It’s a tax that’s “not a tax” and a “free market” that isn’t free.
Joy. An emission trading scheme (ETS) is on the agenda again in Australia. Here’s why the first priority is to clean up a crooked conversation. If we can just talk straight, the stupid will sort itself out.
The national debate is a straight faced parody — it could be a script from “Yes Minister”, except no one would believe it. Bill Shorten argues that the Labor Party can control the world’s weather with something that exactly fits the definition of a tax, yet he calls it a “free market” because apparently he has no idea what a free market really is. (What union rep would?) It’s like our opposition leader is a wannabe entrepreneur building a Kmart that controls the clouds. Look out Batman, Billman is coming. When is a forced market a free market? When you want to be PM.
The vandals are at the gates of both English and economics, and we can’t even have a straight conversation. The Labor Party is in flat out denial of dictionary definitions — is that because they can’t read dictionaries, or because they don’t want an honest conversation? Let’s ask them. And the idea central to modern economics — free markets — when will the Labor Party learn what one is? It’s only a free market when I’m free to buy nothing.
A carbon market is a forced market. Who wants to buy a certificate for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions? Only 12% of the population will even spend $2 to offset their flight emissions. How many Australians would choose to spend $500? Why don’t we ask them?! Why — because Bill Shorten knows what the answer would be.
Then, on top of all that, is the hypocrisy — the Labor Party say an ETS is the most efficient way to reduce carbon, but they know it isn’t true, because they also insist we buy 50% of our electricity from renewables. Even with an ETS, no one would choose wind power or solar to reduce CO2. They are that stupid.
When will Labor start to speak English?
Definition of “Tax”: noun
So let’s call it what it is, the ETS-tax. Confront the Labor Party with their inability to speak honest English. There is deception here, written into their language. As long as they won’t speak English, how can we even discuss their policy?
Can someone tell Labor what a “free market” is?
Real free markets are remarkable tools and very efficient, but we can never have a real free market on a ubiquitous molecule used in all life on Earth. It’s an impossibility.
The Labor Party is simply stealing a good brand name. This fake market in air certificates does not meet even the basic requirements of a true free market. It’s a market with no commodity, no demand, no supply, and no verifiability of goods delivered. You and I are not “free” to choose to buy nothing. Most of the players in this market are not free to play — who pays for yeast, weathering, or ocean cycles?
As I said in The Australian: people who like free markets don’t want a carbon market, and the people who don’t trust capitalism want emissions trading. So why are socialists fighting for a carbon market? Because this “market” is a bureaucrat’s wet dream.
A free market is the voluntary exchange of goods and services. “Free” means being free to choose to buy or to not buy the product. At the end of a free trade, both parties have something they prefer.
To create demand for emissions permits, the government threatens onerous fines to force people to buy a product they otherwise don’t need and most of the time would never even have thought of acquiring. Likewise, supply wouldn’t exist without government approved agents. Potentially a company could sell fake credits (cheaper than the real ones) and what buyer could spot the difference? Indeed, in terms of penance or eco-branding, fake credits, as long as they were not audited, would “work” just as well as real ones.
Despite being called a commodity market, there is no commodity: the end result is air that belongs to no-one-in-particular that has slightly-less-of-a-trace-gas. Sometimes it is not even air with slightly less CO2 in it, it is merely air that might-have-had–more-CO2, but doesn’t. It depends on the unknowable intentions of factory owners in distant lands.
How strange, then, that this non-commodity was at one time projected to become the largest tradable commodity in the world – bigger even than the global market for oil…