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THE COST OF ECO-REGULATIONS

Dreamed 1997/2/14 by Chris Wayan

I dream I'm reading a news article. An economist says "California's environmental reform package a few years ago was only a half-measure. None of us experts could predict what it'd cost to implement, how much of a chilling effect it'd have on business. I estimated $1.3 billion, but I want to confess now just how wild a guess it was. Based on nothing solid. The economic loss should have peaked in the first years of transition. Those years are past now, and the cost appears to have been... zero!

"I conclude it's now indefensible not to implement the next phase in California, and at LEAST the current California rules nationwide. California's proven such rules just aren't the economic risk we thought--and the high cost of ecological degradation is a CERTAINTY."

I'm delighted he's admitting it.

Then he adds something unexpected: "...AND we must rethink our economic theory! It predicted heavy costs for eco-regulations, and it was dead wrong."

Economists admit they're wrong? Dream on!

NOTES ON WAKING UP

2001 NOTES

Well, maybe the dream was personal advice. But why frame it in economic terms? Today, as Texan power companies headed by Enron loot California with impunity provided by George W. Bush, in revenge for the state's massive vote against him... as W rants on about spoiled Californians and our refusal to build power plants (when we're the most energy-efficient region, we had enough new plants, and had no blackouts till W's Enron buddies turned off working plants against direct state orders and state law)... as W denies global warming and pushes for drilling and nukes... well, this dream looks less symbolic and personal, and WAY more literal today than four years ago. As we modernized and cleaned up our state, a lot of us Californians, lulled by the Clinton years, forgot just how dirty it is out there--and I don't just mean environmentally.



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