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Italy faces fine for garbage? what?

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Korriken
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Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-09 00:30:21 Reply

Article

So, in a nutshell, the EU can levy fines over member nations over... garbage collection failure.

While I'll agree that refuse cleanup is an important task, I can't fathom the union itself placing fines upon a member country for something such as this.

does the EU really have THAT much authority over its member countries? Also. How is placing a massive fine on them helpful in any way? What is the money from this fine used for?

"Clean this mess up or we're going to charge you a bunch of money!"

that's kinda sad to think about, and one reason why I personally would steadfastly oppose any sort of North American Union. to prevent things like THIS from happening. Of course, the idea of an open border with Mexico would only make me oppose it even more.


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lapis
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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-09 15:09:21 Reply

At 5/9/11 12:30 AM, Korriken wrote: Also. How is placing a massive fine on them helpful in any way?

Like any other fine, the intent is to incentivise the Italian government to put a stop to this mess. You see, it is not mere incompetence that made this crisis last for several years now, it's the fact hat both corrupt local politicians and the Neapolitan mafia ( ) are making shit tons of money off this affair. Why this affects the EU? While I cannot say that I know for sure, it might be that the EU thinks the cohesion within and respect for the union are helped if it forces some standards of not being a corrupt thieves' nest of a country on its members that Italy clearly doesn't meet. Besides, uniform environmental policies are more easily enforced throughout the union and ground water or river pollution might also negatively affect people in other countries, although in the case of Naples I guess this is not much of an issue.


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SmilezRoyale
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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-09 18:40:52 Reply

privatize the garbage service.


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-09 18:48:04 Reply

I'm going to bet they're going to use that money to bailout Italy later on.

At 5/9/11 06:40 PM, SmilezRoyale wrote: privatize the garbage service.

It's not going to make a difference because as you see in America each town picks a garbage service, so as long as they do their simple task there's no real reason to improve the product and there isn't much freedom to pick a garbage service to begin with.


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Chris-V2
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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-09 18:55:02 Reply

The only garbage I found in Italy was on the radio.

Fines wont do anything, nor will legislation. It's upto the people to force the Italian government to clean up. They should do it quick too, before Europe becomes a Meta Governmenting nightmare.

Oh, wait..
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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-09 19:04:04 Reply

At 5/9/11 03:09 PM, lapis wrote:
Like any other fine, the intent is to incentivise the Italian government to put a stop to this mess.

I'm just not seeing how its really any of their business. heaps of garbage is an eyesore and breeds various diseases, but is it really the union's business to step in and order the member country to clean it?

You see, it is not mere incompetence that made this crisis last for several years now, it's the fact hat both corrupt local politicians and the Neapolitan mafia ( ) are making shit tons of money off this affair.

Kind of irrelevant, but still good discussion. you'd figure the Italian national government would do some heavy duty investigating, followed by some extreme ball busting in the way of arrests over it.

Besides, uniform environmental policies are more easily enforced throughout the union and ground water or river pollution might also negatively affect people in other countries, although in the case of Naples I guess this is not much of an issue.

Well, that does make sense. Wonder if it ever crossed their mind to come up with some massive recycling facilities? Probably, but if not, it's always an idea.


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SmilezRoyale
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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-09 20:15:15 Reply

At 5/9/11 06:48 PM, Warforger wrote: I'm going to bet they're going to use that money to bailout Italy later on.

At 5/9/11 06:40 PM, SmilezRoyale wrote: privatize the garbage service.
It's not going to make a difference because as you see in America each town picks a garbage service, so as long as they do their simple task there's no real reason to improve the product and there isn't much freedom to pick a garbage service to begin with.

I could make a longer response but I unless this becomes a major issue of contention.

1) I'm not certain if waste disposal in italy is handled by provincial, local, or national authorities. Assuming it isn't already local, there are benefits in transfering national to provincial control, depending on how politically independent the local and provincial units are from the national unit. This is because when the system is localized it is harder for the locality to externalize the cost of its operations on anyone except the people whose garbage they are supposedly disposing. Wheras on a national level, people in venice might be paying taxes to fund the incompetence and misconduct of those in charge of dealing with garbage in Naples.

2) That said, the entire argument is moot because the privatization of garbage disposal =/= the taking of garbage disposal from a municipal to a local level. In fact your response in this regard is a non sequitur. When i say privatization, I refer to individuals hiring agencies with access either to landfills or facilities where the garbage can be processed. These agencies will charge the individuals for the service of disposing, filtering, and arranging their garbage.

Garbage disposal is not a public good, it does not suffer from the free rider problem PROVIDED violations of what are commonly called 'property rights' are enforced. That is, neither individuals nor the agencies they enlist are given the legal permission to violate other people's property by dumping their garbage on other people's property


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zephiran
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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-10 03:11:05 Reply

At 5/9/11 08:15 PM, SmilezRoyale wrote:
1) I'm not certain if waste disposal in italy is handled by provincial, local, or national authorities.

As for right now, none of the above. The Camorra is on that sack of goods like flies on a trash bag - hell, they even ship the rest of Italy's waste to the Naples region. Everything is run by the Camorristi and more often than not public officials are content with lining their own pockets with money earmarked for waste disposal rather than tackle the mob syndicate.

