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Page added on February 27, 2016

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Privatising Air

Privatising Air thumbnail
We seem to have entered an era of ‘reductio ad absurdum’ capitalism. Many of life’s fundamentals such as land, water and energy have been or are being enclosed and privatised. As capitalism runs out of convenient colonies to parasitise, it has begun to work on societies within its traditional hosts in the developed world through austerity. In parallel the realm of  privatisation extends into areas previously considered as public goods available as of right. Is there any ‘natural’ limit to this process? Could air be privatised?

We should perhaps envy Marx for his somewhat detached historical perspective on the development of capitalism. All things must pass. The problem, perhaps felt more acutely if you have children and grandchildren, in that by the time capitalism has eaten itself there will be nothing left for our descendants to sustain themselves with.

If you had asked a member of one of the 170 native American nations before 1880 who owned the land they would not have understood the question [1]. Fast forward 140 years and the idea that land is just a special type of property, and that its resources and use-value can be reserved to the owner is embedded in law and in the general unchallenged narrative about ‘how things work’. Very little land is now held in common, and the only current activist initiative pissing into the prevailing wind is that of Land Value Taxation – a proposition which, while welcome, does appear to accept that land has been irreversibly enclosed, and restricts itself to demanding a land rental back to the exchequer in the form of a tax.

In Ireland a series of #right2water marches have attracted tens of thousands protesting at the Irish government’s plans to privatise water via the creation of a new semi-state (a public-private hybrid) Irish Water and the imposition of water charges. Elsewhere, in Flint, Michigan, following a series of commercial disputes over water supply, a state of emergency was declared as the extent of lead pollution became clear. In neither of these cases are we in an area of water shortage or stress. The common factor seems to be the introduction of public/ private partnerships to move the costs of water supply off of the national (or state) accounts.

In parallel the development of the bottled water market has burgeoned, seemingly unaffected by the inconvenient ‘market externality’ of trillions of plastic bottles going to landfill, and by Coca Cola (via their Dasani brand) and others bottling treated tap water [2] – based on an idea by DelBoy [3].

The creativity of the market, which at its best is a joy to behold and a source of life-enhancing innovation is a curate’s egg. And the parts that are bad are fouling the world. Markets have no inbuilt ethics. And we have yet to demonstrate any governance capability that can detoxify them.

As a thought experiment, (and since we are in reductio ad absurdum territory) consider the potential privatisation of the air that we breathe. That air is a basic necessity of life is of itself no protection. There is no apparent ethical barrier – other necessities such as land, shelter, energy and water have been enclosed by elites and rented back to citizens. So there is no ‘in principle’ difficulty.

The difficulties are practical.

For example there is rather too much clean air to make for the globalised opportunity which would be ideal. However this does not need to be a major barrier provided we sculpt the narrative properly. In the U.S. 92% of tap water is of the highest potable quality [2] but this has not interfered with the growth of bottled water sales. Creative (occasionally mendacious) advertising plus mainstream media focussing on any convenient tap water scare stories have done the trick.

The prime difficulty is in the physical enclosure of a separated-air-space and supply. A controlled-quality-air environment can be envisioned at the personal, dwelling, community, municipality or planet level. So there are product development opportunities for personal breathing devices, masks and filters, passive house variations with recirculated air and domes. As pollution increases, helpful stories about diesel particulates or Beijing air quality will progressively sensitise consumers to the need for interventions. Our inability to leave fossil fuels in the ground will help this narrative get established – an interesting variation on the theme that every market failure provides an opportunity for a new market. At the community level we should see a natural extension of the gated community service proposition to include guaranteed air quality inside large scale geodesic domes. Some municipalities – particularly scenic locations – may banish sources of pollution, buoyed by extra-high local rates acceptable to wealthy residents. Depending on local micro-climates such Canute-propositions may persist for a few years until higher pollution levels waft in from neighbouring areas. At a planetary level geoengineering solutions will develop to pump pollution back into less prosperous sink areas.

So it’s just a matter of being creative. Technology plus entrepreneurship can enable the enclosure of any public good. Absent effective sustainability-minded governance that is.

FEASTA



16 Comments on "Privatising Air"

  1. makati1 on Sat, 27th Feb 2016 8:23 pm 

    “The problem, perhaps felt more acutely if you have children and grandchildren, in that by the time capitalism has eaten itself there will be nothing left for our descendants to sustain themselves with.”

    BINGO! The sooner capitalism dies, the better for all of us.

