The Instigator
lorca
Pro (for)
Winning
29 Points
The Contender
Ragnar_Rahl
Con (against)
Losing
24 Points

Should ethanol no longer be used in the United States in automobiles?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/29/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,136 times Debate No: 4545
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (13)

 

lorca

Pro

Ethanol currently is being used as an alternative fuel and fuel additive being used to hedge the cost of petroleum based gasoline. However, the current rate of consumption is unsustainble, and is quicking reaching the break even point in profitability. Several countries in Europe have ceased expanded use of ethanol since it has not proven that it is sustainable to serve as a viable alternative to gasoline. Furthermore, ethanol uses natural gas to create the heat levels to properly distill ethanol from corn. For these reasons and more, ethanol should continued to be used in the United States for automobiles.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

I'll ignore the obvious extended typographical error that nearly removes coherence from the end of your argument.

My objection is to your paying attention only to one type of ethanol, the type that lobbyists presently push through to Congressmen. Corn ethanol is obviously problematic in the United States (I'm unaware of the nature of the ethanol situation in Europe), as it has never been "profitable" in any sense of the word except that of loot (subsidies given to ethanol as a result of aforementioned lobbyists). But there is a different type of ethanol available, used commonly in Brazil, and it is a very economical fuel, cane ethanol, cheap to produce (probably subsidized, but would be profitable if it weren't.) That ethanol should be imported (and perhaps grown in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the like). Other ethanol types, produced from leaves and stems and the like, are also likely to be useful if an efficient refining process comes about. Since what "should be" must be understood in the context of the rest of what "should be," i.e. a free market, sustainability becomes a nonissue (since when property rights are enforced it becomes part of the profit calculation).
Debate Round No. 1
lorca

Pro

I initially spoke of corn based ethanol because it is the main form of ethanol allowed to be used in automobiles in the U.S. I am aware of the multitudes of different types of ethanol (sugar based, grain based, and cellulose based), and they all have inherent problems: (1) left unregulated, the production of ethanol from any source in sufficient quantities creates an adverse negative impact on the economy and environment that uses the source, and (2) the amounts of land required are not available to produce the amounts of sugar, grain, or cellulotic material necessary met current demand.

Left unregulated, the production of ethanol from any source in sufficient quantities creates an adverse negative impact on the economy and environment that uses the source for the ethanol. While there was initially an economies of scale, meaning it is more beneficial to produce 10 as it is to produce 1 as sunk costs and other costs are spread out over many. However, ethanol production without government or industrial self regulation actually creates diseconomies of scale, as there is limited supply of the inputs to ethanol, being the corn, sugar or fat, and the source of heat. As more ethanol is produced, the costs of all inputs are increased since there is limited supply. As the cost of corn and other feed grains are increased, so does the cost of their other inputs, i.e. beef, chicken, and corn based products. Other potential inputs of ethanol would occur similar to than of corn, especially sugar which in the United States has had an extremely volatile market since Hurricane Katrina.

Next, the adverse affects of unregulated ethanol production is a problem related to farming in general. The fact of the matter is that farmers will attempt to utilize every inch of soil possible to plant in, especially when the market is favorable for huge yields. However, this causes problems, mainly soil erosion. The loss of topsoil has a long term impact on the ability to grow these crops. This causes a sustainability issue as I originally stated.

Secondly, the increased profitability that these crops leads regions not suited for growing that crop to modify their fields. This would put additional strain on the ecosystem by planting crops that are not indigenous to the region. Additionally, corn requires large amounts of water that must be irrigated into the area. This places a significant burden on already troubled aquifer systems supplying these regions. Finally, economically, when enough farmers switch to growing corn instead of their main crops, such as wheat, this causes increased prices because of the lack of supply in those markets. Over all, food costs have risen because of the fact that a large majority of the food we eat has a substantial amount of either corn or wheat based products in them or as an input into them (such as feed corn).

Finally, since we don't have enough land to grow enough plants for ethanol production currently, growers are pushing the limits on finding cropland. This is occurring at the expense of previously sacred or protected areas, such as the rainforests. I contend that the rainforests have unique intrinsic value that should not be destroyed. I challenge the negative to show why deforestation for the purpose of growing crops for ethanol production is ethically acceptable.

Now for a rebuttal to comments made on the opening argument.

I am grateful that my grammatical errors are put aside, without con's ability to look over this oversight; none of use would have the opportunity to have this debate.

