Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Nuclear Energy

July 18, 2018

People keep praising nuclear as the way out of out climate and energy problems but I’m not convinced. So this is a quick list of well known problems, which I will expand as more come to mind.

a) Expense. The new cheap small reactors which people talk about, don’t seem to have been built yet in anything resembling commercial operational conditions. Real reactors which are under construction appear to keep going up in price.

b) Finding a location. Nobody wants them built near them or, if they are neutral, near cities where they are vaguely economical. If we put them in the desolate outback, hardly anyone will voluntarily go to work there, and the power loss through cables may become significant. They also need water for cooling, so we are not going to put them in the outback, probably on the coast, which may significantly change coastal ecologies.

c) They seem to take a long time to build, although there are massive divergences in the figures people give (5 to 25 years!). Certainly anyone who says they can be built quickly and safely is probably being optimistic. Hinkley Point in the UK which is probably a fair comparison with anything that would be built here in Australia, is both massively over budget, and quite late.

d) Accidents may be rare but when they happen can be catastrophic. Insurance companies will not cover them. So taxpayers are up for even more expense, and may have little input into safety when they are built by private companies using cost cutting to make money (as they won’t be responsible for insurance).

e) Disposing of waste. No one has yet solved that problem yet.

f) The promised price of electricity from the UK’s yet to be built reactors is far greater than that of renewables or coal now.

g) When a reactor gets old, it has to be decommissioned. This can be a very expensive and dangerous process, with large amounts of radioactive waste. It is rarely added to the cost of use, because the cost is bourn by taxpayers. As usually costs are socialized and profits privatized.

h) They use massive amounts of concrete which is a source of greenhouse gases.

i) Thorium reactors. Nice idea but it has apparently failed once before and does not seem to be in use anywhere. So we are probably looking at 20 to 30 years before they become commercially available, even if we were doing any research into them.


The National Energy Guarantee

July 17, 2018

The Australian Federal government is pressuring States to sign the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) by August 10. Many people are saying the States should sign because it is the only offer there will be. The Labor party is looking friendly towards the NEG on the grounds it is better than nothing.

The question is, “Is it better than nothing?” That was the subject of a business seminar run by the Smart Energy Council, that I attended this morning.

The NEG sets an unchangeable emissions reduction target in the energy sector of 26% by 2030. One problem is that this reduction will already be achieved by 2020, factoring in current renewables development, so the NEG effectively sets a target of no further emissions reduction for 12 years. There is no formal requirement to build any renewable energy between 2020 and 2030. It seems to be expected that reductions to meet Australia’s promises under the Paris agreement, will have to come from farming, transport and mining which are much harder, although they should be reducing as well. The probability is that the Government will simply abandon the targets altogether.

We have no explanation or comparative analysis from the government as to why the NEG is good policy. At one stage the emissions reduction target was changeable over time, now it is not and we do not know why. The NEG is also not finalised. It could be changed in the Government’s party rooms after the States have agreed, so the States are signing blind. Of course the short period for consideration is also a way of avoiding good policy and good discussion – which does not suggest the government is interested in the best policy.

We are told the NEG will fix reliability. However, despite political and Murdoch Empire based assertions to the contrary, the energy supply is well over 99% reliable, and faults so far have resulted from distribution not generation (except when the coal stations fall over because it was too hot).

Our government is a proclaimer of the virtues of free markets, so of course they say the NEG is not regulatory. However, the speakers from the industry this morning, thought the NEG as it stands was highly regulatory, and indeed the points about ensuring possibly unnecessary reliability for everything, means that people have to go through all kinds of hoops they don’t have to at the moment – but it looks like fossil fuels don’t have to, not because they are more reliable, but because they are defined as reliable. So it regulates one part of the industry and not another part.

The Government also says the NEG is technology neutral, but as already implied it is not. Because it set extremely low levels of emissions reduction for 2030 -which will by most accounts be achieved by 2020 – it is not technology neutral it favours greenhouse gas emitting energy sources. It continues the Government’s ideal of apparently sacrificing the environment and climate for fossil fuels.

The view of the speakers at the forum was that the NEG is worse than nothing. It would be better not to have it. Consequently, they advised that even if the government offers nothing else it should be rejected, unless it has a decent emissions reduction target.

At the same time as all this the ACCC is recommending the end of the small scale feed in tariff scheme. This along with other recommendations will massively increase the price of household solar which has so far been very popular. While the parliament had previously agreed this scheme would last until 2030, the government is now refusing to deny that it will end the scheme very soon.

