Paul Craig Roberts gets to the nub of American crony capitalism: profits are privatized; external costs are socialized. In other words, The Little Guy bears the brunt of the pillage, be it reckless commercial farming or rampant real-estate pillaging (“development”), fueled by endless immigration central-planning.
External or social costs are costs of producing a product that the producer does not incur but imposes on third parties or on the environment. For example, untreated sewage dumped into a stream imposes costs on people downstream. Runoff of chemical fertilizers from commercial farming produces dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and toxic algal blooms such as Red Tide that result in massive fish kills, make seafood unsafe, cause human ailments and adversely impact the tourist trade of beach areas. The result is lost incomes, ruined vacations, health expenses, and none of these costs are born by the commercial farmers.
Real estate development produces massive external costs. Scenic views from existing properties are blocked, thus reducing their values. Construction noise and congestion impose costs on existing residents and reduces the quality of their lives. Water runoff problems are often created. Infrastructure has to be provided, such as larger highways to provide evacuation from hurricane-impacted areas, usually financed by taxpayers. …
… the external costs of coal-fired power plants being built in India by the Indian conglomerate Tata with a loan from the International Finance Corporation, a branch of the World Bank. The ground water in the area has been ruined and is no longer drinkable. Farmers are no longer able to grow crops on half of the area farmland. Heated wastewater that is dumped into the Gulf of Kutch is destroying fishing. The ecology and the livelihoods of the population are essentially destroyed. None of these costs are born by the private power companies.
Tired of being doormats for capitalists and the World Bank, the residents of the affected provinces rebelled. They have succeeded in getting their case before the US Supreme Court. It seems that the International Finance Corporation is so accustomed to financing projects that produce large external costs that it overlooked its obligation to examine the environmental impact of the projects it finances. This oversight resulted in Indian farmers and fishermen getting their case before the US Supreme Court. The International Finance Corporation’s lawyers argued that the World Bank lending agency had “absolute immunity.” The Supreme Court said no and remanded the case to the circuit court to rule on the damages.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this apparent victory for ordinary faraway little people in an American court against the World Bank, a principle instrument of American imperialism, is that the Trump administration appeared in court as a friend of the Indian farmers and fishermen. The US Solicitor General, represented by Jonathan Ellis, rejected the notion that international orgnizations have absolute immunity. The Establishment exists on its immunity. Here we see the ultimate reason that the ruling Establishment wants rid of Trump.
Already the senior staff of the International Finance Corporation have come to the realization that they have other responsibilities than just to shuffle money out the lending shute. If the Indian farmers and fishermen succeed in protecting themselves from ruination by external costs, perhaps Americans who suffer external costs will follow their lead.
No wonder Paul Craig Roberts—he served in the Reagan administration—has been expunged from official Conservatism’s polite circles. All good people have been. Fortunately, we have the Unz Review.
RELATED are my pieces on homelessness and high-tech.
As I wrote in “Why The H-1B Visa Racket Should Be Abolished, Not Reformed“:
Barricaded in their obscenely lavish compounds—from the comfort of their monster mansions—these social engineers don’t experience the “environmental impacts of rapid urban expansion”; the destruction of verdant open spaces and farmland; the decrease in the quality of the water we drink and air we breathe, the increase in traffic and traffic accidents, air pollution, the cellblock-like housing erected to accommodate their imported I.T. workers and extended families, the delicate bouquet of amped up waste management and associated seepages. For locals, this lamentable state means an inability to afford homes in a market in which property prices have been artificially inflated.
* Image of the Tata Mundra power plant is courtesy of Joe Athialy
UPDATE (12/22/019): And now “Mysterious greenish-yellow liquid [is] gushing from walls on I-696.” Goo will probably contaminate drinking water.