Con Said, "But there is a different type of ethanol available, used commonly in Brazil, and it is a very economical fuel, cane ethanol, cheap to produce (probably subsidized, but would be profitable if it weren't.)"

I am aware how Brazil uses sugarcane to made ethanol and have been able to modify their automobiles for years making ethanol a true success story. They have two gas tanks, a large one for ethanol and a smaller one for petroleum gasoline. They start their car with gasoline, and once the engine has started and warm, they switch over to the ethanol tank. This process allows them to operate with a lower octane of ethanol.

The market is subsidized however. What Brazil does is control the amount of ethanol production in relationship to the current cost of crude. Essentially, they predict the amount of fuel usage needed by their citizens and buy and store enough gasoline to meet demand. Then they set the rate on sugarcane based upon the current yields, making either more or less desirable for Brazilian growers to sell their sugar for ethanol use depending on the market. This way, the government in Brazil is able to hedge the cost of fuel for their citizens.

Con Said, "That ethanol should be imported (and perhaps grown in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the like). Other ethanol types, produced from leaves and stems and the like…"

Every source of bio-fuel exploits the economic market and environment of the source of the fuel. If we imported sugar from Brazil, we would be causing their local sugar economy to go out of wack or else cause their growers to expand the amount of land they are farming (that is if Brazil even decided to export sugar to us at a fair price.) Additionally, cellulotic ethanol production (from leaves, stems, and the like) in the amounts necessary would create a severe ecological impact when we removed the source for ethanol.

I argue that any time we try to use the waste product from another process to try to satiate our fuel needs causes us to in turn produce the waste product, making not only the waste product more expensive in the long term, but every other product that was originally created from the source. The best and simplest example for this is gasoline and the internal combustion engine. The gasoline engine was not the first engine in an automobile and was not the most efficient or reliable when invented. However, gasoline was being burned off as a potentially hazardous was in every oil refinery because no reliable or safe means were available to keep this deadly fluid around. Oil was refined for other petroleum products, such as motor oil, petroleum jelly, LP gas, kerosene, fuel oil, and heating oil. Once the gasoline engine automobile became more popular, the oil companies changed their focus from refining other products to refining the waste product. Much the same is happening with corn in the United States, as corn is being grown for ethanol instead of being grown for its initial reasons, such as feed grain, corn meal, corn syrup, etc.

Con said, "Since what "should be" must be understood in the context of the rest of what "should be," i.e. a free market…"

The debate heading states as such: Should ethanol no longer be used in the United States in automobiles?"

It clearly states that the parameters of this debate are located within the governing body of the United States, and it can also be clearly assumed that we are talking about the current, right now, today…not some alternate reality. This is set to include current United States market, environmental, and all other social and political conditions that are set forth, already in motion, that create the current situation.

Furthermore, what "should be" in no way implies a free market. Because the negative strongly wishes to have a free market in no way requires that this debate be forced to the limitations that are imposed by assuming such. If the negative wishes, we can have a debate over the best type of market. However, that is not the topic of this debate, and the realm of the debate concerns right here, right now, in the good ole' USA and the government regulated market that's been created by it.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"
I initially spoke of corn based ethanol because it is the main form of ethanol allowed to be used in automobiles in the U.S"

"Allowed?" It is the main form subsidized, I was unaware that other varieties were wholesale forbidden from operating, if so, this is a more socialist nation than a thought.

"(1) left unregulated, the production of ethanol from any source in sufficient quantities creates an adverse negative impact on the economy and environment that uses the source, and"
Nope. Left unregulated (excluding the regulation of the enforcement of property rights), it cannot possibly have adverse impact on the economy as long as people seek profits (and they do). Profit, or the production of more value than the cost of a given operation, can only have a positive economic impact, by definition. And the environment is a part of the economy like any other, not an end in itself, simply a material from which the owners of the various parts of the environment carve their lives from through economic, i.e. rational and purposive, action.

"(2) the amounts of land required are not available to produce the amounts of sugar, grain, or cellulotic material necessary met current demand."
So the answer is to lower the supply even further? If supply is lower than demand, then a. people will produce as much as possible if allowed, to make a profit from it, leading to benefits for all the demanders by that increase of supply, and b. when supply still comes up short, there is nothing regulation can do to improve it (or any other aspect of the situation), the price mechanism will ensure that it will be allocated where it has most value. Also, it may well be that the land is available, simply blocked off by governments, there is certainly a great deal of useful but unused land out there.

