Weekend reflections

It’s time again for weekend reflections, which makes space for longer than usual comments on any topic. In keeping with my attempts to open up the comments to new contributors , I’d like to redirect discussion, and restatements of previous arguments, as opposed to substantive new contributions, to the sandpit(s). As always, civilised discussion and no coarse language please.

97 thoughts on “Weekend reflections

  1. Any nuclear society needs bigger, more powerful and intrusive government.

    Shifting from a ban of nuclear to heavy regulation of nuclear would entail government being less intrusive. At most the only increase in intrusion would be in the form of a carbon tax.

  2. @TerjeP

    Nuclear society needs nuclear regulators, inspectors, new standards, increased compliance checks, enhanced security fuctions, new transport provisions and enforcement, new training standards, and local government zoning, plus new oversight mechanisms for public accountability.

    Nuclear companies will want increased access to law making and into processes for the development of statutes and regulations under statutes.

    Should any incident be reported – public authorities will be tasked with a need for inquiry.

    A ban on nuclear for other reasons avoids all this.

    How does “shifting from a ban” then “increase in intrusion …in the form of a carbon tax”.

    The so-called intrusion from a carbon tax exists before and after, with little change.

  3. @Ernestine Gross
    So is Terje volunteering to put his body where his mouth is?

    Terje also says ”
    Shifting from a ban of nuclear to heavy regulation of nuclear would entail government being less intrusive

    So a total ban compared to heavy regulation is less intrusive? How so Terje? A total ban requires a lot less government resources to deploy than heavy regulation. I think you are tripping up on the size of government involvement here. If you want less government involvement in everything, you would back the total ban Terje.

    Once again you shoot your own argument for smaller government down in flames.

  4. Alice – what are you talking about? Are you saying that marijuana, which is banned, is more lightly regulated than tobacco, which is legally sold? Of course regulation is less intrusive than prohibition. Prohibition is at the extreme end of regulation and is about as intrusive as a government can get. Or do you think book banning is a form of free speech? That black is white and night is day?

  5. Terje, give up.

    On several ocasions in the past, you identified ‘big government’ in terms of macro-economic variables (expenditure as a fraction of say GDP). Now you wish to wiggle your way out by substituting the word ‘intrusive’.

  6. Ernestine – government expenditure as a percent of GDP is one measure of government intrusion. However it isn’t the only measure or the definitive measure. There are nations with lower government expenditure as a percent of GDP than Australia where the government is far more intrusive. For example I’m not sure if it is still the case but Ethiopia had tax rates of over 80% on some agricultural production against a certain threshold. The policy helped ensure agricultural shortages but did little for government spending capacity. A ban on agriculture would have been even more extreme but would not have shown up in government expenditure as a percent of GDP. In any case you are wrong to claim that I have defined big government in these terms. For more than a decade I have been saying to all who asked that government expenditure as a percent of GDP was a crude proxy at best. There is no single number that measures government intrusion in the economy although the Heritage Foundation does a reasonable job with its economic freedom index.

  7. @Alice

    Alice – I don’t think you are attentive enough to understand my arguments let alone criticise them. You are too focused on point scoring. You ought to take differences of opinion as a learning/teaching opportunity and stop being so tribal and combatative.

  8. Terje, I don’t agree with the Heritage Foundation’s index of economic freedom. I could agree calling the Heritage Foundation’s index an index of corporatists’ freedom. But you and I have different academic backgrounds.

  9. TerjeP :
    @Alice
    Alice – I don’t think you are attentive enough to understand my arguments let alone criticise them. You are too focused on point scoring. You ought to take differences of opinion as a learning/teaching opportunity and stop being so tribal and combatative.

    Are you going to post that advice on BNC where it is more needed?

  10. @TerjeP
    Terje perhaps you should visit the Profs links on reality based journalism. It really is hard to pay attention to a monotone argument whereby the government always needs shrinking and taxes always need to be cut. You may call it a short attention span if you wish but I think you flatter my attention levels. Id call that argument, your arguments more tribalist, than that of which you accuse me.

