Return to the Cleaning Tips Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
OT: Environmental issues and solutions

Posted by prairiemoon2 (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 16, 10 at 7:32

Posted by montalvo on Thu, Sep 16, 10 at 0:53
prairiemoon, I don't subscribe to the naive notion that if I just do my part, all the problems of the world will take care of themselves. And I like to reflect on the fact that the US used to be the shining beacon of freedom, something most citizens and those overseas truly envied.
If the government concludes that our precious water supply is dwindling, then they should allow the market price of water to rise, fully reflecting its scarcity. That way everyone has the freedom to waste as much water as they wish (or can afford), so long as they're paying a price sufficient to ensure that the supply of water meets the demand for it. That's the beauty and magic of a free market. (BTW, lest you feel troubled by those who would die of thirst from higher water prices, recognize that a ten-fold rise in the cost of water would mean that the water required for a person to sustain themselves could still be had for less than ten dollars...PER YEAR!)

Now, on the subject of low flow toilets, the laws mandating them weren't solely prompted by water shortages but also (like the phosphate issue) by the cost of sewage treatment. But there again, the government has a freedom-preserving solution. They put a tax on water to pay for the increased expenses incurred in processing the growing volume of sewage. At some point, the cost of water will be sufficient to cause consumers to DEMAND low flow toilets. And people with dainty feces such as yourself will be early adopters while people who are full of crap (such as myself) will retain their water-guzzling toilets for the two decades it will take for manufacturers to develop truly efficient crappers (as they have now almost done). Of course, I'd have to pay the price for that in higher water bills...which is only fair. But I'd have the freedom to choose! A tax on phosphate detergents would similarly provide governments with the financial resources to treat the sewage while preserving the freedom of those who don't pre-wash their dishes to allow their dishwasher to do so, while also providing a financial incentive AND the time for soap manufacturers to develop EFFECTIVE phosphate-free detergents.

But regrettably, the government's instinctive reaction has become one which robs the public of an ability to make their own decisions. And that's a scary development in my mind, especially so when there are such easy alternatives that that solve the problems AND preserve our freedoms...and our conveniences. Unfortunately, such solutions require an understanding of economics, something which most Americans and ALL politicians are totally lacking.

You sound like a very civic-minded, responsible person who tries to do good. That's commendable...but, IMHO, it's not enough. You have to understand what doing good should and shouldn't entail. You have to look beyond the superficial implications and examine the farther-reaching consequences. And to do that, you have to have a strong foundation in economics.

I'll confess that my own understanding of economics was woefully inadequate for many years. I didn't get a good grounding until I returned to school to get my MBA and that's a sad commentary on our educational system (which is sorely in need of economically rational changes!). I think you'd be amazed at how much more efficient and effective our society could be in addressing many of our most vexing problems if you could see them analyzed through the lens of economic analysis. (Wanna see how the current economic problems could get resolved...efficiently? Subscribe to the newsletter from johnmauldin.com...it's free. His last two issues were very sobering.)

OK, that's my last harangue. I'm sorry if I trampled too clumsily on your sensitivities. May all your dishes come out spotless!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: OT: Environmental issues and solutions

Montalvo, I have no idea whether ‘doing my part’ is going to solve even one world problem, but regardless, it is my responsibility and obligation to do it anyway as it is everyone’s. It’s not some ‘gift’ I am giving, it’s only what I am supposed to do. Something I do not find easy to do and I have a long way to go. Which brings me to your focus on the ‘freedoms’ this country offers. Freedom without responsibility doesn’t work very well. Something that people always leave out when they’re talking about freedom. Then you talk about freedom with one breath and government regulation and taxation in the next. If everyone were doing what they could and responding to problems as they occur with responsibility and even further, ‘preventing’ problems to begin with, by due diligence, then we wouldn’t have to have so much interference from government.

Even in the natural world we don’t have complete freedom. There’s always gravity. Try floating through air some time. Someone could stand on a street corner and scream about how they are being denied the ‘freedom’ to do that. Or try breathing anything that didn’t resemble oxygen. The world as it is, does not offer complete freedom and you can either work with it or fight against it. And yes, lots of people choose to fight against it. See multi billion dollar space program as an example. Birds aren’t free to run track, but you don’t see them setting up a lab to invent a pair of artificial limbs. And dumb as a bird is, he doesn’t find himself in the position to annihilate the world from space. Something that has been a direct result of ‘too much’ freedom without responsibility, education without understanding or common sense or wisdom.