    Coming soon an “Air Tax”. If you are alive and breathing, you owe a tax or it will be cut off … permanently. LOL

  2. Dooma on Sat, 27th Feb 2016 10:49 pm 

    Household “air purifiers” are already being sold to us by the same multinational companies that are slowly but surely polluting the atmosphere. Filling it with toxins.

    IMHO this is-by stealth the start of the “quality air” market.

    And let’s not forget oxygen bars…

  3. Go Speed Racer on Sun, 28th Feb 2016 2:39 am 

    You can ship a lot of air in a compressed air canister. The rich can afford bottled air. Just let it meter slowly out of the bottle. I am surprised this isn’t already a big business. Sell Montana mountain air to rich Chinese businessmen in Shanghai. Who cares that it is all environmental suicide, the rich get richer and can buy whatever they want, including mountain air.

  4. Practicalmaina on Sun, 28th Feb 2016 5:39 pm 

    Ivy plants and other house plants are good air purrifiers, add a little O2 to the air, without adding to greenhouse gases or a monthly bill.

  5. Apneaman on Sun, 28th Feb 2016 10:30 pm 

    Speed Racer

    Bottled air from Canada is selling like crazy in China
    Sadly, this isn’t a gag from “Silicon Valley.” Vitality Air is marketing itself to smog-filled Chinese cities

    http://www.salon.com/2015/12/25/bottled_air_from_canada_is_selling_like_crazy_in_china_partner/

  6. Apneaman on Sun, 28th Feb 2016 10:33 pm 

    Take a deep breath and say cancer

    California Capped a Massive Methane Leak, but Another is Brewing — Right Here in Texas

    “The Aliso Canyon leak was big. The Barnett leaks, combined, are even bigger. But regulators in Texas have done very little to address this well-documented problem.

    Researchers at the Environmental Defense Fund, working with university researchers in Colorado and Michigan among others, estimate that the more than 25,000 natural gas wells in the Barnett Shale emit as much as 60,000 kilograms of methane every hour. That’s more than the 58,000 kilograms per hour the Aliso Canyon was emitting at its peak back in November.”

    http://www.texasobserver.org/fracking-barnett-shale-disaster/

  7. Apneaman on Sun, 28th Feb 2016 10:38 pm 

    Carbon emission cuts could save 300,000 US lives by 2030

    “That’s what Drew Shindell of Duke University in North Carolina and his team found when they looked what impact it would have if the US cut emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 – much larger than anything planned.

    By 2030, this would prevent nearly 300,000 premature deaths and more than 30,000 a year thereafter — which is worth around $250 billion a year, according to the valuation the US Environmental Protection Agency places on saving lives.”

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2078363-carbon-emission-cuts-could-save-300000-us-lives-by-2030/

    Personally I hope they do nothing. The more dead white Americans there are frees up resources for someone more deserving – like me. Keep burning little cancer monkeys.

  8. Apneaman on Sun, 28th Feb 2016 11:06 pm 

    Oxygen Level Decrease in Air from Climate Change

    “Published on Feb 26, 2016
    Combustion of fossil fuels causes oxygen to decrease in the atmosphere/ocean system. As does deforestation, exponential population growth and phytoplankton loss in the oceans from warming stratification limiting nutrients at the surface. It is often said that the oxygen in every second breath you take is produced by photo plankton, that are the true lungs of the planet. I discuss the extend of the oxygen decrease, which is more than you want to know.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4ynqsRQcoM&feature=share

  9. Apneaman on Mon, 29th Feb 2016 12:33 am 

    Hold Your Breath — Nearly 200 Infrared Videos Expose Methane Pollution All Across the United States (VIDEO)

    “With more being added every month, the 180+ infrared videos — filmed starting in September 2014 — expose otherwise invisible air pollution from oil and gas development. Earthworks uses a FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) GasFinder 320 camera that is specially calibrated to detect approximately 20 pollutants associated with oil and gas development including methane (a climate pollutant more than 80 times as powerful as carbon dioxide over 20 years), benzene (a known carcinogen) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Earthworks ITC-certified thermographers have documented air pollution from wells, compressor stations, transmission infrastructure and storage facilities.”

    http://www.alternet.org/environment/hold-your-breath-nearly-200-infrared-videos-expose-methane-pollution-all-across-united

  10. theedrich on Mon, 29th Feb 2016 4:46 am 

    The man-ape rejoices:  “The more dead white Americans there are frees up resources for someone more deserving – like me.

