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Posted by beachofdreams on 2008.04.22 at 17:49

In discussions such as these (peak oil generale), it is not too surprising to watch the steady buildup of argumentative tension center around the classical spectrum. What spectrum, you ask? Why, the political spectrum, of course! Classical, because it's an old and worn out idea; not surprising, because this issue inevitably comes down to economic policy (or rather, it's failure), and its address (or lack thereof) to the problem we find ourselves with. This discussion is not about people's "nature", or their "selfishness", or some kind of conspiracy -- at least, not inevitably. This discussion, and everyone that participates in it, will eventually meander into the tired old viper's pit of economic libertarians on the right (are they?) and the economic socialists on the left, as exemplified by baron_waste's comment that the "Nanny state mentality is... frightening".

But why has this issue come up in this locale, in response to an article about people's confidence in their government's ability to plan its way out of of a mess? So people think their governments haven't been preparing for resource shortages. So what? Does this mean that the "nanny state" has arrived in full force, ready to sweep all the poor bottom-feeding denizens off of their torn and worn rugs, hammer and sickle in tow? The last time I heard, when a government acts as an international negotiator, in the business buying and selling, and of extracting a reasonable deal for whomever it deems its patrons, its transactions are important to consider and its planning descisions scrutable. Has this topic come up simply because of the article's rather irrelevant citation of  the number of those who support free-markets versus those who don't? Don't bet on it. Has the topic come up because it's yet another outcrop from the now one-hundred-and-fifty year old clash between those that don't like the idea of substantial government meddling in economic affairs and those that do? More likely. Being Canadian, I can't help but ask this question too: has it come up because you Americans just really really like talking about left economics versus right economics?

Let's assume that the discussion is indeed warranted at this junction. What, then, can we say of it? Given that government does



 

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