What the NEG does do is probably increase the price of food if targets are imposed on agriculture, and destroy jobs in the renewables business, which have been amongst the growth areas of the economy. It also over regulates the industry. The NEG attempts to lock in a particular market which allows high levels of emissions. This benefits high polluting power companies.

If the NEG gets through we are left with three options.

  • 1) Hope that despite all the subsidy losses, and subsidies already present for fossil fuels, people will want to build renewable power,
  • 2) Find that people won’t build any power at all and when the coal stations close in 15 or so years, find we are without power, or
  • 3) use taxpayers’ money to refurbish or build new coal stations.
  • The technology neutral position seems to prefer option 3. The government voted for something like this in the Senate recently, so we can assume that is the aim.

    Winnie the Pooh and Climate Change

    June 25, 2018

    I recently attended an insightful presentation by Nick Drew called ‘Crisis response in the Hundred Acre Wood’ which obviously made use of Winne-the-Pooh, in particular the story “In which Piglet is entirely surrounded by water”. Nick is not to blame for the account’s inadequacies and inaccuracies.

    If you don’t know the story, it can be found online say at

    One of the main points of the presentation was the story described four possible responses to climate change, present in each of the characters.

    Piglet: was worried and frightened. He fantasizes about being in comfort with others and discussing the situation. He was concerned about others, but thinks they will all be alright, and was convinced there was nothing he could do for himself other than get rescued. So surrounded by water he put a message in a bottle and threw it out the window – relying entirely on chance. Luckily he was in a story and it worked out.

    Christopher Robin was quite excited by the flood, and measured the rise of the water with care each morning. Yes it was rising. Despite being mature and knowledgeable one, he was not really that concerned about anyone else – he was thinking about them and where they were, but he was safe on his high ground and it was fun.

    Owl was stuck in abstract and largely irrelevant knowledge and vocabulary. He had absolutely no concern about others, he was not empathetic to their plight and was unafraid, there was no real problem – after all he could fly. His comfort of piglet is notable by his complete unawareness of its failure.

    Pooh, works with the situation as it develops. He acts first through finding his feet wet, then through hunger and then narcissism – thinking the message in the bottle with all the ‘P’s in it must be about him. Determined to read the message he invents a boat (which naturally he calls “The floating Bear”) – which doesn’t quite work as it should, but it works well enough (“For a little while Pooh and The Floating Bear were uncertain as to which of them was meant to be on the top”). He is not scared of getting lost. When he gets to Christopher Robin who reads the note and finds Piglet is in trouble, Pooh decides to rescue Piglet and how to do it…. The message is that this is the way to respond. Because of Pooh’s inspiration others co-operate to help even if badly.

    One of the things we might want to consider is that before the flood, everyone is wrapped in their own concerns, but after the flood, as seems to be the case in many disasters, people co-operate and come together – and indeed Nick narrated how after some flood this had been the case – although the flood was much worse than that in this story – people were told not to drink the water even after boiling. This cooperation is not what our apocalyptic movies suggest. In them people fight and perhaps even eat each other. Indeed, in movies often it is other people also trying to survive who are the main problem, not the disaster.

    So Winnie-the-Pooh may be more accurate and useful. In this case, the disaster is unavoidable, so how do we create more Poohs to help afterward and possibly to act beforehand?

    The difficulty of thinking Ecologically

    May 17, 2018

    Last night I attended a panel run by the International Panel on Social Progress, effectively launching their soon to be released three volume report called “Rethinking Society for the 21st Century” This report involves 269 different authors from all over the world and aims to change the game in thinking about society.

    There were 6-7 authors launching it. Not one of them mentioned ecology. Not one.

    When I made a query about this, they said the report was big, and well there may have been something about it somewhere. Someone said they had mentioned the sustainable development goals. (These have very little to do with ecology, and ecology is not sustainable – it changes, its called ‘evolution’).

    The point is not that ‘environment’ should be tacked onto social and economic thought as an extra, which it can, it is fundamental to social existence, and thinking ecologically in terms of interrelationships, complexity, surprise, conflicting systems, and the importance of the planet, etc. is something which cannot be marginal to any future politics and social thinking. If it is marginal, then we simply reproduce the kinds of mess that we are in nowadays….

