Saturday, May 27, 2017

BWorld 132, Global commodity prices, trade and growth

* This is my article in BusinessWorld yesterday.

One of the beauties of free trade and global economic integration is that countries can benefit from low commodity prices as improvement in technology and processes in other countries result in bigger output for the same land area and other inputs. The downside of course is that when commodity prices go up, economies that are more dependent on imported products would tend to wobble.

The period from 2008 to 2014 was characterized by generally high food and commodity prices.

For instance, price of corn was only $98/ton in 2005 but it shot up to $223 in 2008. I think it was the momentum of the biofuels law in the US in 2005, spurring huge demand in the US, Brazil, other countries. The price mellowed in 2009-2010 during the global financial turmoil that started in the US, but shot up again to nearly $300 in 2011-2012.

The global spike in rice prices (aka as “rice crisis of 2008”) from $288/MT in 2005 to $700 in 2008 was caused by several factors, among which are (a) price hikes in major energy sources oil, natural gas, and coal in 2008, and (b) rice export restrictions by India, Vietnam, Brazil, other countries.

Maize (corn) -- US No.2 Yellow, FOB Gulf of Mexico, US price
Rice -- 5% broken milled white rice, Thailand nominal price quote
Swine (pork) -- 51%-52% lean Hogs, US price
Poultry (chicken) -- Whole bird spot price, Georgia docks
Sugar -- Free Market, Coffee Sugar and Cocoa Exchange (CSCE) contract no. 11 nearest future position
Coffee -- Other Mild Arabicas, International Coffee Org. New York cash price, ex-dock New York

Crude Oil (petroleum) -- West Texas Intermediate 40 API, Midland Texas
Natural Gas -- Indonesian Liquefied Natural Gas in Japan, $/million metric British thermal units of liquid
Coal -- Australian thermal coal, 1200 btu/pound, less than 1% sulfur, 14% ash, FOB Newcastle/Port Kembla

Among the reasons why world oil prices rose to record levels in 2008 was the high energy demand in the two biggest countries in the world in population, China and India. Prior to 2008, from 2003-2007, China’s GDP growth was always double-digit, averaging 11.7% per year. India’s growth during that period was also high, averaging 8.8% per year.

Implications for the Philippines

Among the things that the Philippines should optimize given these price fluctuations in world commodity prices are the following:

1. Rice trade liberalization should have been started in 2010 when the Aquino administration took power. After short price spikes in 2011-2012, rice prices went downhill. The Duterte administration should proceed with full rice liberalization this year because of high medium term outlook for rice output and exports by our neighbors, Thailand and Vietnam especially.

2. Sugar liberalization should be pursued too as world sugar prices have declined from their peak prices in 2010-2012 average of around 22 US cents per pound.

3. Trade of corn and swine, even poultry should also be liberalized. Prices of rice, corn, swine, poultry and other food products are among the major contributors of the overall consumer price index (CPI) which are used to compute the inflation rate.

4. Energy-intensive industries like manufacturing, hotels, construction, and transportation (on air, land, water) can expand their production and fleet to take advantage of lower prices of oil, natural gas, and coal.

5. Two hindrances here: (a) the planned hike in excise tax for oil products by P6/liter across the board, and (b) continued onslaught by feed-in-tariff (FiT) and soon, renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that will result in expensive electricity. The purpose of trade and energy revolution is to make global energy prices become cheaper. The purpose of government in this case to make cheaper energy more expensive. These two measures should be abandoned and reversed someday.

6. Among the ASEAN-6 big economies (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Philippines), the Philippines registered the highest average GDP growth per year from 2010-2015: Thailand 3.7%, Indonesia and Malaysia 5.7%, Singapore and Vietnam 6.0%, and Philippines 6.2%. There was something good that the previous Aquino administration was doing that the new Duterte administration should somehow continue.

Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr. is the head of Minimal Government Thinkers and a Fellow of SEANET. Both institutes are members of Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia.

PDu30 Martial Law in Mindanao

This week, President Duterte who was in Russia when there was a big fight between the Armed Forces of the PH (AFP) and the Maute group of local terrorists, declared Martial Law for the entire Mindanao. I think PDu30 acted with paranoia here as he is too focused on anti-drugs de tokhang war vs ordinary civilians, or China-Russia-love ya affair. When faced with real war, his first instinct is to declare Martial Law.

