Taxation on Over-Consumption

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gad-fly
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by gad-fly » February 8th, 2020, 12:24 pm

What is over-consumption? I should have made it clearer when I began this post, difficult as the task may be. Over-consumption is not when you consume more than the average Joe, given all things being equal except for the difference of the budget lines. It is not over-consumption when you can have a private airplane but he can only fly economy. Why you want an airplane instead of a luxury yacht depends on your utility function. Not having both may arise from the budget constraint.

What then can be qualified as over-consumption? I would define that on the difference between the demand and the consumption basis. If you demand a car but you buy two just to show off, that is over-consumption. If you only do weekend cycling, but you refuse to share bicycle with others, that may be over-consumption, but not necessarily so. Why, because privacy is what you value more, the same reason why you wants to own the plane you fly on. In this respect, over-consumption can occur on all wealth levels, from a billionaire to the month-to-month pensioner, though the propensity is much higher in the former, based on affordability. Only those living at subsistence level can be excluded.

How do we tackle over-consumption? There can be various measures up to us to explore. Sharing is one of them. Another is to reduce wealth which in turn would lower the propensity to consume and hence to over-consume. This is not about the redistribution of wealth. Nor is it about market interference. Drinking milk may be healthier than soda pop, bu it is not the government's job to tax soda pop and subsidize milk. The increase in taxation should be overall. Thank God I am not a politician. The increase in revenue from higher taxation can be spent on climate change and so on, as to have a neutral though long-term beneficial effect.

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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by Pattern-chaser » February 12th, 2020, 6:06 am

gad-fly wrote: ↑
February 8th, 2020, 11:14 am
Let me put up a hypothetical question: What would you do if all agree that the human existence should go extinct because it is detrimental to Earth?
Would you have the right and duty to overrule?
A right to overrule? Not sure. The issue in hand concerns all of the living things that our ecosystem supports and nurtures, not just human beings. Our responsibility is to all of them. So I would have less of a problem supporting human extinction, if it benefited all of the living creatures concerned, than I would supporting the continuation of human greed at the expense of all those other creatures. It's a moral issue, admittedly, not an intellectual one, which makes it more difficult to address. But address it we must, one way or another. The one thing I do oppose is making this a human-centric decision, when all of the other living things are involved. We are not alone; our world is not only for use by humans. It is not acceptable that humans alone should make such a decision on behalf of all things. Even if the decision is democratic!
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gad-fly
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by gad-fly » February 12th, 2020, 4:11 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
February 12th, 2020, 6:06 am
[ We are not alone; our world is not only for use by humans. It is not acceptable that humans alone should make such a decision on behalf of all things. Even if the decision is democratic!
Your remarkable point should be brain-stormed. Should lasting decision be made only by those who would not live 120 years from now? Who would vote on behalf of future generations, on behalf of wild life, and so on. Why not have deficit spending now, and leave debt payment to the next generation? Over-consume now, and let others bear the burden. Sounds smart. Why should you care? You do?

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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by Pattern-chaser » February 13th, 2020, 10:54 am

gad-fly wrote: ↑
February 12th, 2020, 4:11 pm
Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
February 12th, 2020, 6:06 am
We are not alone; our world is not only for use by humans. It is not acceptable that humans alone should make such a decision on behalf of all things. Even if the decision is democratic!
Your remarkable point should be brain-stormed. Should lasting decision be made only by those who would not live 120 years from now? Who would vote on behalf of future generations, on behalf of wild life, and so on. Why not have deficit spending now, and leave debt payment to the next generation? Over-consume now, and let others bear the burden. Sounds smart. Why should you care? You do?
I accept that my views aren't exactly mainstream, but the fact that you - and many more like you - find them "remarkable" is disappointing. Perhaps the lack of attitudes like mine has contributed to our helter-skelter approach to eco-doom? But I thank you for the thought that these views might usefully be brainstormed.

I think your second sentence doesn't read as you intended. Long-term decisions affect the future long after those who discuss and decide it are dead. Once we're talking about timescales of centuries or more, this applies to all humans. Many trees, though, live for centuries.... πŸ€”

"Who would vote on behalf of future generations, on behalf of wild life, and so on"? Vote? I'm not sure, for the reasons outlined in the above quote from me. But I think perhaps the responsibility lies with all of us, equally. It lies with the living things too, but we do not ask them what they think, and we wouldn't take any notice, even if they could speak to us. So it's down to us, it seems.

I hope the rest of your post is you playing Devil's advocate, and writing provocative stuff to promote discussion. I like to think that, anyway.

