Thursday, March 16, 2017

What Do We Really Burn...

...When we invest this much fuel, and effort, into moving things around so much before they reach an end user?

One has to admit, at the get go, that some of those end users might be people making further things added onto the back and forth, but even then; that's still a lot of activity spaced out over various locations, before some anticipated end user, simply because of cost factors that make a better profit one place, as opposed to another. And then you multiply this by suppliers covering the rest of the globe. And everybody trying to do it just in time now because that's also cost, and profit, effective; never mind that it also makes you oh so much more vulnerable to cascade events, where one interruption suddenly trickles down to an expanding pyramid of further interruptions.

I know. This is an odd way of starting a post that features the PM of Canada warning our terrible Mr. T. that tweaking is one thing, as a part of looking into trade agreements, but throwing them out is another thing altogether. Not that the terrible Mr. T. really wants to trash NAFTA, though.

Who the f*ck knows what he really wants, other than to pretty much f*ck with everyone, because he gets a kick out of it. One thing, however, that one might draw significant probability from is simply this: The extreme stance taken now is no more than lip service to the populist sentiment he has highjacked. And of course, you could throw in the possibility that this is also pre negotiating theatrics; as in start with something outrageously beyond what you really want to as to get the opposition pressured off their starting point at the get go. But again. Who knows.

The obvious point of the extreme position, as it relates to jobs, though, is the simple dictum "you defy markets as a policy only if you are planning on doing away with them; hopefully having some other approach you can then show might work better. A situation for which I have some familiarity with. To think that this is anything even close to what the terrible Mr. T. is going to do is ludicrous.

So back to the "moving things around so much" theme. I bring that up because of the quote you see in the article's screenshot below. I always love it when people say a great deal more than what they realize they are saying. Let's just look at this again:

Trudeau added: "We've got auto parts criss-crossing the border six times before they end up in a finished product. You've got over $2 billion a day going back and forth. So, making sure that the border is … secure but also smooth in its flow of goods and people is essential to good jobs on both sides of the border."
Wow. Six times. Back and forth. With all sorts of loading, and unloading (forklifts burn natural gas now a lot), driving, and waiting certainly, often with motors running simultaneously, at various points, in anticipation of getting, or pushing out, this back and forth flow.

One almost senses a certain joy the man has that billions are made simply by the back and forth. That this creates jobs is indisputable, but it does so at the cost of a fracturing of what is the essential point: why is one task, in an absolutely interrelated dance of production, worth less receipt of essential needs than any other? Certainly, some things might require further incentives to get enough hands on applied, but how can we allow arbitrary market evaluations of worth drive what is the bottom line as far what is humanly required to prosper; stuff that's quite beyond having another fancy phone, or car, or vacation spot you can go to more than once a year.

In this sort of consideration, you have to ask yourself: Even if I had a completely clean fuel, would an arrangement that did this sort of fracturing be anything you would want to stay with? I for one do not think so, but that is, as they say. me.

The other thing that is interesting for me here is that it also reminds me of an interaction I had way back when. I'm not sure about this, but I think it was during the 1984 attempt; an initiative I had dreamed up to create a lottery for a ride in the Space Shuttle. I wanted the lottery money to fund a new way to create hydrogen, of which more than a few of my posts have been done on. In promoting this I would take all of the models I had, a bunch of big posters and such, and I'd go to various events, set up a table, and I'd talk to people about the idea, while trying to get a signature.

On one of the events, which as I recall was the University District Street fair, in Seattle, I had been talking with people for some time, getting a very receptive response, I might add, when one longhaired dude, who I had noticed was listening for a while out of the corner of my eye, finally came over and said something. And it was amazingly direct and to the point: "how could you possibly consider adding such a big new fuel source to a system so wasteful as ours." Whereupon he just spun around and walked off.

I can tell you that it left me more than a little taken aback. The waste in the system was certainly obvious to me at the time, as well as the inherent inequality of outcomes the system seemed hard wired to produce. All things that have always left me not being much of a supporter of Capitalism, but always unsure on how to fix it.

The funny thing is the dude who laid it on me big time just seemed to already know that I was aware of the shortcomings, and there was little need to go into the matter any further. He just wanted to smack me in the face, figuratively speaking, with the reminder that "being an enabler" wasn't going to make things better in the long run. And just as funny, though I'd never met this man before. Had no idea who he was, or what he stood for, I just knew, instinctively, all of the these things that had been assumed between us, without a word more being needed, just as I then knew he was right. If I was going to use the hydrogen production approach via Tornado Turbines, it ought to be as part of a broader plan to change Capitalism; even though I also only had the vaguest notions of what that change ought to be specifically.

I tried pushing the hydrogen idea one more time after that, during the 5 or so years I was at Seattle City Light, doing computer, and software work, as a contractor. I did it then, outside of an alternative approach, because I was still struggling to figure out what an alternative would be. There was a new component here, though, because it had occurred to me that such an energy system ought to be part of a world public power utility, and what better way to introduce that idea than by suggesting the technological approach to a city public power utility.

They ended up saying the idea was too risky, but in that they never once tried to suggest it wasn't technically feasible; in effect saying that developing something unproven wasn't their greatest strength. So from that point on I just accepted the fact that, if it was ever going to be realized, it would have to be as part of a much bigger, comprehensive whole. In the latter part of 1999, early 2000, just before the full effect of the dot com bust would take hold, the outline for that more comprehensive plan finally came to me. I created by own web site to promote the plan, hosted on my own server, and called it Old Softy Concerns. I kept that web site going for well over ten years after that, closing it down only after I retired, and move my efforts over to Google Blogs, and Google+.

Justin Trudeau Warns Trump About NAFTA Plan, Says Deal Is Good for U.S. Jobs
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