Carbon Trading?

It seems my previous post has turned into a pretty heated discussion as to the merits or otherwise of carbon trading, so seeing as you want to talk about this issue, I thought I should devote a post to it, and move that discussion here (as it is off-topic for that thread). Although I am very certain we should take action on climate change, I am not sure whether carbon trading is the best way to go about it or not. I can certainly see enormous potential benefits to it (especially for the third world), but it is also very complex, and potentially susceptible to corruption and excessive bureaucracy. Anyway, as I’m not sure where I stand, let’s have everybody’s opinions so I can make up my mind. :-)

As to whether carbon trading is a conspiracy or not, I will be devoting a future post to our peculiar willingness to believe in conspiracies, which I suspect is related to our tendency to believe in God. I certainly do not think action on climate change generally is a conspiracy though, as it is very much against the short term interests (in other words, short-sighted greed) of big business. After all, they have always opposed it in the past—and with very good reason, as it hurts their short term profits.

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Sachiko says: “If people want to speculate on conspiracy theories, the first thing they have to do is establish motive. And it is blatantly obvious that rich industrialists will want to maintain their profits, hence they will try to oppose action on climate change.”

agree on the need for a motive, how about carbon trading (cap-n-trade)?

a mechanism like that would have allowed business as usual with the added ‘benefit’ of unloading our effluents on smaller, less developed nations. if you look at COP15, you’ll find that all of the western interests agreed on, and pushed for, carbon trading. the fact that such an unholy alliance could come about should have been reason enough to become alarmed.

re Al Gore. connects with Occidental Petroleum Corp.

  
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Originally Posted By jr
if you look at COP15, you’ll find that all of the western interests agreed on, and pushed for, carbon trading. the fact that such an unholy alliance could come about should have been reason enough to become alarmed.

I don’t know – isn’t it just possible that the governments of the world have realised that we’re headed for catastrophe if we don’t take co-ordinated action on climate change? Carbon trading is probably the least financially painful way for big business to do it, but it will still cost them serious money. If it was simply about selfish profits, I’m sure there wouldn’t be any action climate change at all. Also, don’t forget the that Europe has already had carbon trading amongst themselves for some time now.

  
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Brad.

“These environmental reforms hold no value or benefit to the rich and powerful. If anything it will only force them to spend money on something they feel like they shouldn’t have to pay for.”

two points. “the rich and powerful” are in many ways people like you and I, ie. they have children and grand-children, and it would be wrong to assume that they do not care about the future of their kin. second, one of the advantages of being “rich and powerful” is that you can earn money from BOTH sides of any given deal — mostly because you’re either the broker, or simply a shareholder.

paranoia is one thing, disregarding economic (and political) reality is another.

(glad you liked the proverb)

Sachiko.

“Carbon trading is probably the least financially painful way for big business to do it, but it will still cost them serious money.”

see my second point to Brad; think what your accountant does on your behalf, big corporations have even more favourable tax legislation that they can exploit.

“..isn’t it just possible that the governments of the world have realised that we’re headed for catastrophe if we don’t take co-ordinated action on climate change?”

for sure, but, on the other hand, to become a top politician (or CEO for that matter) in the west, you will have to have a track record of being a ‘safe hand’ and not ‘to rock the boat’. so while rationally your argument makes sense it ignores the fact that our ‘top 1%’ is deeply corrupt and in no position to make changes.

(for instance, remember what happened to Dr David Kelly when he publicly opposed Tony Blair re the Iraq war and WMDs; he was found to have ‘committed suicide’ in very unusual and still unexplained circumstances. conspiracy, anyone?)

“Also, don’t forget the that Europe has already had carbon trading amongst themselves for some time now. ”

yes, well from my perspective the European ‘dream’ has not materialised, instead of social improvements we have seen a proliferation of free trade; I think you’ll find ordinary europeans are bitterly dis-appointed about recent (say post-Thatcher) developments.

  
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Originally Posted By jr
Brad.

“These environmental reforms hold no value or benefit to the rich and powerful. If anything it will only force them to spend money on something they feel like they shouldn’t have to pay for.”

two points. “the rich and powerful” are in many ways people like you and I, ie. they have children and grand-children, and it would be wrong to assume that they do not care about the future of their kin. second, one of the advantages of being “rich and powerful” is that you can earn money from BOTH sides of any given deal — mostly because you’re either the broker, or simply a shareholder.

It has been proven by history over and over again that the rich and powerful have an extraordinary capacity to put selfish, short-sighted greed ahead of even the interests of their own children. It is actually extremely rare for them to act in the interest of future generations, rather than themselves.

And even if what you are saying is true, it disproves your point anyway: it would mean they support action on climate change for good, altruistic reasons!

paranoia is one thing, disregarding economic (and political) reality is another.

It seems to me you are both being paranoid (in as much as there is absolutely no evidence for your assertions) and ignoring economic and political reality.

“Carbon trading is probably the least financially painful way for big business to do it, but it will still cost them serious money.”

see my second point to Brad; think what your accountant does on your behalf, big corporations have even more favourable tax legislation that they can exploit.

Can you actually come up with any practical method for exactly how they will go about doing this? Until you do, you’re just making baseless assertions.

“..isn’t it just possible that the governments of the world have realised that we’re headed for catastrophe if we don’t take co-ordinated action on climate change?”

for sure, but, on the other hand, to become a top politician (or CEO for that matter) in the west, you will have to have a track record of being a ‘safe hand’ and not ‘to rock the boat’. so while rationally your argument makes sense it ignores the fact that our ‘top 1%’ is deeply corrupt and in no position to make changes.

And that’s exactly why politicians will not be inclined to make the sorts of radical changes required to tackle climate change! The only viable reason we know of is that because they feel they have to.