That's the root of the problem and no amount of privatisation (actually, in a way, the Camorra is the private contractor) is likely to fix anything as long as the mob is allowed to have their way and the local officials are allowed to stay corrupt.

Bit of background to the Naples Trash Crisis.

Do read up on the Camorra, they're very interesting.


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-10 13:01:10 Reply

I would normally agree but the 'nuance' of this situation is that it's public officials in cahoots with the mafia who have done this. Italian politics is almost inherently corrupt but funelling tax money into the mafia is pretty abhorrent, and Italy's political class are well overdue a spring cleaning. A bit of UN pressure - it'll be a goosd thing if it works.

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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-10 14:54:49 Reply

At 5/10/11 01:01 PM, Earfetish wrote: I would normally agree but the 'nuance' of this situation is that it's public officials in cahoots with the mafia who have done this. Italian politics is almost inherently corrupt but funelling tax money into the mafia is pretty abhorrent, and Italy's political class are well overdue a spring cleaning. A bit of UN pressure - it'll be a goosd thing if it works.

And I suppose some of the money that goes to the mafia is my money that I pay to be in an EU member state getting filtered down into this Tony Soprano venture

but yeah now I've thought about it we should just throw them out of the EU, and any other country that fucks about, till it's just a few of us. Maybe the UK could leave.

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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-10 15:25:17 Reply

At 5/9/11 07:04 PM, Korriken wrote:
You see, it is not mere incompetence that made this crisis last for several years now, it's the fact hat both corrupt local politicians and the Neapolitan mafia ( ) are making shit tons of money off this affair.
Kind of irrelevant, but still good discussion.

Eh, I don't want anyone to think that this problem exists because Italy is so poor and that fining them will only make things worse. It's really just because the system is rotten.

you'd figure the Italian national government would do some heavy duty investigating, followed by some extreme ball busting in the way of arrests over it.

Well, the national government probably has no time left after they're done taking mafia bribes and keeping Berlusconi from being convicted of basically any crime known to man that's somewhere between embezzlement and child prostitution.

By the way, I think I wanted to put two hyperlinks in my last post about the mafia/corrupt politicans involvement but I forgot to add a descriptive text so now there are just two brackets without anything in between. But zephiran already posted a link so all's cool.

At 5/10/11 02:54 PM, Earfetish wrote: but yeah now I've thought about it we should just throw them out of the EU, and any other country that fucks about, till it's just a few of us. Maybe the UK could leave.

They should just split up the Union into a Northern and Southern part. Bulgaria, Romania and all countries on the Mediterranean coast become part of the South. Belgium is broken into two pieces with the North taking Brussels as the NEU capital while French Strasbourg becomes the capital of the SEU. The south can have its own currency, the seuro, which each year devalues 5% against the dollar. That's three long-standing problems solved right there.


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Chris-V2
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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-10 15:25:42 Reply

How about we just get rid of Europe altogether? It's crap. I liked being a sovereign Irish citizen way more. There was a guy answerable in my country to the final tee about everything and I could kill him if he caused the kind of ballache and poverty that the EU are generating.

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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-10 15:48:03 Reply

At 5/10/11 03:25 PM, Chris-V2 wrote: How about we just get rid of Europe altogether? It's crap. I liked being a sovereign Irish citizen way more. There was a guy answerable in my country to the final tee about everything and I could kill him if he caused the kind of ballache and poverty that the EU are generating.

Really? You think that the subsidies were inherently bad and impossible to put to good use, instead of that Ahern's government(s) just squandered it, which would still be a good reason to have him executed?

I mean, back when the EP elections were being held I was also going on about how I was going to vote for the Communists because I thought that the EP was a money-hemorrhaging monstrosity that was completely in the pocket of the automobile industry (among others), but I don't see how you can blame the union for generating "poverty" of any kind. The union is horribly lacking in transparency, but even though that makes it easy to blame every fuckup on the part of your national government on it it doesn't make it right. I guess national politicians themselves are also guilty of this; they get paid for holding responsibility so for them it's great if they can dodge paying for the consequences of their failuires by blaming everything on an elusive puppet master.


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-10 16:44:45 Reply

At 5/10/11 03:11 AM, zephiran wrote:
At 5/9/11 08:15 PM, SmilezRoyale wrote:
Bit of background to the Naples Trash Crisis.

Do read up on the Camorra, they're very interesting.

Contracting out a job to a nominally private company is not the same as privatization. "Muncipalities" can be "Government run" or "privately run" but the distinction is wholly nominal if in both instances the same conditions of legal territorial monopoly and tax funded revenues exist.

It's very simple, you remove all control and funding of waste disposal from the hands of the State and put it in the hands of individuals. People choose which agency they want to deal with their trash, prices and rates are negotiated in the same way you decide magazine subscriptions.

And this is the problem with people on the left and the right who can't Grasp market exchanges in terms of the logic of individual action. They see "Government" and "Private" as these two entities whose NATURE is determined by their TITLE rather than their title determined by their nature.


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-10 16:51:23 Reply

270 billion euro worth of grants? No? Then no. Not at all.

