photo credit : jo


Let Them Eat Carbon
The 3rd in the series "Let The Poor Pay For Climate Change"
by Jo Abbess
8th April 2008

Let them eat Carbon. After all, that's all they'll be able to afford after Carbon Pricing takes hold, whether from Carbon Trading or straight Carbon Taxation.

All things American in terms of public policy always tend to make their way over to Great Britain. Part of the special relationship seems to include adopting faulty social management thinking in all areas of public life.

The latest blow is the blowout from the bursting Property (Real Estate) Bubble. I mean, who decided in the United Kingdom that it was a good idea to push the asset value of leaky Victorian terraced houses way beyond their rebuild price ?

All the major investment houses have gone after bricks and mortar, realising that these securities are long-term and the debts they create are long-term. Commodities have always been a bit random (even though the ceiling-busting travel of most commodities of late should not be ignored), and manufacturing has all been outsourced to Asia or wherever. So the only things of any value left are (a) Land (b) Labour, (c) Services and (d) Property.

But where can growth be found ? Labour is always clamouring for indexed salary increases. Land is kind of static when the supermarkets and other big corporates and development companies are sitting on vast land banks. Services are deliberately underplayed. That leaves Property as the only growth sector.

Not any longer. Going, going, gone.

Inflation from various things like Energy price rises is chewing holes in what remains of Property asset values. The Mama of all Slumps has been announced.

And amidst all this chaos, we still have to implement Climate Change mitigation policies. And since everyone still believes that Carbon can be priced out of town, you can bet the central policies, measures and instruments that are adopted will be financial. Money for Carbon.

But, as the ordinary people are squeezed on all sides financially, there will come a time when they are spending all their disposable on Carbon.

Social (read, financial) inequality has already created the potential for massive upheaval for many people, who will face the Property Slump. And then you have to add Carbon Pricing, which will just make everything worse.

It's true that Carbon Taxation has its positive potential. If the Treasury used the Revenue from Carbon Taxation to invest in the essential Renewable Energy infrastructure, this would de-Carbonise the Economy and take the sting out of Carbon Pricing itself, eventually.

But that presupposes that tax revenue is being used prudently. Apparently, much of the budget that is overseen by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform is intended for the Decommissioning of dead Nuclear Power stations, and safely Disposing of their radioactive waste.

And it keeps getting more expensive. And the taxpayers pay.

So the ranks of the poor will increase, creating massive exclusion, increased homelessness, home-ownership-less, people burdened by old, mis-sold debts for assets that never had the value they borrowed.

This massive underclass will be easy to control. Control seems necessary, if people continue to doubt the mounting damages from Climate Change. Carbon profligacy has to be stopped, and if that means generating Poverty, I'm sure there are some who would welcome it.

Close social control is not something I ascribe to. I mean, I approve of Law and Order, but I don't want to be a part of a Greater Serfdom under Big Brother. I would rather we had sense about Carbon, rather than drift into special measures. Make Carbon the currency, and split the pot of Carbon Shares up fairly.


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