Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Crony-capitalism’

Stop Trying to Make Coal Great Again

Posted by M. C. on June 7, 2019

It is shocking to see a Walter Block byline in the NYT.

And they aren’t ripping Walter a new one!

By Walter E. Block

Should rowboats be made out of plastic, wood or metal? Should restaurants feature red, white, blue or no tablecloths at all? What proportion of loafers, sneakers, high heels and regular shoes should the footwear industry offer us?

For Republicans who favor free enterprise, the answer to all of these questions would be: Leave it to market forces. If, somehow, entrepreneurs get the proportions wrong, the profit and loss system can be relied upon to correct the imbalances. As a libertarian, anti-tax, anti-regulation, free-market economist, this is the approach I favor.

One would think that Republicans would apply this same logic to our fuel industry. In their view, government has a legitimate role to play in ensuring the safety of nuclear power plants or even windmills. But it should not favor, or oppose, nuclear power, gas, oil, coal, wind, water, solar, or any other source of energy over any other.

Why then does President Trump keep trying to prop up coal at the expense of alternative energy sources?

For the first time, as predicted by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, in April renewables generated more electricity than power plants fueled by what was once called “King Coal.”Yet since he entered office, Mr. Trump has attempted to subsidize coal and protect it from competition, declaring that his administration has “ended the war on beautiful, clean coal.”…

So far, little has come from all these initiatives, which mostly remain proposals. But if Mr. Trump appreciates economic freedom as much as he claims, he should realize that the best way to promote prosperity, not only for consumers but also for workers, is not to try to “pick winners.” Let the market decide.


The problem for him is that the market is moving away from coal. By 2016, American reliance on coal had dipped to 30 percent of total electric energy expenditure, from about 50 percent in 2000. In contrast, natural gas and even wind, solar and water power are becoming less expensive, and will likely take on a greater share of the overall energy industry.

In 2015, coal consumption used for electricity fell 29 percent from its peak in 2007 — a trend that has continued. Meanwhile, according to a 2018 report from the International Energy Agency, “the share of renewables in meeting global energy demand is expected to grow by one-fifth” in the next five years.

Given the clear evidence of where the energy market is heading, the president’s insistence on protecting coal feels uncomfortably like crony capitalism…


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Socialism for Dummies – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 15, 2019

By Jane ten Brink

I wrote the following to a friend who is now retired, but who worked for most of his life for the Austrian National Railroad (the ÖBB), an entity that has been strongly governed by socialist thinking. It therefore came as no surprise to me early on that my friend was completely governed by a socialist mindset (when I first got to know him about three years ago, he was reading some biography of Karl Marx!)

While this friend has never lived in luxury, his standard of living throughout his life and unto this day would most certainly be considered “luxury” by a good portion of the world population.

And, yet, my friend complains that he does not have enough (he thinks he should have more), and blames for this the evil, capitalist system.

My friend’s reason for blaming the evil, capitalist system for his allegedly „struggling-to-survive“ existence is that according to him, a bunch of greedy, rich guys have exploited „us“ by not turning over to „us“ more of their wealth (he believes that wealth should be more evenly distributed).

But my reason for why my friend is blaming capitalism is „envy“. Read the rest of this entry »

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