The PH National Police (PNP) too has become too focused on drugs de tokhang that their intelligence gathering on the real organized, armed criminals has suffered. Below, I am reposting opinions from some friends, posted in their fb walls on dates indicated.

(1)  Jose Antonio Custodio, May 23:

The group that is attacking Marawi City is the Maute group with some is not the ISIS.... They are taking advantage of the fact that the military and police are distracted by the lack of a coherent policy on internal security. It is as simple as that.

(2) Jojo Garcia, May 23:

Martial law means the suspension of civilian government and the installation of military rule. The functioning of regular civilian courts and sanggunians are explicitly the only exception among civilian offices that should continue under the military government. Martial law also means that Mindanao is now under a military governor or governors, usually the heads of the AFP commands in the island. They will govern the civilian population through AFP general orders to be carried out by soldiers, not by the civilian LGUs whose operation and authority are now effectively suspended if martial law is truly to take effect. Anything less than this will merely amount to a hodgepodge system that would result in a nominal declaration mainly intended for propaganda purposes of showing presidential muscle.

If this is real and not nominal martial law, this is the largest geographical area put under martial law since the superficial lifting of Marcos's martial law in 1981. I hope this is only a nominal presidential show of force and not a real implementation of martial law, since I am not sure if the AFP is capable of running a military government in such a large area without the concommittant human rights violations committed en masse.

In short, sana pang-PR at yabang lang yan, because the last time the AFP implemented martial law as declared by a tyrant, there was no turning back.

(3) Dan Adan, May 25:

Understanding Section 18 of Art. VII of the 1987 Constitution Bit by Bit

The President:

1. Is the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines.
2. As Commander-in-Chief, may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence whenever it becomes necessary.
3. As Commander-in-Chief, may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress invasion whenever it becomes necessary.
4. As Commander-in-Chief, may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress rebellion whenever it becomes necessary.
5. May suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period not exceeding sixty days in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it.
6. May place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law for a period not exceeding sixty days in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it.
7. Shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law.
8. Shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress within forty-eight hours from the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

9. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke the President's proclamation of martial law.
10. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
11. The President cannot set aside the congressional revocation of the declaration of martial law.
12. The President cannot set aside the congressional revocation of the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
13. The President may ask Congress to extend the proclamation of martial law if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.
14. The President may ask Congress to extend the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.
15. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its members in a regular or special session, may extend the proclamation of martial law for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.
16. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its members in a regular or special session, may extend the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.
17. The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call.
18. Any citizen may file a case before the Supreme Court questioning the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the extension thereof.
19. Any citizen may file a case before the Supreme Court questioning the sufficiency of the factual basis of the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof.
20. The Supreme Court may review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the extension thereof.
21. The Supreme Court may review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof.
22. The Supreme Court must promulgate its decision on the factual basis sufficiency within thirty days from its filing.

A state of martial law does not:

23. Ssuspend the operation of the Constitution.
24. Supplant the functioning of the civil courts.
25. Supplant the functioning of legislative assemblies.
26. Authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function.
27. Automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

28. The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in, or directly connected with, invasion.
29. During the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.

(4) Bernard Ong, May 25:


After Mindanao Martial Law, the trial balloon for nation-wide Martial Law is now flying high.

1. Mindanao of course - home of the Durterte este Maute Group
2. Visayas because it is just walking distance from Mindanao
3. Luzon because it is just walking distance from Visayas
4. Anybody named Luzviminda is covered

1. Taiwan which is just walking distance from Luzon
2. Kalayaan Islands (a.k.a Spratly) because it will anger China
3. Panatag because that has been bartered to China for (scrap) trains
4. Davao because it has already been under authoritarian rule for 30 years
5. Anybody who can walk on water is exempted

For assurance that Martial Law will not be abused by unaccountable men in power, read up on Marcos history. Better yet, go dig some bones at Maa Quarry.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

BWorld 131, Why the FiT-All is a burden to consumers

* This is my article in BusinessWorld yesterday.

Last May 15, Transmission Corp. of the Philippines (Transco) presented at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) its petition of Feed-in-Tariff Allowance (FiT-All) for 2017 of 26 centavos/kWh. Very fast adjustments from 4.06 centavos/kWh in 2015, rose to 12.40 centavos in 2016, and soon 26 centavos starting mid-2017, all “to save the planet.”

