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Revisiting the EU Energy Plan - and its coverage.

by Jerome a Paris Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 08:10:55 AM EST

Now that the dust has settled and that the topic is already out of the news (displaced by Iraq, Beckham going to LA or the fact that oil prices are at record lows), it's time to revisit the EU energy proposals, by taking a look first at the original material (their press release and their attempt at responding to expected questions or objections on their sector enquiry and on climate change goals) and then at press commentary (Google selection, summary articles from Le Monde and the Financial Times, other coverage collected by Fran in the Salon thread).

Somewhat predictably, the EC dutifully, and valiantly, focused on climate change as the main priority, and that garnered most of the coverage from the superficial media (TV, press agency releases) which have understood that climate change "sells." However, the real action (identified, possibly, by the fact that the core documents are only available in English) focuses on energy markets "reform" and in particular the need for unbundling and other trustbusting measures to ensure competition. The more serious papers focus only on that aspect, ignoring the boring and expected climate change stuff - just like the stock market does not focus on the news of the day, but on how they were different from expectations. And the business world could not care less about climate change (except if it imposes financial costs on them) but does care about the juicy opportunities to be provided by unbundling, corporate resturcturing and the like.

(Earlier thread by kcurie to be found here
Now crossposted over at the Oil Drum (Europe)

The press release:

Commission proposes an integrated energy and climate change package to cut emissions for the 21st Century

The European Commission today proposes a comprehensive package of measures to establish a new Energy Policy for Europe to combat climate change and boost the EU's energy security and competitiveness.

Climate change is mentioned explicitly in the title, and agian first in the measures. Security and competitiveness seem like reasonable goals for an energy policy within the climate change combat. So far, so good.

The package of proposals set a series of ambitious targets on greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy and aim to create a true internal market for energy and strengthen effective regulation.

This is where the trouble begins: there are targets for climate change and renewable energy, but the action will be on the internal market, which shows up quite early on, unfortunately.

The real priorites show up a bit further down, with the list of the "3 pillars" of policy. The first one (and, in practice, the only one) is again the (capitalised) Internal Energy Market.

The package proposed by the Commission today seeks to provide solutions to these challenges based on three central pillars:

1. A true Internal Energy Market
2. Accelerating the shift to low carbon energy
3. Energy efficiency

And that's what the papers of record focus on:

FT: EU readies for energy battle
Brussels to crack down on national power groups
Kroes may resort to antitrust legislation

Germany and France geared up for a battle to save their powerful integrated energy companies from being broken up after Brussels published plans on Wednesday to tackle “serious competition problems” in the sector.

The crackdown on the power giants is part of an energy policy aimed at boosting competition, fighting global warming and cutting Europe’s “addiction” to oil and gas imports from countries such as Russia.

The European Commission wants to break the market grip of national energy incumbents, which it believes are stifling competition and deterring new market entrants, including suppliers of renewable energy.

Just a mention of climate change en passant: the focus is on the break up of the evil French and German utilities. Same perspective in Le Monde, with a French angle:

Bruxelles veut obliger les géants de l'énergie à plus de concurrence

La Commission européenne a jeté un pavé dans la mare, mercredi 10 janvier, afin de relancer le marché intérieur de l'énergie. Pour lever les blocages qui entravent la diversification de l'offre et la production d'énergies nouvelles, le collège recommande aux Etats membres de dissocier les activités de production et de distribution de gaz et d'électricité détenues par les principaux groupes européens, comme EDF, GDF, en France, E.ON et RWE, en Allemagne. Après de longues tractations, c'est l'option la plus radicale qui a été retenue en dépit des avertissements répétés de Paris et de Berlin.

Brussels wants to force more competition on the energy giants.

The European Commission threaw down the gauntlet, this Wednesday, in order to relaunch the internal energy market. To eliminate the obstacles that prevent diversification of supply and investment in new supplies, the Commission recommends to government to unbundle production and distribution of gas and electricity and split the large European energy groups, lie EDF, GDF in France, or RWE and E.On in Germany, accordingly. After tense negotiations, it's the most radical option that was chosen, despite repeated warnings against it from Paris and Berlin.