(for instance, remember what happened to Dr David Kelly when he publicly opposed Tony Blair re the Iraq war and WMDs; he was found to have ‘committed suicide’ in very unusual and still unexplained circumstances. conspiracy, anyone?)

For one thing, this “conspiracy” is nothing like the sort of scale you’re talking about, and for another thing, it is actually something for which there is some hard evidence, as well as an obvious, logical motive. Once your conspiracy has this sort of evidence to back it up, I’ll start taking it seriously.

“Also, don’t forget the that Europe has already had carbon trading amongst themselves for some time now. ”

yes, well from my perspective the European ‘dream’ has not materialised, instead of social improvements we have seen a proliferation of free trade; I think you’ll find ordinary europeans are bitterly dis-appointed about recent (say post-Thatcher) developments.

That has nothing to do with my point. My point is that you have stated that carbon trading is a way of “unloading our effluents on smaller, less developed nations” (however that’s supposed to work), yet the fact that Europe is already doing carbon trading amongst themselves flies in the face of your idea. Once again, the only logical conclusion we can draw is the they think it’s the right thing to do.

  
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gee, I seem to have stepped on toes here. ;)

first, I hope you can accept the premise that corruption is endemic in both (inter)national politics and business.

http://globalization.icaap.org/content/v2.1/07_fitzsimons.html

“It has been proven by history over and over again that the rich and powerful have an extraordinary capacity to put selfish, short-sighted greed ahead of even the interests of their own children. It is actually extremely rare for them to act in the interest of future generations, rather than themselves.”

and yet, we have ‘dynasties’. business: the Murdoch’s, politics: the Kennedy’s, acting: the Redgrave’s, etc. while I accept that passing wealth/status to the next generation may simply be a by-product rather than intent, the end result is the same; we even have a word for this: nepotism.

altruism (“unselfishness”) doesn’t really come into it.

I don’t agree with your assertion that I’m paranoid (obviously!), neurotic I’d accept, but then, who isn’t?

Brad argues that carbon trading, while expensive for business, may be ‘the least painful’; I say that business can (and does) reduce costs by taking advantage of tax loop holes and, in the case of global corporations, often avoids tax payments altogether by registering company headquarters where legislation is favourable. for instance, shipping: I’m certain you’re conversant with the concept of ‘flag of convenience’.

frankly, I do not understand what exactly you want me to address when you say: “Can you actually come up with any practical method for exactly how they will go about doing this?” who is “they” and what “will they go about doing”?

“And that’s exactly why politicians will not be inclined to make the sorts of radical changes required to tackle climate change!”

yes, my argument exactly, anyone can become an MP if they get enough votes, but to become a minister (ie. where power can be exerted) person must be known to be ‘safe hand’, compromised in other words.

“The only viable reason we know of is that because they feel they have to.”

but even if individual politicians feel they have to “tackle climate change”, they’re still faced with their peers and, in order to affect change, have to remain part of the collective decision making process.

re Dr Kelly.

I accept that this was quite different in scale from the topic under discussion; I tried to say, in not so many words, that individuals whose social conscience does not allow them to continue to collude face grave consequences (sometimes paying with their lives) but the deceit and crimes continue anyhow.

“Once your conspiracy has this sort of evidence to back it up, I’ll start taking it seriously.”

ah, yes, proof. I don’t have any (perhaps that’s why I haven’t been singled out yet?). some people get close to obtaining proof, here’s a list of some who did:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia

(nothing to do with climate change per se, but the principle holds)

“..yet the fact that Europe is already doing carbon trading amongst themselves flies in the face of your idea. Once again, the only logical conclusion we can draw is the they think it’s the right thing to do.”

as I’ve said, the European dream has been killed off by the free traders/libertarians. the fact that they trade carbon ‘credits’ is not proof in itself that the concept is viable, or even desirable. “they” may well believe it’s “the right thing to do”, but then some people believe they can murder another because of the colour of their skin.

I maintain that carbon trading, if implemented globally, would lead to big oil consumers unloading their excess on less developed nations (one of the reasons why Brazil and others broke ranks in Copenhagen).

anyhoo, hope you’ll find this post explanatory and less contentious than the previous.

  
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Citing the probable actions and reactions of the “rich and powerful”, which might be actually often stereotypical and widely known from history, does not constitute the promotion of any particular conspiracy theories. Just read “The Prince” by Machiavelli, the works of Thomas Hobbes, and imagine living and doing business according to the advice Thomas Malthus seemed to give. And who would find it convenient to commission one Adam Smith? No conspiracy has to be imagined to account for the bowing of the head of a discouraged commoner, with the quiet expression “Naturally”, a salvo that the late Al Capp would love.

I may have erred in my blogging and related correspondence, in the recent past, by making some “risky” references to certain contemporary political thinkers in the news, and some of their writing. Some of these thinkers have long been customarily dismissed as rabble-involved conspiracy theorists by many English-speaking people. Some of these English-speakers might yearn to consider themselves more decent than that rabble, and not want its plight brought to mind. Hence, my subsequent blog comments might receive certain replies, in English, containing thought that now accords with that previously determined attitude of dismissal.

It seems that the collective contemporary human brain has a soft spot built into it that affectionately coddles a designated small subset of the population, tending to recognize it as a caste of rich and famous gods. This might happen even under conditions in which such coddling threatens worldwide disaster. This might not be anybody’s fault — conspiracies might be inspired, and come and go as numerous as the leaves of autumn over the centuries without changing things much. We might tend to leave the same sort of icons ensconced in homes, in churches, in palaces, in memory, in imagination, and even perhaps in the depths of the heart, over and over again anyway. What is threatening? Bocaccio’s “Decameron” provided an early and factual word-picture of what it might really be like if the rich and famous could be brought down with all the common rabble in one big disaster. It was not a pretty sight.

