The Instigator
TheNextDylan
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
clsmooth
Con (against)
Losing
12 Points

Environmental Sustainability & The Economy.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/2/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,389 times Debate No: 2371
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (11)

 

TheNextDylan

Pro

A few weeks ago, I posted a debate topic on whether or not America should have an environmentally sustainable economy. My opinion was called frindge, but now the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, endorses having an environmentally sustainable economy to combat Global Warming. Former Vice President Gore, Former Vice President Al Gore, Former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and Former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta agree with President Clinton on this issue. America's economy must become sustainable, or we will find that we will deplete the world's natural resources and then our economy will really be in the tank.

Here is the video of President Bill Clinton talking about creating a sustainable economy. [Bill Clinton Endorses Sustainable Economy http://www.crooksandliars.com...]
clsmooth

Con

The essential element for a sustainable economy is private-property ownership.

"Regulations" are merely permissions to pollute. They violate the Natural Law that says man cannot pollute his neighbor's property. Under a libertarian regime, ZERO pollution would be permitted without the consent of all affected property owners. This is the direction in which we should move.

Unfortunately, all of the liberals you mention in your opening argument are for increasingly liberal pollution standards, by which one man may pollute another's property with government permission (regulation). This does not solve the problem, but only serves as a measure of control for the centralized state.

An economy based on absolute property rights (i.e. capitalism) is the most sustainable, based on both an economic, and an environmental standpoint.
Debate Round No. 1
TheNextDylan

Pro

Right now I live a capitalist society and I do not have a choice what is put into my air, my water or my soil. Your idea is correct, that people should have a say as to what affects their individual property. However, what is put into the ocean or into the atmosphere affects more than what is our own individual property. An apple my not be picked on my property but that does not mean that it is not covered in pesticides.

If the system worked the way in which you say it does, I would support it. However, lobbyists run the show and corporations like Monsanto, Peabody and ExxonMobil don't have to cut back on carbon emissions. The people who are most affected by the decisions made by these corporations have no say in Washington.

If the government cannot determine what chemicals are safe and unsafe, then not only the consumer but the citizens of this planet will face the consequences. Corporations should take actions to reduce or even eliminate pollution, and it should be up to the government to control what can or can't be put in the air, water or soils. The current administration (and past governments) could have provided subsidies to promote sustainable actions, but instead often subsidize businesses that do not look out for the environment, such as oil companies and the corn lobby. Is this how the free market works? Where certain groups get huge susidies and companies that offer change cannot compete?

This planet is a gift to us and we should not abuse its resources nor damage it. I warn you, if we continue on our present course and do nothing to combat Global Warming, there will be epic floods, famine, and warfare, at least according to the CIA. Now is not the time to let the market work itself out, we need to promote the idea of creating sustainable businesses. The hour is getting late.
clsmooth

Con

Really? You live in a capitalist society? Where do you live? Because I'm not aware of any that exist.

You do NOT live in a "capitalist society" BECAUSE you "do not have a choice what is put into your air, your water or your soil." You live in an over-regulated "mixed economy" where the government gives PERMISSION to polluters to initiate aggression against your person and property. These PERMISSIONS are called "regulations" -- and they should be scrapped entirely. The maximum allowable level of non-consensual pollution should be ZERO. Property owners would be able to pollute their own land, air, and water, but only if the pollution did not affect other property owners. If it did, they would be liable for suit.

The lobbyists you speak of are the ones who lobby for regulations (permissions to pollute). They sometimes argue for looser regulations to allow more pollution, and other times they argue for stricter regulations to crowd out competition. Why should the government have the right to give permission to polluters to pollute YOUR land? I don't think they legitimately possess this right, because I believe you have the right to life, liberty, and property.

You bring up subsidies to oil companies and ask "Is this how the free market works?" OF COURSE NOT. Subsidies to ANY business are anathema to free-market capitalism. Free-market libertarians such as myself despise government subsidies of all stripes, and those to oil companies in particular. But your solution goes the wrong way: Instead of subsidizing alternative energy, all the government should do is STOP subsidizing unclean energy, STOP giving polluters liability protection, and STOP allowing pollution through regulation.

I do not believe the global-warming hysteria. However, it matters not whether global warming is real from the laissez-faire capitalist perspective. Under a regime of absolute property rights, the cost of polluting would be too high for the polluters. Under our current corporatist regime, the cost is high -- BUT IT IS NOT PAID BY THE POLLUTERS, but instead, by the rest of society. This must end, and I agree with you!