The whole article does not say a single time 'global warming' or 'climate change', if you can believe it.

But, whereas the FT largely embraces the point of view of the Commission, Le Monde, of course, gives (slightly) more room to the French and German positions - not so much to support them, but at least to provide more context and more analysis of the conflict.

Neither newspaper, nor any other as far as I can ascertain, points out the contradictions in the stated goals of the EU, despite these being flagged by the EU itself!

Indeed, as I noted in the thread yesterday, the European Commission at least asks some of the right questions:

How is competition compatible with environmental goals?
How is competition compatible with security of supply goals?

I'll get to their answers right below, but they at least point towards the direction of the serious debate that would be needed. But nobody followed up - not that I could see anyway (I'll be happy to be contradicted by readers of other sources).

But let's go back to our two questions, because they are at the heart of all the things we discuss here on ET:

How is competition compatible with environmental goals?

Competitive energy markets will play a major role in developing and deploying new environmentally friendly technologies. Strong competition in the electricity market has a positive effect on the efficiency of power generation, because market players want to minimise costs and invest in efficient technologies. Renewable technologies would be better served by an increase in transparency, and by open, competitive markets. The larger the internal market, the more economies of scale can be realised.

As I wrote yesterday, all the above is just incantations, and does not constitute an argument. Two things are not addressed:

  • Renewable energy would not be served by "open, competitive markets", it would be served by regulation that forces other forms of production to internalize externalities or, failing that, by support mechanisms. These can be done within market mechanisms or outside them, but the pre-requisite is the internalisation/support, not the markets.
  • More fundamentally, as I've said many times, the issue of the cost of financing is totally ignored. Technologies that require lower initial investments but have higher running (fuel) costs will have lower needs for financing. Conversely, those with high upfront investments will see the cost of their electricity be influenced most of all by the cost of financing. Pushing for market solutions here structurally favors the first kind of technology, as private sector funding costs are higher than those of public sector, or at least public-supported financing. And the first kind of technology includes gas-fired plants and coal-fired plants, whereas nuclear and most renewables are of the second kind. Thus the market can be expected to build gas-fired power plants, or coal-fired ones. and that's exactly what it does.

The internal energy market does nothing to internalize externalities, in particular those associated with global warming, and it actually favors the wrong kind of technologies (high carbon) for structural financing-related reasons.

Thee points are addressed nowhere.

How is competition compatible with security of supply goals?

Europe needs stable relationships with the main producers outside the EU. But this does not and must not prevent us from ensuring an integrated competitive market inside the EU. An open and competitive, liquid and interconnected, single EU market will guarantee a secure provision of energy in the future, as it will make the European market attractive for external suppliers. Such a market will also be open to new energy mixes.

Again, incantations without arguments. Two points again:

  • No commentary on the fact that open markets encourage (as shown above) the construction of gas-fired plants, thus naturally increasing the demand for gas, and the need to import gas, and the reliance on Russia.
  • The focus is absolutely on supply, and makes no mention of demand. As always, demand is taken as given, driven by economic activity and growth (and the perspective of lower energy prices which is dangled in front of us as the main justification for the Internal Energy Market), and not to be acted upon. Despite energy efficiency being one of the 3 main goals (with a target of 20% lower primary energy use), the link is not made here, where it would matter.

Thus one is left with the impression that the goals are just for the show, while the only thing that matters in practice is to break up companies like EDF - despite the fact that France has by far the lowest wholesale electricity prices, according to the EU's own statistics...

The response of the French minister for industry, quoted in the FT, is nicely succinct: "our system works". And as Le Monde noted (and as does the FT in one of its blogs) the hostility of the two main countries of the EU ensures that these proposals are dead on arrival, and that this whole thing is just for show.