Just as there are natural laws that we all are limited by, but keep us in equilibrium, there are 'laws' for human behavior that keep the world turning and prospering too. The more you place the emphasis on individual freedom and less on human behavior that supports community, the less truly free we are and the more you see choices made that are in the interest of one individual over a whole community. Pretty soon, you have no community for an individual to live in. It's about more than freedom and definitely about more than economics. What you are really suggesting is that you motivate people by economic considerations, when people should be motivated by other considerations that are more profound than money.

I can see that you feel passionate on this topic and at least you are trying to think of solutions and I give you credit for that, but I’m sorry to say I see some flaws in your proposal. You suggest that economic price controls could solve the problem with water being conserved. Have you considered that a small percentage of people hold the majority of wealth in the world? So if we follow that reasoning, then people who have the most money get the most water and can use all of it they want to while everyone else struggles to get by on what they can afford. I don’t know, how can you think of WATER as a commodity that should belong to the highest bidder? It belongs to the world, man and animal, fish and plant and is essential to our survival.

Some of the most educated, award winning economists have worked for the US government and where has that gotten us? And I assume they were following one of these ‘economic theories’ when the government made trade agreements that encouraged American businesses to move their operations to other countries. A choice that reflected their ‘education’ in economics, but their education seems to have been lacking in other areas, like how to keep a country strong and independent and sticking together and promoting citizen responsibility.

As much as I applaud your effort to educate yourself, I just can’t agree that an education in economics alone is the solution for the many problems that need solving. I'm all for economic education in the basics... balanced books for individuals, companies and governments. Not so much for the world being ruled by economic theory.


 o
RE: OT: Environmental issues and solutions 2

I apologize for the text of my message. I have no idea what happened to it. I used an Arial font which is pretty standard and typed it in text editor and copy/pasted it. I always do that and haven't seen this result before. It seems like every place I placed an apostrophe or a quote, it messed it up. I don't have time to do anything about it. Sorry.


 o
RE: OT: Environmental issues and solutions

I found a little time to redo that post so you can read it without getting a headache. [g] ........

Montalvo, I have no idea whether 'doing my part' is going to solve even one world problem, but regardless, it is my responsibility and obligation to do it anyway as it is everyone's. It's not some a 'gift' I am giving, it's only what I am supposed to do. Something I do not find easy to do and I have a long way to go. Which brings me to your focus on the freedoms this country offers. Freedom without responsibility doesn't work very well. Something that people always leave out when they're talking about freedom. Then you talk about freedom with one breath and government regulation and taxation in the next. If everyone were doing what they could and responding to problems as they occur with responsibility and even further, preventing problems to begin with, by due diligence, then we wouldn't have to have so much interference from government.

Even in the natural world we don't have complete freedom. There's always gravity. Try floating through air some time. Someone could stand on a street corner and scream about how they are being denied the 'freedom' to do that. Or try breathing anything that didn't resemble oxygen. The world as it is, does not offer complete freedom and you can either work with it or fight against it. And yes, lots of people choose to fight against it. See multi billion dollar space program as an example. Birds aren't free to run track, but you don't see them setting up a lab to invent a pair of artificial limbs. And dumb as a bird is, he doesn't find himself in the position to annihilate the world from space. Something that has been a direct result of too much freedom without responsibility, education without understanding or common sense or wisdom.

Just as there are natural laws that we all are limited by, but keep us in equilibrium, there are 'laws' for human behavior that keep the world turning and prospering too. The more you place the emphasis on individual freedom and less on human behavior that supports community, the less truly free we are and the more you see choices made that are in the interest of one individual over a whole community. Pretty soon, you have no community for an individual to live in. It's about more than freedom and definitely about more than economics. What you are really suggesting is that you motivate people by economic considerations, when people should be motivated by other considerations that are more profound than money.

