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THE COST OF ECO-REGULATIONS

Dreamed 1997/2/14 by Chris Wayan

I dream I'm reading a newspaper 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 peak in the first years of transition. Those years are past now, and the cost appears to have been... zero!

"I believe 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

Insisting on eco-regulations = insisting on what I personally need to cure my environmental illness: clean air, older, non-outgassing work and living spaces, allergy shots, avoiding allergenic foods, regular exercise... love?

New policy half-implemented in CA a few years ago = when I started dating? Started weightlifting? Started being really careful about food? I'm always so reluctant to take each step--a voice inside says "It'll be too much trouble, it'll take more energy than it's worth." Well, my inner economist is confirming every step has paid off--freed more energy than it took.

2001 NOTES

As Texan power companies 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 were already building enough new plants, and had no blackouts till W's 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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