"While there was initially an economies of scale, meaning it is more beneficial to produce 10 as it is to produce 1 as sunk costs and other costs are spread out over many. However, ethanol production without government or industrial self regulation actually creates diseconomies of scale, as there is limited supply of the inputs to ethanol, being the corn, sugar or fat, and the source of heat. As more ethanol is produced, the costs of all inputs are increased since there is limited supply. As the cost of corn and other feed grains are increased, so does the cost of their other inputs, i.e. beef, chicken, and corn based products. Other potential inputs of ethanol would occur similar to than of corn, especially sugar which in the United States has had an extremely volatile market since Hurricane Katrina."

So, the price will go up. Get used to it. Oil's cost will go up too, and probably more. But some will still need it enough to pay that price (or if not they'll stop it and the regulation you are proposing will be redundant and unnecessary), and you would be interfering with the need-fulfillment they earned by the production it took for them to meet that price.

"
Next, the adverse affects of unregulated ethanol production is a problem related to farming in general. The fact of the matter is that farmers will attempt to utilize every inch of soil possible to plant in, especially when the market is favorable for huge yields. However, this causes problems, mainly soil erosion. The loss of topsoil has a long term impact on the ability to grow these crops. This causes a sustainability issue as I originally stated." And the consequence, assuming property rights are enforced, is that those farmers will have ruined their land. This, sir, is what the word "Justice" means, I'm sure you've heard it- the law of causality applied to human beings. They deserve to bear the consequences of their irrationality, not be saved from it by your hand. Those who behave as you state in any case; however, considering the large amount of land in the hands of people and corporations who got rich by looking long term, economics dictates that these people will limit their short-term production in whatever way these soil erosion issues merit.

"Over all, food costs have risen because of the fact that a large majority of the food we eat has a substantial amount of either corn or wheat based products in them or as an input into them (such as feed corn).
"
This is a very obese country. Economizing on food has significant benefits (especially if we could cut out the meat subsidies, so the prices reflected meat's actual value).

"
Finally, since we don't have enough land to grow enough plants for ethanol production currently, growers are pushing the limits on finding cropland. This is occurring at the expense of previously sacred or protected areas, such as the rainforests. I contend that the rainforests have unique intrinsic value that should not be destroyed."

No evaluator can hold that more than one thing has intrinsic value, on pain of contradiction. If you hold "the rainforests" as an intrinsic value, it means your life has no value, because it creates demands that conflict with that intrinsic value. The logical conclusion is suicide. Yet you seem to still be present.

I, however, hold as my only "intrinsic value," my own life. As such, the rainforests merit no consideration from me other than that validated, directly or indirectly through the rights of property owners in it, by my pursuit of that value.

"I challenge the negative to show why deforestation for the purpose of growing crops for ethanol production is ethically acceptable."
Crops for ethanol production create energy, which is used to promote human life. Some parts of the rainforest have less value to human life.

"
The market is subsidized however."
That's not relevant unless you show that the crops would not be profitable if all subsidies were removed.

"
Every source of bio-fuel exploits the economic market and environment of the source of the fuel."
Every human action other than suicide "exploits" the environment. That's what it's there for.

"If we imported sugar from Brazil, we would be causing their local sugar economy to go out of wack or else cause their growers to expand the amount of land they are farming (that is if Brazil even decided to export sugar to us at a fair price.)"

I'm fine with them expanding the land. Plant a tree somewhere else if it has value, there is lots of land where trees will grow.

"Additionally, cellulotic ethanol production (from leaves, stems, and the like) in the amounts necessary would create a severe ecological impact when we removed the source for ethanol.
"
What if you produced it directly with trees from rainforests? That would create an incentive to preserve rainforests, though of course we'd have to wait for celllulotic ethanol to become economical, it isn't yet of course. In any case the ecological impact is the sole concern of the owners of the land.

"
I argue that any time we try to use the waste product from another process to try to satiate our fuel needs causes us to in turn produce the waste product, making not only the waste product more expensive in the long term,"
Which is not a problem, if the "waste product" in fact turns out to have more value.

"
It clearly states that the parameters of this debate are located within the governing body of the United States, and it can also be clearly assumed that we are talking about the current, right now, today…not some alternate reality."

