[...] CK’s recent post on ecologism resounded deeply with me, specifically his claim that pro-market forces are right to be scared of carbon taxes because their rationale seems to logically point to self-totalized industrial policy.  It reminds me a lot of (right-libertarian) Walter Block’s article in which he argues that everything (including the decision to wear socks) can be characterized as an externality, and therefore there’s no inherent limiting principle to externality-based arguments for regulation: There are any number of external economies, neighborhood effects, spill-overs, benefits to third parties, which  flow from the purchase and use  of supposedly private  goods. Take,  for example, the paradigm case of a private good, socks. First, there is a health question.  People who do not wear socks are liable to colds, sore feet, blisters,  and possibly pneumonia. And sickness means lost days of work and lost production; it means possible contagion (as in the diphtheria case); it may result in rising doctor bills and increased health insurance premiums for other policyholders. Increased demand for doctors’  time and energy will result in reduced medical attention for others. There is, in addition, an aesthetic problem: many people take umbrage at socklessness. Restaurants often forbid  bare feet,  presumably in the  interests of retaining their more sensitive customers. Not wearing socks is also interpreted by some as a  disturbing political statement, like flag or draft-card burning. Many mothers — a third party, if ever there was one — rejoice when their “hip”  sons finally don footwear. That benefits of sock-wearing “spill  over”  to these mothers cannot be  denied. [...]

[...] CK’s recent post on ecologism resounded deeply with me, specifically his claim that pro-market forces are right to be scared of carbon taxes because their rationale seems to logically point to self-totalized industrial policy.  It reminds me a lot of (right-libertarian) Walter Block’s article in which he argues that everything (including the decision to wear socks) can be characterized as an externality, and therefore there’s no inherent limiting principle to externality-based arguments for regulation: There are any number of external economies, neighborhood effects, spill-overs, benefits to third parties, which  flow from the purchase and use  of supposedly private  goods. Take,  for example, the paradigm case of a private good, socks. First, there is a health question.  People who do not wear socks are liable to colds, sore feet, blisters,  and possibly pneumonia. And sickness means lost days of work and lost production; it means possible contagion (as in the diphtheria case); it may result in rising doctor bills and increased health insurance premiums for other policyholders. Increased demand for doctors’  time and energy will result in reduced medical attention for others. There is, in addition, an aesthetic problem: many people take umbrage at socklessness. Restaurants often forbid  bare feet,  presumably in the  interests of retaining their more sensitive customers. Not wearing socks is also interpreted by some as a  disturbing political statement, like flag or draft-card burning. Many mothers — a third party, if ever there was one — rejoice when their “hip”  sons finally don footwear. That benefits of sock-wearing “spill  over”  to these mothers cannot be  denied. [...]

Yes, that was always the type I fell for, and, yes, they were always gone by Saturday night.

http://youtu.be/D0yuqpk00Ts

My pleasure. It was a discussion you initiated at the LoOG that got me started. My only request is that, if you do something with it, you let me know!

This is exactly right, and I'm sure I'll appropriate this explanation of ecologism for my own discussions. Thanks for putting in the legwork, CK.