The ERC still has to conduct public hearings in Visayas and Mindanao until early June and likely to make an order by late June, to be reflected in our monthly electricity bills starting July 2017.

The feed-in-tariff (FiT) provision in the Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2008 (RA 9513) is very anomalous on the following grounds: (1) guaranteed price locked in for 20 years despite technology improving very fast these days, (2) the FiT rates are rising (see table below) yearly due to inflation and forex adjustments, (3) FiT rates of P8+ to P10+ per kWh for wind-solar are way high compared to current Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) average prices of P2-P3/kWh, (4) current capacity installations for wind and solar are higher than what was allotted, and (5) even consumers in Mindanao who are not part of WESM, not connected to the Luzon-Visayas grids, are paying for this.

The total forecast cost revenue of FiT-eligible plants would be (in P Billion): 10.22 in 2012-2015, 18.54 in 2016, 24.44 in 2017, and 26.14 2018. The bulk of this will go to wind and solar plants.

(a) Wind: 6.32 in 2012-2015, 8.00 in 2016, 9.20 in 2017, 9.20 in 2018.
(b) Solar: 1.50 in 2012-2015, 5.88 in 2016, 7.03 in 2017, 7.00 in 2018
(c) Biomass: 1.86 (2012-2015), 3.95 (2016), 6.69 (2017), 6.79 (2018)
Hydro is small, only 1.52 in 2017 and 3.15 in 2018.
(Source: ERC, Case No. 2016-192 RC, Docketed April 27, 2017, Table 4)

Below are the beneficiaries of expensive electricity via FiT scheme by virtue of their hugeness and higher FiT rates.

Many renewable firms were not able to snatch the limited FiT eligibility but they can still make money from expensive electricity via the renewable portfolio standards (RPS) provision of the RE law. The RPS coerces and forces distribution utilities (DUs) like electric cooperatives and Meralco to purchase a minimum percentage of their electricity supply from these expensive renewables, the price differential with cheaper conventional sources they will pass to the consumers. If DUs will not do this, they will be penalized and the cost of penalty they will still pass on to the consumers.

The government should step back from price intervention and price control, grid prioritization of intermittent and unstable energy sources via legislation. Consumer interest of cheaper and stable electricity should be higher than corporate interest of guaranteed pricing for 20 years, lots of fiscal incentives and other privileges that are marks of cronyism. RA 9513 is anti-consumers, anti-industrialization and hence, it should be abolished soon.

See also: 

Over-Generalization, Over-Bedanization in the Duterte Cabinet

The term "Over-Generalization" is from my former Political Science teacher in UP Diliman in the 80s, Dr. Seguondo "Doy" Romero. He posted this in his fb wall few days ago:

"My reading is that Duterte is afraid of the military and is appointing the generals to civilian top positions as a feeble attempt to guard against a possible unauthorized military exercise by colonels. The Duterte traitorous embrace of China to the point of frittering away our West Philippine Sea territories, the shift away from the U.S. and international law and organizations, and inexplicable accommodation of the CPP-NPA-NDF and rogues like Misuari, have not endeared Duterte to the military, although God knows he has courted them so assiduously. He has failed to get them on-board the campaign against drugs. What can Duterte offer to the military to make them follow him into another authoritarian regime, but ignominy and the hatred of the Filipino people? Where is the threat of rebellion and invasion, unless he himself fans the Kadamay occupation into a real mass uprising? It is the military in the image of Trillanes and Alejano that Duterte is deathly afraid of. "Over-generalization" gives him a false sense of security...

As far as I can tell, Sec. Lorenzana and Gen Ano have so far acquitted themselves very well as constitutionalist-oriented officers, curbing excesses of immature military officers and civilian officials who blur the boundaries of professionalism. I would not automatically put them as beholden to Duterte incapable of protecting the national interest."

From sir Doy's other friends, they added:

(a) Rob Ocampo: Col Alex Balutan of PCSO, Maj. Jason Aquino of NFA.

(b) Ellen Tordesillas (also my fb friend): A number of retired military officers have already been given ambassadorial posts. One is Red Kapunan to Myanmmar.

