Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing

Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing
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Notify me of new posts via email. In the United States alone, energy consumed by home air-conditioning and the resulting greenhouse emissions have doubled in just over a decade; energy used to cool retail stores has risen Share this: Twitter Facebook.

Any Way You Slice It:

Overproduction, the chronic ailment of any mature capitalist economy, creates the need for a culture whose consumption is geared accordingly. And, more than anything, it means accepting that the world needs to wage war against climate change. Email required Address never made public. Widdowson also studied the impact of infant diet on human growth. The common goal of both the private and public sectors is rapid, sustained GDP growth, so the only climate actions that companies or governments are willing to take are those that will not risk slowing wealth accumulation.

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These measures have been sold to the But does this group tell the whole story? In his widely praised new history of the Or maybe we ourselves will attempt to restrain the growth spiral by preemptively limiting resource consumption and curbing climatic and ecological disruption.

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To do both will require thoroughgoing changes in the way economies function. Meanwhile, green behavior continues to trigger equal and opposite reactions in those who hold different beliefs. There arose a war of words and sometimes spray paint and tire irons, on both sides between Hummer owners and their critics the latter often branded as tofu-eating Prius drivers, and many did in fact own hybrid cars.

That conflict grew, according to marketing researcher Marius Luedicke and colleagues, into a nationalistic morality play.

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Rationing: it’s a word—and idea—that people often loathe and fear. Health care expert Henry Aaron has compared mentioning the possibility of rationing to “shouting an obscenity in church.” Yet societies in fact ration food, water, medical care. Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing [Stan Cox] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Rationing: it's a word—and.

While critics accused Hummer owners of exhibiting a reckless degree of selfishness and an unconscionable level of social irresponsibility, Hummer owners accused their critics of being in league with an incongruous assortment of opponents whom they regarded as hostile to their rugged individual ideals, including communists, PETA members, terrorists, and liberals. Current enthusiasm for conspicuous conservation or going green to be seen among consumers who can afford it has been harnessed by marketers to increase sales of green products.

We live in an energy-efficient house with solar-panel appliances. We use organic linens and towels? Rightly or wrongly, we tend to interpret the good deeds of others as implicit criticism of our own actions or inaction and that creates ill will. Public displays of green abstinence can be just as frustrating as the flaunting of green consumption. In an online chat about the column in which she had criticized the yoga- and-towel-consuming executive and in which she was self-critical as well; the piece ran under the subtitle Is My Hybrid Turning My Kids into Eco-Snobs?

Environmentalism is hard, it is not fun. It requires pretty much being uncool and old-fashioned.

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But it is worth it. The fleet of bikes my family uses to get around was pulled from the garbage. So were some of our furniture, building materials, television, several vacuum cleaners and assorted computer equipment. We actually sew our clothes to patch holes and extend their useful life indefinitely. We compost. I use the dishwater on the lawn. There is nothing to be snobby about in being green. It is about being humble, not showing off consumer excess, using less and living simpler, more selfless lives.

Your kids, like mine, actually will hate it. If a good citizen need only install a smart thermostat, empty the dishwater on the lawn, and keep tires properly inflated, then the situation may appear to be under control. Like the global war on terror —in which our only assignment as civilians was to be aware of your surroundings and go shopping—the global ecological crisis has so far meant no significant sacrifices or even adjustments by the U.

The question of consumption reaches its stickiest point when it comes to the basic necessities of life.

You want to ration my what?

When there is a shortage of essential goods, and a portion of the population struggles even to meet minimum requirements, some very tough choices have to be made. In this book, I will examine what happens when society finds it necessary to limit consumption but decides collectively that it is not acceptable simply to have supplies dwindle, allow prices to rise, and let people scramble for what they need. I will ask if it is possible to devise a fair, objective, transparent system for averting both privation and excess.

The high-occupancy-vehicle HOV express lane has long been a feature of urban freeways around the world. In the traditional version of the HOV lane, only vehicles with two or more occupants are allowed entry, thereby providing an incentive to carpool, conserve fuel, and reduce air pollution.

British Ration Week Episode 8: Conclusions (with Karl)

In the s, some cities opened HOV lanes to non-carpoolers if they paid a toll, and, in , California cities began admitting solo drivers if they were in hybrid, electric, and other more fuel-efficient vehicles. Under the new regime, solo drivers on a busy sixteen-mile-long stretch of Interstate 85 are now eligible to use the express lane if they buy an electronic PeachPass through which they are automatically assessed a fee that ranges between one and ninety cents per mile—the heavier the HOT traffic, the higher the toll.

But now, two-occupant vehicles also must pay. Only vehicles with three or more occupants—the rarest of rare sights in Atlanta—may enter free of charge.

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The lanes, once used to promote conservation, have thereby been redirected almost entirely toward congestion relief and revenue generation. The scheme has brought little congestion relief, however, and the high-tech Lexus lanes, as they are often called, have been highly controversial. When HOT lanes made their Atlanta debut in October , drivers veered away from them by the tens of thousands. Very few were willing to buy a pass even if it allowed them to sail past nonpaying traffic. With two-occupant cars now forced to squeeze over into the regular traffic, congestion worsened and commutes stretched even longer.

Ninety-four percent of drivers were still using the free lanes, where traffic continued to crawl along as slowly as ever, and cars in the HOT lanes moved at an average of only six to nine miles per hour faster. Furthermore, it was estimated that 20 percent of drivers in the toll lane were cheaters who carried with them neither a PeachPass nor two other passengers. The logic of the HOT lane is straightforward enough. By adjusting fees, authorities can move toward getting the price right —in this case, to determine the rates that will induce the desired number of drivers to shell out a few bucks for a faster trip at a given time of day.

But during rush hour under either system, most drivers are subjected to another time-tested rationing device: waiting in line. Prices are the key to efficiency in market economies. They direct resources toward more profitable uses by industry; then, once industry has turned out commodities, prices ration the commodities among consumers.

That is said to provide maximum benefit to society as a whole, because the ways in which people spend their money reflect what they believe will increase their own well-being. But do markets really zero in on the optimum distribution? And it has long been well known that when consumers make purchases, they are not simply expressing preferences that spring from somewhere deep within.

Back in , for example, the Harvard economist Edward Mason argued that in the then-new era of the giant corporation and managerialism, consumers often did not even have the chance to express their preferences. Rather, their purchasing patterns were being largely dictated by those from whom they were buying. In the twentieth century, things had changed:.