Just Get Prices Right...
People don't like scarcity. Resources they like should be available in infinite quantity at a zero, or an "affordable" price.
Me, I don't like gravity. Let's legislate that away. I'm 6'1". I should be able to dunk. Sure, I'm fat and out of shape. But the REAL problem is physics. As Sinead said: "Fight the real enemy!", in this case: gravity. I'm being denied an important civil dunking right here. There ought to be a law.
Okay, gravity is a physical law, not a statute. But we have no more chance of solving the problem of scarcity by outlawing it. Reminds of Winnie Churchill's line: You can't promote peace simply by praising its virtues. You can't promote cheap, infinite supplies of stuff simply by saying how nice it would be if we had cheap, infinite supplies of stuff. Even though it's true that it would be nice.
But if you allow markets to work properly, you can get lots more stuff, and lots cheaper stuff.
Take electricity....please. We cap price, give producers incentives to pad their rate base with nonproductive assets, and then whine when we run short. Sean at Catallarchy makes a nice comparison: what other business tries to tell its customers to use less of its product?
The solution is to let electricity producers price discriminate, by time. If they could charge the full marginal cost to customers, then peak load problems go away. Yes, lots of people might go without AC, but they wouldn't leave their AC running because the cross-subsidized rate is too low to make them care.
And, if prices could rise to their market-clearing level, all those other technologies that tree-hugging bed-wetters love so much (solar, geothermal, squirrels on little wheels hooked to generators (unless this happened), generators run by violent wave motion in my waterbed, etc) would actual become economically feasible. Charging the market price for electricity is the best thing that could happen for the environment.
Just get prices right. Everything else falls into place without direction, or orders from the nanny.
UPDATE: To RL in Canadiana...we subsidize GASOLINE even more, pumpkin. We would have electric cars in just a couple of years if we charged market prices for gas. But we don't. It wasn't the automakers who killed the electric car, they just pulled the trigger. Our tax policies and foreign policies, the ones that keep gas prices at least a dollar or more below the true price...that is what aimed the gun at the electric car and cocked it. Why would you blame corporations for trying to make profits? It's what they do. But when government enables corporations to misuse market power, because the UAW is such a strong voting bloc in a few states, and because oil companies make big contributions....just get prices right. If gas prices rise to their natural level, consumer demand for electric cars will overwhelm automaker opposition. I'm not sure why CNN got that so wrong. Wait...I am sure. They have no clue about how markets work, and they love the nanny.