    There is no line in the sand Terje. The government doesnt always need shrinking and taxes are best if left alone and not mindlessely cut and sometimes they are better increased if you wish to have an orderly society and orderly infrastructure and orderly budgets.
    The world is not ready for your world. Governments are too busy paying off the mess of budget deficits brought to us courtesy of the GFC.

    I suspect Ill have the last word on this when taxes go up in the united states for some, so lets leave it until then shall we?

  11. It really is hard to pay attention to a monotone argument whereby the government always needs shrinking and taxes always need to be cut.

    Except we were talking about nuclear power. It wasn’t me that raised the size of government issue.

  12. @TerjeP
    In fact you did raise the size of government issue (yet again Terje) with this comment “Shifting from a ban of nuclear to heavy regulation of nuclear would entail government being less intrusive”

  13. @Ernestine Gross
    Ernestine – latest on Fukushima. The Japanese government has announced that “Tepco” is “too important to fail” but they have to “find a way to help the victims”.
    Ive heard those sounds before. The reality is, the billion dollar losses the company is facing in claims for compensation will be hived off into a separate entity (designed to carry the bad assets…read bad liabilities into an entity outside the jurisdiction where it carried on its business and with very little money in its books to pay compensation to anyone – just an empty shell with a pile of “bad assets” and “bad corporate behaviour” behind its creation).

    When that happens the just claims for compensation by the victims will outlive the victims themselves. This is another James Hardie in the making.

  14. @Alice

    No Alice you are full of it. My opening remark in this discussion was about the inadequacies of wind power. Not able to argue rationally on the point critics took me on over the issue of nuclear power. So I discussed nuclear power. Critics not being able to argue rationally about nuclear power decided to talk about size of government.

  15. TerjeP :@Alice
    No and no. The argument that nuclear power is safe in comparison to other means of electricity generation is not materially altered by what happened in Japan.

    You ignored all information provided on this thread to the contrary and then produced data preceding the March 2011 nuclear event in Japan on the number of nuclear power plants in operation and planned.

    Now you complain that you can’t discuss ‘nuclear power’ rationally. This is a problem only you can solve.

  16. @TerjeP
    Terje – you are really not having a good time in this thread are you and the reason why not is very obvious. Anyone who can make the following comment and actually believe is not “overly optimistic” but actually hghly questionable in terms of having any credibility at all. Your comment?

    “Transporting nuclear waste is more of a concern because of radioactive isotopes created during nuclear reaction. However nuclear waste is usually cooled for many years or decades before being transported. The risks are real but small and manageable.”

    What part of “the nuclear industry has for the most part has NOT been transporting its nuclear waste anywhere AT ALL” …..dont you understand?

    They have been stacking their nuclear waste spent fuel rods inside the nuclear plants themselves for decades. You are right Terje – transporting it adds to costs, which companies like Tepco dont want, so stop living in dreamland. When they melt down and collapse like Fukushima they add the fuel from the uncooled spent fuel rods to the active rods making an even bigger disaster.

    I know who is full of it and it isnt me.

  17. Terje – you may be interested to know that at the moment your guru Barry Brook at BNC is now peddling some pseudo expert on nuclear use “front and centre main blog page”
    who passes himself of as one of a “a group of meteorological academics” working out of an industry stink tank he apparently set up due to his “concern” (oh puhleese)

    http://www.thesciencecouncil.com/pdfs/Tom_Meteorological_mag_5-11.pdf

    But Mr Bless’s real background is this

    http://prescriptionfortheplanet.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5&Itemid=6

    Yes – thats right. This so called “academic expert” skippered a ” seasonal fishing boat on the Bering Sea for twenty years, which provided the time and freedom to pursue his insatiable curiosity and his passion for travel.”

    Like so many charlatans working for the corporates in the industry.

    Yet another right wing looney on the loose.

    I do know who is full of it and that is the right generally and nuke spruikers absolutely.

  18. TerjeP :
    Alice – I have read the book by Bless and I can assure you he is a left wing loon.

    People who use trash talk like that are only rightwing a***holes.

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