Rollo McFloogle, my editor over at McFloogle.com made a great response piece to my Proper Priece of Plastic?-post and this is a follow up to both mine and McFloogle’s post. I appreciate the opportunity to have this discussion in this format.
“So whether or not we know if the plastics market is healthy, we do know without question that it would be better off without state fetters. ” – Rollo McFloogle
The above quote sums up both mine and Rollo’s position on the matter, we are on the same page that the less the state (any state) are involved in a market the better we all are – We are not in opposition to each other and this is not a duel about who is right or wrong. This is merely two guys giving their point of view on the matter.
My original piece wasn’t intended to be anything but an appetizer and I wrote it in a conversational way to cover many points without bogging down in details and data. Heck, any information on the subject is suspect and you need to read the data with double layers on your tin-foil hat and have your skeptic-goggles most of the time. It is impossible to give unbiased data on something as controversial as the Chinese government cronyism, all sides on the matter produce data for propaganda purposes and its hard, no impossible, to give a red-pilled audience something “clean”.
To illustrate with a practical example: authorities in Beijing finally admitted that smog (might) give lung cancer and is taking step towards adjusting that issue. In 2017. That is 4 years after WHO made the connection and China had the first case of lung cancer found in an 8-year old, the youngest discovered yet. But, some data sources gives the United States and China the same rates of lung cancer in their respective population (35.1 per 100,000 citizens) – Which one do I pick out and present? I’d have to hire someone to analyze all these factors and since I don’t have the resources for that, I approached it in a general sense instead.
It is hard to cover something that involves an authoritarian one-party state where an owner of a chemical plant can hold a whole village hostage, supposedly through some sort of blessing from a crony government official, threaten to get them killed if they talk to the press and weed out how much authority people are given to protect themselves against evil practices of pollution. I think its wrong to draw parallels between a nation that is tackling these sort of problems with the start-up of modern industrialization of the United States, as Rollo did in his response. In my humble opinion, its two different apples.
Modern times China doesn’t need to invent the industrialization from scratch and has access to information-age levels of knowledge and consultations easily available to piece the few things that needs to be figured out.
” I don’t know what’s driving the prices of plastics and that’s because I don’t have enough information available to me. I am not able to understand how much each variable pushes the price up or down. ” – Rollo McFloogle
This is why I respect Rollo so much: This was the reason given for not publishing my blog post to McFloogle.com and its a descision I can get behind. I know that any future text I write for his site is going to have to pass through a guy that won’t compromise what he chooses to publish and that is amazing. Mainstream media should consider this before pushing through garbage. Cudos to Rollo and Slappy.
[ Secondary Consequences of Cheap Plastic ]
All that being said, I still firmly believe plastic has an artificially low price due to a oppressed population, which carries the real costs for the benefit of a ruling (crony) class – And benefiting the end consumers. Until someone proves me wrong, it is a position I will keep and nuance down the road, both philosophically and factually.
What I wanted to touch on before closing the topic for now is a question I got in a direct message which was fairly straight forward: “But why does it matter?”.
This is a question you can tackle in many different ways and for the length of this pieces sake I chose the one point that most likely tingle any freedom-minded persons senses. Artificial pricing stops up innovation and competition. It doesn’t really matter if you have the best ideas in the world, giving consumers a good alternative through careful R&D and “fair” business practices if your competitor can just herd people like cattle and use them as semi-slaves and crush you on every aspect on the market without repercussion: Price, delivery speed, volume and so on.
It is an uneven playing field. There is innovation and alternatives, like bioplastic, that can’t compete on any of the above points – But, hopefully the process will be streamlined further. Heck, you can make your own potato plastic right now with a trip to the store. 100% degradable, makes for great compost filling – A (handy) poor mans 3D printer, so to speak. I tried it with corn starch before with good results. If I ever chose to grow food to sell to other people, homegrown plastics to wrap it in would be the first thing I’d try and solve.