I encourage you to investigate laissez-faire capitalism as it pertains to the environment. Here is an excellent environmental interview with the leading Apostle of free-market environmentalism, Dr. Ron Paul: http://www.grist.org...
Debate Round No. 2
TheNextDylan

Pro

First of all, it is hard to judge sarcasm over the internet. It is clear that the economy is not capitalistic, and my previous arguments adressed that point.

"Regulation mandated by a state attempts to produce outcomes which might not otherwise occur, produce or prevent outcomes in different places to what might otherwise occur, or produce or prevent outcomes in different timescales than would otherwise occur. Common examples of regulation include attempts to control market entries, prices, wages, pollution effects, employment for certain people in certain industries, standards of production for certain goods and services."

These regulations will combat Global Warming by changing the outcome and reducing air pollution. Some companies, such as Google, are investing in alternative energies, and many others are going green. Businesses must reduce carbon emissions, reduce pollution and preserve natural resources or we will end up like countries in Africa that burned trees for fuel for so long that the trees are disappearing.

A report by the world's top climate scientists states that it is "very likey" that Global Warming is caused by human beings, and that we can see a rise in ocean levels and a great amount of climate fluctuation. (http://www.usatoday.com...) Without regulations, companies like ExxonMobil will continue to ignore the effects of Global Warming. Oil companies are already funding an anti-Climate Change conference and George W. Bush is still ignoring warning signs. Islands in the arctic and the southern Pacific are already sinking due to rising sea levels, and for the first time ever ice is melting at the north poll. In times of previous warming ice levels increased. This is different than something we have ever seen.

Global population has grown so much in the past hundred years that it has to have an impact on world resources. http://geography.about.com.... As you can see in this table, the world's pipulation is growing at an alarming rate, and countries like China and the U.S. are abusing the world's resources. Though America has 25% of the world's population in uses 80% of the world's resources. This is not regulation, this is an all out resource grab.

Also, you consider the people I mentioned, such as Al Gore or Bill Clinton, too liberal. They ran the country for eight years, created a surplus from a defecit and saw the importance of signing the Kyoto protocol. They all want to combat Global Warming and encourage industry to go green, and yet you disagree with them all. Do you know something they don't? Were you in charge of the U.S. economy for eight years? Did you create the largest surplus in American history?
clsmooth

Con

You are far too easy on polluters. Liberalism is. Libertarianism is not.

You want to continue to allow Big Business to pollute my property; you just want to reduce the amount by which they can pollute. I want absolute property rights. I do not even believe in the Global Warming theory, but it doesn't matter if its real or not if you subscribe to a libertarian environmental philosophy which forbids pollution as an act of aggression.

Google is investing in alternative energy, as are other companies. However, more companies would if we took away the subsidies for oil and other dirty energy sources. These subsidies make dirty energy artificially profitable, and thus, erect competitive barriers to potential competitive substitutes. Furthermore, the greatest thing we can do is to remove the artificial liability protection from polluters, thereby making them absorb the entire cost of the damage they cause.

Example: My wife's grandfather died from a form a cancer caused from lifelong exposure to MTBE, a fuel additive that was finally replaced in 2004. He was a minister who had simply lived long enough that the air pollution had gotten to him. His family was forbidden by U.S. law to sue the oil companies. This is what I mean by "artificial liability protection" serving as an unseen subsidy to the dirty-energy providers. And this is why it matters not whether Global Warming is real -- pollution is an act of aggression that results in sickness and death.

There can be no doubt that Clinton-Gore did a better job "managing" the economy than Bush-Cheney has, or indeed, than perhaps any presidential administration in U.S. history. So what? The competition is not very formidable, as every administration that has attempted to "manage the economy" (which is NOT the job of the executive branch or government at all) has done a great deal to damage it. What was Grover Cleveland's role in "managing" the economy? Where in the Constitution does it give the executive branch the authority to "manage the economy"? And what does the success Clinton-Gore had in one area ("managing the economy") have to do with a completely different area ("protecting the environment")? By your logic, since Clinton-Gore helped create a surplus, this means that they should be in charge of directing the next James Bond film because they are "all-knowing."

Regulations are merely tools of control. They enshrine dominant interests and are often agitated for by Big Business. It is not the government's role to prescribe certain limits on aggression -- it is to defend the people's rights to life, liberty, and property. The most sustainable economy and environment can be achieved by adoption of laissez-faire, classical liberal policies of "hands off" the economy and absolute property rights.
Debate Round No. 3
TheNextDylan

Pro

Hmmm, I guess I do subcribe to your view, as far as I believe in no pollution. However, I have always assumed that the eventual goal of liberalism was to eliminate pollution and create a completely sustainable economy, and I feel that many of my liberal friends, though maybe not politicians, believe in this eventual goal. I have spoken with Leon Panetta and he obviously believes in eliminating pollutants because it ruins ocean health: maybe this is why he left the Clinton administration. You made your point more clear in your last argument and I agree with you that pollution should be eliminated, especially when it can end up on one's private property. However, how would pollution be reduced if there was no monitoring entity? Who would monitor what is happening?
clsmooth

Con

The monitoring authority would be the owners of property. If I own land, it is within my right to pollute it as much as I want. This makes no sense, of course, since I will be destroying its value, but it is my right. Just as it is the right of a man to mutilate his own body or destroy his own DVD collection.

