Monday, April 28, 2014
Now that Capitalism in the 21'st Century has been Pickety'd to the bone, and the pundits have bloviated up another bubble of gas bigger than the methane veil enveloping the planet, a strange thought occurred to me that's maybe just silly, but with the El Nino that's building in the equatorial Pacific getting ready to pulse the accumulated warmth of a decade into our collective faces, I can't help but wonder about its dynamic.
What made me consider it was an article going all ga-ga about solar and how it was going to save the planet and asking so why isn't everyone installing it. Besides the many good reasons for that not being the case, the one that intrigued me was a bit more esoteric, but, being as it has to do with global entropy and the redistribution by the planet itself of the absorbed radiation from our star, I think it not too impertinent to think it pertinent.
It's understood, methinks, even by the likes of Sarah Palin and her ilk, that the greatest amount of solar radiation is absorbed in the equatorial regions of the globe, and that what the trade winds, Gulf Stream and other natural phenomena do is redistribute that fallen radiation to other parts of the planet that are less blessed with it.
Yet the vast majority of solar panels are being installed in the temperate zones of North America, Asia. and Europe, so that , to take the well-known phenomena of Greece and Germany as an example, solar radiation falling on Germany, a northern clime, is transferred, via manufactures, to Greece, who, as evidenced by its trade deficit with Germany, transfers much less of its more bountiful supply of solar radiation to the German economy.
The US Agricultural policy fosters the same phenomena on the rest of the world, transferring the products of its temperate zone solar radiation, in the form of foodstuffs, to those areas of the globe, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and, yes, Africa, where an overabundance of solar radiation already falls, and burning oil the whole way.
So, whereas the natural energy system of the world transfers enormous amounts of the product of solar radiation to other parts of our orb, mankind insists on returning that energy to the area most besotted with it. Looked at another way, it's as though there were planetary systems that sequestered CO2 in the form of stable hydrocarbon pools under the ground, living steady-state ecosystems, such as rain forests, buried peat bogs and tundra, or in subterranean rock and shale, resulting in an oxygen-rich atmosphere that enabled creatures with lungs to exist, and those creatures, in order not to have to use the muscles and skeletons millenia of evolution had endowed them with, were to dig up those pools, smash those rocks, hew down the oxygen-creating rain forests and set fire to the tundra, thereby returning all that CO2 into the atmosphere diminishing the one ingredient essential to their continued existence.
OMG! That's just crazy. But then again, so's "Free Trade". Remember this, it's a good rule of thumb: anything that has the word "free" in front of it is a lie. That's the pure and simple truth. Anything. We're all familiar with the saying, "There's no such thing as a free lunch", yet live as though we have never heard of it. This isn't to say that you can't momentarily profit from something extended to you that's been labelled "free". But that just means it's free to you ... for now ... and invariably deceptively. Because, it is not free. It costs. Someone else. There is no free health care, free education, or free ride, interest-free loan, or free trade, especially free trade. It is the costliest of all the freebies. And the harder it is to discern just who's footing the bill, the more sure you can be that the costs associated with the "Freedom" that's being advertised are the most onerous. Because it is in fact this so-called free trade that is the main driver of mankind's insane transference of energy back to the tropics, mostly in the form of manufactures, most of those in the products of militarism and automobility.
To illustrate the concept, remember Risk-free? The main driver of the financial meltdown, it tried to convince (Okay, it DID convince) the investing public, as well as some supposedly inured veterans of trade wars, it was unabashedly selling what they euphemistically referred to as "products" that were actually ADVERTISED to be hiding risk; dicing it up and spreading it around, ie, hiding it, so that no one could tell who was holding what, and this while all the time spouting about the "magic of the Market" that, because of EMT, or EMH (Efficient Market Theory/Hypothesis: the supposition being that everyone in the market, knowing everything, are equipped to make rational decisions as to how to allocate their financial resources), were therefore risk "Free". But how can that be when the very rationale behind the instruments the "industry" designed was to keep the most important element of investment-making decisions, that upon which everything, especially price, was based, Risk, purposely obfuscated and opaque by design?
The purpose was to deceive, and the purpose of calling it Free Trade is to deceive as well. So when you see ads selling solar panels that claim Free Electricity, it may not be a bad idea to check into the economics of investing in it, but don't be thinking it's free, there really is no such thing. Everything has costs associated with it, including this free internet, which is anything but (e.g., using all the electricity generated by all the solar panels currently installed would not be enough to supply just its power requirements, and it incurs many other costs besides raw power).
Posted by Robert Lowrey at 12:02 PM