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#298243 - 01/20/17 01:46 PM A resilient economy
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8594
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
Infrastructure expenditures do not result in economic improvement in the long term

Quote:
All of the programs and incentives put in place by the federal and state governments to induce higher levels of growth by building more infrastructure has made the city of Lafayette functionally insolvent. Lafayette has collectively made more promises than it can keep and it’s not even close. If they operated on accrual accounting — where you account for your long term liabilities — instead of a cash basis — where you don’t — they would have been bankrupt decades ago. This is a pattern we see in every city we’ve examined. It is a byproduct of the American pattern of development we adopted everywhere after World War II.
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#298244 - 01/20/17 03:59 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15463
I found the article (and ancillary links) interesting, and a good peek into unintended consequences. Growth, as a goal, is an elusive and unsustainable model. There is, however, a glaring hole in the logic of the piece that is subtly elided: the squeezing of local government by penuriousness. It is not the creation of the infrastructure alone that has created this crisis, but the fashionable ideological argument that "government is too big" and the idolization of the rugged individual over the collective interest. We don't want to pay for what we've got.

In 1978 two-thirds of California voters were convinced by huckster Howard Jarvis to cut off their noses to spite their faces by passing Prop 13 in what was popularly called a "tax revolt". What it really was is a scam that plays on a different human tendency than risk-aversion: greed. Jarvis' successors (Grover Norquist, Newt Gingrich, Ronald Reagan, the GOP - and now, Donald Trump) have weaponized the process by demonizing government and convincing people "you can have what you have, and not pay for it." The result has been a perpetual whittling away at infrastructure spending at every level of government that has hollowed out America - and they ain't done yet!

When voters have the opportunity, they tend to vote against paying any price - bond issues, tax assessments, levies. They elect politicians who promise to "cut" without considering benefits received. It's how you get the anomalous image of tea party activists protesting taxes and regulations with bumper stickers saying "keep your hands off my social security". They want the benefits of the ACA without the burden of the administration of it. They want to bite the hand, but still get fed.

Yes, growth has costs, and humans tend to misapprehend risk and defer costs, as the article notes. But the elephant in the room is the voters' desire to eat the cake and expect to still have it in the future.
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A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

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#298247 - 01/20/17 07:09 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: NW Ponderer]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15463
Bonus question: how many clichés did I work into that post?

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#298250 - 01/20/17 07:26 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: NW Ponderer]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8594
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
I agree with your opinion of folks wanting stuff but not wanting to be responsible for paying.

My thinking for posting the article comes more from the book I am reading, "Surviving the Future" by David Fleming. He breaks down an economy into a basic "subsistence" model and a growth/consumption" model. A subsistence model, which does not mean primitive, but localized, requires a lot less infrastructure. Once enough growth enters in, and import/export activities between localized economies begin, additional infrastructure "needs" emerge, that were not there before. This grows a second economy that owes its existence to supporting the trade activities. His point is that much energy is needed to support the secondary economy, adding to the cost, and therefor the amount of work people must do to exist. In Fleming's exposition, he makes the case that this is a model on a downward and destructive trajectory, particularly for the social and environmental components of our existence, and eventually the money side, too.
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"You can't fix a problem until you understand what the problem is." Logtroll

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#298256 - 01/20/17 09:26 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15463
I don't disagree with the premise or that exposition. I agree that local investment is far superior. My point was to point out the flaws in that particular article. This is not a simple problem subject to facile solutions. It's taken hundreds of years to get here.
_________________________
A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

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#298262 - 01/20/17 11:43 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: NW Ponderer]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8594
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
If it's not obvious, I'm trying to entice some others to read the David Fleming book, so we can discuss some things. In it he presents ideas for better preparing for surviving the crash that's coming, which is not really talking about solutions. sick
_________________________
"You can't fix a problem until you understand what the problem is." Logtroll

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#298345 - 01/24/17 03:25 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8594
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
The Joke

Quote:
We’ve not the resources to power suburbia, the family car, aviation, profligate agriculture and so on. Those things not only contribute to climate change, they will also lead the current monetary casino to an impossible fantasy land and so collapse and with that collapse – economic and social collapse. We could argue that hastening collapse will reduce its eventual magnitude, but I think we should be urgently building a community network which is disconnected from that casino – one formed enough (by our contribution) to emerge alive from beneath the rubble. Collapse will come. We must also divest our lives from the causes of climate change.
_________________________
"You can't fix a problem until you understand what the problem is." Logtroll

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#298355 - 01/25/17 07:57 AM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
pondering_it_all Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 6999
Loc: North San Diego County
Quote:
We’ve not the resources to power suburbia, the family car, aviation, profligate agriculture and so on.


I think we do. Solar and wind power are making great gains, we have a huge amount of natural gas to tide us over, and I think we will have practical hydrogen fusion within the next 20 years. Rising CO2 levels is just an energy-dependent technical problem, not a political or philosophical one: Once we have hydrogen fusion (neutral CO2 effect) we can use some of that energy to grab CO2 out of the atmosphere and convert it into synthetic coal to be buried. Ironic: Coal miner will be somebody who buries coal!

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#298359 - 01/25/17 02:13 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: pondering_it_all]
logtroll Offline
veteran

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 8594
Loc: New Mexico (not old Mexico)
Or we could start intentionally becoming more sane.
_________________________
"You can't fix a problem until you understand what the problem is." Logtroll

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#298361 - 01/25/17 03:01 PM Re: A resilient economy [Re: logtroll]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 15463
The biggest problem facing the next generation will be water. Our aquifers are draining, our population is growing, and our climate is changing. The unintended consequences will pile up - streams dissipating, ocean salinity rising, and earthquakes increasing from crustal subsidence. Energy is just one issue to resolve.
_________________________
A well reasoned argument is like a diamond: impervious to corruption and crystal clear - and infinitely rarer.

Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards. - Robert Reich

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