  
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Originally Posted By jr
gee, I seem to have stepped on toes here. ;)

first, I hope you can accept the premise that corruption is endemic in both (inter)national politics and business.

http://globalization.icaap.org/content/v2.1/07_fitzsimons.html

I do accept that, to a point: we just see that corruption working in different ways. I think the obvious observation is that the corruption is on the side of the people who oppose action on climate change.

“It has been proven by history over and over again that the rich and powerful have an extraordinary capacity to put selfish, short-sighted greed ahead of even the interests of their own children. It is actually extremely rare for them to act in the interest of future generations, rather than themselves.”

and yet, we have ‘dynasties’. business: the Murdoch’s, politics: the Kennedy’s, acting: the Redgrave’s, etc. while I accept that passing wealth/status to the next generation may simply be a by-product rather than intent, the end result is the same; we even have a word for this: nepotism.

altruism (“unselfishness”) doesn’t really come into it.

I agree that altruism isn’t involved, and I think it is also clear that these dynasties are by-products, not intentional. Indeed, it seems the wealthy people who really care about their kids often choose to limit their inheritance, so they don’t become too spoilt.

frankly, I do not understand what exactly you want me to address when you say: “Can you actually come up with any practical method for exactly how they will go about doing this?” who is “they” and what “will they go about doing”?

Basically, you have to show how big business will abuse carbon trading in the way you say they will.

“And that’s exactly why politicians will not be inclined to make the sorts of radical changes required to tackle climate change!”

yes, my argument exactly, anyone can become an MP if they get enough votes, but to become a minister (ie. where power can be exerted) person must be known to be ‘safe hand’, compromised in other words.

“The only viable reason we know of is that because they feel they have to.”

but even if individual politicians feel they have to “tackle climate change”, they’re still faced with their peers and, in order to affect change, have to remain part of the collective decision making process.

Once again, aren’t you disproving your own argument here? As you say, politicians do not want to do this, yet they are. So far, there is only one viable explanation for that: because they feel they must.

ah, yes, proof. I don’t have any (perhaps that’s why I haven’t been singled out yet?). some people get close to obtaining proof, here’s a list of some who did:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia

(nothing to do with climate change per se, but the principle holds)

Evidence for an irrelevant conspiracy is, well, irrelevant! Just because one thing is a conspiracy clearly doesn’t mean everything else is (obviously!).

“..yet the fact that Europe is already doing carbon trading amongst themselves flies in the face of your idea. Once again, the only logical conclusion we can draw is the they think it’s the right thing to do.”

as I’ve said, the European dream has been killed off by the free traders/libertarians. the fact that they trade carbon ‘credits’ is not proof in itself that the concept is viable, or even desirable. “they” may well believe it’s “the right thing to do”, but then some people believe they can murder another because of the colour of their skin.

Whether carbon trading actually is the best thing to do for the environment is a separate issue, but clearly the EU and other western leaders genuinely think it is the right thing to do – they obviously aren’t doing it to deliberately screw the third world.

I maintain that carbon trading, if implemented globally, would lead to big oil consumers unloading their excess on less developed nations (one of the reasons why Brazil and others broke ranks in Copenhagen).

Once again, this assertion is simply unproven. Just as I don’t believe in God without evidence, I don’t believe in conspiracies without evidence either.

  
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alcove6409.

third paragraph — yes it would seem that (for the vast majority) 2300+ years of following the ‘one god’ and living within the social structures that arose from those beliefs has created a dependence on authority. do you think it’s already genetic?

Sachiko.

you say: “..we just see that corruption working in different ways. I think the obvious observation is that the corruption is on the side of the people who oppose action on climate change.”

implies no one who approves action on climate change is/can be corrupt. wow.

Definition: corruption (noun) The act of corrupting or of impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle; the state of being corrupted or debased; loss of purity or integrity; depravity; wickedness; impurity; bribery. The act of changing, or of being changed, for the worse; departure from what is pure, simple, or correct; as, a corruption of style; corruption in language.

do you really think corruption works differently, depending on which side you’re on? I recommend you actually read that paper by Fitzsimons.

“..and I think it is also clear that these dynasties are by-products, not intentional. Indeed, it seems the wealthy people who really care about their kids often choose to limit their inheritance, so they don’t become too spoilt.”

“clear”, eh? it would seem that your mind is ‘closed’ on this matter. what percentage of wealthy limit the kid’s inheritance? do you have information that no one else has access to?

“Once again, aren’t you disproving your own argument here? As you say, politicians do not want to do this, yet they are..”

first, I think that politicians, in general, do not resign over matters of principle. think peer pressure, think loss of face/status. there are any number of possible reasons, for each individual concerned, the actual reasons will differ. but in order to influence events, they have to be and remain within the group – fact.

“Basically, you have to show how big business will abuse carbon trading in the way you say they will.”

in exactly the same way they abuse tax legislation. if each and every one of the 200 or so nation states on earth implements environmental policies, those policies/legislation are certain to differ in similar ways to tax laws today. today we have tax havens where those who can stash their monies; there’s a good chance that soon we’ll have the green analogue — polluter havens.

no, carbon TRADING is dumb because it does not reduce emissions until it becomes very expensive (per ton) and when that happens, you’ll get illegal activites akin to the people who dump their rubbish in the middle of a park today because they’re unwilling to pay for the municipal dump. now, had you argued carbon scrubbing (sequestration)..

you say, re the wikipedia link, “Evidence for an irrelevant conspiracy is, well, irrelevant!”

actually, like the paragraphs above, it’s about corruption essentially, not conspiracy. to be clear — all conspiratorial behaviour is corrupt, not all corruption is conspiratorial.

“..but clearly the EU and other western leaders genuinely think it is the right thing to do – they obviously aren’t doing it to deliberately screw the third world.”

well, I have not had the privilege to talk to the “EU and other western leaders” in person, so couldn’t say what their thoughts are, but, as you say, the idea that the so-called first world would “deliberately screw” the third world is simply preposterous. LOL.