And a free market should be present today, not in some alternate reality, any negative consequences of ethanol that result solely from the lack of a free market will create more pressure toward the existence of a free market.
Debate Round No. 2
lorca

Pro

Yes, corn is the main form subsidized. However, there's more than subsidizing with corn ethanol. The EPA told bio-fuel companies they could distribute other forms of bio-fuels, but the only two that would be graded were corn ethanol and soy diesel. Any other ethanol or bio diesel would not be approved under the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007-8, but it could be sold at strict liability of the manufacture. Strict liability is something that corporate lawyers tend to stay away from.

People seeking profits are not the sole ends to the positives in the economy. Gasoline is an inelastic product in regards to economics. Inelastic products are products that the basic consumer needs regardless of the conditions of supply and demand. By definition, the consumer will pay whatever price because they need the fuel (at least believe they do.) So when prices increase generating more profit for one or a few is that consumers have less money, buying less because they have to spend more on inelastic products. Since the rich aren't spending or giving away more money willingly (I'm not saying they ought), it does in fact leave the economy in a worse condition than prior.

The environment is part of the economy, but it can be an end in itself it there is not enough raw materials to satiate the needs of the market. Even under a free market, it would be foolish and short sighted to exhaust every bit of raw material as soon as possible. Decreasing supply increases demand which allows the price to increase. A good economist, even in a free market, would see destroying or overproduction of environment resources as a negative impact. Additionally, as I stated earlier, increasing price would limit consumer expendable income and thus impact the economy negatively.

"So the answer is to lower the supply even further? If supply is lower than demand, then a. people will produce as much as possible if allowed, to make a profit from it, leading to benefits for all the demanders by that increase of supply, and b. when supply still comes up short, there is nothing regulation can do to improve it, the price mechanism will ensure that it will be allocated where it has most value."

This is exactly why ethanol should be prohibited. It is unsustainable at any given situation, with the ONLY result being that prices on ethanol, food, shipping over land (including the cost of any product that requires that products be shipped, or at least the raw materials that go into them), and transportation all increase. This is a disproportionate distribution of the wealth, and combined with my previous two paragraphs, leads me to believe that we should stop harming corn's other markets. It's creating a domino effect that's worse that petroleum alone.

Under a free market and no regulation, all of the wealth from ethanol would go to a select few, while causing the general public to pay more on nearly every commodity they buy. It is a fact that fuel for transportation is inelastic, and the only way to prevent having to pay whatever price set is to purchase futures. This is not an option for everyone.

Furthermore, we would be hindering profits, at least when it comes to each individual's bank account. No man lives independent of market conditions, and must purchase goods from others in order to maximize is wealth (by minimizing his costs). I contend that even the rich will suffer, because the cost of their commodities will outweigh their income generated from their increased profits.

Yes, fuel prices are going up. So why doesn't somebody try to hedge the cost of fuel? Would it not provide the most utility to at minimum prevent fuel prices from affecting a great multitude of other markets? It seems that letting the market go without regulation is swaying all of the profits from many sectors to just one. This is in fact bad for the economy and anyone seeking profit maximization. Not everyone can be oil or corn tycoons, and if too many shares of the companies making record profits are sold, it will only decrease the stock's value. (What would really happen is that the company would probably start a stock repurchase plan and hold the wealth themselves. This would cause the stock to increase even more; and it would continue to grow since demand for fuel does not decrease significantly, the price and profits would continue to skyrocket.)

"… considering the large amount of land in the hands of people and corporations who got rich by looking long term, economics dictates that these people will limit their short-term production..."

Wouldn't it be nice to go teach every farmer about economics? While corporate farming is on the rise, so is cooperative farming, where farmers join a co-op and the co-op acts as the larger corporation while the farmers keep their land. Growing up in Iowa, I know that much has been disseminated about crop rotation, erosion prevention, and sustainable farming. However, not every state or country in the world cares about farming and long term impacts of their actions. Globalization has consistently shown that short term profit generation is paramount above all other concerns. This is seen from the corporations exploiting some 3rd world country and the 3rd world country allowing its country to be exploited. In nearly every example unsustainability was the outcome because only short term outcomes will be considered in such situations. Economic demands will not foster long term planning. Instead, market demands promote efficiency, and in farming, being able to farm every square inch is most efficient.

This is an obese country. However, I do not see how this negates how food prices will go up. Are you trying to say that we should make people, through the market, eat less because it costs more? I contend that they'll eat same amount of food, just lower quality. Economics dictate that food, as a commodity, is a very elastic product. If the price goes too high, they'll just find a substitute. Either they'll buy generic or buy more less expensive food (ramen noodles instead of steaks.) That does not help profit generation.

