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Educating the Next Generation

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Scott: Nobody should own Space.   Exactly.

Bill: Well, we're also now talking about owning the air.

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Timothy: What?   You can't own the air!

Scott: It's part of "the commons."

Timothy: Someone"you didn't create the air!

Bill & Scott: That's right!

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Scott: But people are using it as if they did.

Bill: Well, let me give you an example of how it's being privatized.   Right now, more in Europe than in this country, but it's about to happen in this country too if the utilities get their way.   The power companies, say, they burn coal and then the emissions from the coal-burning goes up in the smokestack and up in the sky.   Now if the utilities burn coal, the carbon dioxide and other emissions carbon monoxide".I can't remember the names of all of them" but all of these go up in the air.   Now, if we really want to limit the amount of pollution in the air what we should do is stop certain utilities from creating sending their emissions up .

Emmanuelle: Can you replace them by nuclear power plants, or"?

Bill: Well right now, the idea that most of the public is talking about is something called "cap and trade."   That is, the scientists will decide how much air, how much pollution the air is capable of absorbing.   Then when they know what the limit is, they'll say, "OK, every utility shall be given a certain number of pollution permits and then, the air" where it's more polluted in one place they will trade with somewhere there's less pollution, and they will trade back and forth until there's a balance.   But that still gives the utilities the ownership of the air."

Rita: And of polluting!   It gives them a permit to pollute.

Bill: Now, we Georgists say: OK, it's probably true that the air is capable of absorbing a certain amount of pollution.   So what we should do is auction off those permits for a price.   And the utilities that are willing to pay the most let them rent permits for that air to use as the dump.   And then the public would get the money for those permit s.   It would be the revenue to support the government instead of taxes on our labor.

Scott: Because it's all of our air.

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Timothy: Yeah, but who would be the public?

Bill: Good question.   Since the air circulates throughout the whole world, maybe the payment should be to a world government?

Timothy: But there is no world government.

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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (http://commongroundnyc.org/), a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)

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