So we are left with grand announcements and somewhat ambitious targets that go in the right direction, but an absolute impasse on the implementation, with the business world and the European Commission stuck on their mantra of "improving the Internal Energy Market" and "competition" despite the fact that these will - and already - achieve the exact opposite of what's targetted.

Nothing will happen with this Commission. We'll go on hearing the same arguments, I'll spend more time deconstructing the same stupid articles, we'll have more confrontations with Russia, with EDF or similar beasts that lead to nothing useful (but do cause a slow erosion of what made the French model work), and we'll keep on moving towards the abyss.


I'll do them myself, then

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 04:13:08 AM EST
Can you think of any that aren't long strings of curses or better acted out by banging ones head off a hard and spiky surface?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 04:22:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not really, but I'd like to know I'm not alone cursing and banging...

so, thanks, I guess.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 04:27:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are most definitely not alone. I curse and bang all the time, and then a retreat to programming which is an incredibly relaxing activity for me. A kind of meditation, really. Warmly recommended for when you can no longer take "reality". Offers a nice sense of control over ones circumstances as well. (At least I can make the computer do what I want... The ultimate escape)
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 05:19:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Jerome, for cutting through the bullshit and showing that it's all a bunch of hot air.
by richardk (richard kulisz gmail) on Sat Jan 13th, 2007 at 10:53:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT: Berlin open to 'any option' on liberalising energy

Germany has dropped its opposition to European Commission proposals to liberalise the energy market, increasing the likelihood of a compromise at a European summit in March.

Michael Glos, the economics minister, told the Financial Times that Berlin "would not rule out any option", including stripping energy producers of their distribution networks and the creation of a powerful European regulator.

The German U-turn would leave France isolated in its opposition to measures that could see companies such as EdF of France and Eon and RWE of Germany broken up to promote competition.

As holder of the European Union's six-month presidency, Berlin must engineer an agreement between the 27 member states on a joint energy action plan at the summit on March 8-9.


The minister, a close ally of Angela Merkel, chancellor, conceded that there had been a change of mind in Berlin. "We used to defend the line that national regulators are all we need but we must admit this is not sufficient . . . We do not have enough competition in the German market."

Mr Glos is taking the side of German energy users, both industrial and domestic, against energy producers and the national regulator. The change of mind also reflects rising concern about the vulnerability of Europe's energy supplies.

I'm not sure how much of this is political jockeying (both by the FT and by Glos), but I cannot tell you how much I am sick of seeing that argument conflating the "side of energy users" and security of supply, and sicker of seeing this liberalisation (which brings us MORE GAS-FIRED PLANTS) associated with the same.

Security (of supply like any other kind) has a cost, that has to be paid by someone.

But I note that energy producers are now the enemy. Ahhh... the Enron model still has a vivid hold on our deciders' imagination.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 04:20:16 AM EST
I wonder how much of the above is linked to the newly rekindled debate on nuclear in Germany, of which Glos is clearly a major player:

He said he hoped those concerns would fuel a broad debate on the wisdom of phasing out nuclear energy over the next 15 years, as decided by the previous government. Although Ms Merkel favours nuclear energy, her Social Democratic coalition partner wants to stick to the phase-out plan.

"The Commission's ambitious CO2 emission targets cannot be reached without nuclear energy because renewable energy cannot be rolled out sufficiently swiftly," Mr Glos said. "This raises a number of questions, which those who fight an ideological battle against nuclear energy must answer . . . "

Nuclear energy provides 25 per cent of Germany's electricity, a capacity that critics of the phase-out plan argue will have to be filled by highly polluting coal and lignite power plants. Instead of cutting its CO2 emissions, as the government has pledged, Germany would thus see them rise by 8 per cent between 2000 and 2020, according to economic ministry calculations.

I agree with him on the substance of the above, but worry about what kind of political trade off which would encourage more liberalisation (together with more subsidies for nuclear, I'd expect) could be in the cards.