"No evaluator can hold that more than one thing has intrinsic value..."

Why not? In what definition (and its source) does intrinsic or intrinsic value have a singular connotation to it? The intended definition of intrinsic value was: the value that that thing has "in itself," or "for its own sake," or "as such," or "in its own right." (http://plato.stanford.edu...) This nor any other definition I found make a claim that a person can hold only one thing as intrinsic. Nor does it contend that a person has to arbitrarily "rank" what is most important to them.

The phrase "on pain of contradiction" does not apply. Syllogism will not work in this case, as logic does not apply to what people like or dislike or find intrinsic to them. I argue that you intrinsically value more than your own life. I claim that you also value your quality of life (and whatever items or people cause it be so), unless you could give away every world possession and money and be satisfied with only your life. I cannot truly believe that you singularly hold only your life as intrinsically valuable. I hold my life, family, friends, and sentimental worldly possessions as well as the rainforests as having intrinsic value. Millions of people also hold the rainforests as intrinsically valuable. Maybe I should gather up all the tree huggers down to the rainforest and have a mass suicide?

"Human beings… choose to live, and an implication of that choice …is that they need to avoid people initiating force against them, an effort which is aided invaluably if they themselves do not engage in initiating force."

I contend this is statement in the promotion of a free market is incorrect. What is being said here is that people, in the act of living, desire a path of least resistance.
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"Any other ethanol or bio diesel would not be approved under the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007-8, but it could be sold at strict liability of the manufacture. Strict liability is something that corporate lawyers tend to stay away from."

Liability for what exactly?

"
People seeking profits are not the sole ends to the positives in the economy. "

Yes, they are. That is what the economy consists of, except the occasional person seeking nothing or seeking losses, and both of these results are bad for the economy.

"Gasoline is an inelastic product in regards to economics. "
False, people do indeed use different amounts of it based on price (high prices have led to the nation recently using less of it than it had before for the first time in eons.) By definition, if price affects amount used, it is elastic.

"By definition, the consumer will pay whatever price because they need the fuel (at least believe they do."

No, they won't. There is indeed a price point, the point at which electricity looks cheaper, or a biofuel, or even a certain point (a long ways off) at which solar power looks cheaper. For some consumers, bicycles often look like a good replacement for some gasoline, but of course that depends on the quality of the consumer's legs.

"So when prices increase generating more profit for one or a few is that consumers have less money, buying less because they have to spend more on inelastic products. Since the rich aren't spending or giving away more money willingly (I'm not saying they ought), it does in fact leave the economy in a worse condition than prior.
"
You are thinking short term. They are investing the money instead, in greater production of various goods, or in financial securities that will later go to greater production, leading to the economy again improving in the long run with the cheaper goods available as a result of the greater production.

"
The environment is part of the economy, but it can be an end in itself "
No, it cannot. Neither is the economy. Human life (one's own human life) is the only end in itself. Any case of multiple "ends in themselves" for any given agent is a contradiction, because one would have to make a choice, and that would subordinate all but one, automatically making one no longer an "end in itself."

"
This is exactly why ethanol should be prohibited. It is unsustainable at any given situation, with the ONLY result being that prices on ethanol, food, shipping over land (including the cost of any product that requires that products be shipped, or at least the raw materials that go into them), and transportation all increase."

Exactly how is that the only result? Ethanol, you'll recall, is renewable. Grown from crops. Growing "as much as possible" (in the long run, not the short run, which means managing one's property to take into account what it can sustain) has the effect of ethanol being in the long run as cheap as possible, and therefore transportation. By your reasoning, eating food is unsustainable in "any given situation."

"
Under a free market and no regulation, all of the wealth from ethanol would go to a select few,"
False. Every user of ethanol (and there are many) would receive the value of that ethanol, which helps them create wealth. Plus, ethanol, is grown by farmers. Hmm.... There's a lotta farmers out there, and can be a lot more, just by making use of land in different locations. Including those whose inhabitants are presently poor.

"I contend that even the rich will suffer, because the cost of their commodities will outweigh their income generated from their increased profits.
"
You really have a lot of strange economics. You see, increasing supply has a DOWNWARD effect on costs. So, no. It would seem this along with most of your points are invalid, because you don't understand supply and demand.