I can see that you feel passionate on this topic and at least you are trying to think of solutions and I give you credit for that, but I'm sorry to say I see some flaws in your proposal. You suggest that economic price controls could solve the problem with water being conserved. Have you considered that a small percentage of people hold the majority of wealth in the world? So if we follow that reasoning, then people who have the most money get the most water and can use all of it they want to while everyone else struggles to get by on what they can afford. I don't know, how can you think of WATER as a commodity that should belong to the highest bidder? It belongs to the world, man and animal, fish and plant and is essential to our survival.

Some of the most educated, award winning economists have worked for the US government and where has that gotten us? And I assume they were following one of these 'economic theories' when the government made trade agreements that encouraged American businesses to move their operations to other countries. A choice that reflected their education in economics, but their education seems to have been lacking in other areas, like how to keep a country strong and independent and sticking together and promoting citizen responsibility.

As much as I applaud your effort to educate yourself, I just can't agree that an education in economics alone is the solution for the many problems that need solving. I'm all for economic education in the basics... balanced books for individuals, companies and governments. Not so much for the world being ruled by economic theory.


 o
RE: OT: Environmental issues and solutions

You said, "I'm all for economic education in the basics... balanced books for individuals, companies and governments."

Thanks for demonstrating my point regarding economic ignorance. You're confusing "economics" with "finance", a common mistake. "Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services," according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics). And if you were to expand your knowledge in this area, you'd soon appreciate why a Utopian statement such as "What you are really suggesting is that you motivate people by economic considerations, when people should be motivated by other considerations that are more profound than money" is embarrassingly naive.

Karl Marx proposed a very sensible process for the allocation of goods and services: "From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs." It's so "sensible" that many Americans, upon first hearing it, presume that it MUST have been uttered by one of our founding fathers. Unfortunately, it simply doesn't work in the real world. Notwithstanding your heroic, selfless, responsible motivations, the prevailing societal motivation is the pursuit of self-interest. No, not every citizen acts this way...but enough to render the efforts of all the selfless folks to be inconsequential. Societies require laws to ensure that such motivations can be channeled toward creating the greatest good for the greatest number, e.g., you'd like to just TAKE that new BMW but our laws provide a strong discouragement from doing so. While I was arguing for preserving our freedoms, I'm decidedly NOT arguing for anarchy or an absence of laws.

You mention the prevalence of economists in government and the recent economic meltdown, suggesting that economic wisdom is of much less value than I suggest. But the problem was that the economists weren't calling the shots (often weren't even consulted). The decisions were all in the hands of economically illiterate politicians, elected by an economically illiterate electorate. And while these same politicians love to demonize Wall Street bankers or greedy home-flippers to obscure their culpability, the crisis was primarily caused by an unholy alliance of anti-regulation Republicans and "Let's let po' folk buy houses they can't afford" Democrats (let it be known that I'm decidedly non-partisan in my disdain for BOTH parties). Each party was catering to their constituency as they dismantled the Depression-era banking legislation called Glass-Steagall, they raised the leverage limits on investment banks from 1:11 to 1:40, they goaded Fannie/Freddie into making (taxpayer-guaranteed) sub-prime loans, they blocked anti-predatory lending legislation by the states, etc. ad nauseum.

But I'm not sure that continuing our discussion here makes much sense, in that your ignorance of certain fundamentals cause you to base your arguments on rather obviously improbable notions. Please, don't misunderstand me...I'm sure your a very intelligent women (excuse my presumption of gender) but, like most Americans, you've simply been deprived of a highly significant set of knowledge that precludes you from drawing rational conclusions about the way society works. And you appear unwilling to expand your knowledge in this area, preferring to believe that your idealistic world will someday come about.

But I hope you'll at least do a bit of exploration into economics because I think it could greatly enrich your understanding of our society's problems and how they might best be solved. That's an important skill for every voter to acquire.


 o
RE: OT: Environmental issues and solutions

I think the state of the world has all of us worried. It's difficult to watch the news. We all try to make sense of it and figure out for ourselves where the solutions are. So I've attributed that reason to your intensity over these issues as it is mine, and continued this discussion despite what I've felt, at times, was a thoroughly condescending manner that you have spoken to me. You could be right, that I am naive. I don't find that cause for embarrassment though. I'd rather be naive and idealistic than a lot of other things I could be. But really, whether I am naive, or idealistic or 'uneducated' in economics should not have entered into the discussion if you were seriously trying to make your point. Economics is not the only field they teach in college. Communication and People Skills is still taught isn't it? I would think even economists would find that area of study to be of value.