It was a fuck up made by the ECB and its generated this feedback loop from hell of debt between the PIIGS, ECB and Germany. But instead of letting the banks sink the EU approached us to stabilise the banks, we did and then they crucified us for it. I'm not being blamed for EU debt, it was private investors and a mismanaged banking system. Greece is leaving, which I think is a sensible route.

We wont, we're cowards. Ahern, Cowen, Enda. Centralist, populist assholes. I don't know if they're naive or corrupt but I have such contempt for them I don't think it matters.

My girlfreind's working in Japan at the moment, I'm going over hopefully to see her and get the lay of the land. We're considering moving when we graduate.

Which says alot considering I have no contacts, am an audio engineer and have no Japanese. Fuck this dive!
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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-10 17:40:20 Reply

At 5/10/11 04:44 PM, SmilezRoyale wrote:
It's very simple, you remove all control and funding of waste disposal from the hands of the State and put it in the hands of individuals. People choose which agency they want to deal with their trash, prices and rates are negotiated in the same way you decide magazine subscriptions.

... And the people with the best prices and rates will always and inevitably be the Camorra. They don't give a damn about proper waste management and use any means available to circumvent or go against legislation where it suits them, ensuring that they are the ones to come out on top in a competitive market.

And this is the problem with people on the left and the right who can't Grasp market exchanges in terms of the logic of individual action. They see "Government" and "Private" as these two entities whose NATURE is determined by their TITLE rather than their title determined by their nature.

Fair enough, but I'd like to personally see the private company willing to face off against a cartel run by a criminal syndicate that is as multifaceted and adaptable as it is ruthless.


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-10 20:37:45 Reply

At 5/10/11 05:40 PM, zephiran wrote:
At 5/10/11 04:44 PM, SmilezRoyale wrote:
It's very simple, you remove all control and funding of waste disposal from the hands of the State and put it in the hands of individuals. People choose which agency they want to deal with their trash, prices and rates are negotiated in the same way you decide magazine subscriptions.
... And the people with the best prices and rates will always and inevitably be the Camorra. They don't give a damn about proper waste management and use any means available to circumvent or go against legislation where it suits them, ensuring that they are the ones to come out on top in a competitive market.

I'm going to glean from this that your fear is a company could make itself more competitive by taking garbage that citizens give them and, instead of processing it or putting it in a landfill that they own, they'll do what appears cheaper and dump it on someone else's property.

I would hope that in a developed western country something like this is already illegal, in the same way that it is illegal for me to dump gasoline on your lawn, light a cigarette and accidentally drop it on the gasoline.

The argument would be the same as If I had said "It would be cheaper for someone to repay a loan by buying a gun for say.... 100 dollars, robbing someone's house and taking 10000 dollars from the victim." - and then you might respond with "Yes, it would, but this is an absurd example because no one contends it is legal for them to do such a thing." - you could also argue that the thief would now be on the run from the police, and that no bank would accept repayment if they knew that the funds were taken in such a manner.

I'm not denying that this can occur, but If the government isn't responsible [or 'uncorrupted'] enough to perform the minimum function of enforcing property rights [which is the issue when discussing the responsible disposal of waste], it certainly isn't qualified with deciding who gets to take out the trash and who doesn't.

It appears to me that the waste isn't accumulating because these 'sanitation workers' are taking the stuff and dumping it on other people's property to make a cheap buck.


Fair enough, but I'd like to personally see the private company willing to face off against a cartel run by a criminal syndicate that is as multifaceted and adaptable as it is ruthless.

I'm sure the Mafia was angry when prohibition became legal in the 30s, and I'm sure they did everything could to maintain their little cartel. But the Mafia wasn't able to maintain it, for whatever reason. I suspect the natural reasons were that people naturally shift to the [plus a little bit of anti-Italian racism :P] liquor producers they know are honest, and if the Government sufficiently remains out of the business of deciding which groups of people can compete, the mafia is forced to fight with companies most people know are 'on the good side' - [relatively speaking] to maintain a shrinking market share.

In general I don't see overt violence as ever being a successful business practice in the long run, at least not when people have no respect for you anyway.


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-11 13:42:28 Reply

At 5/10/11 04:51 PM, Chris-V2 wrote: But instead of letting the banks sink the EU approached us to stabilise the banks, we did and then they crucified us for it.

Erm, you may want to back this up with a source. From what I've been reading the European Commission forbids capital injections by states into private enterprises and nationalisations as this amounts to protectionism and curtails the free market. But at "the height of the financial crisis, the Commission adopted a Communication on the recapitalisation of financial institutions (see IP/08/1901) for Member States to be able to inject emergency support into banks in order to safeguard financial stability."

So when the Irish government requested, for example, permission to bail out the Anglo Irish bank the Commission could have vetoed the decisiom, but decided to allow the nationalisation becuase the alternative may well have been worse, at least on the short term. In any case, the initiative for the bailouts came from the Irish government, not the EC.

And in any case, these were your banks and your politicians who should have monitored their business practices. The role of the EU in this affair could just as well have been taken by the IMF. It's just too easy to blame the EU for all these problems. You're basically saying that the EU is evil because it should have known that Irishmen can't be trusted with money.

