The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
mrmatt505
Con (against)
Winning
45 Points

government should intervene more with alternative fuel

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/29/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,262 times Debate No: 2280
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (13)

 

dairygirl4u2c

Pro

why the government should intervene more with alternative fuel.

people say the market will take care of itself. in the end, it will. but at what cost in the mean time? we should act now because we'll look back and see how much we've wasted on gasoline.

companies say they can make alternative biodesial fuels for a dollar a gallon. (using algae farms, or any organic material using bacteria to make ethanol from hte cellulose material, switch grass and other things more entergy intensive than corn etc.. and exemplified by brazil etc who are energy dependant right now from gas)
but, there's a catch 22 occuring. comanyies make alternative companies but often must put operations on hold. why? because there's no demand. the consumers who make demand say there's no supply. who can afford as a consumer to buy altnernative vehicles? the richer. does the rising prices right now of gasoline hurt them? not as much so they don't buy. but, even if they bought cars sometimes as they are now, there's still not much there in way of an infrastructure for the supply side.
the rich won't start buying more until it really starting hurting them. the poor won't do it cause they can't. the middle won't do it, probaly for the same reason. it's conventional wisdom that the rich are the ones who start these new technologies... and the conventional wisdom is probably true here too.

but, unlike many situations with conventinoal wisdom... for altrnernative fuel, waiting till the rich start teh technology isn't in the best interest of the country right now. that's because... for many other things, like buying a DVD player... fuel isn't something that's simply a perk as much, and isn't such a regular and substantial cost for the consumer. it has no noticable affect on the economy. fuel is the opposite.
while we're waiting for the rich to convert, what's happening? in the mean time, the poorer are spending their money on gas, or not being as productive as they could with cheaper gas or some gas at all. the middle class largely too. consider all that money they're spending on that, when they could be spending on an array of other things. all that money could have been going to the economy at large, instead of the pockets and costs of a few. (and foreignors, which is a major concern in and of itself)

to make it more of a practical example. say a new biodesial machine at a gas station costs fifty thousand. all that money that the poorer are wasting right now would have been more than enough to either subsidize or lend to that station. (you could lend the money to them... and ensur ethey make a tidy profit before they ever have to pay it back, if ever considering there's a risk they might not make money) if we invested in them as a government then, the effects would be much sooner, and the poorer and middle class would save more, and it'd be a boon to the economy. (plus all the jobs involved with the transitioning infrastructure) there'd be so much savings, you could even lend or subsidize biodisal plants too, though it'd probably not be needed for them.

government intervention is the way to break the catch 22 sooner when it'll make a difference for hte economy, than later when we'll look back and see all that wealth that has been squandered.
mrmatt505

Con

First I would just like to thank you for creating this debate topic. So, thank you!

I will begin my argumentation by referencing one of the most political and economic minds of all times. Adam Smith. His ideas were the basis for the world economy and the United States' government. He claimed that a government has 3 duties to its people, and no more.
1) Public Institutions
2) Domestic Security
3) Protection from foreign invasion

Alternative energy does not fall under any of these three duties that the government holds and should therefore the government shoud not act.

Next, you advocate that the market cannot take care of the 'problem' (I will talk about this 'problem' later on.) itself. You only contention for this is that biodiesel is an effective energy source. There is a major problem with this though. BIODIESEL REQUIRES MORE CHEMICAL ENERGY TO MAKE THAN IT CAN PRODUCE MAKING IT COUNTERPRODUCTIVE TO ITS CAUSE. But you go on further to note that biodiesel is too expensive and is the only reason why it isn't being used. I answer this back with two responses. Biodiesel is cheaper than regular diesel fuel (which is the only thing that biodiesel replaces) meaning that money isn't the problem so that automatically deteriorates your argumentation. But furthermore, biodiesel is ineffective, it clogs up cars, and it takes away from agriculture raising the price of food which would effect the poor and the economy even more.

Next with your 'conventioanl wisdom' aruments, they have no basis and there is no analysis on how this 'wisdom' even exists. It does not exist because the rich would not invest money in a risky area. It is the middle class that would make this technological advancement simply for the emperical support that comes along with it. It was the middle class that lead the textile, industrial, and technological advancements of the past, therefore it should be left to these people to do it again.

And, you advocate that the government would be the best operative to change the current status quo of oil consumption to alternative fuels, ummmmm..... the government has strong ties to OPEC and other oil agencies that make them the worst possible advocacy group. No matter how much they call for a change in the current energy 'crisis' they never will make this change. This is reason enough to deny the use of the USFG.