A friend complained about sir Doy's term, "Duterte traitorous embrace of China". I asked him what he would describe it, as "Duterte heroic embrace of China"? Pweh.

On another note, the PNP has been a civilian agency for many years and decades now, how come that until now almost all of its Director Generals are from the PH Military Academy (PMA), a military agency? The PMA guys are OA, or with high sense of state entitlement mentality and insecurity, that all high positions in government involving guns and bombs should be allotted only to PMA graduates?

Sir Doy replied that "Military service is also a well-structured and systematic training designed to transform a soldier into a manager and eventually into a statesman..." 

I don't exactly buy this argument. Management of certain sectors require some deep technical skills then add management skills. Rather, retired soldiers have the "scare effect" on the bureaucracy down the line, making them tow the orders of the retired generals without much noise. Even legislators are somehow affected by the "scare effect" of these gun-wielding officers who used to command thousands of gun-and-bomb-wielding soldiers in the past.

Now, aside from "over-generalization", there is also "Over-Bedanization" of the Du30 government.

This is from San Beda's College of Law alone, there could be many other appointments from other colleges or departments of San Beda. I have no further comment about this trend in the Du30 government.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mining 51, Gina Lopez, Roy Cimatu and rule of law

When Gina Lopez was finally rejected as DENR Secretary by the Commission on Appointments (CA), lots of conspiracy hypothesis were flying. And one thing I notice about these comments and opinions is that it seems all of the people who spread such opinions did not watch the 2 1/2 hours CA hearing of Gina last May 02, 2017.

I watched it in full and here are my impressions:

1. Simple questions answerable by Yes or No, Gina cannot answer. Her mind and mouth is full of emotions, little or nothing on specifics, numbers and law.

2. Three questions by Sen. Alan Cayetano: (a) how much of total PH land area is actively mined, (b) beach resorts, how much of total coastal land of the PH have beach resorts, (c) what are the standards and criteria for her recent orders on mine closure — she could not answer.

3. Questions on land multiple titles involving DENR corruption resulting in perennial land grabbing problem raised by 3 Congressmen, what she’s doing about it in her 10 months in office, she was clueless, no specific answer, only generalized ones like “we are cleaning up the department” or “we are computerizing things.” She can suspend or close down many mining firms that follow certain regulations but she cannot suspend or kick out any corrupt officials in her department the past 10 months.

4. Question on very dirty rivers like Marilao river, Pasig river, she answered “structural problems” daw, despite heading the Pasig river clean up commission. She has no specific plans to clean up these rivers.

5. Questions on unabated logging, she has no clear answer.

6. Questions on legal basis, what existing laws, as basis for her recent AOs (Administrative Orders) on P2M/hectare of “disturbed” agri land as deposit — no answer. She argued “my prerogative” as Secretary.  Congw. Josephine Sato who insisted on this issue is very specific in her points — “we are a nation of laws, not of men”. Our actions and policies should be based on existing laws, not on whims of men/women leaders. Bright legislator.

DENR work is more than mining. She’s very hard-working, very passionate, only in anti-mining campaigns. But she’s lazy on other mandates of the DENR. Gina's big problem is her big ego.

I liked Congw. Sato’s rejection of Gina’s “my prerogative as Secretary” answer to her question. Department Secretaries cannot legislate on their own, otherwise Secretaries of DA, DOTC, DPWH, DSWD, DAR, etc. can just issue dozens of AOs or Department circulars (DCS) creating new prohibitions and regulations, new fines and penalties, new subsidies and entitlements — all bypassing Congress as legislative body.

PDu30 made a mistake in appointing her as DENR Secretary even without fully scrutinizing her work ethics, her technical skills. Du30 corrected this mistake by not defending her at the CA.

People who oppose mining and argue “zero mining” are as confused as the people who say “zero fossil fuel”. These people should be riding bicycles or skateboards or just walking/running, or riding horses, cows, ponies. They should not ride cars, jeeps, buses, airplanes, ships because all these use fossil fuels 100%.

People who say “zero mining” don’t want to live in caves. Even barong-barong use mining products like nails, hammer, saw, bolo, etc. Hypocrisy always finds some scapegoats like the “oligarchs”, as if the Lopezes are not oligarchs.