My girlfreind's working in Japan at the moment, I'm going over hopefully to see her and get the lay of the land. We're considering moving when we graduate.

Doesn't Japan have a national debt that's like 200% of their GDP? If the world economy falters even more than it did a few years ago Japan is going to be hit hard as well.

At 5/10/11 08:37 PM, SmilezRoyale wrote:

I'm sorry, but all I read are generic pro-free market arguments and nothing that specifically relates to the Naples trash problem. The dumps around Naples were privately owned but bought up by the Camorra, who then not only dumped the local waste in the dumps, but also "all kinds of dangerous toxic wastes from northern companies - printer toners, residues from leather tanneries, harmful dusts from pharmaceutical companies. That gets mixed with cement, non-metal car parts and even the remains of the dead from paupers' graves (which have to be disposed of every 50 years)."

There was a giant incinerator planned but its construction was never finished "either because the companies in charge of constructing them could not finish the job, or else because magistrates stopped the work, pending ongoing criminal investigations into alleged mafia involvement. One Italian newspaper suggested that a good 20% of the money went to pay for the salaries of those in charge of coming up with a solution to the problem." Besides, I think the mafia profits from the chaos because the murkiness of the situation makes it easier to stealthily dump toxic waste. You could argue that it would be profitable for a private company to build such an incinerator, but outside of an entrepreneurial spirit you need a lot of guts as you'll be up against maybe the most powerful mafia syndicate in Italy which won't shy away from beating the teeth in of any contruction worker hired to build your plant. You can aruge that "overt violence as ever being a successful business practice", but it has been working well for the Camorra for at least 200 years.

So how is market liberalisation going to help in this situation? I can imagine that if all environmental laws in Italy were scrapped, northern compaines could just dump their toxic waste locally instead of having to turn to the mafia, meaning that the increased cancer risks would be spread more even Italy instead of being concentrated in Naples. Still, I wonder if one could consider this a solution to the problem. The problem is government corruption, regardless of whether said government oversees a privately or publicly controlled waste cycle.


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-11 14:00:27 Reply

At 5/9/11 06:40 PM, SmilezRoyale wrote: privatize the garbage service.

I'd love to live in your world where each year / month or time I move I have to pick from dozens of services and keep tabs on them and pay a bill for each separate thing each month.

Water, gas, garbage, recycling, road, schools, mail, street lights, lawn mowing and on and on...


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-11 15:33:02 Reply

At 5/11/11 01:42 PM, lapis wrote:
Erm, you may want to back this up with a source. From what I've been reading the European Commission forbids capital injections by states into private enterprises and nationalisations as this amounts to protectionism and curtails the free market. But at "the height of the financial crisis, the Commission adopted a Communication on the recapitalisation of financial institutions (see IP/08/1901) for Member States to be able to inject emergency support into banks in order to safeguard financial stability."

The EU was fairly insistent we try this, as alot of the debt was owed to German banks. I can't find the Independant articles from the last few months on it, but this article references exactly how venurable French and German banks are to PIIGS debt - I'm sure you're also fully aware of the Iceland - England situation.

I know it's a blog but he's a full time university lecturerer in Economics and seems fairly well credentialed. So I'll stand by it.

It's bigger states imposing an irrefutably international fuck up on smaller states. Germany lost its money because it's banks invested in people who were investing in bogus markets - most people ask the person what their loan is for. But the real issue here isn't our national bondholders, it's our European ones. It's that we owe European banks money

So when the Irish government requested, for example, permission to bail out the Anglo Irish bank the Commission could have vetoed the decisiom, but decided to allow the nationalisation becuase the alternative may well have been worse, at least on the short term. In any case, the initiative for the bailouts came from the Irish government, not the EC.

While this is true, the ECB does have a say in this and could have blocked it. The ECB is intended to act as a sort of "Mother bank" but due to it being a private entity it tends to focus purely on profit. So it loaned to Germany, Germany loaned to Ireland and we defaulted. And now we're taking out a loan to pay Germany to pay the ECB.

The fact is that the Free Market law was never going to be enforced by France or Germany when it meant they could duck billions of debt. The fact that we went from owing German banks to instantaneously answerable to the ECB was a very cynacil move and shows the grey line that exists between French, German and European politics.

And in any case, these were your banks and your politicians who should have monitored their business practices. The role of the EU in this affair could just as well have been taken by the IMF. It's just too easy to blame the EU for all these problems. You're basically saying that the EU is evil because it should have known that Irishmen can't be trusted with money.

I don't own any banks, and I certainly didn't elect any officials (I was 16 at the time). We can revert to Catholic Guilt (We did it, all our fault, sorry Europe, I didn't mean to build such an unstable financial market) or we can refute the idea that Public debt should be burdened with private debt. The idea with the Euro is that we had a united currency and would agree to work in unity to hold a strong currency - that means the ECB MUST monitor financial activity in all member states in order to ensure the Euro's strength. And I have no doubt they did, but the ECB couldn't have cared less.

You invest your money and you don't get it back - big deal, buyer beware. Beware of greeks bearing gifts and all that. This is bond debt we're talking about in many cases and bond holders are gamblers. It's unfortunate that in the case of bonds that the gamblers also seem to own the House.

