Free Market Debate

by Handsome Matt

This is a portion of an ongoing debate between myself and another user Bagzzz. We have gone toe to toe and traded blows and I’m impressed. So I want to present to you his comments and my comments and invite opinions an comments.

Be forewarned: He knows what he’s talking about. If you disagree with him be ready to defend your position. While not as close to his skills of debate and oration, I’m close. Be careful.

A bit of context though, these comments were in response to an article I wrote detailing the efficiencies and costs associated with clean power generation.

From Bagzzz:

Matt, This is all great news. According to your calculations, renewables will be more efficient, more stable and less risky than fossil fuels. If your predictions are correct, then the energy companies will be forced through competitive pressure to switch to renewables. I love that plan. The only thing I oppose is for Government to subsidize it in any way.

The fact that government has to subsidize it for it to happen is all the proof we need that renewables are currently less efficient (economically.) Which one is more efficient mechanically is irrelevant in this argument.

I think we agree on much more than you think. I am for recycling. I am for conservation. I am for car pools. I am for insulation. I am for just about anything I can do as an individual to lessen our impact on the planet. The only thing I am against is government taxing, regulating, or subsidizing for this issue. Efficiency is something that free market is much better at determining.

From Myself

My hopes for free markets are in agreement with you, however my experiences have shown me otherwise.
Like other similar concepts (Government or Religion come to mind), the concept itself is great. But the activities can be less than noble.

The problem is that there is no inherent morality to systems like this: Government takes on the morals of the governed and governors, Religion adopts the practices and beliefs of those involved, markets are informed in similar ways.

Were this not the case, then tyranny, abuse of power, hate crimes, discrimination and other would not exist.

I bring all this up to say that the current energy market is hardly level and hardly free. Oil companies, coal companies, refineries, autos, and others who would lose large sums of money, have the market share, AND a vested interest in squashing any advancements. Beyond that they have large, well funded and effective lobby groups in Washington.

Governments have stepped into managing economies before. Sometimes disasterously so, but as the old saying goes “constraint fuels creativity.” Dismantling Standard Oil, opened the market to competition again. The deregulation of banks while some would argue caused the current crises, did create competition once more. The deregulation of utilities, not so much.

But the other issue, is that the market doesn’t reward excellence or even “right.” Beta was superior to VHS, Buckminster Fullers autos were lightyears ahead of anything else, even excellent companies like Mercedes Benz and BMW have succommbed to the negative effects of a free market (check the quality ratings of 90s German autos to 70s and 80s German autos). In the pursuit of profits, the right way to do things loses. Look at Starbucks after it realized how much money was being made, or look at the current financial issues (A few individuals have profited immensely, while the market and everyone else has suffered)

Our founding fathers understood this, and to prevent it from happening in our government, instituted checks and balances. in markets, competition is one check and balance, as are the actions of governments. Taxes, tarifs, regulations, and subsidies.

Let the Debate begin!

You can find Bagzzz most excellent blog here:

As I said above, I don’t agree with every thing written, but it is well written and thought out.