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posted by martyb on Wednesday October 19 2016, @01:09PM   Printer-friendly
from the freedom-of-the-press dept.

Amy Goodman, host of the New York City-based leftist news programme Democracy Now! was charged with criminal trespass by the North Dakota state's attorney (prosecutor). The charge was changed to riot, then was dismissed due to lack of evidence when Goodman appeared in court on Monday. The charges stemmed from her presence at a protest in September against construction of the Dakota Access (Bakken) oil pipeline, after the protest was reported on her show.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday October 19 2016, @06:49PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 19 2016, @06:49PM (#416280) Journal

    What good is moving oil around if people don't have a reason to use it?

    It wouldn't be. But we figured that problem out a century ago and there's now a vast number of people in the US and elsewhere who have considerable uses for that oil.

    Your analysis that jobs are unimportant and that spending is unimportant because its not "wealth" is high-school freshman reductive. A billion dollars that sits unused is indistinguishable from 0 dollars. Economies flourish when people are working at creating value, but to do that people need to be working and that means both jobs doing that work and the ability to spend money buying the results of that work.

    So are you claiming instead that 40 pipeline jobs is more important than moving that huge amount of oil around? I just don't see the point of your argument here. I guess we could talk about the uses, the jobs, and spending that much oil could provide to the US and elsewhere. I don't have a good feeling for it, but I figure thousands to tens of thousands of jobs is probably the right ballpark.

    And spending a billion dollars? I guess we're talking about my link to the SNAP program [slashdot.org] (a US food for the poor program). There I note:

    Note that $5 in spending produces $9 in spending not wealth. So right there we don't have a 2:1 return. As I see it, we take $5 of someone's money and use it to generate far less than $5 of value - feeding someone who can feed themselves. That's negative return on investment right there.

    The program had a billion dollars in spending a year. So it sounds like that's what you're referring to. The obvious rebuttal to your post then becomes the observation that the billion dollars depresses spending and investment elsewhere whether it be appropriated by taxes, borrowed, or helicopter money. It's not a billion dollars that was sitting unused. It's a billion dollars that was going to employ people, buy things, build businesses, etc, but instead got used to feed people who could feed themselves for the most part (in hindsight, I grant that some part of the program might be necessary for people who simply can't work and even positive value in those cases, but I don't buy that the program at the current scale is so).

    Note this was in response to someone who blandly claims that food assistance creates twice the wealth for the money spent. It turns out it doesn't. They aren't even trying to measure wealth and instead measure the far different and weaker metric of economic activity or "spending".

    Anyway, here's my summary:

    It's a destructive economic gimmick to conflate spending or economic activity with wealth creation. They aren't equivalent or even correlated. For example, a disaster creates a lot of spending and economic activity (from reconstruction efforts), but it results in a net loss of wealth.

    This is the macroeconomics version of the broken window fallacy.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 19 2016, @07:46PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 19 2016, @07:46PM (#416308)

    > So are you claiming instead that 40 pipeline jobs is more important than moving that huge amount of oil around? I just don't see the point of your argument here.

    There are a million unexamined assumptions behind your claim.
    For example, that the money spent on the pipeline couldn't be put to more productive use elsewhere.
    That the externalities of all the people using the oil shipped by the pipeline don't drown out the benefits.
    That the pipeline is really the most efficient method to get oil to the market rather than some other source more local or cheaper.

    You are the king of assuming the worst for positions you disagree with and the best for positions you agree with.
    In reality all you do is construct elaborate strawmen to rationalize your bias. Complexity, nuance, scope, differing interpretations, etc all of that is for ignorant dummies as far as you are concerned which is ironic as fuck.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday October 19 2016, @08:10PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday October 19 2016, @08:10PM (#416319) Journal

      For example, that the money spent on the pipeline couldn't be put to more productive use elsewhere.

      I don't see you in a position to make that evaluation nor anyone else for that matter. In a distributed system, we don't need to be. There are key information from the economy, such as a good estimate of risk free rate of return and the price of crude in various markets, present and past that adequately informs a pipeline builder of the relative productivity of their would-be investment. They can then decide whether that's good enough or not.

      That the externalities of all the people using the oil shipped by the pipeline don't drown out the benefits.

      That's a pretty flimsy concern since cheap energy has considerable positive externality.

      That the pipeline is really the most efficient method to get oil to the market rather than some other source more local or cheaper.

      That actually a pretty easy one to figure out. It's already pretty local and pipelines are well known for being extremely cheap for the volume compared to other transportation methods.

      You are the king of assuming the worst for positions you disagree with and the best for positions you agree with.

      Compared to what you just wrote? There is an awful lot of projection on the internet.

      In reality all you do is construct elaborate strawmen to rationalize your bias. Complexity, nuance, scope, differing interpretations, etc all of that is for ignorant dummies as far as you are concerned which is ironic as fuck.

      Show it's relevant. Don't just complain.