Sunday, March 06, 2011

Some Visionaries Fail, But Not All Failures are Visionaries

Had a conversation in Germany once, with a quite sensible man. We discussed the large number of solar panels on nearby homes. Germany, as I have written, has a climate where the sun is visible for about 90 minutes, some time in late July. That's it for the year.

I said it was not rational to force people to invest in solar panels.

He crowed, triumphantly, that it WAS rational, because of the enormous subsidies from the EU and the German government.

I stared at him, and tried (gently) to point out that he was ASSUMING it was rational. The fact that an activity is subsidized just means that the state takes your money at gunpoint, and agrees to give part of it back if you agree to do something you otherwise would not do.

In this case, only an idiot would put solar panels on houses in dark, snowy, cold Germany. Unless "the government" pays you to do it. But the government is bribing you with your own money, to do something that no sensible person would do. Yes, subsidies change the incentives. So does slavery.

My friend actually laughed, and said, "You economists. You never want to take anything on faith!" As if faith and religion were a big part of the lives of the German people. Or as if faith meant that installing solar panels at a cost per kw/hr that is triple the generation costs of other available technologies actually made sense, instead of being a boondoggle for the "Green Industry" pirates who run the EU like a whipped dog.

Anyway, a great story (shared by the Blonde) about faith-based energy policy in California. Just so many excellent little nuggets in this story. Glad to see that Californians can be just as ridiculously faithful as Germans can.


Mike said...

I have to admit I almost quit reading at the mention of his BK. A government worker can schedule his net worth to the penny 30 years down the road. What could possibly have happened that caused the BK (since nothing was mentioned in the article) other than overspending?

The BK was definitely a portent of things to come, eh?

J Scheppers said...

The most amazing thing it appears this Public Servent still has his job, and has no signs of changing his approach.

Doc Merlin said...

...well... government and greenness are the new religions...