“This tax fairness issue has been raised repeatedly following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill - why has it taken so long for any "action" to be taken? Further, does the Bill have both high chances of success and teeth to be implemented? Each dollar of tax avoided through this apparent loophole means either lower public services or deeper tax collection from the American public.
“The fine appears carefully calculated by the Rio prosecutors - half the level of BP's compensation pot from the Macondo oil spill in 2010 - and roughly the same as the total fines on Exxon for the Valdez spill in 1989 (in today's prices). In other words, the prosecutors are using the financial numbers to place our perception in this league.
Brazil is hosting the World Cup in 2014, Olympics in 2016, is a BRIC, one of the world's fastest growing economies and has a reputation for beaches, fun/carnival and tourism. That they have the brains, will and cunning to fire a proposed fine across Chevron's bows that has hit every news global service shows they are not to be messed with. Lets hope this gets resolved and future exploration and production is safer for both their workers and the environment.
“If history is any guide, Mr Billiot is doing well with his $65,000. After the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the many affected indigenous communities of Alaska needed similar support from outsiders to that hinted at in this article to process claims, make collective claims, identify lost earnings, etc. The average subsistence claim was around $10,000 per family ~ approx $20,000 in today's money. Lets hope Feinberg spies an opportunity to make history in Louisiana, by working for the less formal economic suffering that each oil spill causes. A successful round of "subsistence claims" in the USA could act as precedents for those impacted poor in developing countries.
Slick Economist http://slickeconomist.wordpress.com”
“Thanks for this clarification.
The funding angle remains confusing. Any voting system relies on a large number of people investing time in evaluating options. While democratic, is this the best use of people's time? They could be investing this time in learning other skills or fitness or community projects which could all directly benefit society. Whether it is a direct or indirect (opportunity) cost, it remains a cost.
Also, it excludes those time-stressed experts with other objectives dictated through their paid work. Further, it invites experts to trade-off between say developing better alligator management techniques and being part of a fair voting system. Experts will want to know as much as possible in order to vote appropriately and effectively.
Being in a globalised world stakeholder boundaries become an issue: decisions over, say, oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico would need to involve Chinese oyster producers (who would supply in lieu of Louisiana's under-supply), Saudi oil producers (who would supply oil, gas and plastics in lieu of lower supply from Gulf of Mexico), Californian tourism industry (who could invest in panhandle tourism ventures if tourism was upgraded and oil and gas downplayed).
As for rich friends, after I have fleeced them, I will pass them on! Slick Economist http://slickeconomist.wordpress.com/”
hp blogger Erik Rothenberg on Jul 8, 2010 at 15:22:13
All fair points. The value and methodology of integration of diverse points of view (such as Chinese oyster producers, etc) is designed into the system and handles data and user input in innovative ways. So, raw data uploaded by Chinese oyster producers in a context that had nothing to do with the spill could be recontextualized by food distributors in Louisiana, for example. As for getting people's participation in a system that helps everyone, there have been many collaborative efforts that have succeeded in spite of the market forces that push against them and this is the sign of a new collaborative and cooperative mentality; how strong or secure or reliable that is would remain to be seen, but suffice it to say that to evolve in that direction is mandatory for our collective survival and URSULA is a tool with which we may do so.”
“Eric - thought provoking post. Environmental economics and other elements of sustainable development planning and strategising already provide much of what you are proposing delivering here. It is this sort of thinking that can raise the level of thinking around the oil spill. INdeed, I have argued that a focus on BP's costs is a red herring. Why should we care about the financial costs of the polluter in cleaning up? More here: http://bit.ly/9OWMfp.
Your methodology, while democratic, is going to be expensive. It invites criticism over these transactions costs -- getting all these stakeholders into the same space, chatroom, bar, etc will be incredibly expensive (unless someone else is paying for their time e.g. they are unemployed receiving benefits). Let alone driving consensus among these diverse stakeholders. Let me know how you will fund this engagement process and interested to know how you will drive consensus!!
hp blogger Erik Rothenberg on Jul 7, 2010 at 21:22:46
“Dear Slick Economist,
Thank you for your comments. Actually, the work done by environmental economics, development strategy, integrated resource planning, life cycle analysis, etc. leaves off where URSULA picks up and transforms all these differentiated perspectives into a single uniform analysis that can be viewed at any level of desired context against the agenda. Specifically, that means that the raw data can be stripped of bias against the study it was collected for and contextualized by way of questions that are part of any subject we desire to measure. From there, the subjects are linked to the items on the strategy map, which is created collaboratively. This is the only way to integrate all points of view and normalize all data for a comprehensive picture.
With respect to the democratic process, we employ a fair voting methodology that transcends all the common problems associated with social voting (ensuring universality, transitivity, Pareto efficiency, non-dictatorship, independence of irrelevant alternatives, preference and ordering, etc.). This is accomplished by way of a voting currency. We plan for this to be a voluntary community effort, beginning with experts in given fields who have something material to gain from being part of a system that enables the endless re-use and accessibility of large amounts of data that they may not otherwise have access to.
As for funding, we are looking for money for the non-profit effort. Please send your rich philanthropist friends our way!”