"
Yes, fuel prices are going up. So why doesn't somebody try to hedge the cost of fuel?"
That is the exact purpose of ethanol. Not corn ethanol mind (pork is the exact purpose of that), but the other forms of it.

"It seems that letting the market go without regulation is swaying all of the profits from many sectors to just one. "
The market is not going without unregulation. It is the regulation (subsidies) which is producing the effects you describe. Or if you mean oil, see also, taxes, prohibitions on drilling, etc. The sector which is getting the most of it's profits, is government (Exxon Mobil's profits are more public, which is why they are more in the news, but nothing compared to taxes).
"Not everyone can be oil or corn tycoons, and if too many shares of the companies making record profits are sold, it will only decrease the stock's value."
That has a negligible effect compared to, I don't know,RECORD PROFITS. Jeeze, with you everything is bad. Profits are ipso facto bad (the conclusion of your reasoning)? Try living in a country without them.

"(What would really happen is that the company would probably start a stock repurchase plan and hold the wealth themselves."
Which only works if the shareholders agree, or if the market is so unfree that property rights are no longer considered to matter.

"

Wouldn't it be nice to go teach every farmer about economics? While corporate farming is on the rise, so is cooperative farming, where farmers join a co-op and the co-op acts as the larger corporation while the farmers keep their land. Growing up in Iowa, I know that much has been disseminated about crop rotation, erosion prevention, and sustainable farming. However, not every state or country in the world cares about farming and long term impacts of their actions." The impacts come primarily to the one's taking the action. What you are saying is they don't care about themselves.

"Globalization has consistently shown that short term profit generation is paramount above all other concerns."
In the present market, yes. Do you know why? Because long term profit generation is discouraged when someone can seize your productive capacity at any time. Who wants to build a factory for the next 50 years if they know it will be seized or regulated to the extent it's as good as seized within 5 if it's successful? Also, the bailouts of people who failed to plan long term (Bear Stearns, Chrysler) cause the problem to continue from the other end. Free markets do not have that particular problem in the general sense. Attempting to relieve that problem without relieving it's cause has other consequences (as you are showing us, the destruction of all profits whatsoever, because you regard all profits as bad, on the ill logic that more profits inherently causes less profits.) Free markets would of course still have short-term oriented individuals, but they would be weeded out by the consequences.

"This is seen from the corporations exploiting some 3rd world country and the 3rd world country allowing its country to be exploited."
"Exploiting?" Last I checked offering jobs to people who would starve without them is something those people find desirable, after all, they aren't suicidal.

"
This is an obese country. However, I do not see how this negates how food prices will go up. Are you trying to say that we should make people, through the market, eat less because it costs more?"
I'm saying they should pay the actual value of the goods they are purchasing, rather than an amount subsidized by the prohibition of using the goods for any other purpose.
Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"How exactly do you explain that I can not support the protections of the Rainforest if I love myself?"

You cannot support the protection of the rainforest AS INTRINSIC if you love yourself, because your existence runs counter to that of the rainforest, i.e. it exerts demands for resources that come out of the rainforest. If, however, you wish to protect the rainforest for say, selective harvesting of wood so you can always build a house, or something similar, that's a different issue, though love of yourself would also dictate respect for the rights of property owners within the rainforest (as a consequence of desire to keep your own rights intact), so you could not support any government protection of the rainforest which was incompatible with these rights without ethical contradiction.

"am VERY confused by your assertion that I can't value two conflicting things and find a resolution to the conflict."
You are ignoring the word "intrinsic." Chocolate to you is obviously not an "intrinsic value," you like it because it gives you pleasure, which if you are a hedonist is an intrinsic value (though that would mean you wouldn't care about the West African slaves), or if you are like me is a value for promoting the value of a well-operating consciousness which promotes the intrinsic value of life. Fredom (or at least freedom from West African whips) may or may not be an intrinsic value to you, but it was obviously a more important value than chocolate, or you wouldn't have given up such an important portion of your chocolate supply for it. A contradiction, however, would only have existed if you asserted the chocolate had "intrinsic" value, or greater value than freedom from West African slavery. You did not however use the word "intrinsic," nor claim chocolate was a more important issue to you than slavery (indeed you capitalized your hatred of slavery, but not your love of chocolate!) so your situation was perfectly compatible with my metaethical structure.
Posted by Xera 9 years ago
Xera
Ok, I've tried to stay out of this because I do not understand all the business issues which you two have been discussing, and frankly I don't CARE about them. I care that I pay to damn much for gas and this has caused me to evaluate quitting work because it is no longer cost effective for me to travel long distances for my pay. That's where my interest in this argument stopped. That's why Lorca came here, because now there is someone willing to give a damn about the stuff he talks about. I have been TRYING to keep an eye on things. But Ragnar you have now REALLY confused me. How exactly do you explain that I can not support the protections of the Rainforest if I love myself? Let me put in other words.