There are some levels of pollution I may accept. There are some levels of pollution I may even accept from my neighbors. There are other levels of pollution that I may require my neighbor to pay some form of consideration to me in order for me to accept. Any pollution that damages my property will damage me economically, and therefore, I would typically require commensurate compensation.

In this type of legal regime, the one thing a person could NOT do is pollute another person's property without his consent. Thus, the most pernicious forms of pollution -- air and water -- would be essentially impermissible. After all, it is hard to confine air pollutants to a single property-owner's air, or to achieve uniform consent from all affected parties. Polluters of this nature would be liable for class-action legal suits.

Elements of a sustainable economy are free trade, private property, and honest money. In every instance, the government intervenes to prevent this sustainable prosperity. They enact protectionism and phony "free trade" cartel deals; they abolish and regulate private property through eminent domain, taxation, and regulation; and they inflate the money supply for the benefit of the rich and politically connected at the expense of the poor. This model is NOT sustainable and will result in massive poverty if the path is not corrected. I invite liberals and progressives to rethink their positions and join me in the fight for liberty!
Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mindjob 9 years ago
mindjob
A minority report state to prosecute victimless crimes before they happen? What are you talking about? The only thing I can figure you mean by victimless crimes is pollution. But you've spent so long saying that pollution does affect others, so much so that people can sue everyone else whenever their property gets polluted at all. It sounds like you think pollution has a lot of victims. But its not like its murder, where like in the movie you're referring to, we arrest CEOs before they've even polluted just a little bit. No, we fine them when they break regulations, and that helps the government clean up the mess or force the businesses to clean it up themselves. Pollution affects everyone, so it only makes sense that you try to keep it from happening in the first place, which is what regulations help with.

I don't read into that paraphrased quote the same things you do. I would still like for you to provide me with a link so I can read it for myself. Like you did with our mini Lincoln debate, you tend to twist words and take them out of context, so I'll need that link.

Likening the regulations we have to the Soviet Union is absolutely absurd and you know it. The Soviets never had any serious safety or environmental regulations, which is why so many of them died working and why so many places in Russia and the Eastern block are some of the most polluted places on Earth. A lack of regulation led to the death of Lake Erie, the prevalence of CFC's and dead lakes from acid rain. Regulation brought all of these under control. Regulation keeps fisheries from being overfished, and regulations can push the private industry to make the green changes they need to make. Lets try to stay on this side of sanity from now on, ok?
Posted by TheNextDylan 9 years ago
TheNextDylan
Thank you mindjob. I was going to make the point about people suing corporations but ran out of rounds. I am not adding to my argument. That is all. ;-)
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
You want a Minority Report authoritarian police state to prosecute victimless crimes before they're committed. I say no thanks.

RFK, Jr. is a liberal interventionist, but he knows that regulations are a COMPROMISE. I've heard him say, (paraphrasing), "Hey big business, if you don't like regulations, we can't just handle this like the libertarians want to."

Libertarians are the most radical environmentalists. We will not compromise another property owner's rights by using ever-corrupt government regulations. How well has regulation worked thus far? How well did "regulations" work in the USSR, the left's paradise?
Posted by mindjob 9 years ago
mindjob
I'm sure he says something to the effect that lobbyists for big oil and other heavy polluters have the ear of Bush and other morons like him. But regardless of how you want to twist his words, the only things I've seen back up his belief that the government, when not corrupted by lobbying and loyal Bushies, is the best chance for protecting the environment. I would really like for you to provide me with a link to something backing you up. So far, this speech of his corroborates what I'm saying:
http://www.fightingbob.com...

Were it not a pdf, I would copy and paste a few quotes for you. In it, he calls scientists bought off by Bush to debunk global warming "biostitutes". He also says that if a fraction of the latest 400 potential environmental rollbacks were instituted, we wouldn't have any significant environmental laws left. If he wanted what you are proposing, it stands to reason that he wouldn't bemoan the loss of these laws. Environmental regulation keeps polluters in check. When the government does sue polluters, like Duke Power, they have to fight pro-business, laissez-faire types to get them to stop polluting as much as they are.