Doesn't Japan have a national debt that's like 200% of their GDP? If the world economy falters even more than it did a few years ago Japan is going to be hit hard as well.

I'd have thought you'd have opted for the Earthquake arguement. :D

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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-11 19:22:19 Reply


At 5/10/11 08:37 PM, SmilezRoyale wrote:
I'm sorry,

First...

General theories of how things work has to precede the way you interpret information and narratives that are necessarily incomplete in the information that they give you. Enforcement of property rights, accounting for negative externalities, monopolies, all of these things are entirely relevant

Saying these two things aren't related is kind of like saying that physics, geology, and biology are unrelated to understanding what is and what is not historically accurate in the bible. The bible is an exaggerated case, but the principle applies to any account of events.

And of course, it's impossible to approach an article or an account of events without any presuppositions, so it's better to just acknowledge what those presuppositions are beforehand than pretend to somehow be impartial or objective.

Second...

I've read the articles. I haven't read anything in those articles about the Mafia buying up disposal sights. I have read that attempts by state officials to build additional facilities are always 'canceled' As you mentioned yourself, these

Now the article doesn't give very much detail about the circumstances in which these facilities failed to achieve their function. The only hints given are bribes in the case of politicians, and extortion in the case of private agencies. It's not controversial to say that that the protection of people from precisely this kind of coercion is one of the most basic functions of a Government.

It's also evident that the Italian government is failing to protect people's property. The pollution that is ostensibly connected to the waste negligence obviously comes at the expense of damage to SOMEONE'S property. If garbage is being dumped on someone's farm or on someone's yard and Italians have no legal recourse against it, this is yet another failing on the part of the Italian state.

There was a giant incinerator planned but its construction was never finished "either because the companies in charge of constructing them could not finish the job, or else because magistrates stopped the work, pending ongoing criminal investigations into alleged mafia involvement. One Italian newspaper suggested that a good 20% of the money went to pay for the salaries of those in charge of coming up with a solution to the problem." Besides, I think the mafia profits from the chaos because the murkiness of the situation makes it easier to stealthily dump toxic waste. You could argue that it would be profitable for a private company to build such an incinerator, but outside of an entrepreneurial spirit you need a lot of guts as you'll be up against maybe the most powerful mafia syndicate in Italy which won't shy away from beating the teeth in of any contruction worker hired to build your plant. You can aruge that "overt violence as ever being a successful business practice", but it has been working well for the Camorra for at least 200 years.

It is successful if you have the State on your side, which theory and evidence suggests is true.

So how is market liberalisation going to help in this situation? I can imagine that if all environmental laws in Italy were scrapped, northern compaines could just dump their toxic waste locally instead of having to turn to the mafia, meaning that the increased cancer risks would be spread more even Italy instead of being concentrated in Naples. Still, I wonder if one could consider this a solution to the problem. The problem is government corruption, regardless of whether said government oversees a privately or publicly controlled waste cycle.

Enviromental problems can almost ALWAYS be reduced to a problem of negative externalities: Group A is engaged in an economic activity that directly or indirectly does damage to Group B, and these costs fall squarely on group B.

The classic example is of the factory owner by the lake who spills chemicals into the lake, killing local fish populations and causing problems for the fishing/tourist industries. A variant of the negative externalities problem is the 'Commons problem', where the negligence of each individual is externalized onto the group when multiple people own a resource with no established rules of ownership.

Enviromental laws themselves are not a problem. The problem is when 1) States fail to protect the security of their subject's property 2) States vainly attempt to solve environmental damage by spending more money and creating more rules about land and resources that they have no real reason to care about.

Anti-Market-environmental strategies are not bad because they hamper economic activity [although that shouldn't be dismissed out of hand], they are bad because they fail to give the supposed guardians of the environment any reason beyond sheer moral will to do the right thing.

In reality States have little personal incentive to protect ANYONE's property, but if the property is privately owned, the owners will have both 1. Some level of autonomous protection of their property outside 2. the ability to apply some pressure on state governments to do the job they should be doing.

It should be no surprise that Unowned or "publicly owned" land tends to get the worst treatment.

And of course if the Italian Government is too corrupt to do something as simple as enforce property tights, Then the Italians shouldn't waste their time with any politically based solution. They're probably better off just taking up arms and shooting the Mafia, quick-justice-style.


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-15 09:24:27 Reply

At 5/11/11 03:33 PM, Chris-V2 wrote: I'm sure you're also fully aware of the Iceland - England situation.

Like Ireland and every other European country, Iceland signed a treaty that forced them to pay a certain amount of insurance to depositors when a bank in their country collapses. The idea is to prevent a domino effect where each banks in Europe falls after the other because they all loan each other money. Since the state guarantees that the depositors will get at least some of their money back, the threat of a bank run is mitigated. Nationalisation is a different issue: the Irish government could have just taken over the insurances and let the banks fall after that. I think the banks were nationalised to prevent scores of Irish people losing their pensions, and the EU didn't push Ireland to do this.