I love chocolate. Anyone that knows me knows I love chocolate. My nick here is from a book from a 'person' of sorts that is actually in love with chocolate- because it seemed fitting to my personality :D.

I HATE slavery. I discovered that most chocolate sold in America was grown and harvested by kidnapped slaves in the Ivory Coast.

Now we have a conflict don't we? Turns out I hate slavery more than I love chocolate, BUT I still love chocolate. I had to take action and write letters and protest and do all the hippified things that people do when they find out that in order to maximize profits companies are stealing kids off the street and forcing them into slavery. Then I found a replacement product that would allow me to eat chocolate, though far more expensive, and still boycott those companies (all American companies, Hershey's, Nestle, and Mars buy their chocolate from sources that have not stopped slavery in their growing practices). I buy 'free trade' chocolate. I value both, I take care of both to the best of my ability. I am VERY confused by your assertion that I can't value two conflicting things and find a resolution to the conflict. You lost me completely.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"Intrinsic value does not apply to truth value. It must not have an absolute value to it. It is an opinion, subjective and cannot be quantified"

Then what you speak of as "intrinsic value," is utterly without merit,

"Intrinsic value is about utility maximization,"

That doesn't even make sense. A value based on "utility," i.e. value as a means, is explicitly extrinsic.

"Just because it is raining does not inclusively mean the sun is not shining."

Just because your ultimate goal is rain does mean sun cannot be your ultimate goal, even if it is a means to an end.

"Both can occur at the same time, but not under Ragnar's logic, because he claims x can only equal one thing. Instead, x=rain, y=sun, and x and y can both occur simultaneously."
Not when x and y conflict, as the rainforest and your life clearly do (your life exerts demands on resources which have a negative effect upon the rainforest. And only one can be an ultimate end, an end in itself. Any two ends must compete for one's time and effort, the one that loses the conflict is obviously subordinate to the other, i.e. not intrinsic.
Posted by Johnicle 9 years ago
Johnicle
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Posted by lorca 9 years ago
lorca
Intrinsic value does not apply to truth value. It must not have an absolute value to it. It is an opinion, subjective and cannot be quantified. Furthermore, because I value life does not make that an inclusionary statement, ie, "if and only if". Intrinsic value is about utility maximization, and having more utility is good. Nothing here states that I can have too much good, or that finding good in one thing excludes finding good in another.

What there is to logically follow is that, in order to win this point, Ragnar wishes everyone to have only one thing uniquely important or special to them. And if you find anything else important, then, under his logic, you cannot at the same time value yourself and you must commit suicide. Logically, what is being said that two things cannot equal x, but x does not equal both personal life and the rainforest. This is not a bi-conditional statement (http://www.math.csusb.edu...), Just because it is raining does not inclusively mean the sun is not shining. Both can occur at the same time, but not under Ragnar's logic, because he claims x can only equal one thing. Instead, x=rain, y=sun, and x and y can both occur simultaneously.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
Bottom line: If we stopped ethanol right now, commodity prices would drop (decreased cost creates more profit) and the environment of the places that grow ethanol grain sources would not be expanded or exploited (intrinsic value of land preserved.)"

I await the conclusion of the premise of "intrinsic value of land," if people follow it logically.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
A truly free market is about competition, monopolies, and being able to squash ants under your foot because there's no big brother looking over your shoulder telling you how to act.:"

It does indeed contain competition, but monopolies are the sole province of the state. A monopoly means no one is allowed to compete with you, only government has ever or can ever grant that. As for ants, if you mean actual ants yes, they are crushed underfoot in any system. If you mean humans no, you cannot "Crush" a human unless you violate their rights, and violating their rights violates the terms of a free market ("free" means not having force initiated against you, not doing whatever you please, though it implies whatever you please as long as it's compatible with reality and you not initiating force.

