OpinionIf we want steady global economic growth, speculation should be made illegal
      – BorgClown, 2009-01-07 at 17:26:53   (23 comments)

On 2009-01-07 at 17:27:54, BorgClown wrote...
Strongly agree. Speculation distorts the reality of economics, and such distortion is intended to favor a few ones in detriment of the rest.
On 2009-01-07 at 17:29:49, Thelevellers wrote...
I don't know a huge amount on the subject (read just above zero ;), but from what I DO know this sounds good to me!
On 2009-01-07 at 19:10:29, Baslisks wrote...
How do you get rid of something that even you and I do by accident?
On 2009-01-08 at 00:43:17, George wrote...
I agree in principle - having markets that are seemingly controlled by gambling on a big scale seems crazy. But then what would happen if (say) a German engineering company is starting a big project where they're going to need to buy a massive turbine (for example) from the US in six months time, at a cost of $500,000. As I understand it, normally they would hedge their bets with the exchange rate, and maybe forward buy $250,000 at the beginning of the project, and then convert the remainder from Euros to USD at the end. So they're kind of speculating to reduce the risk of a big exchange rate shift over those six months. If that wasn't allowed, then the costs of their project would be either down to a lot of guesswork, or they'd take the hit and just buy $500,000 USD at the start of the project, and keep it in a USD account until they need to buy the turbine. If they do that, once they get the turbine, it might be worth a lot less (in Euros) than what they paid for it.
On 2009-01-08 at 10:00:50, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Personally I'm less interested in the details of the growth economy than the fact that it's unsustainable. It doesn't look like we will ever deliberately switch to a stable-state economy, and so we may as well carry on gambling until everything grinds to a halt when we run out of the basic resources needed to fuel growth.
On 2009-01-08 at 13:32:31, Thelevellers wrote...
I hate to say it, but I think I agree with Lee there, though I like to TRY and be optimistic, so I'll say that's what will happen if we continue as is... Heh, This links in with my belief that I brought up on SB - There's too many people and the population needs to be reduced, possibly with some policies involving rewarding self sterilisation... That idea would require that we do switch to a stable-state economy (never had a term for that before, lol, cheers Lee!), as growth without population growth doesn't work in my head(?).
On 2009-01-08 at 15:02:47, Lee J Haywood wrote...
In Europe, our population is already well below replacement rates, and the world population is expected to peak at 9.2 billion in 2050. But the economy is based on the assumption that all inputs are infinite, even though we're well beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. Supposedly if you start measuring our consumption of resources in January then we've already used what the planet can produce in a year by the time September or October arrives. I'm not sure how to find out what date this currently occurs on - there must be a site dedicated to it somewhere.
On 2009-01-08 at 15:57:13, Thelevellers wrote...
Oooh, I just remembered, I watched a great film about population issues last week - Idiocracy. Stupid, but great, and raises a good point - stupid people tend to have more kids... Ahem, BTT. I'll have to have a look at the resources thing, that kind of thing is great to throw into conversation!
On 2009-01-08 at 17:44:02, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Did you not see The Story of Stuff? There's the original... http://www.storyofstuff.com/ ... and the YouTube version... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqZMTY4V7Ts
On 2009-01-08 at 18:02:52, Baslisks wrote...
@Lee J Haywood: recently theres been a trend in america of using less things. Even wit gas prices down we are being more efficient and thrifty.
On 2009-01-08 at 18:47:52, BorgClown wrote...
@George: That's a very interesting point, George. My answer would be that limited speculation which results in physical goods should be allowed. Sadly, software would not be included, since its possession rarely makes the consumer wealthier.
On 2009-01-08 at 18:50:46, BorgClown wrote...
Someone who worked in India told me that there you can't light a match for your cigarette without spawning a couple of smokers. Nice resource efficiency.
On 2009-01-09 at 02:48:19, George wrote...
@BorgClown: Ha, that's a good one... I sort of know the feeling - until smoking indoors was banned in the UK, lighting up in a nightclub or at a gig was almost a guarantee that someone would come along and ask for a smoke. But I've changed my opinion from 'agree' to 'disagree', because I think - although banning speculation would seem to be desirable - it wouldn't actually be possible without radically changing how societies deal with money. Another example - almost everybody's pension fund is at least in part closely tied to the stock market. It's the job of fund managers to invest huge aggregated sums of our money in companies which they feel will perform well in the future. If that was banned, then we could put our pensions into bank accounts and hopefully get modest interest over the years. But that too would involve speculation - the banks would be making a return on our money by lending it to other people/companies who they expect will be able to pay it back with interest. Speculation is rife!
On 2009-01-09 at 03:39:13, Thelevellers wrote...
Wow, that story of stuff is shocking, I knew most of the basic facts, but numbers to go with it really help add to the impact! Bloody humans, scourge of the earth!
On 2009-01-11 at 03:39:55, BorgClown wrote...
@George: Yeah, I know. I'd be more than happy to know that speculation is tightly regulated instead of trusting the speculators to self-moderate.
On 2009-01-13 at 17:37:16, DigitalBoss wrote...
Speculation is a natural market force and should be left alone by politicians and governments.
On 2009-01-16 at 02:02:01, BorgClown wrote...
@DigitalBoss: So are forest fires. Nature is a big brute, sometimes you gotta fight it.
On 2009-02-12 at 15:24:24, DigitalBoss wrote...
Forest fires are not natural market forces.
On 2009-02-12 at 15:55:27, Baslisks wrote...
Why not?
On 2009-02-14 at 04:52:49, BorgClown wrote...
Forest fires affect the economy, but I was mocking the "Natural forces". Nature does not have our best interest at heart. She doesn't even have a heart.
On 2009-04-08 at 10:21:59, Lee J Haywood wrote...
Regarding comment #7, I finally discovered that I was talking about 'ecological debt'. So in 2008, we'd already used a year's worth of the planet's resources by 23 September (and in the UK, by mid-April according to the BBC!) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_debt http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7988648.stm
On 2009-04-13 at 19:00:27, Thelevellers wrote...
Ecological debt. *shudders* If I don't start enjoying my life properly soon, I'm gonna have to lighten the load. ;-) Seriously though, it is a bloody depressing concept... :(
On 2009-04-17 at 01:45:11, BorgClown wrote...
There's hope. For the first time there was a municipality of Mexico City who reported negative growth. More and more people are becoming aware of our unsustainable growth.