  
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Originally Posted By jr
Sachiko.

you say: “..we just see that corruption working in different ways. I think the obvious observation is that the corruption is on the side of the people who oppose action on climate change.”

implies no one who approves action on climate change is/can be corrupt. wow.

Definition: corruption (noun) The act of corrupting or of impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle; the state of being corrupted or debased; loss of purity or integrity; depravity; wickedness; impurity; bribery. The act of changing, or of being changed, for the worse; departure from what is pure, simple, or correct; as, a corruption of style; corruption in language.

do you really think corruption works differently, depending on which side you’re on? I recommend you actually read that paper by Fitzsimons.

Did I actually say any of the BS you have put into my mouth? No I did not. You can make as many illogical and unsubstantiated arguments as you want, but don’t dare say I said something I didn’t.

Let me spell out for you what I actually did say:

Those who support action on climate change have only one clear reason to do so: saving the planet.

Those who oppose action on climate change have only one clear reason to do so: selfish greed.

Which of these two is corrupt: saving the planet, or selfish greed? Have you finally got it now?

Alright, that’s probably an oversimplification, but that seems to be what you need to understand me.

but, as you say, the idea that the so-called first world would “deliberately screw” the third world is simply preposterous. LOL.

There you go putting words into my mouth again. The west have done many terrible things to the third world, and are continuing to do so – I intend to write about it some day. But Europe’s carbon trading cannot be one of them, because the third world isn’t even involved. As such, carbon trading itself cannot possibly be for the purpose of screwing the third world. Have you finally got this now?

I am deeply offended by your assertion that I am ignorant of how the west has seriously harmed the third world, as this is an issue I feel very strongly about. If you want to win a debate, I suggest you discuss what I actually wrote, rather than twisting it.

  
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Sachiko.

“Did I actually say any of the BS you have put into my mouth? No I did not. You can make as many illogical and unsubstantiated arguments as you want, but don’t dare say I said something I didn’t.”

I have quoted from your posts using copy and paste, I did not re-type a single of those words.

  
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@jr – So I have to spell this out for you as well? I said:

I do accept that, to a point: we just see that corruption working in different ways. I think the obvious observation is that the corruption is on the side of the people who oppose action on climate change.

You then responded by saying that this means I said:

implies no one who approves action on climate change is/can be corrupt. wow.

Definition: corruption (noun) The act of corrupting or of impairing integrity, virtue, or moral principle; the state of being corrupted or debased; loss of purity or integrity; depravity; wickedness; impurity; bribery. The act of changing, or of being changed, for the worse; departure from what is pure, simple, or correct; as, a corruption of style; corruption in language.

do you really think corruption works differently, depending on which side you’re on? I recommend you actually read that paper by Fitzsimons.

But I never said that at all. There’s nothing in what I wrote that says “no one who approves action on climate change is/can be corrupt” or “corruption works differently depending on which side you’re on” – that’s just idiotic.

I was hoping you might be able to make some rational arguments to support your conspiracy theory, but sadly all you’ve done is reconfirm my impression that conspiracy theorists are simply irrational.

  
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Sachiko writes:

“Those who support action on climate change have only one clear reason to do so: saving the planet.

Those who oppose action on climate change have only one clear reason to do so: selfish greed.”

your first assertion is naive, at best. suppose I were a manufacturer of, say, wind turbines, no matter what my personal beliefs, I’d support “action on climate change” even if only because it would mean a growing market for my products.

your second assertion is on shaky ground too; while I personally cannot see why anyone would want to “oppose action on climate change”, I do not go so far as to ascribe base motives.

(on other blogs concerned with AGW and other environmental issues, I have read people arguing that climate change is natural and AGW is BS (to use your terminology) and they often cite impressive evidence to support their arguments; my own position is that climate change is natural but the total of human for-profit industrial activities are impacting on the environment including climate, I have no position on AGW per se).

  
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Originally Posted By jr
your first assertion is naive, at best. suppose I were a manufacturer of, say, wind turbines, no matter what my personal beliefs, I’d support “action on climate change” even if only because it would mean a growing market for my products.

Like I said, it was an oversimplification, but that seems to be the only way you can comprehend my arguments. Of course there may be some isolated examples of people who have selfish motives to support action on climate change, but for the most part, people will have to make sacrifices to take action here, so clearly their motives must be selfless.

your second assertion is on shaky ground too; while I personally cannot see why anyone would want to “oppose action on climate change”, I do not go so far as to ascribe base motives.

In that case, how come big business has had such a long history of opposing it? Because it will hurt their profits! That is selfish greed, pure and simple.

  
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Sachiko.

there is no doubt that we agree, broadly speaking, on the central issue: humans are damaging our shared planet w/out regard for any other species.

and I do not doubt your sincerity or integrity; numerous posts over the past few months confirm those (and I wouldn’t spend any time to come here to read (and reply)).

what differences remain can be put down to my literal-mindedness (lack of subtlety ?) and semantics.

so, can we politely agree to disagree on some of the finer points? perhaps we’ll meet one day (if you were to travel to the UK), we could then trash out (any & all) arguments over a cup of coffee.

(January 13, 2010 at 1:53 am) “In that case, how come big business has had such a long history of opposing it?” — fair comment.

  
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I’m pretty sure that what you see is what you get in this case, in both cases actually. There are no other underlying conspiracies at play (aside from the one that some computer hackers exposed). All of you will find that I am fairly open minded, but I will not ever support groundless, baseless conspiracy theories that have no roots in reality. it would be irresponsible of me to even consider poisoning my mind with such nonsensical theories.

  
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Brad.

you “hate” conspiracy theories, here are some rather interesting ones:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conspiracy_theories
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conspiracies_(political)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_conspiracy_theory

topical — the ‘sexed-up’ dossier which led to UK involvement in the Iraq war; hope you follow current affairs in the UK and the Netherlands.

all bunkum, eh?