    That this international multi-authored ‘report’ (and it was emphasised that authors had the capacity to make input everywhere, and had to sign off on the whole thing) seems to have ignored this completely, or made it marginal, shows the problems we face in generating constructive change…

    What can we do to protect the Environment?

    April 30, 2018

    This is a much asked question, and it is one that people often retreat from. It seems too big because the simplest answer is also the most difficult, and that is.

    We must stop wrecking and polluting the environment as soon as possible; the environment is amazingly resilient, and it is likely to come back, if we give it a chance, and its better if we don’t interfere too much with what comes back, until its clear what comes back.

    Stopping destruction is expensive, and will cut some people’s profit down, hence it is resisted politically. Furthermore, some people will put their temporary interests ahead of permanent ones, or they may freeload on other people’s attempts to put things right.

    However, it will almost certainly be more expensive in all kinds of ways from simple prosperity to health and even personal survival, if we don’t take some preventative action NOW.

    The ‘now’ is important. Which sets the first condition: “Do what you can, no matter how small.” It all helps.

    The first step is to realize that Nature (the air, the water, the soils, the caves) cannot be used as dumping grounds for harmful waste products. Harmful in this case, means not just directly poisonous substances, but those substances like CO2 which are fine in small amounts, but become environmental stressors in large amounts.

    Once you really realize this, then make your trash output as small as possible. Compost your food waste and use it in your garden. Most people buy too much food, cut back and eat what you have, that will save money too. If you are offered recycling use it, but also check the material actually is recycled – this may not be the case. In any case reduce your use of plastics. Ask local shops to stop wrapping everything in plastic – or unwrap it in the store (after you have paid:). Go to the street and pick up some plastic waste and at least stop it entering the drains.

    If you can buy or install renewable energy then do so – again that reduces your waste over time, and this action is vital to stabilize the climate and wider ecology.

    Protest against any attempts to promote deforestation in your region, or pollute rivers, or streams. Planned destruction rarely helps. Get to know the local wildlife and flora – even the creatures and plants you don’t like. Campaign for nature zones, and don’t be dismayed if you get the “wrong creatures” first off – nature is full of unintended consequences, while people have to learn how ecologies work in your area, and it may take a while for things to improve.

    Support political parties which have a chance of gaining some power and influence, and which recognize the facts of ecological degradation and propose plausible solutions. Join them, and help! If you are a member of a political party which is doing nothing, think of leaving them or agitating for real action. Political participation is important and helps all kinds of people protect their own backyard against excessive development or useless highways, or whatever your local business/government people think is essential but wrecks things for others. And remember, many small business people like where they live and work and can help. The destructive organize, so help constructive people to organize as well. If you participate you cannot fail, you can (at worst) only learn about the obstacles to success, and move on.

    If you have money and invest, then invest in green companies or, at least, protest at what is being done in the name of shareholders.

    Do not be welded to solutions, but be prepared to learn what works and what doesn’t. Always remember unintended consequences are everywhere – because some plan sounds good does not mean it will always work, but do your best.

    There are lots of books around to help with change, borrow them and read them. Buy them if they are good and helpful to support the authors.

    Above all, do what you can. If you think you can’t do much, at least do that. It all helps, and builds consciousness, and that makes it easier to learn and do more.

    Minorities rule….

    April 12, 2018

    The interesting thing about Australian Coalition Government’s policy which has been revealed by the so called “Monash group” (which is pro-coal), is that policy appears to be dictated by the fear of not offending five non-cabinet MPs.

    This means our climate and energy policies, in a lower house of 150 people, is being decided by less than 10% of the members (I’m adding extra people to their cause out of generosity). This is not remotely democracy in action – this is rule by the miniscule; the fleas controlling the dog.

    How does it come about? Firstly because those 5 people have the support of the Murdoch Empire and the Minerals Council of Australia, which have helped make resistance to the idea of climate change, a hallmark and definer of conservative politics. Indeed they supress discussion of climate change to make everything about an ‘economics’ that is concerned with the profit of established corporations. Mass protests against climate change just don’t get reported, while tiny protests against the left do. Even those radical conservatives like One Nation who think international corporations are destroying local customs and culture, and need to be checked, support fossil fuel companies who are as international and destructive as they come. Any right winger who breaks on this issue will be misinterpreted, seen as a traitor, seen as losing nerve, and punished. Any right winger with principles, fears they will lose selection.