In any case, do you really care so much about the fact that the ECB defends the case of German banks or are you just pissed off at the fact that your tax money is used to pay off foreign depositors? Because if Ireland has not joined the European Economic Area (which requires deposit insurance) and not guaranteed any money to foreign depositors, Irish banks would have been much less competitive than their less risky European counterparts and the prosperity during the past 20 years would have been reduced. Both options had their risks and in hindsight it's always easy to judge which choice would have been the best. Ireland is mainly hit harder than other European countries because of a housing bubble and the shady business practices of the Anglo Irish bank. If Ireland had not been hit so hard and Icelandic banks had owed Irish depositors 200 million euros then I'd guess that you'd also want them to pay it back.

And now we're taking out a loan to pay Germany to pay the ECB.

Meh, you owe the fact that you can still take loans at all to the ECB. Had Ireland simply said to all foreign depositors of Irish banks "big deal, buyer beware" then no money-holding entity in thw world would have loaned you any money unless you paid murderous interest rates - which would have sucked for the Irish government because, if I recall correctly, they ran massiv budget deficits in the years leading up to the crisis. The current situation at least allows you to slowly reduce government spending without having the Irish state collapse in on itself in a matter of weeks.

I don't own any banks,

Right, but some of the money that they made went to the Irish government who in turn (partially?) financed your education. You did profit from them, and by extension I don't find it so unfair that you have to carry some of burden now that they've fallen.

and I certainly didn't elect any officials (I was 16 at the time).

Then blame your parents instead of the EU.

We can revert to Catholic Guilt (We did it, all our fault, sorry Europe, I didn't mean to build such an unstable financial market)

That'll be one Hail Mary for each euro your country owes to foreign depositors.

or we can refute the idea that Public debt should be burdened with private debt. The idea with the Euro is that we had a united currency and would agree to work in unity to hold a strong currency - that means the ECB MUST monitor financial activity in all member states in order to ensure the Euro's strength. And I have no doubt they did, but the ECB couldn't have cared less.

They can't possible be expected to carefully investigate all economic acticity in the entire Eurozone. I'm all for decentralising this sort of control and having each member state make sure it's own back yard is clean.

You invest your money and you don't get it back - big deal, buyer beware. Beware of greeks bearing gifts and all that. This is bond debt we're talking about in many cases and bond holders are gamblers. It's unfortunate that in the case of bonds that the gamblers also seem to own the House.

Eh. The system is sick, but massive reform is unrealistic. Ireland (and the whole of Europe for that matter) is part of a global market and you'll have a tough time reaching agreement on market reform with the US, let alone with China or Russia.

I'd have thought you'd have opted for the Earthquake arguement. :D

Just don't buy a house on the Pacific shoreline.

----------------------------------

By the way, I'm kind of busy doing holiday-related stuff at the moment - it already took me three days to find the time to respond to this thread - and since I'm leaving the country tomorrow, don't be surprised if I suddenly bump the topic after a week or something.


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-15 09:27:18 Reply

At 5/11/11 07:22 PM, SmilezRoyale wrote: Saying these two things aren't related is kind of like saying that physics, geology, and biology are unrelated to understanding what is and what is not historically accurate in the bible. The bible is an exaggerated case, but the principle applies to any account of events.

Of course they aren't unrelated, but general theories need to be followed by a discussion of how this relates to the problem at hand. If two BBS posters are discussing the results of a statistical survey in an abortion debate then if I post a 4,000 character essay about the measure-theoretic background of random variables without any sort of reference to how this relates to the survey at hand then people will probably wonder what the purpose behind my post was.

And and even though my analogy might be a bit of an exaggeration, it was not at all clear to me what the connection between the topic at hand and your post in response to zephiran was. I mean "It's very simple, you remove all control and funding of waste disposal from the hands of the State and put it in the hands of individuals"? In this situation those individuals would be part of the mafia.

I've read the articles. I haven't read anything in those articles about the Mafia buying up disposal sights.

"Fourteen years ago, Italy appointed a special commissioner to take charge of waste disposal and pry it away from Camorra-run companies. By undercutting legitimate operators, these [Camorra-run] companies won a host of local authority contracts and ended up in charge of the region's then-privately owned landfills."

So to put it bluntly: the free market (or semi-free market, local government giving contracts to private parties) failed as the entire waste cycle was taken over by the mafia who then turned it into a mess (literally), after which some in the national government has tried to step in and fix the problem but failed because what they appointed was not significantly less rotten than the mafia.

It's not controversial to say that that the protection of people from precisely this kind of coercion is one of the most basic functions of a Government.

Agreed.

It's also evident that the Italian government is failing to protect people's property. The pollution that is ostensibly connected to the waste negligence obviously comes at the expense of damage to SOMEONE'S property. If garbage is being dumped on someone's farm or on someone's yard and Italians have no legal recourse against it, this is yet another failing on the part of the Italian state.

That's the fundamental issue, isn't it? The problem is not a conflict between private or public control, the problem is a dysfunctional government unable to protect its own civilians from mafia intimidation and waste dumping. In the Netherlands there is a mixed system where some counties use private contractors for waste management while other counties let a state-run company like HVC run the waste cycle and the latter counties don't have trash piling up on the streets of its towns and cities. Hence, I don't see why a discussion about privatisation and letting citizens take matters into their own hands befits the topic of the thread.