Last Monday, May 08, former AFP Chief Roy Cimatu was appointed as new DENR Secretary by President Duterte. A retired soldier, then labor diplomat in the Middle East, and now a DENR chief.

Perhaps near-zero official experience in managing an environment agency except in some tree planting activities of the AFP, his appointment is a guessing game for many sectors under DENR supervision — mining, forestry, solid waste, air pollution, coastal resources, rivers/lakes/sea water quality, land titling, etc.

Since all Cabinet posts are political appointees of the President, then it is assumed that the major policies of the appointed Secretary are also the policies of the President.

I am not a fan of “good governance” in a BIG government because it is a contradiction in terms. Big government almost always lead to bad governance because government would over-extend its power of coercion. Like creating a dozen new regulations on top of hundreds of regulations, laws and prohibitions that are already in place. That is what former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez did, creating new department regulations (administrative orders (AOs), department circulars (DCs), etc.) that pile up new requirements on top of existing ones, resulting in the closure and/or suspension of many mining firms.

The big question now is whether the new DENR Secretary will focus on the rule of law, enforce existing laws and regulations before creating new department orders or seek new laws in Congress. Like the laws regulating small-scale mines and quarrying equally implemented as the laws regulating large-scale metallic, non-metallic mines and quarrying.

This act alone of focusing on the rule of law will be a big improvement in the department and in the national government as a whole. A better situation of course is that many existing regulations that are “out of tune” are abolished, or consolidated with others so that instead of having 10 “out of tunes” AOs, DCs and other department orders, they are consolidated into one AO that is more “in tune” with the times.

See also: 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

BWorld 130, Mobility of goods, capital, and people in Asia

* This is my article in BusinessWorld on May 09, 2017.

One big issue that failed to land on front pages during the ASEAN Prosperity Summit last week is the creeping protectionism, not through rising tariffs but rising non-tariff barriers (NTBs).
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak pointed out during the Summit that NTBs and non-tariff measures (NTMs) from 2000 to 2015 have surged by nearly four times to 5,975 from 1,634. This despite the zero tariff regime for intra-regional trade and the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) or the regional single market.

While ASEAN was created initially for defense cooperation against regional communist revolutions in the ’60s and ’70s, it has evolved into a platform for freer movement of goods, people and services, and capital or investment. It was a good development and it should be pursued.

This coming November, the Philippines will host the ASEAN partners’ meeting composed of ASEAN + 6 (China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand) + Russia and US. Mr. Putin, Mr. Xi, and Mr. Trump and other leaders will be coming to Manila.

The US exit from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and China-Japan leadership in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are important developments.

By how much have Asian economies improved based on freer mobility of goods, services, investments, and tourism? Here are some basic data (see table).

Those that have expanded by more than seven times in just 15 years are the following:

1. Vietnam: 11.2x in exports, 10.6x in imports, 9.1x in investments, and 10.6x in tourism receipts.

2. Myanmar: 7.2x in imports, 12.1x in investments, 12.9x in tourist arrivals; also high expansion in tourism receipts.

3. Cambodia: 14.2x in investments, 10.3x in tourist arrivals, and 24x in tourism receipts.

4. Laos: 9.3x in imports, 10.4x in tourist arrivals and 36x in tourism receipts.

5. China: 9x in exports, 7.5x in imports, almost 6x in investments, and 7 to 7.5x in tourist arrivals and receipts.

6. Japan: 7.4x expansion in international tourist arrivals.

7. India: 7.5x in exports, 12.3% in imports, and 7.8x in exports.

The Philippines also experienced modest growth in all the above indicators but not fast enough to create more jobs and businesses to its 104 million people. We should take hard lessons from our two small neighbors with huge economic achievements, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Singapore with only 5+ million people and just 3 1/2 hours by plane south of Manila, has 6x more exports, 11x more FDIs, attracts more than 3x foreign tourists and more than 4x in tourism receipts than the Philippines.

Hong Kong with only 7+ million people and less than 2 hours by plane north of Manila, has 8x more exports, 32x more FDIs, attracts nearly 7x foreign tourists, and nearly 8x in tourism revenues.

What small economies Singapore and Hong Kong have that the Philippines lacks are two important policies: free trade (zero tariff, minimal NTBs) and stricter rule of law (the law applies equally to both rulers and ruled, applies equally to unequal people).

