Monday, February 22, 2010
Clean Energy Arrives... Without Government?
Watch CBS News Videos Online
This video is a dramatic example of something libertarians and conservatives have been saying for a long time: the government is more of an obstruction to clean, efficient energy than a driving force.
If this energy box is the next big thing, then think about all the wasted tax money spent by the government on other technologies. We all contributed to this waste, whether we liked it or not. Now we find that the next big energy technology comes from profit-seeking, private actors, with no government assistance beyond a tax cut. This epitomizes the concept of opportunity costs. The government has spent billions on developing clean, efficient energy. These guys may have done it on $400 million of private money.
Furthermore, think of the unfairness of the fact that this company now has to compete with lesser technologies that are heavily subsidized. Think about the institutions that have heavy investments from the government—when this technology takes hold, their research may become obsolete and prove to have been a complete waste. They will now lose their jobs or funding sources because they invested themselves in a government fad.
The private sector, driven by the profit-motive, in the free-enterprise environment, is responsible for virtually every major human innovation in history. In doing so, the creative and innovative forces unleashed by the free enterprise system lift people from poverty to prosperity. The government's job is to get out of the way, and provide a set of rules and regulations to protect wealth creation from the destructive forces of the greedy—including greedy politicians, greedy business-people and even greedy income redistributionist.
The United States is committed to a clean environment. However, we are also committed to a free society. For many, a clean environment is worth trampling on the principles of the free society. Therefore, higher taxes, taking of property, and other dictatorial acts of government are a small price to pay. They do not consider that the evil of oppressive government could outweigh the evil of pollution at some point. They do not consider that the power they give to government to pick winners in the energy market, may also be used to protect the polluters themselves.
Here, we discover again that they got it exactly wrong. There is no trade off between oppressive government and pollution. The highest polluting companies, virtually anywhere in the world, almost always tend to do so with the force of government behind them. Whereas the inventors who develop innovative, clean, efficient energy, do so with no government aid, and mainly for profit—not political popularity.
A free society, with a free enterprise market, will bring about cleaner and more efficient energy production.