Alsadius

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Why capitalism?

I am explicitly against subsidies, full stop. I am also of the belief that the fashionable sorts of renewables(wind, solar, etc.) get vastly more subsidies than any other form of power, particularly in the developed world, and this belief is borne out by my own experiences with my local government and with stories from elsewhere. And I thought the US was being discussed, because it usually is, but looking upthread it seems I was in error there. If any country was being discussed it was Germany, though their example is hardly different - they're spending a ton of money for an inferior power source.

Why capitalism?

If that non-OECD number is to be believed, 2% of non-OECD GDP goes to fuel subsidies. Or, if you prefer to think of it this way, it's close to 1/3 of the total world oil market to fossil fuel subsidies. And this number comes from a think-tank that's obviously out to make an anti-subsidy point, with no detail as to where it came from or why we should believe it. Think tanks aren't to be immediately dismissed, but they frequently exaggerate badly.

And the discussion is about why renewables get used. German use of renewables is very different than Canadian or Congolese, and aggregating them leads to muddy thinking and useless stats. Germans use modern renewables because the government is dumping a bloody lot of money into the industry. Canadians use renewables because we have massive amounts of easily-tapped hydroelectric potential, and hydro dams are the cheapest source of power known. Congolese use renewables because they have no better options than burning wood.

I'll agree with you that some poor countries spend a lot on subsidizing gasoline, but it's only a lot by poor-country standards, and it's hardly all of them. I want a better source than naked statement of a number from a biased group before I'll believe it adds up to that staggering a sum. And even if it does, that has no impact on the US, where fossil fuel is nearly unsubsidized - if you want me to think that renewables and an "energy internet" are a good choice for the US, then you need to explain how switching from a cheaper source to one that's more expensive even with bigger subsidies is a net cost savings.

Why capitalism?

Remember, a lot of renewables get thrown in together without being the same. The renewables that get subsidies are mostly the flashy new ones, like wind, solar, and ethanol. Those are only a few percent of world consumption. Virtually all renewable energy production is either hydroelectric(which is quite profitable, and attracts basically no subsidies) or burning of wood and dung(which almost entirely happens in poor countries that can't afford to subsidize much of anything). Slightly dated graph, but one that gives a good sense of how things break down: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy#/media/File:Total_World_Energy_Consumption_by_Source_2010.png

Also, over 80% of fossil fuel subsidies are outside the OECD? Seriously? 80% of the money spent on anything being non-OECD is hard to fathom, because the OECD has somewhere around 80% of the world's money, and a lot more disposable income to blow on subsidizing things.

Why capitalism?

But renewables are vastly smaller than fossil fuels, and the relevant number is subsidy per unit energy.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115

https://parahumans.wordpress.com/category/stories-arcs-21/arc-23-drone/23-04/

(edited slightly for spoilers)

“I always hated the speeches when I was in school, the preaching in auditoriums, the one-note message. Stuff like saying drugs are bad. It’s wrong. Drugs are fantastic.”

“Um,” Fox-mask said.

Mrs. Yamada was glaring at me, but she hadn’t interrupted.

“People wouldn’t do them if they weren’t. They make you feel good, make your day brighter, give you energy-”

“Taylor,” Mrs. Yamada cut in.

“-until they don’t,” I said. “People hear the message that drugs are bad, that they’ll ruin your life if you do them once. And then you find out that isn’t exactly true because your friends did it and turned out okay, or you wind up trying something and you’re fine. So you try them, try them again. It isn’t a mind-shattering moment of horrible when you try that first drug. Or so I hear. It’s subtle, it creeps up on you, and you never really get a good, convincing reason to stop before it ruins your life beyond comprehension. I never went down that road, but I knew a fair number of people who did.”

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115

3) Voldemort is evil and cannot be persuaded to be good; the Dark Lord's utility function cannot be changed by talking to him.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115

Anyone who gives a speech in a school talking about how drugs are fun is a good person to emulate, IMO.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, March 2015, chapter 114 + chapter 115

As opposed to? (I wasn't keeping close track of the theories as we went forward).

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