So while we have improved our GDP size and material wealth via freer trade, freer movement of people and capital, we need to free up more.

We should allow more islands and provinces to have their own industrial zones to attract more investments and foreign trade. To have their own international airports and seaports to attract more investments and more tourism.

More modern infrastructure, simpler rules, and freer trade will help the Philippines attain what our developed neighbors have already achieved. Drastic reduction in NTBs and the removal of rice quantitative restriction (QR) and protectionism for instance. And less politics, taxes and bureaucracies, more respect for the law by politicians and bureaucrats.

Bienvenido Oplas, Jr. heads Minimal Government Thinkers and a Fellow of SEANET. Both institutes are members of the Economic Freedom Network (EFN) Asia.

See also: 

Seasteading means more rule of law, less government

There is a good presentation by Joe Quirk of the Seasteading Institute at Dubai Freeport Zone a few months ago, Pitch: SustainableFloating Free Zones in Dubai. Below are some photos from his presentation showcasing the power of free market, competition and innovation, and relative freedom from intrusive politicians and the state.

Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and China overall.

Dubai, French Polynesia, global ecozones, and the very important role of the rule of law -- stability and certainty of application of the law to all, absence or minimum arbitrariness.

The speaker and his book, the two pioneers of the Institute, and various models of modular, detachable, floating cities and ecozones. Joe said that they can guarantee prosperity to host countries or economies that will allow these floating ecozones in relatively calmer sea near the shores. If their model is a failure, no worries, they can tow away these structures and move to other economies that are willing to host them.

I have read about the Institute since about four years ago but it was only in January 2015 when I personally heard and saw the presentation by the Executive Director of the Institute, Randy Hencken, during the 3rd Asia Liberty Forum (ALF) in Kathmandu, Nepal. The 2-days conference was sponsored by the CCS (India), Samriddhi (Nepal), Atlas (USA), and a few others.

Randy was very emphatic that the principle behind seasteading and its projects is to create future economies that are founded on the principles of free market, limited government and rule of law. Very lean government whose main function is to lay down very few laws and enforce them without favor and exemptions. Taxes and fees therefore will be few and small. Market competition and innovation will attract residents, business locators, multinational investors and tourists.

Very radical yet practical worldview. Instead of reforming existing countries towards smaller government (the success rate here I think is about close to zero), create small and new territories with some political independence from host countries, to evolve later into new countries.

I just saw in fb that today is Randy's birthday. Happy birthday man.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Energy 95, Al Gore's $15-T carbon tax racket

According to the bible of Al Gore, the UN and other groups/individuals, we should be guilty that we are riding cars, jeepneys, buses, motorcycles, airplanes, boats, other machines that use fossil fuels. We should be riding only cows, horses, bicycles, skateboards other things that do not use fossil fuel. We should be guilty that we have 24/7 electricity mainly from base load coal and natgas power plants. Thus, we should send them more money via carbon tax so that they can "save the planet." Nice but not-so-brilliant global robbery scheme.

The purpose of a carbon tax is to make cheaper energy, cheaper transpo, cheaper manufacturing, become expensive. National governments, the UN and Al Gore will get the extra money, trillions of $ of money and they will "save the planet".

Al Gore, Obama, di Caprio, Richard Branson, etc., they hate fossil-fuel-guzzling airplanes a lot.

Meanwhile, the WB, IMF, ADB, DOF, etc already made a chorus that petroleum is a "public bad" because our use of cars, buses, boats, motorcycles, airplanes are bad for the environment, so they are raising the excise tax of petrol products by P6/liter across the board. Some legislators are not satisfied with this, they want additional tax on petrol products, coal power plants, etc. to get more money to "save the planet."

People who are "non-polluters" are those who have zero demand for fossil fuels like petroleum and coal power plants. Like those who live in the caves, those who only ride horses, carabaos, bicycles or just walk/run only. For their trips to far away provinces and countries, they ride flying witches like manananggals that do not use fossil fuels.

The ecological socialists partner with "cap-carbon" capitalists for a multi-trillion dollars robbery of energy consumers. New racket indeed, but it is bound to fail. People hate more expensive energy, more government/UN taxation.

See also:
Energy 92, Asia retains big coal use, April 07, 2017