Unbundle the network, and we give you some nuclear to play with. That would work with RWE and E.On, but would not do much for EDF.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 04:27:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
FT: France told it is time to stop its 'whingeing'

French opposition to European Union proposals to break up energy groups stiffened yesterday, prompting Jacques Barrot, the French commissioner in Brussels, to deplore his country's "whingeing".

François Loos, the industry minister, argued in a letter to the European Commission that strong energy groups would help Europe in negotiations to secure its energy supply. The independence of French distribution networks was "widely recognised".

Mr Loos told reporters: "Why break EdF and GdF into pieces? It's complicated and I don't see the point." Clients of the French system were content and saw no need to separate production and distribution ownership.

EdF, the world's largest nuclear energy producer, controls France's transmissions network RTE, while GdF controls the gas distribution network that generates much of its steady cash flow. Analysts say GdF, which lacks significant production assets, could suffer if forced to separate distribution from its other activities.

The Commission's proposal threatens the logic of the government-sponsored merger between GdF and Suez, designed to create a European energy champion.

Mr Loos said France, where energy prices were among the lowest in Europe, would also oppose the Commission's proposal to remove regulatory tariffs, arguing in the letter that "competitive prices stem not just from competition, but above all from [investing in] sufficient production capacity at the lowest cost".

Mr Barrot took issue with "a whingeing France that looks at Europe as an obstacle rather than a help". He added that France should avoid appearing to "hesitate to play by market rules".

For some strange reason, the article's title does not focus on the fact that French prices are lower and do not "stem just form competition".

As to Barrot, he has all my contempt. See this story from last year when I confronted him on his mindless droning at a conference.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 04:33:52 AM EST
Can anyone explain why they even think break-up will reduce prices? Has there ever been an example where it did?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 04:36:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When it was tried in California it resulted in the following ubiquitous e-mail signature: "welcome to California, bring your own batteries".

It's the statue, man, The Statue.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 04:53:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The logic, I suppose, is that by giving all producers equal access to the network, the cheapest ones will be able to sell their power first.

Of course, things are not quite that simple in the case of electricity, where short term demand is mostly a given, and prices are thus determined by the marginal price - i.e. the costliest producer needed at that time.

But what this means is that new, nimble entrants can theoretically come in, bid low prices, and enjoy the higher prices set by the marginal producers (which will be determined by the capacity of the big players).

And of course, banks can sell lots of hedges and other financial products on the back of these markets.

What makes EDF positively hated is that, thanks to its massive nuclear capcity, the marginal price it can propose is the same as the cheapest baseload around, which prevents the small, gas-fired players from skimming off the market.

EDF is too competitive, thus it needs to be broken up so that competition can flourish in the higher price environment that EDF's destruction would create...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 05:04:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great post. It succinctly captures what power market deregulation is all about.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 07:58:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I trying to locate a ECB, I think, empirical study which seemed to show that more deregulated markets have lower electricity prices (in Europe). Doesn't mean much, of course. More direct evidence can be found in the paper:

Why did British Electricity Prices Fall after 1998?
Joanne Evans
Richard Green

Abstract: In an attempt to reduce high electricity prices in England and Wales the government has reduced concentration among generators and introduced New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA). Econometric analysis on monthly data from April 1996 to September 2002 implies support for two conflicting hypotheses. On a static view, increases in competition and the capacity margin were chiefly responsible for the fall in prices. If generators had been tacitly colluding before NETA, however, the impending change in market rules might have changed their behaviour a few months before the abolition of the Pool. That view implies that NETA reduced prices.

by Sargon on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 09:42:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Luis de Souza has post on the plan over at the Oil Drum:Europe, a site I can only encourage you to visit more!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 05:38:01 AM EST
A Low CO2 fossil fuel future


The Commission is endorsing Coal as the alternative energy source capable of assuring the correct energy security for the EU.