You're right, I may have used 'economics' instead of 'finance' but you missed my point entirely while you were busy correcting me. Which is that along the way, many people have made 'economics' way too complicated when they should be trying to make it simpler. And really, beyond 'finance' I have a hard time seeing the value of studying it, if it cannot be applied in a way to produce beneficial results. You admit that despite all the educated economic elite in this country, their voices are being ignored by those in a position to apply them. Why is that? So, no one in the country has enough education in economics to profit from it? Politicians have not taken enough economics in school so they can understand what the economists they hire are saying? Economists have not taken enough courses in Public Speaking and Communication to convince anyone to take their advice? So what is the point? All of that education gone to waste. So, I guess I am not the only one who is not versed in economic theory enough to satisfy you. But maybe there is someone whose grasp of economics meets with your approval, but the electorate just elected the wrong candidate. Does that really make sense to you?

The world is made up of all kinds of people, smart and not so smart, educated and not so educated, white collar and blue collar. That is not going to change. I'd say you are also naive, with a view of a 'system' of economic theory correcting all the world's ills and a fully educated electorate. So, in order for your plan to succeed, the electorate has to have an advanced education in economics?

And let's not forget there are contradictory views among economists, not agreement and consensus. So each citizen also has to decide who is spouting the correct view. Well, in order to do that, wouldn't they have to know more and be smarter than any of them?

I'm always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt until I know better and most people start out with the best of intentions, maybe even a few of those economists [g], but that is not enough. If they can't produce some results by now, then isn't it just possible that one reason might be that the problem is not economic in nature or another could be that economists are making it way too complicated? Look at the tax structure. There are four times more words in the tax code than there are in the Bible, for crying out loud! Now that is a joke that should illustrate clearly one of the reasons a lot of people don't trust those making the decisions for the rest of us. You have to start to wonder if someone isn't deliberately creating something so complicated that 99% of the people cannot understand it.

I know you think that although I am not lacking in intelligence, my ability to think rationally is suspect and my knowledge of economics is nonexistent, but please....I do know who Karl Marx is. Isn't he one of the Marx Brothers? [g] You certainly made a leap there, if you are suggesting that my idealistic view of the world resembles communism. I am old enough to have lived through the cold war and to see the Berlin Wall come down and observe for myself the end result of the communist experiment.

I find it interesting that the first reason you thought of that we do need laws, is to protect the wealthy from having their BMWs stolen and not the rest of us from the likes of a Jeffrey Skilling. A man who, by the way, thought of himself as extremely intelligent and had an MBA from Harvard where I assume they require courses in economics. Another example of the over value of intelligence and education instead of honesty, goodness, faithfulness and a little bit of idealism maybe. I don't have anything against either, intelligence or education, but if you have that without the rest, what good is it? It seems to me, that we have enough educated, intelligent people that are certainly not using those advantages for '...the greater good' as you put it.

You may be correct and accurate in your identification of where mistakes were made that contributed to the economic meltdown, I wouldn't know, as you've already pointed out. Be that as it may, your final conclusion, that it somehow falls at the feet of the economically illiterate electorate, I think is quite a simplistic view and one that again, I suggest is far from realistic. The electorate should not need to have a degree in economics to vote. If they do then something else is entirely wrong.

Actually, many things are wrong, too many to count and as it seems that neither of us has the solutions to even one of the world's problems in our grasp, I have to agree that our discussion has certainly run it's course.

We've certainly run far afield of discussing phosphates in dishwashing detergent. I'm sure you mean well as I hope you know that I do too. You spoke your mind and I did too and no hard feelings.... :-)



 o
RE: OT: Environmental issues and solutions

I’ve decided to make one last effort to acquaint you with the significance of economics in understanding the world around you and distinguishing between effective and ineffective solutions to society’s many problems. But before I do that, let me first acknowledge that perhaps my efforts thus far reflect my limitations in clearly communicating my points. For example, when referencing Karl Marx, I was NOT intending to disparage you by labeling you a communist or inferring that you supported his views. Rather, I was trying to make the point that many times an apparently sensible principle such as those espoused by Mr. Marx (or you) can prove to be totally dysfunctional in practice…as explained by economic principles.