  
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Originally Posted By jr
Brad.

you “hate” conspiracy theories, here are some rather interesting ones:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conspiracy_theories
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conspiracies_(political)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_conspiracy_theory

topical — the ‘sexed-up’ dossier which led to UK involvement in the Iraq war; hope you follow current affairs in the UK and the Netherlands.

all bunkum, eh?

Don’t put words into my mouth when I haven’t said them.

  
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Brad.

me: (January 13, 2010 at 8:28 am) “you “hate” conspiracy theories..”

Brad: (January 13, 2010 at 10:47 am) “Don’t put words into my mouth when I haven’t said them. ”

Brad: (January 11, 2010 at 6:32 pm) “This is why I HATE conspiracy theorists, They’re too paranoid for their own good.”

short-term memory problems?

  
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Actually jr, you are once again twisting Brad’s words: he said he hates conspiracy theorists because they’re too paranoid, not that he hates conspiracy theories as such. And he certainly did not say conspiracies don’t happen, as you are trying to suggest.

This seems to have been the gist of your argument: conspiracies happen and politicians are corrupt, so therefore whenever politicians co-operate, it must be a conspiracy. I’m surprised I have to point out how logically absurd this is. And clearly, Brad is right: this sort of attitude is obviously paranoia.

And I am still waiting on your apology for suggesting that I was clueless about how much the west has harmed the third world. Indeed, I would go so far as to say the west created the third world in the wake of the colonial period. Once again, just because I don’t think they’re doing it this time, doesn’t mean I don’t think they’ve ever done it. And the reverse is true as well: just because the west has historically screwed the third world, doesn’t mean they’re trying to use carbon trading to do it again.

  
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Originally Posted By jr
Brad.

me: (January 13, 2010 at 8:28 am) “you “hate” conspiracy theories..”

Brad: (January 13, 2010 at 10:47 am) “Don’t put words into my mouth when I haven’t said them. ”

Brad: (January 11, 2010 at 6:32 pm) “This is why I HATE conspiracy theorists, They’re too paranoid for their own good.”

short-term memory problems?

You seem to be lacking in reading comprehension, cause I’m clearly saying one thing, and you’re interpreting it in a way that it shouldn’t be. I know my writing may be a little hard to follow sometimes, but come on, I’m not THAT hard to understand. I mean I do speak the same language as you…I think.

  
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Sachiko.

“..the gist of your argument: conspiracies happen and politicians are corrupt, so therefore whenever politicians co-operate, it must be a conspiracy.”

as I said before, I think politicians and the political system corrupt.

I responded to your writing “If people want to speculate on conspiracy theories, the first thing they have to do is establish motive.” (January 11, 2010 at 11:37 pm), suggesting that carbon trading could be construed as a motive (January 12, 2010 at 12:19 am).

neither the idea, nor the first mention of conspiracy was mine.

as to accuracy and comprehension, you say: “Actually jr, you are once again twisting Brad’s words”

previous instance(s), where?

you say: “..suggesting that I was clueless about how much the west has harmed the third world.”

where?

(apology will follow once I know where you took offense)

“And the reverse is true as well: just because the west has historically screwed the third world, doesn’t mean they’re trying to use carbon trading to do it again.”

yes, people have changed fundamentally, magically, and overnight. and pigs fly.

anyway, this is tedious; I like a good argument but tend to avoid splitting hairs for the sake of it.

Brad.

“You seem to be lacking in reading comprehension, cause I’m clearly saying one thing, and you’re interpreting it in a way that it shouldn’t be.”

(January 13, 2010 at 7:32 am) “it would be irresponsible of me to even consider poisoning my mind with such nonsensical [conspiracy] theories.”

(January 11, 2010 at 6:32 pm) “This is why I HATE conspiracy theorists..”

(1) you find conspiracy theories nonsensical and poisonous.
(2) you hate people who support them.

to me — with my flawed understanding — that suggests you do not endorse ‘conspiracies’. clearly, you cannot have it both ways.

  
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Brad.

and while we’re at it, neither of your posts replying to alcove6409, stand up to scrutiny.

(January 11, 2010 at 11:41 am) you deny that “the elite” are involved in racist attacks, yet, the very newspapers that talk about scrounging immigrants and other such shit to poison people’s minds are owned by that very elite.

humans are mammals and, as such, learn from their elders and their peers, so ordinary Joe’s attacking someone else because of the colour of their skin or whatever is due to what they learned (and, no doubt, excacerbated by poverty and FUD).

by blaming, as you do (explicitly, in writing), the average man, you endorse and defend a flawed system; you blame the people for having been indoctrinated (as opposed to educated) and you apologise for the indoctrinators.

tells me all I need to know about your power of reasoning.

  
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Originally Posted By jr
Sachiko.

“..the gist of your argument: conspiracies happen and politicians are corrupt, so therefore whenever politicians co-operate, it must be a conspiracy.”

as I said before, I think politicians and the political system corrupt.

But that doesn’t mean they always act corruptly – they can’t, or our political system would collapse.

I responded to your writing “If people want to speculate on conspiracy theories, the first thing they have to do is establish motive.” (January 11, 2010 at 11:37 pm), suggesting that carbon trading could be construed as a motive (January 12, 2010 at 12:19 am).

neither the idea, nor the first mention of conspiracy was mine.

You still haven’t adequately explained how this would work – you’ve just made baseless assertions.

as to accuracy and comprehension, you say: “Actually jr, you are once again twisting Brad’s words”

previous instance(s), where?

Obviously, I was referring to how you had previously twisted my words in exactly the same way.

you say: “..suggesting that I was clueless about how much the west has harmed the third world.”

where?

