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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    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.