    This is polarized information group dynamics in action, and stopping discussion. These groups can be created for this purpose, and are reinforcing it. The 5 people become exemplary examples of a right wing ‘us’ group – while possibly moderate people like the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull become outsiders, who have to continually demonstrate their group loyalty, by not steering too far away from the extreme, and by refusing to challenge that extreme. In this situation the so called ‘centre’ suffers – even when the official ‘left’ move further rightwards to capture its shifting point, and even if ‘the people’ show their commitment to renewables by plopping them on every available rooftop.

    The dedication of the far right is reinforced because they stick with the Murdoch Empire and do not see contrary evidence, or have it explained away for them well enough. They are hung up on being just and fair (so if anyone is doing less to mitigate climate change than them, they can always argue it is just for them to support even less action) and they suffer the Dunning Kruger effect, were they do not realise their ignorance in the field and subsequently cannot recognize competence in the field – and they reinforce their ignorance out of group loyalty and the sense of persecution which comes from being wrong.

    And so it goes. It could be combatted by strong leadership which stood up for principles and argued against them for the good of the country. But we are probably not going to get that. All we can hope for is that the people themselves get on with the business of lowering carbon emissions, reducing their pollution, getting their workplaces to reduce emissions, protesting against government sell outs to corporations and doing anything else they can no matter how small. While voting Labor and Green is useful, it will not be enough either, because they continually move to the right, to keep on side with the powers that be.

    It is up to us to do we what we need to do to survive, and to take government back should we want.

    Flux and Transformation

    February 18, 2018

    This is a comment inspired by a video whose URL is at the end of the post, about interconnectivity, and how the human body replaces itself, by absorption and excretion.

    There are a lot of processes which demonstrate interconnectivity, however, far more importantly this argument really demonstrates the possible basis of reality is flux, change and transformation.

    This is difficult to get, because the whole trend of western metaphysics is towards the idea that reality is eternal and unchanging, whether this is expressed in notions of the unchanging God, or the unchanging archetypes, or the unchanging nature of elementary particles such as atoms. All of these ideas can support interconnectivity, but it is the interconnectivity between things which do not change – at best it is about ‘flow’ of unchanging things.

    This view of reality as fixed, seems to lead towards pathological behaviour, as action becomes setting up the perfect structures, the perfect reality and clinging to it. Spirituality is about clutching to peace, or growing in a particular way. Psychology can insist that we should always be happy or self-actualising or something. Politics is about holding to the structures you have pronounced to be the best – at the moment our politics seems devoted to maintaining the power of established corporations and their plutocracy rather than the survival, or gentle transformation, of the world they depend upon.

    However, if reality is flux and transformation, then everything changes all the time. Furthermore, given complex systems theory, it seems that everything changes unpredictably in specific; we might be able to predict trends, but we cannot predict specific results. One of the properties specified by what we call ‘reflexivity’ is that if people think they understand the ‘systems’ they are in, then their behaviour changes and the system changes the way it works. This change may not be for the better.

    In his book known as ‘metaphysics’, Aristotle points out that Plato accepted the world is flux, but insisted that real reality is fixed, because otherwise it is impossible to speak truth. If everything is constantly changing then you cannot say anything true about them, as they will have changed. Aristotle seems correct in his interpretation of Plato to me, and this is a classic example of a philosopher encountering an uncomfortable position (ie everything is flux) and deciding that because it is uncomfortable it is untrue.

    There are other ways around this problem. Firstly it may not be possible to speak absolute truth, but that does not mean we cannot speak and think as accurately as we can (and that means accepting flux, misunderstanding and degrees of uncertainty). We can also speak in terms of flux, talking say of ‘patterns’ rather than structures, and temporary stasis rather than permanent equilibrium, we can give up expectations that we should know how things will turn out, and be prepared to learn from events as they happen. At the moment, if our actions produce bad results we are prone to deny this, and apply our actions more stringently and rigorously.

    To reiterate, we are caught in and part of a series of largely unpredictable fluxations. However, if we think that things should be eternal and unchanging, or we think that good things should be unchanging, we attempt to imprison that flux. This generally adds to suffering and increases apparent destruction and disorder. A current example, is the refusal to deal with climate change, and the tendency in Australian and US politics of trying to accelerate and maintain fossil fuels, old styles of concrete, environmental clearing and de-naturing. This is an attempt to cling onto an old order which nowadays produces destruction, and will produce more and more suffering the longer it is clung to.