It is successful if you have the State on your side, which theory and evidence suggests is true.

But then the problem isn't necessarily the state, it's the interweaving between organised crime and the state. In fact, the state is the only remedy against organised crime. After all, if a group of citizens monopolises the use of violence and uses this monopoly to suppress criminals, then this group of citizens are themselves a mini-state.

Enviromental laws themselves are not a problem. The problem is when 1) States fail to protect the security of their subject's property

Indeed.


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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-15 13:19:21 Reply

At 5/15/11 09:24 AM, lapis wrote:
Like Ireland and every other European country, Iceland signed a treaty that forced them to pay a certain amount of insurance to depositors when a bank in their country collapses. The idea is to prevent a domino effect where each banks in Europe falls after the other because they all loan each other money. Since the state guarantees that the depositors will get at least some of their money back, the threat of a bank run is mitigated.

This works when gaurantees are 100% - however that's neither reasonable nor possible and large account holders WILL run on a bank that's smelling fishy. While that's not a complete bank run, it can hurt a bank alot as this further reduces investor condifence but also reduces the amount of currency at their dispsal.

Nationalisation is a different issue: the Irish government could have just taken over the insurances and let the banks fall after that. I think the banks were nationalised to prevent scores of Irish people losing their pensions, and the EU didn't push Ireland to do this.

The pensions are getting hammered, though. My parents are looking at theirs aghast and I'm sure alot of people are. So that was a big expensive thing that didn't work, buying the pensions probably would have been cheaper.

In any case, do you really care so much about the fact that the ECB defends the case of German banks or are you just pissed off at the fact that your tax money is used to pay off foreign depositors?

Not only that it defends the German banks but that it defends its own actions. You infer the ECB is centralized later on in this discussion and you claim that they can't micro-manage. And if that's true, then why the hell didn't they ask the German banks what they wanted all this money for? These sums were not small change and the lack of transparency of the whole affair reeks of shit, to be blunt.

Because if Ireland has not joined the European Economic Area (which requires deposit insurance) and not guaranteed any money to foreign depositors, Irish banks would have been much less competitive than their less risky European counterparts and the prosperity during the past 20 years would have been reduced.

Yes, we would have grown slower. We also wouldn't have fallen as hard. This feast-fast system isn't good for my metabolism. We attempted to implement economic models that couldn't fit Ireland too quickly, and mostly because Ireland hadn't grown beyond Primary Industry. Putting us in Europe meant we couldn't really rely on Farming or Fishing (They made sure of that) but we had neither the infrastructure nor the number of qualified people to start the "Smart Economy" model. France, England and Germany do well from it, sure, but we goofed the shit out of it.

We decided that the best industry to make loads of money from was housing, and decided that maybe people would liked to own second homes and such sillyness. Maybe everyone on the Dole would like luxury condos in Dubai on a man made island shaped like Parnell's muttonchops.

Both options had their risks and in hindsight it's always easy to judge which choice would have been the best. Ireland is mainly hit harder than other European countries because of a housing bubble and the shady business practices of the Anglo Irish bank. If Ireland had not been hit so hard and Icelandic banks had owed Irish depositors 200 million euros then I'd guess that you'd also want them to pay it back.

Not really, I'd say that industry can be responsible for itself. The fact that we've allowed a system where the state depends on the well-being of certain private bodies is our own fault and that nows a good time to fix it. We are owed money, incidentaly, just the individuals involved are both Irish and more or less obsolved of their sins.

Meh, you owe the fact that you can still take loans at all to the ECB. Had Ireland simply said to all foreign depositors of Irish banks "big deal, buyer beware" then no money-holding entity in thw world would have loaned you any money unless you paid murderous interest rates -

I love this one. Let's do this one. So we refute our 270 billion debt at 4% annual interest - I'm lazy so let's call this 320 billion as we discover a horse breed that shits the most valuable resource on the market at the time in 2014.

Now let's say we bail and we become a sort of Africanised "High Risk" body. We're talking 20% interest rates here - fucking HUEGGG. And let's say we need 400 million every year to keep our heads above water with cutbacks, and let's assume it takes 10 years for Price & Price to forgive us for our sins.

So that's 4 billion + 20% for 10 years. According to a handy internet CIC that's 24.77 billion.

So, which is it? 280 Billion or 24.77 Billion? U gaiz choose. Hell, double it by buying pensions. Add 10 billion to buy Eircom (who are about to shit their pants and die...again). It's still better.

Right, but some of the money that they made went to the Irish government who in turn (partially?) financed your education. You did profit from them, and by extension I don't find it so unfair that you have to carry some of burden now that they've fallen.

I paid VAT, my parents payed tax. I'd say my family and I payed for my education. We didn't pay enough tax for every teacher who thought me. But for 1/30th? Yeah, easily. I don't think even the poor MAKE money from a government during good times. As much as I hate media rhetoric it's fair to say this : The wealthy are the only ones to tangibly benefit from both the Celtic Tiger and the Crisis - it's a buyers market in many senses right now.

Then blame your parents instead of the EU.

I also blame the electorate, they get mad when I say it though.

That'll be one Hail Mary for each euro your country owes to foreign depositors.