It's the statue, man, The Statue.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 05:43:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Promoting biofuels as credible alternatives to oil in transport
... Today, biofuels are the only way to significantly reduce oil dependence in the transport sector. As part of its Energy Policy for Europe, the Commission is committed to encouraging the production and use of biofuels by proposing to set a binding minimum target for biofuels of 10% of vehicle fuel by 2020.
Unfortunately this is the weakest section of the initiative, exactly where it should be the strongest.
I'd say. I'd like to know how they think they're going to achieve 10% without importing 5%.

It's the statue, man, The Statue.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 05:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Today, biofuels are the only way to significantly reduce oil dependence in the transport sector.

Yes, let's forget about the possibility of an increased role for electrified rail transport, for example. Or a decrease in the total volume of transports with a greater role for local production and distribution networks and a better arrangement of living/working locations with improved public transport support. What an utter lack of imagination these people show. "the only way", yeah, right. Pathetic.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 05:52:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're advocating social engineering and investment in infrastructure! Heathen!

It's the statue, man, The Statue.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 05:59:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or plug-in hybrids.

Are these énarques completely out of the loop?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 08:29:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I want to know more about battery technology and production/recycle processes before embracing this. Are these "better" (EROEI wise and environment wise) than hydrogen fuel cell technology? Any clues where to look for more info? Has there been diaries?
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 08:52:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're going to be producing hydrogen from water you might as well produce synthetic hydrocarbons and recycle atmospheric CO2 in that way. In both cases, it is likely that the limiting factor might be the transition metals needed as catalysts or to coat electrodes.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 08:57:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hydrogen fuel cells are a total rip-off. They are at least ten times the cost of high-tech batteries, with lower efficiency, require a vastly expensive fueling infrastructure, are burdened with a hen-or-egg problem, always 15 years away (plug-ins are really close and high end electrics already on the market) and are in my not so humble opinion just a smoke screen used by the auto industry so they can continue their SUV ways. A bit like carbon sequestration for the power industry.

I have a picture somewhere... Ah.

Battery recycling should not be a big problem. I mean, we recycle all batteries today. At least in Sweden. And they are not supposed to be cancerogenic (like petrol) or explosive (like hydrogen) or incredibly climate damaging (like uncombusted biogas).

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 10:57:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, solid oxide fuel cells (fueled by other stuff than hydrogen, like charcoal) might be a good idea.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 11:00:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it just me, or are they trying to find another sector ot trash with CAP, like in the US?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 10:58:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How is this
Such policy will mean, in the Commission words, "the EU taking global leadership in catalyzing a new industrial revolution", defining the following lines of action:
  • Energy efficiency;
  • raising the share of renewable energy in the energy mix;
  • reinforcing solidarity among Member States;
  • a renewed focus on nuclear safety and security;
  • determined efforts for the EU to "speak with one voice" with its international partners
Compatible with neo-liberalism?

It's the statue, man, The Statue.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 05:47:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  • efficiency: subsidies to companies to invest in energy saving devices

  • more renewables: subsidies to companies to invest in renewables

  • solidarity: give new players access to infrastructure built by incumbents or governments at their marginal cost of use

  • nuclear safety: make government bear the costs of decommissioning, waste treatment and catastrophic risk

  • speak with one voice: get the EU to buy gas cheaper from Russia and hand it out on the market cheap.

Pure neoliberalism all of it.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 06:07:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Doublespeak again.


"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 06:37:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was more worried about the first one than about the second one...soemhow the second issue of security has more sense when they talk about "one voice"...which in itself does not mean anything... unless they mean NATO...

Well, in any case, the real bad spot (as we talked in the last thread) is the lack of details in the relation between liberalization, free markets and reducing CO2...they did not provide any detail about how to force to internalize the costs of CO2..not even a draft... Sad.

On the positive side, let's say that so much promotion and publicity will make the EU look bad if they do not start to force memeber states to provide frameworks for CO2 reduction (and renewable support). We will see if it happens.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 05:44:39 AM EST
Jerome, have you asked the FT to publish articles by your good self?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 09:18:38 AM EST
I think there are several ideas that have widespread agreement on this site. Principally having to do with the need for conservation and the need to change the economic incentives of business.