And so to your final questions. Why should I/we care? Because we are part of it all, not an exceptional species somehow existing outside of everything. I do? Yes, I do. "Who cares, wins".
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gad-fly
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by gad-fly » February 13th, 2020, 12:51 pm

Pattern-chaser wrote: ↑
February 13th, 2020, 10:54 am

I accept that my views aren't exactly mainstream, but the fact that you - and many more like you - find them "remarkable" is disappointing.
Remarkable in dictionary means worthy of note or attention. I cannot understand your disappointment.

I think your second sentence doesn't read as you intended. Long-term decisions affect the future long after those who discuss and decide it are dead.
[/quote]

Not necessarily after we are dead. Long term may apply after 3 or 5 years.

Vote? I'm not sure, for the reasons outlined in the above quote from me. But I think perhaps the responsibility lies with all of us, equally. It lies with the living things too, but we do not ask them what they think, and we wouldn't take any notice, even if they could speak to us. So it's down to us, it seems.
[/quote]

When no consensus has been reached, it is necessary to decide by voting. In this respect you can be sure. Some will not take part; some will vote on self-interest, some will vote short-term, some long-term. Since you are for the interest of wild life and so on, you should take part in voting, even though you may not be their official representative, or that you cannot yet grasp what their interest is.

I hope the rest of your post is you playing Devil's advocate, and writing provocative stuff to promote discussion. I like to think that, anyway.
[/quote]

Correct. Again, brain-storming.

And so to your final questions. Why should I/we care? Because we are part of it all, not an exceptional species somehow existing outside of everything. I do? Yes, I do.
[/quote]

My questions are rhetorical. I can foresee your answer, which I would full support.

Back to the topic. Would you support taxation on over-consumption, which would adversely affect your utility in the sense that you would have less money in your pocket? Would you be an advocate too?

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LuckyR
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by LuckyR » February 14th, 2020, 1:21 pm

Acting in short term self interest is the standard behavior of species here on planet earth. Of course there are numerous examples of long term interest folded into the genetics and instinctual behaviors of species. Nature provides (often cruel) curbs to this shortsighted behavior when it runs amok. Humans have the intellect to sidestep many of these natural curbs on behavior and thus we find ourselves in our current predicament. The upcoming curbs are (in typical natural fashion) going to be extremely catastrophic, but predictable. Personally, I'm not going to be around to witness the train wreck.
"As usual... it depends."

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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by Pattern-chaser » February 14th, 2020, 2:41 pm

LuckyR wrote: ↑
February 14th, 2020, 1:21 pm
Personally, I'm not going to be around to witness the train wreck.
I wouldn't bet on that. 😒 The only thing that climate scientists have consistently got wrong is timescales, which are over-optimistic. Stuff they said would be happening in 100 years has already happened. 😒
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gad-fly
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by gad-fly » February 15th, 2020, 2:32 pm

LuckyR wrote: ↑
February 14th, 2020, 1:21 pm
Acting in short term self interest is the standard behavior of species here on planet earth. Humans have the intellect to sidestep many of these natural curbs on behavior and thus we find ourselves in our current predicament.
I tend to agree with LuckyR. Quoted from the Bible: "And why take ye thought for the morrow. Consider the lilies of the field. They toil not. Neither do they spin." I would say the behavior is more than standard. It comes naturally and from God, like default setting on the computer.

May I add another default setting. When faced with a difficult problem, the first reaction to any suggestion to tackle is often: too little, too late, not enough, won't work. It is a lazy and irresponsible way to push the problem aside, to be followed by feeling of doom and blame on others, without the realization that doom can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. We should take this attitude: every measure helps, though not enough on its won. Add them up, and you may solve the problem, though nobody can be sure. In the meantime, explore and investigate other measures. I challenge you to put them up in this forum and beyond.

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Robert66
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by Robert66 » April 9th, 2020, 3:59 pm

LuckyR wrote: ↑
February 6th, 2020, 2:45 am

Just to be clear, what I mean by "behind the scenes", is like the solution to the hole in the ozone layer in 1987. That was solved by a collaboration between governments and industry and little to no input from the public. And even in this conspiracy theory prone society, no one thinks it involved the Illuminati.
Ah yes, of course: the fabled Montreal Protocol - example par excellence of international cooperation. And LuckyR is probably right that no-one thinks it involved the illuminati.

