02 March 2010

More transfers from the poor to the rich

George Monbiot writes about the UK Government's feed-in tariffs for electricity produced by photovoltaic (PV) panels:
The government is about to shift £8.6bn from the poor to the middle classes. ... On April 1st the government introduces its feed-in tariffs. These oblige electricity companies to pay people for the power they produce at home. ... . Solar PV is a great technology - if you live in southern California. But the further from the equator you travel, the less sense it makes.... It’s not just that the amount of power PV panels produce at this latitude is risible, they also produce it at the wrong time. In hot countries, where air conditioning guzzles electricity, peak demand coincides with peak solar radiation. In the UK peak demand takes place between 5 and 7 on winter evenings. A great green ripoff, George Monbiot, 1 March
And so on and on.... This is what happens when policy is determined by image, sentiment, lobbyists and corporations. It's policy as if outcomes don't matter in the least.

A Social Policy Bond regime wouldn't allow this sort of nonsense to occur. Correction: it would - but only if people actually wanted it. That's to say, if people deliberately choose to transfer millions of pounds from the poor to the rich and to fraudsters, they could do so under a bond regime. The difference is, they'd be doing it with their eyes open, instead of having their view obscured by a policymaking regime that is concerned mainly about image, the welfare of corporations and government agencies, and arcane debate about structures and process.

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