Next, LEAVE IT UP TO THE MARKET! Smith also created the concept of the 'invisible hand' that drives prices of goods down and creates the highest amount of techonological innovations. A free market also weeds out the bad ideas and further iterates the good ones because people look to what works and buy it. Basic consumer/producer relationship. This is the only way that we would ever be able to find the best source of energy.

Finally, you make the assumption that we should divest away from oil and to alternative energy sources. I ask you why? Oil provides more CO2 for plants increasing crop production around the world, it has shown no signs of 'global warming'. We have not seen the effects of burning oil and we will not see them in the future.

Thank you!
Matt
Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

it seems to me that i'm trying to give concrete info and numbers, and you're insisting on more abstractions. At the level of abstractions, anything can make sense. You should post number that are realisitc that show how the poorer spending money in the mean time wouldn't be disadvantageous.

contra the simple free market fundamentalist approach... here are some ideas for where this debate really should be headed.

-----------------------------

you didn't address the savings that the poor would have as a result of chancing sooner. plus there are role the gov could play as per adam smith.
here are some numbers for you to think about.

I think this whole car issue is exemplified by alternative energy in general. Look at heating of a home etc. The technology like solar etc is out there to have pay off... but it takes like 20 years for it to pay off. Most people don't want to do that. This is similar to alt fuel for cars, i'd contend, because there's a pay off consumer would get if we switched sooner rather than later.

as to the proper role of govn... an agency would be leading this cause, so that fits one of hte prongs. but, either way:
But, unlike solar panels and such, there's a reason I'd respect the individual soverignty of the consumer in those cases and not alt fuel as much. With solar panels etc, there's no infrastructural challenges. Sure, to a degree, the prices for the solar panels etc is high, but it's not inherently undoable for a consumer to buy. With cars, it is pretty much inhernetly undoable if there's no ethanol etc stations around. This is how I justify the government's involvement primarily. The economic reasons are second, but not subservient to consumer soveriegty.
plus, you have issues such as giving hte poorer in our society a better opportuinty to get ahead, and giving htem something more proportional to their richer counterparts, a basic minimum.

if we wait until the richer can feel it, all that money that's being squandered by teh poor and middle class isn't going to the economy at large
cause one thing i wasn't very explicit on. if they can make it for a dollar a gallon, and even if they sold it at 2 a gallon, which is what they say they'd be doing, it'd still work out right.
consider, that my google search says the average station produces 700000 gallons of fuel a year. if we have a better infrastructure sooner than later, then taken to the extreme that'd be instead of 3*700k it'd be 2*700k, with a 700,000 saving per station. that, in one year, would be more than enough to pay for a machine there. instead, we're waiting till the rich get pinched... we're wasting at most 700000 dollars a year per gas station.
i realize dthe numbers are made optimally for me, and there's a trasition period, but.
what the free market fundamentalist would say....wait till gas is 12 dollars a gallon... cause that's the only way the rich and the fuel stations are going to start doing anything: they're not going to do it sooner, cause the richer don't want to be inconvenienced by limited stations, and the stations won't do it, cause they have no consumers. and then, if we did it the free mar fun way, we'd have to wait for those new cars to trickle down.
mrmatt505

Con

First off, if you want to talk statistics, you should provide some. Using the number 22 in your speech does not justify statistics. Furthermore, I'm not using 'abstractions' I am using common sense!

Next, I answered your argumentation on the poor stating that biodiesel would exacerbate the problem as would ethanol. Furthermore, solar power is not the only form of alternative energy.

And, you concede so much stuff and don't even attempt to answer Adam Smith. Smith's idea were the foundation for modern day economy so if you are going to even bring up how your method solves best for the economy, you at the least have to answer back the Adam Smith argument stating that the government should be limited when it comes to the economy. And, you don't answer my argumentation about how the government has too close of ties to organizations such as OPEC, at the point where you concede that, then you have overlooked an essential point of analysis that will cause further hindrances to your arguments because I have automatically answered back all of your arguments.

Supply and demand will eventually check back the '$12' a gallon argument because there will be a push by the common folk for a new form of energy because I know a lot of people who will quit purchasing gas if it surpasses $4 a gallon. In reality, you look at it in a dismal sort of perspective where the poor and middle class are either incompetent or unable to do anything when that is just not the case.

Thanks,
Matt
Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

dairygirl4u2c forfeited this round.
mrmatt505

Con

My opponent conceded my arguments so just pull them across. It makes more sense that the government should not intervene with alternative energy, so don't vote for the pro. Thanks!
- Matt
Debate Round No. 3
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