Category Archives: Economy

The Onassis Syndrome

It is possible that I am introducing a new phrase here and perhaps even calling attention to an apparent business strategy that is often ignored. I call it the Onassis Syndrome because it was the Aristotle Onassis proposal to build the largest oil refinery at the time (1974) on the rocky coast of New Hampshire, relying on super tankers to bring oil from the Middle East just before the oil embargo caused havoc in the industry (from which it has never really recovered), which first suggested the notion that sometimes enterprise is not only poorly thought out, but simply arrives on the scene too late. In the end, it was lucky for Aristotle Onassis that the citizens of the New Hampshire seacoast rejected his scheme, saving him and them a lot of heartache.
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Queen’s Crown is a Disgrace

(Ed. note: The letter was published by the Brunswick News on 6/19/15)

To the editor of the Brunswick News

Mayor Harvey’s nattering about Brunswick being dropped as an add-on in various promotional efforts is ill-advised. The city is, if anything, the Queen of the Golden Isles. True, she may be a bit dowdy, perhaps even frumpy, but that can be remedied with a top to bottom make-over. It may be long over-due, but there’s no reason it can’t be started and pronto. After all, her harbor facilities are largely owned by the Georgia Ports Authority, a quasi public agency, whose income stream is more than enough to pay back the subsidies we’ve been providing.
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What’s the Matter with Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources?

6350-5-26-15-Georgia-Power-Road-in-the-Marsh-1024x683What’s the matter with Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources that leads it to countenance and even exempt public utilities, like Georgia Power, from cleaning up after themselves when they subject our marshes to the kind of degradation James Holland has recorded both from the air and on the ground? The short answer seems to be
“it’s a mind-set,” one that’s actually embodied in our laws.
What we see here
6358-5-26-15-Ga-Power-working-in-the-marsh-1024x683 6662-5-31-15-Damage-by-Ga-Power

6710-5-31-15-Damage-by-Ga-Power 6713-5-31-15-Damage-by-Ga-Power

is, believe it or not, entirely consistent with the organization’s mission statement as spelled out here:

The mission of the Department of Natural Resources is to sustain, enhance, protect and conserve Georgia’s natural, historic and cultural resources for present and future generations, while recognizing the importance of promoting the development of commerce and industry that utilize sound environmental practices.

Clearly homocentric, the department’s mission is also oriented towards destruction, since that’s what development implies. First comes the man; then comes his commerce and industry. Preserving a healthy environment for nature’s sake is not part of the equation.

Nor is this mind-set unique to this Department. Under the aegis of the state’s executive–i.e. the Department of Community Affairs, Georgia established a number of Regional Water Councils to develop Water Management Plans. Those were then formally adopted in 2011. Now, perhaps because a five year update is in order, the plans are more readily available and the Coastal Georgia Council plan can be found here.

What is immediately striking when one consults the index of this plan is that the quality of surface waters is assessed in terms of their Assimilative Capacity. In other words, how much pollution can the waters take before their livability is destroyed? On the immediate coast, where that boundary has already been passed, the DNR solution has been to simply reclassify the waters as “recreational” — suitable for boating and occasional fishing for sport. Eating the fish, as I’ve noted before, is discouraged with warning signs.toxic fish

While it seems ironic, the people, whom this homocentric agenda is supposed to protect, are actually not well served. Moreover, while water conservation programs are recommended for the populace, it is a fact that between 90% and 98% of all water usage in the Coastal Region goes to energy generation and industrial production, neither of which are of primary benefit to the local population. For that matter, as the data now reveal, forty years of economic development have not measurably improved or even sustained the health, welfare, education and longevity of the people of Georgia, whether they be natives or new arrivals.

So, why is Georgia Power running new lines for the vacationers on Sea Island? Perhaps there’s a concern that the East Beach circuit is going to be taken out after the ocean devours the Sea Island Spit and starts nibbling on Bloody Marsh. In the mean time, I suppose we can look for those rotten pallets to wash up in St. Simons’ back yards.

Cutting off the nose to spite the face.

Wonder why someone would do that–cut off her nose to spite her face. Wikipedia tells us that cutting off the nose used to be (is?) a rather common punishment and that nuns did it to protect their virginity from marauding Vikings. I always assumed it was an exaggeration to caution against unwise behavior, but it seems some people actually go to such extremes, risking injury to themselves to make a point. Perhaps pride makes them do it.
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Why the accumulation of money has negative results.

It’s not just because money is worthless stuff. Indeed, because the stuff is ephemeral, it’s possible to accumulate greater quantities of money than of other stuff before the negatives show up. No, despite being a natural behavior (squirrels do it, bees do it, birds do it when they’re building nests), accumulation, perhaps because it leads almost inevitably to concentration, is contrary to nature, because nature depends on things being dispersed.

That’s probably why “the solution to pollution is dilution” was logical, until nature got overwhelmed by the industrial production of toxic substances. The old verities don’t hold up in the face of man’s obsessive acts. Industry as obsession — now there’s a new thought.

How slow can it go?

SlowThe U.S. dollar is now more sluggish than at any time since the Federal Reserve Bank started keeping track of the velocity of money in the 1950s. Is there a correlation between the sluggishness of the dollar and the fact that the working people of the United States have been losing assets/wealth for more than half a century?
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Agreed — “Corruption is Legal in America”

The description of the symptoms of the problem is accurate in the video being distributed by Represent.Us, as is the prescription to “follow the money.” Where it goes wrong is in identifying the direction of the monetary flow. And, for that matter, they’re also mistaken about the essence of the corruption. Many, if not most, of our representatives in Congress are corrupt. But, the corruption does not consist of them serving outside special interests, instead of the general public they were hired to serve. Rather, it consists of them serving themselves, enhancing their own powers (and material wealth), instead of serving some or all of the public they were hired to serve.
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