    These points should be obvious to Jungians, as expectation of flux comes out of alchemy, and alchemy is the art and science of transformation. It tells us that the world is constantly transmuting, and that transmutation processes can look messy and chaotic, and that attempts to avoid the realisations of painful stages can be disastrous. It also provides symbolic guides for working with events rather than against events, or providing direction without compulsion. As such alchemy is still the radical way, and difficult for us to really approach, but it may be necessary.

    Some remarks on Geo-Engineering

    January 22, 2018

    Geoengineering (GE) involves the attempt to solve the problems of climate change by altering the Earth’s ecology.

    It comes in two forms:
    Solar Radiation Management (SRM) in which you try and lower the amount of the Sun’s energy/heat reaching the earth’s surface. This can involve: mirrors in space, reflective gasses in the upper atmosphere, or painting mountains white.

    Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) in which you try and suck CO2 from power stations or from the atmosphere. One problem with this technique is the question of what you do with the CO2 once it is extracted.

    The idea of GE is that we can continue on with polluting, and try and lower the effects of that pollution. A common argument is that there is no evidence we can halt CO2 production and climate change, at this moment, so GE may give us a longer period in which we can change, or transition to a new set of energy generators.

    The primary question for both SRM and CDR is a simple one. GE, like everything else that depends on humans, is unlikely to be immune to its social bases. If the dynamics of contemporary societies are inherently destructive of ecologies, then GE is unlikely to prevent that destruction, nor to give a breathing space for new developments. It is likely to help make things worse, or continue the destructive dynamics of that system.

    Clearly if we use SRM, the system has to be continually maintained, and that will cost billions. There will be ongoing arguments over who should pay, and how much they should pay. If there is a financial collapse or large scale war, then that maintenance is unlikely to be without problems. In which case climate change would have the brakes taken off, and would accelerate rapidly, causing even worse climate turmoil.

    The governing idea of SRM seems that it is easier to change the whole ecological system than to change a political arrangement of economic power and profit. This I’m not sure about. The risk of unintended consequences when fiddling with a system as complex as that of climate is very high. We may already be living in a complex maladaptive system, which is bent on its own destruction and SRM simply magnifies this.

    GE could be the equivalent of encouraging smoking to preserve corporate profits, while trying to do research in the hope of some day being able to postpone the inevitable and increasing cancer toll. It might be simpler to discourage people from smoking and to make cigarettes less profitable.

    Basically, it can be suggested that if GE becomes the main way of dealing with problems of Climate change, then we live in a society in which ‘instrumental reason’ does not function very well as there are cheaper and possibly better options available, but those options require us to challenge established corporate power, and we are unlikely to do that successfully. I think the last 20 to 30 years of politics in the English Speaking world demonstrates that this failure is very likely to be the case.

    Amazingly it is true that among people who both support corporate dominance and deny climate change, GE is quite popular. At the moment I can hypothesise this is precisely because GE does not challenge corporate power, and provides an opportunity for leeching money away from the taxpayers, but I don’t know. It certainly strikes me that if you really wanted less State intervention in life, then you would not want geoengineering.

    I have not seen any viable self-supporting GE proposals. Nearly all of them require massive tax-payer subsidies, and some require appear to need massive cross-national governance and regulation. Of course we could give the massive subsidies to private enterprise and hope they do they job without any oversight, but I doubt that will appeal even to the pro-corporate power lobby. With CDR when that involves storage of CO2 underground, we know that ultimate and infinite responsibility of checking for leaks and collapse of storage, will reside with governments and taxpayers, as corporations do not last that long and will not take on those responsibilities. At the least, it seems probable that people will be concerned about other countries freeloading on their efforts, and there will be massive governmental jaunts to try and sort this out. The likelihood of small government and GE seems miniscule.