Since these are minority views not only in government and industry, but in the world of economics as well, it seems that it is up to us to make these ideas known to a wider audience.

For example, I've been posting my Goals for the 21st Century series here as well as on dailyKos and myleftwing. The sparse attention the series has been getting shows that the political blogs are not attuned to thinking about long-range issues. This just reinforces the need for a wider educational effort.

I'd like to propose an "adopt a blog" program. Since many people here are multi-lingual they could select bogs in their non-English language and make these ideas known in those forums.

A second thing to try is suggesting blogs for others to visit, as Jerome just did with the Oil Drum. One voice on a blog doesn't get much notice, but when others chime in the postings start to get more attention.

It seems to me that programs which require a change in the dominant capitalist ideology are not going to emerge from governments or mainstream academia. This will have to be a bottom up effort. This has worked before, the best examples being the US effort to abolish slavery (which was started by moralists and clergy, mostly in the north) and the parallel efforts for women's suffrage in the US and the UK. The first US meeting was by a handful of obscure women in the 1850's in upstate NY. They then went on to propagandize via writings and speaking tours. The fact that the efforts took 75 years is an indication of how difficult even minor changes are to effect.

With mass communication it is easier to get new ideas out to a larger audience, but the forces of entrenched privilege can be expected to be just as hard to overcome as before. On the other hand, when the tipping point is reached, a new consensus can emerge in just a year or so. The present shift in mood in the US over Iraq is an example.

So, to summarize, adopt a few blogs, tell others about interesting sites to visit, and work with others to develop a coherent, easy-to-understand set of ideas.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 10:12:07 AM EST
For example, I've been posting my Goals for the 21st Century series here as well as on dailyKos and myleftwing. The sparse attention the series has been getting shows that the political blogs are not attuned to thinking about long-range issues. This just reinforces the need for a wider educational effort.

I think this is an important point. I only skimmed most of the diaries as I was away for a lot of the holidays. My thinking on these issues are still a bit fuzzy, immediate comments don't come to mind. But the questions, if not this system, if not neoliberal economic hyper capitalist you-are-on-your-own type system, then what, and how, are important to answer. Alternative fantasies of a better world, in other words. One has to start somewhere. To some extent I find this more interesting than the shorter term, day to day, issues, where we react to the awful ideas that do abound. I hope to come back to your diaries, and maybe even respond to some of them... I've seen your website, there is a lot of stuff there... For me, the process, to read, think about it, react, respond, is a long one. The draw-and-shoot comment system does not work well for me in terms of producing anything of quality.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 11:00:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For example, I've been posting my Goals for the 21st Century series here as well as on dailyKos and myleftwing. The sparse attention the series has been getting shows that the political blogs are not attuned to thinking about long-range issues. This just reinforces the need for a wider educational effort.
Personally, I read everything you write with interest, but I usually agree with most of what you say, not to speak of the fact that your stuff is at a higher level of elaboration than anything I would be able to write myself, so I don't have anything to add.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 11:25:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the unsolicited compliment!

I think my point was not that I feel neglected, but that discussing long-range planning is not something that most blogs deal with.

As for comments, I think that people process new ideas better when they comment. Even rephrasing comments in ones own terms helps fix them in one's own mind better (or on the other side, cements your counter position).

We see this frequently on dKos where many comments are just a form of affirmation or personal anecdote which illuminates the points being made in the original diary. Once people have expressed an opinion they are more invested in the idea and make better spokesmen. This is why I'm suggesting an "adopt a blog" program to spread ideas.

When I was able to do some testing on dKos (before they changed the policies on links) I determined that there were about 100 readers for each comment posted. Other sites seem to be more like 20:1 (perhaps because they have fewer casual readers).

So, to paraphrase: "Go forth and multiply (ideas)".

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Fri Jan 12th, 2007 at 11:38:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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