You on January 12 at 11:33 pm: “but, as you say, the idea that the so-called first world would “deliberately screw” the third world is simply preposterous. LOL.”

“And the reverse is true as well: just because the west has historically screwed the third world, doesn’t mean they’re trying to use carbon trading to do it again.”

yes, people have changed fundamentally, magically, and overnight. and pigs fly.

There you go twisting my words yet again. I didn’t say the west have magically changed their ways – I just said that there is nothing to indicate that they’re using carbon trading to screw the third world.

anyway, this is tedious; I like a good argument but tend to avoid splitting hairs for the sake of it.

Damn right this is tedious, so please take your own advice.

  
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Originally Posted By jr
tells me all I need to know about your power of reasoning.

Quite frankly jr, I think your response says a lot more about your power of reasoning. Just as you have with my comments, you have either grossly misunderstood or wilfully misrepresented Brad’s comments. What he is saying bears very little relation to what you have written in your comments.

  
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Saschiko.

see, this is how I read it:

you: ““Actually jr, you are once again twisting Brad’s words””

me: “previous instance(s), where?”

you: “Obviously, I was referring to how you had previously twisted my words..”

had you written:

“Actually jr, you are once again twisting words..”

or even

“Actually jr, you are once again twisting Brad’s words the way you twisted mine..”

then I too might have seen what is so ‘obvious’ to you.

“But that doesn’t mean they always act corruptly – they can’t, or our political system would collapse.”

sorry, disagree, and not only because the political system is the glove puppet (or, if you prefer, window dressing) of the global corporate interest; as far as I can tell, politics increasingly lost its relevance somewhere from the 15th century onwards, with the rise of the corporation.

re. ““but, as you say, the idea that the so-called first world would “deliberately screw” the third world is simply preposterous. LOL.””

well, if that really rattled your cage, I will apologise; at the time it had me laughing, had not realised you would feel so deeply about what was, in essence, a throw-away remark.

“I just said that there is nothing to indicate that they’re using carbon trading to screw the third world.”

the large cosumers of oil-based products could acquire the carbon credits of smaller consumers to allow them to use more than their “fair” per capita share, carbon (CO2) emissions would not be cut overall. I think that, in the context, constitutes ‘screwing’ because the development of th esmaller consumer nation would be held back, having not any carbon credits remaining. can you see this argument?

(January 13, 2010 at 11:45 pm) “What he is saying bears very little relation to what you have written in your comments.”

Brad, on racist attacks (January 11, 2010 at 11:41 am): “Furthermore it is not the “elite” as you call them perpetrating these crimes of hate and suppression against indians, it is once again the average man and/or woman. The only thing that the Australian authorities are guilty of is denial.”

well, you tell me how to read/interpret this, looking forward to an explanation.

  
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Originally Posted By jr
Brad, on racist attacks (January 11, 2010 at 11:41 am): “Furthermore it is not the “elite” as you call them perpetrating these crimes of hate and suppression against indians, it is once again the average man and/or woman. The only thing that the Australian authorities are guilty of is denial.”

well, you tell me how to read/interpret this, looking forward to an explanation.

I interpret his words exactly as he wrote them: these attacks (i.e the physical assaults on Indians referred to in my article) are not being perpetrated by the “elite” – they are being perpetrated by common thugs. The Australian authorities are only guilty of denial of the racist element involved.

It seems you read our comments as though they themselves are conspiracies: you don’t take them literally as they’re written, you look for hidden subtexts and blow them out of all proportion to reality.

  
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Sachiko.

“I interpret his words exactly as he wrote them..”

yet, when I do the same with your words, I fall foul of ‘the rules’. sigh..

yes, individuals perpetrate the crime but how does that invalidate the contention that indoctrination is the problem at heart? how does it play with the fact that we all are ‘informed’ by our media — owned by said elite. also, do you not think that poverty and milieu, and the Fear/Uncertainty/doubt factor come into it as well?

anyway, past midnight where you are, so, hasta manana.

  
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Originally Posted By jr
Sachiko.

“I interpret his words exactly as he wrote them..”

yet, when I do the same with your words, I fall foul of ‘the rules’. sigh..

What on earth are you talking about?

yes, individuals perpetrate the crime but how does that invalidate the contention that indoctrination is the problem at heart? how does it play with the fact that we all are ‘informed’ by our media — owned by said elite. also, do you not think that poverty and milieu, and the Fear/Uncertainty/doubt factor come into it as well?

Except that that clearly isn’t what Brad was talking about!

  
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Sachiko.

“What on earth are you talking about?” — ‘exactly’ — ‘..twisting Brad’s words..’

how can that not be ‘obvious’?

“Except that that clearly isn’t what Brad was talking about!”

I stand by my post (January 13, 2010 at 9:26 pm), you lay all the blame on the individual(s) if you want.

  
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It’s reached the point where I can’t make sense of your comments at all, so I’ll just leave it at that.

  
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Sachiko.

“It’s reached the point where I can’t make sense of your comments at all, so I’ll just leave it at that.”

turgid, that’s how I’d describe the sum total of this ‘discussion’. FWIW, I resorted to printout (12 pages) and marker pen to keep track, that sort of worked for me.

  
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Jr, it’s painfully obvious to me now that you cannot be reasoned with. You are taking my words and twisting them to support your own cause, which is shameful of you. I do not have any hidden agenda in my words, nor should you be perceiving that I do. I stated that I do not like CONSPIRACY THEORISTS, you know, the people that have this nasty habit of reading into things a bit too far, just like you are with what I am saying. Though I feel like I am spinning my wheels in mud arguing with you I will give it one last shot. I cannot and will not support any conspiracy theory that can’t be backed up by solid, tangible evidence.
Now while I realize that things aren’t always as they seem, it doesn’t mean that there’s always something more to the picture. I tread carefully, always researching things thoroughly, checking and double checking before I willingly accept that something might be missing. I tire of this endless waltz so this will be my final post on this matter. And Sachiko, thank you for the warm welcome.