But I’d like to walk you through a specific example of the application of microeconomics (i.e., the application of economics on a small scale, as distinguished from macroeconomics which looks at issues affecting, say, the national economy). Here in California, we’ve had our share of droughts in the past and we were experiencing a particularly prolonged drought when I was in business school. People were being forced to cut their water usage by 20% or face stiff fines. We were being required to only water our lawns on alternate days. “Water police” were issuing citations when landscape runoff was found in the street. Because of the drought, we were told, there was simply not enough water to go around. My econ professor used the occasion to make a strong point about the importance of understanding economics. He proclaimed, “Our current water shortage has nothing whatsoever to do with the drought!” What??? How could that be???

Economics tells us that the most efficient way to allocate scarce resources is through a market exchange, where the price of a given good or service is determined by the price that a willing buyer will pay a willing seller. Such a system GUARANTEES that the supply of a given good or service will always be sufficient to meet the demand (except for very short-term, unanticipated distribution problems, such as supplying drinking water immediately following the Haitian earthquake or introducing virtually ANY new Apple product). So how could CA be experiencing a water shortage? Very simple. The Public Utilities Commission was unwilling to allow the price for water to be set by the marketplace.

Their reasoning was paved with good intentions (as is the proverbial road to Hell). They didn’t want the burden of a decreased supply of water to fall disproportionately on those least able to pay for it. And, after all, isn’t water a necessity of life? Yet each of their “solutions” created its own set of problems. Restricting landscape irrigation placed a disproportionate burden on those with large properties while apartment residents could continue to take half-hour showers. Requiring a reduction in water usage from the prior year disproportionately punished those who had always conserved water and those who had recently put in a yard. And these regulations did NOTHING to increase the supply of water.

If instead they had let the price of water rise to a level that reflected its scarcity, the demand for water would be brought into equilibrium with supply. Consumers would have reduced their consumption in response to the higher price (as occurred during last year’s spike in gas prices) and there would have been adequate water for all those willing to buy it.

But wait, you say…what about fairness? Is it fair that the poor, who may be least prepared to deal with an increase in water prices, assume such a disproportionate hit? Well, the poor already have to pay for all the other necessities of life: food, shelter, transportation, heating, etc. Why should water be any different? (And to restate a previous remark, a ten-fold increase in water prices would still mean less than $10/YEAR to stay alive.) Our free market system works because it forces those who would be satisfied with only the necessities of life to get off their duffs and contribute to society…or they’ll starve, freeze, etc. (Thank God for Clinton putting an end to Johnson’s ill-conceived War on Poverty, which expanded the ranks for the impoverished and nearly bankrupted the nation.) If we feel that some are UNABLE to provide for themselves, we can (and do) establish welfare programs, charities, homeless shelters, etc. to help them deal with the price of necessities. But using PRICE to allocate scarce resources gives each individual the freedom to make decisions on how he/she would prefer to allocate their scarce dollars.

But even more important, price provides the capacity for us to actually increase a dwindling supply by providing an economic justification to drill new wells, import water from areas having an abundant supply, expand water conservation technology, build desalinization plants, plant xeriscape landscapes, etc. And unlike wishing and hoping that citizens would simply act on the need for conservation by being RESPONSIBLE, a market allocation of scarce resources ACTUALLY WORKS!

But couldn’t a group of evil rich meanies corner the market on water, driving the price higher to satisfy their own greed? Sure, that could happen. And that’s where government has a role in preventing the manipulation of the marketplace and the creation of monopolies. It takes vigilance to keep markets free. A good example of our government’s failure to do so is in allowing China’s currency manipulation to capture a disproportionate share of the American market. Why aren’t we more aggressive in stopping this? Because China buys off our politicians by purchasing Treasury bonds which enables them to finance their on-going deficit spending. Oops…sorry, I’m slipping into macroeconomics and politics. That’s a much more involved lesson.