    Humanities, Universities and Neoliberalism

    January 1, 2018

    The problem of the usefulness of the Humanities again. The problem is really “how do you do anything in a neoliberal age?” I’m not sure you can deal with the question of the value of the Humanities without some idea of what you are talking about, and some of the problems arise from this confusion so.

    a) Humanities is the study and understanding of, and thinking with, the best works of art, literature and philosophy that we think exist. This list should always be challengeable, because tastes and appreciations change. For example, I personally do not think the absence of Virgil is a problem, it’s an improvement. In general, this understanding requires knowing something about the socio-cultural background and reception of these works. So humanities is bound up with:

    b) Social Studies (note I’m not using the term social sciences, as there is massive dispute about the extent to which any social study can be a science in the way physics is, or biology is, or geology or astronomy are) Social studies inherently involves meaning and interpretation (so it requires (a)). Social studies is the study of how human social and cultural life works in general. Economics is a sub branch of social studies, even though it pretends not to be, primarily to protect itself from a criticism of its values.

    c) Linguistics – not the learning of languages, which could be part of (a), but attempting to understand how languages work, what the impact on thinking is, and how they function in social life. For me this includes Rhetoric, because there is little language without attempts at persuasion.

    There might be other divisions one can make, the categories do not have to be firm or bounded.

    Humanities tend to be conservative and social studies tend to be leftist or critical. On the whole, neoliberals think both are a waste of time; subjects should simply support capitalism and corporate power. Ultimately humanities (a) cannot be justified in terms of profit; criticism (b) should simply be stopped as its wrong; and everyone knows how to speak (c) so all are vulnerable in corporatised universities.

    Neoliberals control universities, as they control most things in our societies. They like building, restructuring and making money, more than thinking. Money goes into CEO and star performer salaries, not to the academic staff in general or student services. Making money is the only mark of value. The idea that a university exists as a space for independent thought, or for learning how to think is, in neoliberal terms, a pointless waste of money. If there is no job at the end of it, and no profit then subjects should go. Consequently, academics should teach paying students what they want to hear, or do research which is profitable and brings in money. I recently read of computer science academics who were not interested in supervising PhD’s that would not lead to a start up company; this may not be true of course.

    If work ends up criticising the contemporary establishment, then it is usually treated as drivel by that establishment. Scientists have started to learn this point as well. We all know how climate scientists have been attacked for speaking unwanted truth to power. Nowadays pure science that is of no corporate interest, or which shows corporate ‘science’ is faulty, is unwelcome. It is seen as political, rather than as part of a search for greater accuracy. Humanities and social studies are automatically considered political, because they are about people and how people behave, and all politics makes assumptions about humans. Even historical research which challenges clichés about socially foundational events, such as Athenian democracy, the American Revolution, or the invasion of Australia, or the beneficence of capitalism, is inherently political, and therefore either to be ignored or persecuted.

    Humanities and social studies are useful, if useful is worthwhile considering. Writers and media people, might find courses on poetry, literature, language and rhetoric useful, as might other people who want to gain some cultural depth and independence of thought, or who might want to persuade people of something. People who want to go into governance, management or journalism had better know something about social studies, if they don’t want to mess things up in normal ways. If values or ethics are important, then having an idea of the range of possible values and how they tend to function is useful as well – although again it will seem pointless to neoliberals as it conflicts with their decided understanding. In neoliberalism, ethics is always about making money, and that is pretty obvious and may need no complex thinking.

    Finally, in neoliberalism there is no such thing as ‘community’, the only class positions that are allowed to exist should be marked by wealth, and human connection should be financial – everything else is simply false. The idea of a community of scholars of intellectuals has no meaning in modern politics. If neoliberals want thought they will set up a think tank, and know what they are going to get in advance; that’s value for money.

    Basically the struggle everywhere is between life and neoliberalism. The more the neoliberal ‘free market’ mob win, the less there is to live for. And conservatives should know this as well; they used to.

    Markets and politics, to flog a dead horse

    October 4, 2017

    You may have heard or read that in the US and in Australia the right wing parties are campaigning to maintain coal and to over-regulate renewables. There are plenty of news items to this effect, especially after Rick Perry’s recent announcements – which may or may not become law, but reflect the general campaign.

    Some libertarians, or idealist capitalists, actually object to this, and express surprise that it is happening…

    For what its worth I think it is worth repeating that, historically, this is how capitalism always works.

    Politics and power can shape markets, therefore players in markets will compete to shape markets through politics to gain advantage in those markets. That seems to be an inevitable road that established businesses will take to defend both their establishment and profitability.

    In a situation in which capitalism is made the only good (as in neoliberalism or libertarianism), this is unpreventable. Politicians depend on business for campaign funds and support, so business ends up buying politics, and there is no surviving power base with which to reliably curtail business influence – because of business opposition to unions etc.

    As established businesses tend to be the wealthy well connected businesses, they tend to have an advantage, and this is called conservatism 🙂