  
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Brad.

“I cannot and will not support any conspiracy theory that can’t be backed up by solid, tangible evidence.”

definitions:
# a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act
# a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act (especially a political plot)
# a group of conspirators banded together to achieve some harmful or illegal purpose

as you can see, by definition, solid, tangible evidence and conspiracy are really mutually exclusive. re-assuring, is it not?

btw, you might want to pay close attention to the differences emerging between the Chilcott Inquiry and the recent Dutch equivalent, perhaps you’ll find it — educational?

“Now while I realize that things aren’t always as they seem, it doesn’t mean that there’s always something more to the picture. I tread carefully, always researching things thoroughly, checking and double checking before I willingly accept that something might be missing.”

my main ‘beef’ with the points you made so far, is the simplistic (IMO) reasoning as to why individuals commit racist crimes; I have explained this in some detail already in the posts above.

“..it’s painfully obvious to me now that you cannot be reasoned with.”

oh, I won’t deny that I can get my ‘knickers in a twist’, but I have always lived by the maxim that the only time one stops learning is when one has died. people do call me stubborn but ‘unreasonable’ is new. thanks though.

  
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Jr: you are now sounding like the theists who – when challenged for evidence for God’s existence – they say God is beyond our understanding and beyond reasoning, and exists outside of the laws of the universe. Which makes God a meaningless, pointless entity – just like your conspiracy theory.

  
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Sachiko.

like most things in this world, conspiracy isn’t a black-and-white issue.

for instance, I do not believe that reptilians from Mars are running the world through mind control (although, sometimes I watch all the irrationality around and begin to wonder :-) ).

but, say, ‘extra-ordinary rendition’ flights: conspiracy? yes. proof? well, certain flights are known to have taken place, a number of the victims have made statements which appear accurate, yet, proof won’t come about until someone with access to CIA (and NSA) internal information breaks rank.

another example, energy cartels accused of price-fixing. conspiracy? yes. proof? yes, there have been trials (in Europe) and, although fines were handed down (ie. some crime was committed), the executives who conspired went scott-free.

on Blair and the WMDs (I think that is what you refer to when saying “your conspiracy theory”), it does appear that Blair committed to British military involvement more than a year before the matter came to parliament. conspiracy? I think so but the jury’s out.

I wrote “as you can see, by definition, solid, tangible evidence and conspiracy are really mutually exclusive”; I ought to have written ‘solid, tangible evidence is virtually impossible to come by’. bad me, fallible as the rest.

  
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Originally Posted By jr
on Blair and the WMDs (I think that is what you refer to when saying “your conspiracy theory”), it does appear that Blair committed to British military involvement more than a year before the matter came to parliament. conspiracy? I think so but the jury’s out.

No, I meant your carbon trading conspiracy.

I think it is pretty clear that Blair wasn’t entirely honest in the lead-up to the Iraq war, and it is very clear that Bush was lying through his teeth. But there is plenty of tangible and logical evidence for this. I think conspiracy theorists underestimate how difficult it is to keep stuff like this secret, and the bigger the conspiracy, the more people are involved, such that it becomes virtually impossible.

  
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Actually jr, what you are referring to is not a conspiracy amongst politicians and business men, it is organised crime. Organised crime is something that is always an issue with this type of thing – no matter what we do, they will find a way to make a buck out of it. They key here is proper policing.

Criminals are much better at keeping stuff secret than politicians are – we all know how they do it.

  
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Sachiko.

“..what you are referring to is not a conspiracy amongst politicians and business men, it is organised crime.”

have a heavy workload looming (couple of weeks or so) and am pre-occupied already, would like to revisit this argument in the near future, if you’re game?

on a different note, found this curious/nice video short on by accident, there are others on the same site (haven’t watched them yet):

http://www.vidoemo.com/yvideo.php?i=MklSN2FMcWuRpZlctUGs&atheism-made-idiot-simple

regards

  
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Actually, after this I think I will have to do an article on why otherwise rational people can believe in conspiracy theories – I suspect it is based on the same instinct that leads us to believe in religion.

EDIT: great video BTW – it’s definitely on the money.

  
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Sachiko & Brad: I waded through this entire argument (not easy, as you both have discovered) and it’s gotten to the point where both sides are talking past each other. Conspiracy theorists get their information from conspiracy websites, live in a conspiracy world where any legitimate news source is “corrupted” by its greedy, elite, capitalist owners, all politicians are corrupt, everyone involved with a major issue is in it for their own profit, facts are distortions, statements are argued against by parsing a word or phrase and giving it a meaning it was never intended to have, questions aren’t answered but previous statements just rephrased to say the same thing over and over… tough sledding when you’re on the other side.

I’m saying all this as a person who isn’t keen on carbon trading (I much prefer a carbon tax; current emissions hold no financial penalty to the polluter) but understand the need to take steps now to forestall future temperature increases. I don’t think this is best done by creating huge multi-government bureaucracies but that’s just my own personal opinion; I’d like to take the approach that was taken with acid rain and smog.

Yes, there are people out there that stand to make huge profits by combating climate change and yes, there are benefits for academics to support combating climate change. That means there is nuance in this issue, but nuance is the last place conspiracy theorists look when arguing their points. That would mean having to think, and thinking is antithetical to a conspiracy argument. It’s all black and white to them. And when in doubt, they can always blame the CIA. ;)

  
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Hi Swamp Rat,

I am pretty much in total agreement with you. I am not sure that carbon trading is the best way to tackle climate change, but I am sure that it isn’t a conspiracy! I agree that a carbon tax is simpler and more direct, but on the other hand, the potential profitability of carbon trading that jr finds so corrupting is potentially also its strength. If we can set it up so that whatever profits are made actually do result in carbon reduction, then the fact that people can make money out of it is actually a good thing. For example, much of the third world is in tropical rainforest areas, which are the world’s biggest carbon sink. Hence, this could be an enormous opportunity for the third world to make money while saving the planet. The reasoning behind carbon trading is to convert our greed into carbon reduction – I guess the question is as to whether it really can work this way in practice.