"
A free market does not exist today. Subsidies do exist today. The negative cannot extrapolate that should includes conditions in which the resolution would be irrelevant to support his case."
You ignored my argument that allowing the consequences of the coexistence of subsidies and ethanol will cause a free market to be more likely to exist, if not today, sooner than it would have otherwise. The consequences, I'm afraid, are part of should. Since you have no response, due to having ignored it, are you conceding that point?

"
Furthermore, rainforests trees will not grow just anywhere,"
Rainforest trees are not the only trees available.

"
Bottom line: If we stopped ethanol right now, commodity prices would drop (decreased cost creates more profit)"
If we stopped CORN ETHANOL. Not if we started sugar ethanol, which is of course relevant to the resolution, since the resolution means ALL ethanol. So, false.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"I claim that you also value your quality of life (and whatever items or people cause it be so), unless you could give away every world possession and money and be satisfied with only your life."
Quality of life is a cause of furthering life. Since man's mind is needed to make his life last, the needs of his consciousness must be paid attention to if one is to use it. In short, giving up the items and people who enhance the quality of my life, or who hypothetically would (in case you can't tell I'm rather dissatisfied), would not cause my life to last any longer, indeed it would cause it to be shorter. Were this not the case, were the choice you described actually coherent, I would take the choice in favor of life, but it is not coherent.
"Millions of people also hold the rainforests as intrinsically valuable. Maybe I should gather up all the tree huggers down to the rainforest and have a mass suicide?
"
I'd prefer to have them honestly check their premises, but if they can't, that is the logical conclusion. A mass suicide is the action that will best result in furthering the "value" of the rainforests. It will reduce the population, thus reducing the need for land.

"
I contend this is statement in the promotion of a free market is incorrect. What is being said here is that people, in the act of living, desire a path of least resistance."
No, you misunderstand the term force. They desire NO resistance from other people, so long as they are not on the property of those other people (and even then they only recognize the resistance to protect their own right to resist when their property is intruded upon, and even then only if they have logic enough to recognize this). The "path of least resistance," in the meaning generally ascribed to that, may occasionally be chosen out of error, but it would not in a general case result in life- just look at the life expectancy of the preindustrial era.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"If the price goes too high, they'll just find a substitute. Either they'll buy generic or buy more less expensive food (ramen noodles instead of steaks.) That does not help profit generation."
Sure it does. You get the same caloric value, for less cost. That is, you are creating more per dollar spent. Profits, in the general sense (the business sense can only exist as a consequence).Steaks, and other meat, are known to be markedly inefficient (tasty, and so perhaps useful in rewarding great productive efforts, but the costs of that steak should be reflected when deciding whether to treat onself.

"This nor any other definition I found make a claim that a person can hold only one thing as intrinsic. Nor does it contend that a person has to arbitrarily "rank" what is most important to them"
When did I say arbitrarily? Any action must take cognizance of one's priorities, or it is not targeted toward one's goals. An end in itself, must necessarily, be an end to be pursued without other considerations, otherwise, it's not "in itself."

"
The phrase "on pain of contradiction" does not apply. Syllogism will not work in this case, as logic does not apply to what people like or dislike or find intrinsic to them."
Yes, it does. Logic applies to everything that has a truth value. Either it is true that x is an intrinsic value, or it is false. Logic dictates that a contradiction will result if one states "it is true" for more than one x in that statement.
Posted by lorca 9 years ago
lorca
A truly free market is about competition, monopolies, and being able to squash ants under your foot because there's no big brother looking over your shoulder telling you how to act. It's about exploitation. The problem with a free market is that it only provides this for whoever's on top disregarding all others. This self interest creates a system in which the most efficient market practices will not evolve. It will only lead to those with wealth further exploiting those without.

A free market does not exist today. Subsidies do exist today. The negative cannot extrapolate that should includes conditions in which the resolution would be irrelevant to support his case. As the instigator in this debate, the parameters set only extend to the resolution itself; the only variable to current conditions is the sale of ethanol for automobiles in the US. This does not include changing current market or governmental conditions. Furthermore, this debate extends to the nation as a whole; and is not limited to the personal objections or tolerances the negative feels.

Furthermore, rainforests trees will not grow just anywhere, and there's more to the rainforest than the trees. Planting another somewhere else will not replace the rainforest.

Bottom line: If we stopped ethanol right now, commodity prices would drop (decreased cost creates more profit) and the environment of the places that grow ethanol grain sources would not be expanded or exploited (intrinsic value of land preserved.)
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