There is a question, however: how would the matter have been resolved if the patent for CFC-replacing HCFC were held by a Chinese, or Russian, or Iranian company, rather than DuPont, who aggressively acted against the regulation of CFCs until they possessed the new patent, at which point they

'appeared before the Montreal Protocol urging that CFCs be banned worldwide and stated that their new HCFCs would meet the worldwide demand for refrigerants.' "Ethics of Du Pont's CFC Strategy 1975–1995", Smith B. Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 17, Number 5, April 1998, pp. 557–568(12)

gad-fly
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by gad-fly » April 9th, 2020, 6:16 pm

gad-fly wrote: ↑
February 5th, 2020, 3:26 pm

The trouble is that tax increase is vastly unpopular. In a democracy with recurring election, what politician would dare to advocate that which may spell the end of his political life? Furthermore, it would be a circle game if the increase in public revenue is spent on consumptive project and subsidy. I would suggest that the proper approach is to tax increase at source without correspondingly subsiding that source, starting with some unpopular goods. If you impose a carbon tax, make sure the cost of fuel will not be reduced. Not only that, but make sure that the price of all other consumer goods will not be reduced as well. How would the increase in public revenue be handled? This is the hard but essential part, to persuade the public to accept tax increase in the first place.
Over-consumption is what demand exceeds supply. If we consume 1.1 times on average what this Earth can replenish, Universal Over-consumption is 10%, but Specific Over-consumption must vary with each good in question. The percentage in question is further complicated by Substitution. Meat or vegetable, it is up to us to shift the balance.

How then do we tackle over-consumption? I would suggest we initially focus on environmentally harmful goods, like plastics and carbon emission goods. Tax on what cannot be banned, and let the market deal with the reduction. The increase in revenue from taxation can be applied to clean up and educate. Next we can target undesirable goods like meat. Raise taxation on meat while lowering that on vegetables, and let the market substitutes. Finally, we can reduce Universal over-consumption by raising taxation in general, say by 1%, while keeping the revenue increase, so to speak, away from the economy, like spending on climate change measures. Leave what is unpopular last.

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Robert66
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by Robert66 » April 9th, 2020, 6:37 pm

To summarise gad-fly: vastly unpopular taxation increase is the solution to the existential problem of over-consumption. Said increase to be presided over by, in the US, the *****-grabber in chief; in Australia by a man who embraces coal in every sense; in Brazil by one who would (in a reasonable, parallel universe) be locked up; etc etc.

We are doomed.

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Robert66
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by Robert66 » April 9th, 2020, 6:45 pm

I forgot to add: What do these men have in common, apart from the one-would-have-thought-impossible fact of their election to the highest political office? The suggestion of increasing taxation would be received by any of them about as happily as an invitation to their own funeral.

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LuckyR
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by LuckyR » April 10th, 2020, 4:16 am

Robert66 wrote: ↑
April 9th, 2020, 3:59 pm
LuckyR wrote: ↑
February 6th, 2020, 2:45 am

Just to be clear, what I mean by "behind the scenes", is like the solution to the hole in the ozone layer in 1987. That was solved by a collaboration between governments and industry and little to no input from the public. And even in this conspiracy theory prone society, no one thinks it involved the Illuminati.
Ah yes, of course: the fabled Montreal Protocol - example par excellence of international cooperation. And LuckyR is probably right that no-one thinks it involved the illuminati.

There is a question, however: how would the matter have been resolved if the patent for CFC-replacing HCFC were held by a Chinese, or Russian, or Iranian company, rather than DuPont, who aggressively acted against the regulation of CFCs until they possessed the new patent, at which point they

'appeared before the Montreal Protocol urging that CFCs be banned worldwide and stated that their new HCFCs would meet the worldwide demand for refrigerants.' "Ethics of Du Pont's CFC Strategy 1975–1995", Smith B. Journal of Business Ethics, Volume 17, Number 5, April 1998, pp. 557–568(12)
Well, if carbon was currently being put in the atmosphere by a single, albeit powerful company, I would have more optimism than I do right now.
"As usual... it depends."

gad-fly
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Re: Taxation on Over-Consumption

Post by gad-fly » April 13th, 2020, 10:35 pm

Robert66 wrote: ↑
April 9th, 2020, 6:37 pm
To summarise gad-fly: vastly unpopular taxation increase is the solution to the existential problem of over-consumption. Said increase to be presided over by, in the US, the *****-grabber in chief; in Australia by a man who embraces coal in every sense; in Brazil by one who would (in a reasonable, parallel universe) be locked up; etc etc.

We are doomed.
Mine is just an idea, not an excuse to grab money by government or head of state. It would be naive to suggest vast tax increase as solution to over-consumption. Indeed, only very moderate tax increase is feasible on the international scale.

Say an agreement has been reached to dedicate 0.1% of GDP on climate change. The revenue from all countries imposing such taxation would feed into a fund to be administered by an international organization which may be an NGO like Greenpeace or under UN, dedicated to the attainment of some specific benchmark. The performance of this organization will be scrutinized and reviewed periodically by the international community. I think it can be done.

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