No individual would have the resources to sue a big-business polluter by themselves. That's where government steps in to sue on citizens' behalf. But why wait until the ground or air is polluted before anything happens? That's where regulation steps in and attempts to keep people from polluting in the first place. Under your system, it would be too late to do anything by the time anyone was able to sue. And assume someone finally got around to suing to stop pollution, but the pollution site was what we now call a superfund site. The government is the only one capable of cleaning it up. Instead of letting it get to that, it will just be cheaper for the government to regulate against it and keep it from happening in the first place.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
No, because historically, Big Business has colluded with government to gain liability protection. Under a truly capitalist regime, I would be able to sue anyone who polluted MY air.

Look up what RFJ, Jr., lead counsel of the NRDC has to say about it.
Posted by mindjob 9 years ago
mindjob
Industries needed no permission to pollute during the industrial revolution. In fact, it is private property rights that regulators fight against when they try to cut down on pollution. Environmental and safety regulation is touted by the private property and laissez-faire types as being the reason why our products are so expensive and thus less competitive on the world market, which is why they fight so hard to reduce environmental regulations. This is evident to even the most layperson. Some regulations aid manufacturers in polluting and making defective and/or harmful products, but this is more a problem with the effect of lobbyists and big business having the ear of conservative republicans than with the idea of regulation as a whole.

If a chemical company is dumping waste on your property, then you have a clear tort on your hands. The problem is that air and water supplies are public goods, in which no single person can claim injury to their private property. This is precisely why governmental intervention in the form of regulation is needed. In fact, it is the classic example of why government is needed in the first place: to govern the commons.

Pollution is inevitable in a productive economy. Even "green" technologies have their drawbacks, i.e. caustic chemicals used in the production of solar cells. We need that production, but the by-products are harmful. That is why everyone suing everyone else wouldn't work since, in your example, any pollution would be grounds for a suit seeking the end of production. That's where regulation comes in. It balances society's need for a clean environment with society's need for the goods that manufacturer produces. The early 1900's here, and the early 1800's in Britain, as well as many others cases, are perfect examples of what the lack of regulation can do. If what you say is true, it would have happened in history. The fact that we have regulation is proof it didn't work.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
mindjob totally misses the point. Regulations are permissions to pollute. In the absence of regulations, people can sue polluters. Even RFK, Jr. admits this.
Posted by mindjob 9 years ago
mindjob
And going green would enable us to produce new technologies that would provide us with all new exporting abilities, not to mention help companies drop their costs over time. Ask GE, they wouldn't think its fringe at all.
Posted by mindjob 9 years ago
mindjob
First off, clsmooth, you have your cause/effect totally off. Regulation is the result of people doing whatever they wanted with their property. Unregulated industrial production is what led to the Thames catching fire and led to Lake Erie being totally dead except for sludge worms. It was regulation (the clean air and water acts), enforced through the EPA, that cleaned our air and water. Regulations don't create the problems, they exist because the problems prompted the public to push the government to create solutions. If people did go through the government more often to protest their common property (air, water, etc) being polluted, we would have better environmental laws and quality. I agree with your absolute property laws ability to negate pollution, but it was the unfettered free market that led to the environmental problems we have, not the government regulation that came after the problems. Its impossible to pollute your property without affecting everyone else, because it would get into ground water supplies. Economic productivity will inevitably produce pollution.

And yes, China will surpass us. It doesn't take a master economist to figure this out either. In 2004, the average Chinese person's purchasing power parity was $5,600, while the average American's was just over $40,000. But with 1.3 billion Chinese, versus only about 310 million Americans, means that China a $7.28 trillion economy versus our $12 trillion economy. China has been growing at about 10% per year (though they are starting to slow a little bit now) for the last decade, while we've only been growing at around 4% at best. Thus, within a decade, their total economy will surpass ours.

Free trade works only if our companies continue to adapt so they stay competitive. That is why our auto companies have failed so miserably for decades now. Free trade saps us of jobs if CEOs continue to make insane salaries without actually getting their companies to perform better.
Posted by DucoNihilum 9 years ago
DucoNihilum
Americans aren't suffering so much as they are adapting. If you think the PRC is still so much better than us, compare how much the average earner makes in China VS the US- we're far superior. They are growing, and in doing so they are sucking up some jobs.... but that's the market doing it's work. Free trade is not evil, it's making us more and more prosperous- after all, products are cheaper for us than they were before because of this. It's a mutually beneficial relationship. Being a sales person does not make you any more in tune with the economy than me, especially since I've read books dealing with economic theory. Stores not succeeding is the fault of the stores, after all, PEOPLE decide where to shop! PEOPLE voted with their dollars that they would rather shop at wal-mart than a place which provides the same product for twice as much. How dare you deny the people this liberty?
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