A Proudly Regulation-Free America

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/03/29/a-proudly-regulation-free-amer.html

Tom the Dancing Bug, IN WHICH the Smythe family of Chagrin Falls, USA, find out their neighbors are on board with Trump’s free market approach to regulation.



I wonder how many people will think “If Trump doesn’t have any regulations for business, then obviously I don’t either”. Free-market yahoos are enough of a problem without becoming one of them. Time to figure out who our friends are.


I have nothing against genuinely free markets*, but it takes an awful lot of regulation to make them work (for instance, the market is not free if player A is allowed to ignore environmental rules but player B is not, or if $largecorporation can avoid paying tax when $smallbusinessman can’t.)

*e.g. LME. Stock markets stopped being free markets when proximity and extremely expensive computers and networking gear gave an edge.


Externalities. When you’ve got yours; but it just isn’t complete until you can smear it on everyone elses’.


I have the perfect solution: just move far away from Jenkins and Nelson. That way you can continue to buy their products without having to worry about the air and water in your area being polluted by their industrial waste. Everybody wins!*

*Except the people who can’t afford to move, probably because they work for Jenkins and Nelson or are in some other way so deeply entrenched in the community they can’t just uproot without serious consequences but, hey, screw them if they’re not willing to make major sacrifices for their health and well-being. They’re too far away for you to care about, right?


What makes you think that IRL Jenkins and Nelson live anywhere near their plant? You’ll be telling me next the CEO of Union Carbide lives in Bhopal.


Zombiepocalypse here we come.


The really unusual thing about Silicon Valley is that people actually did pollute right where they lived. People like my uncle who, for some reason I’ve never been clear on, did not believe chemicals might ever actually be toxic.


And now there are people who have swung too far in the other direction: people who think that chicken brined in a solution of sodium chloride in dihydrogen monoxide will give them cancer, because chemicals.

The people who ignore the harmful chemicals entirely are far more harmful, but the people who want their food “chemical-free” are incredibly annoying.


The banner ad above the comic today was for Trump Hotels. Lolscry.


It’s funny enraging because it’s true we’ve had several centuries to prove we needed those regulations!

Don’t live near the city, to avoid urban air and water pollution, and don’t live in the country to avoid pollution from coal, oil, mining, logging or other nearby industries! Basically, just move to another country that has environmental regulations.


What’s really enraging about the Trump administration’s approach to pollution regulation/fossil fuels/etc. is not just that it’s bad for the US environment and the future of the planet as a whole, but economically it screws over the US as well, long term. Trump keeps trumpeting jobs, but even coal execs admit it won’t create any - it won’t increase demand or de-automate the jobs that have already been lost. All it does is pump up fossil fuel profits, allowing them to extract as much money as possible before the inevitable - the end of coal, an industry that’s been dying for years, and oil and natural gas that are going to get hit hard by the collapse of the carbon bubble. Solar employs more people in the US than fossil fuels, and discouraging solar/battery development/electric cars just cedes to China the future of these industries. Russia, on the other hand, comes out a winner - their broken economy is heavily dependent on fossil fuel exports and right now they need to extend that market as long as possible. It’s been suggested - quite convincingly - that the real reason Russia got Trump elected was because of fossil fuels.


Is this a conspiracy theory?

The implications for the RF of climate change are very, very complex. Russian scientists are well aware of the implications if uncontrolled methane releases start - they have been working with US scientists on this - and the melting of permafrost has big economic implications (like the trans-Siberian railway sinking). On the other hand the melting of the Arctic and higher temperatures potentially gives Russia new trade routes. Siberia warming isn’t that good for growing - sunlight isn’t increasing, and if some of the more insane warming mitigation plans were ever carried out, Russia and Canada would suffer a reduction in sunlight.
The RF has a big interest in packaged nuclear reactors, especially floating ones that can be deployed offshore, thus solving the cooling problem. They also have a lot of gas that is cheap to extract.
So while in the short term increasing oil usage may be good for them, in the longer term it may not be. In the short to medium term, getting rid of coal is good for the RF because they are very competitive in gas prices. So the RF wouldn’t want a Trump government if it was planning to encourage coal use.

Overall I suggest it’s untrue. Carbon reduction targets are still fuelling gas sales, so Trump’s support for coal is bad for the RF as it will tend to reduce gas demand and so gas prices.

1 Like

I wasn’t being particularly serious with the example of brining; I was using as an example the people who think that a chemical is more dangerous because it has ingredients with long, chemical-sounding names in it, not recognizing that water and salt are “chemicals” that can be given long names, too.

More than anything, I’m mocking the label “chemical-free” as meaningless hype.


Yes, climate change is going to totally screw Russia in the long term - but they’re not letting that stop them. They’re the number one oil producing nation, they’re the fifth biggest greenhouse gas producer and their economy, such as it is, is propped by by oil. They’re hardly the only country to sell off their future for some short-term gains. Trump isn’t just encouraging coal use - there’s not much he can actually do about that, it’s more about increasing coal company profits - he’s got a whole constellation of policies that extend the lifespan of fossil fuels, economically speaking, in part by not just ignoring climate change but actively making us more ignorant about what’s going on.


Do they still do that weird “for the next 20 minutes we’re going to trade copper, and only copper” thing?

People who bring up unrelated off-topic pet peeves on the other hand…

“This Shkreli guy just abused a monopoly to raise the price of an AIDS drug 6000%!”
“Yeah but you know what’s really annoying? People who believe in acupuncture!”


Or it would be flavored salt, which is popular. You sure smugly showed that minimum wage clerk what for, though! Ha ha, everyone knows the word “organic” has only one definition!

1 Like

Or State A is allowed to ignore environmental rules but State B is not. Prior to EPA, polluting states would advertise to poach businesses from non-polluting states. ("Come to Arkansas! We shit where we eat!")

Player A of State A has a strong economic incentive to relocate to (and pollute in) State B to remain competitive with Player B of State B.

“Leaving it to the states” is, and always will be, a disaster.