What’s so special about scarcity?

Scarcity is a central component of Western economic theory and serves as the basis of our political economy — the system we have set up to utilize access to the necessities of life, determining who’s deserving of life and who’s destined to be prematurely extinguished, to control the populace.

Scarce resources are, in theory, assumed to motivate the accumulation and production of more. The corollary to this is that, if sustenance were enough, humans would languish in leisure and refuse to work. So, scarcity is good because it makes humans do what they should (labor for someone else) and provides some humans with an excuse for ordering other humans around.
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Durham, NH is a winner

NOAA has announced that Durham is one of eleven winners of the Walter B. Jones Award for excellence in coastal ocean resource management. Since the word “management” has recently become suspect as a euphemism for exploit and destroy, I’m a bit ambivalent. Besides, giving an award to Durham is a little like rewarding the recalcitrant. However, the administrator will be most pleased.

The awards were created to honor the late 11-term North Carolina congressman Walter B. Jones. As chairman of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee, Jones was a strong supporter of NOAA Fisheries and NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (now called the Office for Coastal Management). He provided leadership on numerous legislative initiatives addressing coastal and ocean issues such as commercial shipping, oil spill cleanup and prevention, and flood insurance reform.

Two people were named Coastal Steward of the Year. Next time we should nominate James Holland. Here’s another stupendous picture from him.

1568---1-28-15 Beach equipment in jurisdictional area of Beach Club

Land Laundering

You’ve heard of money laundering. Now I want to introduce you to a slightly different concept–land laundering. It’s like money laundering, except that, instead of coming out clean, it’s as if the land never left the hamper and, when it is finally retrieved, it comes out much as it went in, only cheaper.

At least, that’s how I’m going to explain the fact that most of our public agencies in Glynn County, Georgia are serving as acreage collectors or land hampers. That is the County Commission, the Airport Authority, the Economic Development Authority, the Joint Water and Sewer Commission, the School Board and even the Brunswick Housing Authority are/were all being used as repositories of raw land, presumably to create an artificial scarcity so their developer friends can increase the value of what’s left. And, because buying and selling land are legal matters, they can retreat into executive sessions and do it behind closed doors. (That there are winds of change blowing through the County may, on the other hand, account for the establishment of a private land laundering entity, the Saint Simons Land Trust).

One result of this fascination with buying and selling land is that the real public services these organizations are supposed to deliver get short shrift. And they get loaded down with debt. At least that seems to be how the Joint Water and Sewer Commission got into the situation Tom Boland describes in his report to the Grand Jury, which now appoints some of the members in the interest of making that organization more effective — i.e. focused on its functions, rather than whatever racked up a forty four million dollar debt, which the rate payers are now obligated to retire.

But, I’m going to let Commissioner Boland explain in his own words, which he was so kind as to send to me.

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How do you prove what you didn’t do?

In 2014, 125 people across the United States who had been convicted of crimes were exonerated—the highest number ever recorded, according to a new report from the National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan Law School. The 2014 number included 48 who had been convicted of homicide, 6 of whom were on death row awaiting execution. Ricky Jackson of Ohio spent 39 years behind bars, the longest known prison term for an exoneree, according to the NRE. Jackson was sentenced to death in 1975 after false testimony implicated him in a robbery-murder he did not commit. Texas led the nation with 39 exonerations; it is followed by New York (17), Illinois (7), and Michigan (7). The federal government exonerated eight people.
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It was a bad idea to ransom the Santa Fe Swamp from the power company that wanted to drain it and log it to extract a speculative bed of ancient peat for fuel in the 1980s. It was a bad idea to ransom the Sea Island Stables and their oaks in 2010. It was a bad idea to ransom Cannon’s Point for ten million in 2013. Ransoming seven tenths of an acre from a gas station proposal on Frederica in 2015 is even worse.
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A superficial and biased summary of the Glynn County Tree Advisory Board Meeting 01-26-15

The meeting of the Glynn County Tree Advisory Board was held, as announced on the County calendar on the morning of the meeting date, in the Ballard Community Center at 3:00 PM on January 26th. Present were several board members who did not identify themselves, a new recording secretary, who was not formally introduced, and two members of the Engineering Department under whose purview trees seem to fall. Mr. Greg Woods seems to be the regular designated staff liaison, while Mr. David Deloach, the engineering supervisor, was present to announce the inclusion of certain projects in the upcoming budget.
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How it’s done!

This title applies to both continued bank-directed racial and ethnic discrimination and an effective governmental response. Eric Schneiderman, the Attorney General of New York, is to be commended. Even if the press release is somewhat self-serving, it is worth repeating in whole. That people who purchase modestly priced houses should be excluded from borrowing from banks is unconscionable.

I do want to note that our currency is a public utility. That banks are able to access currency at will places them in an agency position. That is, they are mere agents of the U.S. Treasury and, as such, are obligated to insure that their behavior is consistent with Constitutional requirements. Access to currency is a civil right.
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