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Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 1) 593

by MightyYar (#49513813) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Yes, at best it could be a market like the electrical market where you have suppliers and distributors. The suppliers could certainly compete, I guess.

I think what they are really suggesting is that rationing should be implemented via price increasing with demand or inversely with supply. This would definitely work, but I'm not sure they have thought through all of the repercussions and it would be very tricky to get right.

Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 1) 593

by MightyYar (#49511671) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

He said setting a market rate. Using a market rate clearly implies letting the market set the rate. It does not imply setting an arbitrary rate.

Letting the market set the rate and "setting" a market rate are different things - but I'll agree that the statement is ambiguous. I was addressing the statement as if it were the state actively setting a rate somehow as opposed to setting up some kind of a market.

The problem of obtaining the water and paying whoever owns the water is already a solved problem.

The fact that we are having this discussion at all would seem to contradict you. There is not enough water in CA to satisfy demand at the moment. There is plenty of water in other places. There is certainly a problem here that is not solved.

We are only discussing how to divvy the water out.

A more accurate word would be "rationing". We are actively limiting a resources that has more demand than supply. I happen to agree with you and ShanghiBill that rationing by raising the price is the way to go, but I think we disagree about how hard this would be to get right. I don't live in CA, or anywhere within pipeline distance of CA - so my opinion does not really matter much in the end. But I can tell you that rationing purely based on price is going to muster a whole lot of people to fight politically.

Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 1) 593

by MightyYar (#49511575) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Water demand can be very elastic when there are actual economic incentives. For anyone to say demand is inelastic shows just how wasteful we are with water in modern society.

I agree, but in the context of the conversation I was talking specifically about the demand of poor people. They probably are not huge users of water, and while their behavior can change a bit (flush the toilet less, take less showers, use disposable dishware, etc) - it's really not going to change overall water use much.

Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 1) 593

by MightyYar (#49510653) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

. If you want to help the poor, it is better to give them money directly, so they can spend it on something they actually want, rather that giving them an incentive to waste water or electricity or whatever.

Again, I think we largely agree. It's just that - if you take no other action, like your example of giving them money - the commodity price will increase and the poor will suffer a larger percentage of their income than everyone else. And we are talking about water, so there is a relatively inelastic demand here. Even if you don't think it will affect the poor that much, it is a concern that needs to be addressed or the market pricing route is a political dead end.

Comment: Re:Doesn't work (Score 1) 161

by MightyYar (#49510447) Attached to: ISS Could Be Fitted With Lasers To Shoot Down Space Junk

The side currently facing the laser is still going to out-gas slightly more than the side that just turned away from the laser. Net effect might be less for a spinning object, but it will still be an effect. Besides, no one says this has to work for every single piece of space debris. So what if it "only" reduced the problem by 10%?

Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 2) 593

by MightyYar (#49510429) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

What is the water source? The hundred thousand square miles of watershed? How would this work? There are probably thousands of "owners" across multiple states or even nations. You are acting like water rights are some simple issue that hasn't been contentious for the last 10,000 years or so.

Comment: Re:Here's a better idea (Score 1) 593

by MightyYar (#49510373) Attached to: William Shatner Proposes $30 Billion Water Pipeline To California

Its not like California couldn't use the money. Its government is doing better than it was five years ago but it isn't exactly the most solvent state in the union.

So your answer is "the state", which makes it a tax. That's fine - I just want to be clear that we're talking about taxing water to solve a water crisis, which you may understand may not play well in all spheres of the political world.

What is top down about letting the price of water settle at whatever level is necessary to reduce consumption to a manageable level?

That is not what he suggested. He suggested "setting" a price for water. Letting the price of water float is a different idea that requires that private people be allowed to own and trade water. This has to be done carefully, and California screwed it up when they tried it with electricity.

The truth is that water rights are a very complicated issue. Water falls on a combination of private and public land. You obviously can't go full-libertarian and have downstream users at the full mercy of upstream landowners, and things get even dicier when multiple governments (or even nations) are involved. I think a quasi-market based approach (that starts as a tax) is the right way to go, but there are a lot of very complicated issues to slog through. And market based approaches to rationing are rarely kind to the poor.

Comment: Re:Would it matter? (Score 1) 340

I was responding to your comment that you "distribute them throughout your life", not that you carry it around. One at home, one at work (no need for the car as you probably have an FM radio there). Anywhere you were going to stash headphones. Alkaline batteries last several years, so that shouldn't be an issue - in any event they are more likely to have many hours worth of charge left compared to your half-dead cell phone. If the cell towers go down, it will suck itself dry in no time flat unless you are smart enough to know this and put it in airplane mode.

Comment: Re:Would it matter? (Score 1) 340

If you are stopping by the dollar store to pick up a bunch of headphones for emergencies, then you might as well buy some cheap AM/FM radios instead along with a bunch of AA batteries and you'll be far better off. I've seen digitally-tuned radios complete with headphones for about $6 at the dollar stores, and they will go many hours on a battery, which doesn't need to be charged.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky

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