  
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Originally Posted By SachikoHi Swamp Rat,

I am pretty much in total agreement with you. I am not sure that carbon trading is the best way to tackle climate change, but I am sure that it isn’t a conspiracy! I agree that a carbon tax is simpler and more direct, but on the other hand, the potential profitability of carbon trading that jr finds so corrupting is potentially also its strength. If we can set it up so that whatever profits are made actually do result in carbon reduction, then the fact that people can make money out of it is actually a good thing. For example, much of the third world is in tropical rainforest areas, which are the world’s biggest carbon sink. Hence, this could be an enormous opportunity for the third world to make money while saving the planet. The reasoning behind carbon trading is to convert our greed into carbon reduction – I guess the question is as to whether it really can work this way in practice.

A few Central American countries like Panama practice this quite successfully. They pay their farmers to let the rain forest reclaim farmland. and it has proven to be quite profitable for the government because the rain forest acts as a natural water filter and reduces pollution levels in the air, reducing the need for costly technologies that would otherwise need to be implemented. its really quite a genius plan.

  
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@ Sachiko & Brad: Your points bring me back to another question concerning a carbon tax… what to do with the tax money? So how about this? Instead of polluters continuing to pollute by paying off someone to offset their pollution, let’s tax their carbon and use the money collected as a fund to pay that Panamanian farmer to let the rain forest reclaim farmland. I worry about the huge bureaucracies created with carbon trading and how to keep that bureaucracy efficient and honest. With a tax, the market can create efficiencies by appealing to greed rather than fighting it. Maybe I’m off here, but at this time it seems like the best plan to me.

The problem with temperature arguments is that the raw data is easy to find and the numbers are at historic highs, but the interpretation of the data involved a large amount of guesswork. Computer climate models are still pretty primitive so scientists have to make a lot of assumptions, which cause politics to enter into the equation. For instance, I saw the data that Al Gore used in his original movie (I sold the cold heads used to bring the temperatures down to single degrees K for analysis of the ice core samples in one of the testing labs so I knew the raw data was accurate) but the conclusions he came up with were speculative. I also noticed many of the scientists who say global climate change is a fantasy aren’t trained in climate science but tend to have their degrees in completely unrelated sciences, making them suspect in my mind.

I also sold process control instrumentation for industries like power plants, petrochemical refineries, etc. when I was younger and temperature loops are by far the most difficult to control. Now these loops are relatively simple; the temperature loop of the earth is huge and incredibly complex, and it isn’t even a closed loop as it can be affected by forces outside the planet itself (radiation, sun spots, etc.) so anyone claiming to know what will happen is blowing smoke.

Having said that, the numbers are at historic highs for several gases. That means we’re in uncharted waters so we have reasons for concern. Since temperature has a lag effect, changes we make today won’t have an effect until sometime in the future, so we’re rolling the dice in terms of climate change forecasting. So if we can clean up the air, lower the CO2 levels, make the oceans less acidic, slow down or stop the melting of icebergs and glaciers, isn’t that a good thing that will cure several problems instead of one?

I’ve lived in China before and the air quality is horrendous. That doesn’t effect just poor people, it affects everyone. Wood fires from India help melt the Himalayan glaciers. Something done in one hemisphere affects the climate in another. Now is not the the time to point fingers. But if the solution involves developing countries not being able to develop while developed countries maintain a much better lifestyle, it’s a non-starter. If developing countries that are huge polluters use the “we’re new to polluting so we can do more” or “pollution should only count as a ‘per capita’ number, it’s a non-starter.

The problem is now, not then and the earth doesn’t care about the size of your population, it only cares about the total amount you create as a percentage of your land area and your absorption potential. If this becomes just another political negotiation, things will just get a lot worse. The solution can’t be political but has to be one that is in every country’s advantage to implement. In my mind, the carbon tax fulfills these requirements in that it is blind to borders or populations. You create it, you pay for it, that simple.

  
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Sure no one knows what will happen, but that’s the very reason why conjecture and speculation are our best friends. its better to be safe than sorry. But I do agree with you, nothing is certain right now, and anyone claiming to know, be it a scientist or a conspiracy theorist, or even a rich industrialist is just another person trying to push their own personal agenda, whatever that may be. While I am unsure that the scientists are right, I think its best that the nations of the world err on the side of caution and take drastic measures to reduce CO2 and toxic emissions. In the short term nuclear fission would provide a good solution, and maybe even offer incentives for people to switch to hydrogen fuel cell cars, I and I mean real incentives. Either way, if something does happen or it doesn’t, we need to take steps to preserve our home, at the very least until we humans can expand into space and other celestial bodies.

  
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Originally Posted By Swamp Rat
@ Sachiko & Brad: Your points bring me back to another question concerning a carbon tax… what to do with the tax money? So how about this? Instead of polluters continuing to pollute by paying off someone to offset their pollution, let’s tax their carbon and use the money collected as a fund to pay that Panamanian farmer to let the rain forest reclaim farmland.

Actually, I think this is where carbon trading potentially has the advantage: taxes rarely go straight to where they are supposed to, but profits from carbon trading would theoretically do so naturally.

  
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Sachiko, that’s a good point. I guess the bureaucracy always makes itself felt in one way or another.

  
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Yeah – ultimately, if we don’t do something because of potential corruption or bureaucracy, then we won’t be able to do anything! So we have to choose which system has the most long term potential, and try to build in checks and balances to try and keep corruption and bureaucracy under control.

  
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