Market solutions aren’t perfect but, as Churchill said about democracy, “… the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried.” (Of course, he also said, “The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” He might well have been referencing their ignorance of economics!)

Dr. Granfield likely would be rather disappointed with the superficial job I’ve just done in recreating his lesson on CA’s water shortage but I hope it’s given you a flavor of some of the considerations in looking at society’s challenges through the lens of economics.

Any questions?


 o
Corrected version

Sorry...had the same problem you did, prairiemoon. Here's a clean version:

I've decided to make one last effort to acquaint you with the significance of economics in understanding the world around you and distinguishing between effective and ineffective solutions to society's many problems. But before I do that, let me first acknowledge that perhaps my efforts thus far reflect my limitations in clearly communicating my points. For example, when referencing Karl Marx, I was NOT intending to disparage you by labeling you a communist or inferring that you supported his views. Rather, I was trying to make the point that many times an apparently sensible principle such as those espoused by Mr. Marx (or you) can prove to be totally dysfunctional in practice as explained by economic principles.

But I'd like to walk you through a specific example of the application of microeconomics (i.e., the application of economics on a small scale, as distinguished from macroeconomics which looks at issues affecting, say, the national economy). Here in California, we've had our share of droughts in the past and we were experiencing a particularly prolonged drought when I was in business school. People were being forced to cut their water usage by 20% or face stiff fines. We were being required to only water our lawns on alternate days. "Water police" were issuing citations when landscape runoff was found in the street. Because of the drought, we were told, there was simply not enough water to go around. My econ professor used the occasion to make a strong point about the importance of understanding economics. He proclaimed, "Our current water shortage has nothing whatsoever to do with the drought!" What??? How could that be???

Economics tells us that the most efficient way to allocate scarce resources is through a market exchange, where the price of a given good or service is determined by the price that a willing buyer will pay a willing seller. Such a system GUARANTEES that the supply of a given good or service will always be sufficient to meet the demand (except for very short-term, unanticipated distribution problems, such as supplying drinking water immediately following the Haitian earthquake or introducing virtually ANY new Apple product). So how could CA be experiencing a water shortage? Very simple. The Public Utilities Commission was unwilling to allow the price for water to be set by the marketplace.

Their reasoning was paved with good intentions (as is the proverbial road to Hell). They didn't want the burden of a decreased supply of water to fall disproportionately on those least able to pay for it. And, after all, isn't water a necessity of life? Yet each of their "solutions" created its own set of problems. Restricting landscape irrigation placed a disproportionate burden on those with large properties while apartment residents could continue to take half-hour showers. Requiring a reduction in water usage from the prior year disproportionately punished those who had always conserved water and those who had recently put in a yard. And these regulations did NOTHING to increase the supply of water.

If instead they had let the price of water rise to a level that reflected its scarcity, the demand for water would be brought into equilibrium with supply. Consumers would have reduced their consumption in response to the higher price (as occurred during last year's spike in gas prices) and there would have been adequate water for all those willing to buy it.

But wait, you say...what about fairness? Is it fair that the poor, who may be least prepared to deal with an increase in water prices, assume such a disproportionate hit? Well, the poor already have to pay for all the other necessities of life: food, shelter, transportation, heating, etc. Why should water be any different? (And to restate a previous remark, a ten-fold increase in water prices would still mean less than $10/YEAR to stay alive.) Our free market system works because it forces those who would be satisfied with only the necessities of life to get off their duffs and contribute to society...or they'll starve, freeze, etc. (Thank God for Clinton putting an end to Johnson's ill-conceived War on Poverty, which expanded the ranks for the impoverished and nearly bankrupted the nation.) If we feel that some are UNABLE to provide for themselves, we can (and do) establish welfare programs, charities, homeless shelters, etc. to help them deal with the price of necessities. But using PRICE to allocate scarce resources gives each individual the freedom to make decisions on how he/she would prefer to allocate their scarce dollars.

But even more important, price provides the capacity for us to actually increase a dwindling supply by providing an economic justification to drill new wells, import water from areas having an abundant supply, expand water conservation technology, build desalinization plants, plant xeriscape landscapes, etc. And unlike wishing and hoping that citizens would simply act on the need for conservation by being RESPONSIBLE, a market allocation of scarce resources ACTUALLY WORKS!