Call me Bleeding Gums Mary.

They can't possible be expected to carefully investigate all economic acticity in the entire Eurozone. I'm all for decentralising this sort of control and having each member state make sure it's own back yard is clean.

What about just the biggest loans? Like the ones they made to Germany? It seems like the ECB was for decentralisation, they just did it in an informal process that lead to noone keeping an eye on anything. Ever.

Eh. The system is sick, but massive reform is unrealistic. Ireland (and the whole of Europe for that matter) is part of a global market and you'll have a tough time reaching agreement on market reform with the US, let alone with China or Russia.

No one is saying anyone will agree, I'm just here to make the arguement until governments are too impoverished to argue against it. China is probably your best bet at the moment, since all those dollars they bought are devalueing and every time they try and buy something else with it everyone else starts buying it - vicious cycle. Could kill China or even the dollar.

By the way, I'm kind of busy doing holiday-related stuff at the moment - it already took me three days to find the time to respond to this thread - and since I'm leaving the country tomorrow, don't be surprised if I suddenly bump the topic after a week or something.

Pacific Coast? Enjoy!

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Response to Italy faces fine for garbage? what? 2011-05-15 19:44:56 Reply

At 5/15/11 09:27 AM, lapis wrote:
Of course they aren't unrelated, but general theories need to be followed by a discussion of how this relates to the problem at hand.

Right so i missed a paragraph. I assume you were able to figure it out?

And and even though my analogy might be a bit of an exaggeration, it was not at all clear to me what the connection between the topic at hand and your post in response to zephiran was. I mean "It's very simple, you remove all control and funding of waste disposal from the hands of the State and put it in the hands of individuals"? In this situation those individuals would be part of the mafia.

I didn't think that my thinking was this far at odds with how other people thought about the world.
Just take the phrase 'waste disposal' with 'shoes' or 'pencils' or 'nursing' etc.

"It's very simple, you remove all control and funding of **magazines** from the hands of the State and put it in the hands of individuals"

In this case the individuals are, the mafia? No, obviously not. The magazine consumer picks which magazine[s] he subscribes to.

Now if you are arguing that the mafia is so powerful that it had the power through force alone to compel citizens and governments only to have their garbage disposed through THEM, then there is nothing that can be said about the situation. It is as pointless to talk about reforms in a situation like this as would be asking how we as humans should repel an already unstoppable alien invasion.

But i doubt that this is really the case.

I've read the articles. I haven't read anything in those articles about the Mafia buying up disposal sights.
"Fourteen years ago, Italy appointed a special commissioner to take charge of waste disposal and pry it away from Camorra-run companies. By undercutting legitimate operators, these [Camorra-run] companies won a host of local authority contracts and ended up in charge of the region's then-privately owned landfills."

"Local Authority contracts" means that they were presumably cheaper for the neighborhoods or towns, I'm not sure which because they are hopelessly vague. Individuals themselves are not deciding unanimously on Camorra.

And I am still guessing the reason the disposal is so cheap is because it is being done in ways which everyone admits is illegal but the Government of Italy is unwilling or unable. It might be cheaper for me to dispose of my own garbage by throwing it on my neighbors lawn and making it his problem, but no one assumes that this would become the norm because everyone recognizes this sort of thing is illegal.

So to put it bluntly: the free market (or semi-free market, local government giving contracts to private parties) failed as the entire waste cycle was taken over by the mafia

It may be possible for the mafia to go from municipality to municipality and 'convince them' to give them a monopoly through whatever illegal means they want. [This is basically how at+t became known as the monopoly 'telephone company' for many years] But if this matter was decided at the home-level the mafia would have to go door to door and intimidate people. It may

But like i said, municipal monopolies are perhaps more market oriented than a national monopoly, but a national monopoly is by no means less suseptible to mafia influence and the principle of having local monopolies is not a principled market-oriented way of dealing with garbage disposal.


That's the fundamental issue, isn't it? The problem is not a conflict between private or public control, the problem is a dysfunctional government unable to protect its own civilians from mafia intimidation and waste dumping. In the Netherlands there is a mixed system where some counties use private contractors for waste management while other counties let a state-run company like HVC run the waste cycle and the latter counties don't have trash piling up on the streets of its towns and cities. Hence, I don't see why a discussion about privatisation and letting citizens take matters into their own hands befits the topic of the thread.

Well maybe a better topic might be the privatization of legal and protection services in Italy. But as i said before, the Mafia is not going door to door intimidating citizens in using their garbage services, they're going to local governments, and the only reason they are remotely competitive is because of a state-failure in protection.


It is successful if you have the State on your side, which theory and evidence suggests is true.
But then the problem isn't necessarily the state

This tacitly assumes a monopoly of violence is necessary to stop criminal activity.

However a state is not SIMPLY a monopoly of violence. It is an institution which people informally agree own everyone and everything in an arbitrarilly defined geographic region as property. The monopoly of force is simply a corollary to this general attribute.

But as said in other places, the reason organized crime turns to the state is usually because 1) telling the state to do something is cheaper and less dangerous than trying to do it yourself 2) The state is typically what generates organized crime by making certain activities illegal, and then prosecuting offenders on a partial basis.


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