Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bits and Pieces - April 16, 2011

Dan Yurman has been anticipating some of the posts I'd like to write on Fukushima and frequently doing a better job than I might have because he has more connections in the business community than I do. Here's a good one on how some of the big nuclear companies are salivating over the prospect of the eventual cleanup and what the NRC might have known and when. On that last issue, I am becoming more convinced that the New York Times map that showed deadly radiation doses out to the same radius NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko was concerned about was in fact the modeling that he was relying on in his testimony to Congress that undercut what the Japanese government was saying. I also have suspected for some time, and Dan's post seems to support this, that one of the assumptions that the Times reporters didn't bother to question was that at least one full reactor core and one fuel pond were completely vaporized and distributed fairly uniformly. It's been clear for some time, even as the Times published that map, that that was an extreme worst case.

More photos of Fukushima damage.

And now for some thoughts on rampant marketism.

Bruce Bartlett, who was run out of the Republican Party for having the audacity of rationality on economic issues, has collected a great number of polls on Americans' feelings about the deficit and government spending. He makes a case that they don't like the first and do like the second but haven't put those two ideas together yet. However, it does seem that when faced with facts relating the two, they recognize a need for taxes, particularly on other people. Since "other people" include the 1% who have gotten most of the tax cuts over the last decade and are taking in 50% or more of the country's income, this actually makes a lot of sense. That number was not intended to be factual, but rather indicative of the wildly disproportionate wealth in that 1%. I keep seeing it written in different ways, and it's just too sickening to think about it enough to recall the exact number.

The miracle of the invisible hand deconstructed.

Back when I worked for an organization whose product was nuclear weapons, it occurred to me that there are some functions that probably should be left to the government. But we've gotten past those old inhibitions, and that organization is now managed by some of the same folks who are salivating at the $12 billion estimated for the Fukushima cleanup. It turns out that, silly me, I'm still stuck with that idea about the market not being the measure of all things. Here's another place where that seems to be the case. Could there be a conflict between the Hippocratic oath and making a buck?

1 comment:

troutsky said...

“For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand—that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive masterminding—then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people.”

And if one is aware of the lives of the immigrants who built the railroads and sawed the timber and mined the lead to make the I, Pencil, one sees it is not all creativity and freedom. It is just this market in labor that gets so little attention.

Then there is the "creative destruction" of the earth's biosphere taking place and the inability of "know-hows" to arrange themselves "naturally" into "creative patterns" such as a remedy.

It is in the end a religious belief.