Home > Climate, Legislation, Lobbying, National Security, Policy, Politics > Designing a Defenceless Threat

Designing a Defenceless Threat

Ezra Klein writes about reasons the US climate bill failed and I thought this paragraph was pretty insightful:

If you wanted to design a threat that our political system couldn’t address, here’s what you’d do: You’d make the pain of doing nothing come much later, but the pain of doing something begin right now. You’d concentrate the costs of failure in poor countries, while the costs of a policy solution would be concentrated in certain regions of America. You’d make it hard to solve without the imposition of a new tax. You’d make sure that some of the largest and richest industries in the world had an enormous amount to fear from that tax.

I would add that the solutions should be unhelpful to existing firms i.e. existing firms will not make profits from them. This would mean that you get only opposition from business interests. The absence of *large* renewable energy firms would harm climate legislation as there will be no pushback against big business anti-climate lobbying. Their presence would mean that they would have vested monetary interests in successful climate legislation and would lobby for it.

The recent Washington Post investigation on “Top Secret America” also points to this effect. The events of 11 September, 2001 led to rapid increases in the national security infrastructure and employment. This was achieved through the “privatisation of national security work” (265,000 contractors and 1,931 companies doing top-secret work). The national security splurge was funnelled (too strong?) to the private sector and this meant that there was no limit to budget and infrastructure growth. There are obviously other reasons for this growth; it’s national security so no expense is too great, the power of national security hawks etc- but it’s not implausible that if the solution to security problems after 9-11 was to reduce reliance on private defence firms, curtail their power and profits there would have been fierce opposition and lobbying.

I will be blogging on the WaPo investigation later on when I’m less lazy… sorry less busy. Of course.

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