But couldn't a group of evil rich meanies corner the market on water, driving the price higher to satisfy their own greed? Sure, that could happen. And that's where government has a role in preventing the manipulation of the marketplace and the creation of monopolies. It takes vigilance to keep markets free. A good example of our government's failure to do so is in allowing China's currency manipulation to capture a disproportionate share of the American market. Why aren't we more aggressive in stopping this? Because China buys off our politicians by purchasing Treasury bonds which enables them to finance their on-going deficit spending. Oops...sorry, I'm slipping into macroeconomics and politics. That's a much more involved lesson.

Market solutions aren't perfect but, as Churchill said about democracy, "...the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried" (Of course, he also said, "The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter." He might well have been referencing their ignorance of economics!)

Dr. Granfield likely would be rather disappointed with the superficial job I've just done in recreating his lesson on CA's water shortage but I hope it's given you a flavor of some of the considerations in looking at society's challenges through the lens of economics.

Any questions?


 o
RE: OT: Environmental issues and solutions

montalvo, I think you could be right, that studying your own communication to see where you can make it stronger, might help you to get your ideas across better. I think you do have the language skills, it's still not easy putting it all together in a concise and understandable presentation. Very few people find it actually easy, I'm sure. I know I don't. Especially when talking about complicated subjects.

I'm sorry to say though, that it's not just about a person being able to express their ideas that is the whole of communication. It's also listening and processing what the other person is saying and being able to relate it to what you've said and what you think and responding. Again, something that is not easy. We all have to work at that. As that applies to this conversation, I'm not feeling like you are really hearing me in a way that furthers the conversation. If I were to guess, you may be listening with an ear to how you can refute what I have to say that is negative about your own point of view, rather than actually listening with the aim of understanding my point of view. You seem to ignore a great deal of what I have to say and zero in on what I say that you can use to make whatever point you are trying to make.

I think because you haven't really been listening, you've missed the fact that I clearly was not wanting a lesson in microeconomics. Although I might find it interesting to learn something about, I continue to say that I don't find it has the value that you believe it to have. I'm not saying that there isn't an economic system in place, or that you have not gone to school and learned about how it works correctly. I am not in a position to judge that. I simply see other reasons, outside of economic principles that block those principles from being applied. I don't want to invest my time and energy which are in short supply into learning about a system that from my point of view is not working, despite the fact, that many people do understand it in principle and try to apply it. I'm suggesting that I'm unaware of anywhere in the world today, where this economic system of principles is being used and succeeding in the way you suggest it can. It remains theory from what I know of it. Untested theory that no one can really say actually does work. Unless it was working and now it's not.

In a way, I think you already realize that and feel a great deal of frustration about it. You still believe that if the principles were applied, they would work, but you also see they are blocked and naively still suggest we should trust the government even in this one area of water supply, to keep things fair. You're suggesting a system that is inherently unfair, which cannot be made right by government oversight. Even if government oversight could be trusted, which I continue to say I don't believe it can be. You seem to have convinced yourself that if John Q Public could just understand how valuable these principles were and voted for those candidates in an election who supported them, then you could finally see them be applied correctly and all would be hunky dorry.

And here is where I feel you have not really heard me.....I have repeatedly made a number of points to show that there are things standing in the way of that happening that you are not taking into account, but for some reason, you seem to be ignoring those points. You don't acknowledge that I've said them or address them. So then it becomes more of a monologue rather than a dialogue.

I wouldn't presume to even guess at the reason why you may be doing that. I think we all have to continue to try to understand ourselves before we can understand others. So that may be something worth figuring out for yourself.

At any rate, I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. :-) I'm going back to doing something about what I can do something about, my own little part. :-) It's been interesting talking to you, good luck and take care.


 o
RE: OT: Environmental issues and solutions

Well, on one point, we have EXACTLY the same position: "The person I'm conversing with isn't hearing and/or understanding what I've said." And on that basis, I believe you're right in declaring this conversation ended.

All the best...


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Cleaning Tips Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here