[email protected]
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          fedilink
          33 months ago

          how do you determine the cost of removing carbon

          Estimate. Start with a low estimate for the social cost of carbon and see how the market reacts. At the same time, we can provide grants for carbon sequestration projects, but no subsidies for categories of solutions.

          Does creating a new solar/wind power plant count?

          No, solar/wind would also pay a carbon tax based on their manufacturing processes, though that would be a lot less than fossil fuel generation.

          I’m not a fan of subsidies since those encourage “creative accounting,” and instead prefer simple, quantitative penalties.

          This is what the carbon offset economy

          No, the carbon offset economy was supposed to be a way to allow creative accounting to limit responsibility.

          If an org wants to install renewables to offset some of their energy use, then they need to actually use the energy to offset their energy use, not just tally it up. I don’t care about generation numbers, I care about tons of CO2 and other emissions.

          if the chance of getting caught is low people will still do it

          Right, so increase the chance that cheaters will get caught. Set default emissions numbers to a high (but reasonable) number based on worst case estimates, and require orgs to prove they’re emitting less. Do it for all imports and domestic industries alike so it’s fair.

          Then randomly audit after approval. If companies get caught, fine and revert to the high estimate until they prove they’ve fixed their accounting (perhaps after some number of years of correct reports). This should be highly automatable, and I’m guessing most domestic orgs already have high quality numbers.

          That’s a really simple solution since there’s no complex adjustments based on local offsets, just number of tons emitted. The only tricky business is sequestration, and orgs would need to prove it’s actually sequestered.