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A more neoliberal/conservative way to implement energy efficiency:

Instead of [launch a massive plan to subsidize ...]
- implement a serious taxation of oil in any form of use except food (maybe beef is no food for this issue)

Instead of [reinforce efforts to build renewable energy plants...]
- put a carbon cap and trade system into place. The market can then determine the most efficient balance of alternative energy use, energy efficiency and sufficiency. The last one often seems to not be seen as a serious possibility when there is talk about real politics, only when wimping around why the world is so bad. But it can help, really.

Investment in rails is great. But be aware that proposing massive infrastructure spending can result in more streets. I like that you propose the best things to do, even when they are politically difficult to realise, so this is not meant as discouraging your advocation of railways. But a warning seems to me appropriate.

For the banking system: I think a Tobin Tax is the best regulation.
Making assets a bit more illiquid will help investors to look if the investment is fundamentally good. Otherwise it is like letting a million people estimating the length of the emperor's nose, who have never seen him. It gives a great statistical accuracy without real information and stabilises the system as hole without perfect regulation for every single market:
From naked capitalism:
From a complex systems theory standpoint, this [taking down all barriers between subsystems, Martin] is exactly what you would do if you wanted to take a stable system and destabilize it.

One of the things that helps to enable non-linear behavior in a complex system is promiscuity of information (i.e., feedback loops but in a more generalized sense) across a wide scope of the system.

One way you can attempt to stabilize a complex system through suppressing its non-linear behavior is to divide it up into little boxes and use them to compartmentalize information so signals cannot easily propagate quickly across the entire system.

This principle has been recognized in the design of software systems for several decades now, and is also a design principle recognizable in many other systems both natural and artificial (c.f. biology, architecture) which are very robust with regard to exogenous shocks. Stable systems tend to be built from structural hierarchies which do not share much information across structural boundaries, either laterally or vertically. That is why you don't die from a heart attack when you stub your toe, your house doesn't collapse when you break a window, and if your computer crashes it doesn't take down the entire internet with it.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 04:47:03 PM EST

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