    Of course, the more Whites die, the sooner intelligent life on this planet reaches the point of no return on its way to death.  While we have our problems (like wallowing in Christian-inculcated White Guilt and “compassion” for criminals and defectives), we are the only hope of the planet.  The non-Whites are simply too stupid (e.g., the darker types) or too neurotic (such as the Mongoloids) to keep evolution going.

    As Fred Hoyle said long ago:  on this planet, we have one chance, and one chance only.  This is deadly serious, a fact which White genosuicidists and other anti-Whites fail to grasp.  Whitey is told to be “happy” and ignore the web of mendacity killing him.  He is told to ignore, for instance, the fact that the narco-state of Mexico is deliberately shipping Latino sludge over our borders, and vast amounts of narcotics along with it, because their elites hate the gringo.  (And this despite the fact that large numbers of the Spic population want to “mejorar su raza” [improve their race] by miscegenating with Whites.)

    Despite the many thousands of Whites dying from overdoses or despair-caused suicides, the White population is convinced by its religion and the Jewbox to ignore the cosmic gravity of the situation.  This is not merely a political boo-boo.  Nihilistic materialism and the political correctness orchestrated by genosuicidal elites are confounding Gaia and her dynamic of evolutionary epistemology.  That dynamic decrees that life will either progress toward an ever higher state of intelligence or go extinct.  The man-ape and his ilk are choosing the latter option.

  11. Practicalmaina on Mon, 29th Feb 2016 8:43 am 

    Every time you mention overdoses I will mention big pharm. It is the white ceo’s and boards of the big companies in the medical industry that in large caused this issue.

    It is the white ceo of ExxonMobil who made a decision to lie to the public about climate change and increase everyone’s chances of disease by causing more pollution.

    Every day an antibiotic is destroyed in the rainforest because North America’s fat white ass wants some cheap beef. We have a parasitic virus like consumerism culture in this country that is being pushed on the rest of the world. They look at us and say, their lifestyle must be the answer. Because why would a powerful free and prosperous nation continue in such behavior unless excess is the key to happiness?

  12. Apneaman on Mon, 29th Feb 2016 3:05 pm 

    thedouch weighs in with special pleading (the christian’s favorite tactic)for white failure and degeneracy. Hey it is what it is – no excuses necessary. Whitey blew it and “it” ain’t never coming back. Thanks for another big hit off the schadenfreude pipe. Keep up the pain and despair – I love it!

  13. Apneaman on Mon, 29th Feb 2016 3:11 pm 

    The Arctic Turns Ugly

    “Understandably, it is especially difficult for people, other than scientists, to comprehend the risks associated with an unusually warm ice-free Arctic. After all, the Arctic is so remote, at the top of the world, the North Pole with its attendant fantasies, like images of Santa Claus and playful reindeer, fuzzy polar bear cubs, and cute little baby seals.

    But, metaphorically, the Arctic has turned sour, frowny-faced as it rapidly loses its structure, built on multi-year ice, but multi-year ice is going fast, very fast, fading, losing integrity, infrastructure, its permanence. This is comparable to the walls of a home collapsing.”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/29/the-arctic-turns-ugly/

  14. HARM on Mon, 29th Feb 2016 6:57 pm 

    “In the U.S. 92% of tap water is of the highest potable quality [2] but this has not interfered with the growth of bottled water sales.”

    Yes, and while this is true, what happened recently in Flint, MI has done incredible damage to public trust about the purity of their water supply. All part of the long, slow decline of U.S. infrastructure as it ages and does not get replaced in a timely manner –at least not in “certain” neighborhoods. The 0.1% still get their pipes replaced at taxpayer expense right away, of course.

  15. Apneaman on Mon, 29th Feb 2016 11:28 pm 

    L.A. recorded its hottest February on record

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-la-recorded-its-hottest-february-on-record-20160229-story.html

    Central western Queensland towns swelter amid record breaking weekend heat

    A number of weather records were broken in western Queensland over the weekend as many towns reached well above 40 degrees.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-29/outback-qld-towns-swelter-amid-record-breaking-heat/7207110

  16. Apneaman on Tue, 1st Mar 2016 2:59 am 

    Anchorage is so snow-starved it has to haul snow in by train for Iditarod start

    http://www.adn.com/article/20160229/anchorage-so-snow-starved-it-has-haul-snow-train-iditarod-start

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