Roger Sollenberger: What caused the Texas disaster? Decades of Republican deregulation: "Laissez-faire run amok"

NB: Contemporary conservative thought has a tendency to equate all social control, or even the hint of such control, as 'communism'. Hence the antipathy toward activists such as Greta Thunberg, who simply asked for urgent measures to control damage to the environment. Note this paragraph from the article below: "The fight against climate change in Texas has been hampered by Republicans who appear ever more eager to fight against climate change legislation, even in the face of shifting public opinion and overwhelming scientific consensus. Caperton, a moderate Democrat, said that he became a pariah for introducing legislation in the 1980s to commission a study on wind energy. "It was just a study, but I was basically seen as a commie for doing that," he said.

What does this mean? Why are thoughtless cliches like "government has no business being in business" treated as religious mantras? Governments are obliged to regulate economic activity in the interests of society at large. If government has no business being in business; why should business leaders intervene in the work of government? Why is social and ecological regulation so rarely enforced? What lies behind the assumption that the interests of capital accumulation fulfil the social interest? Why should an Indian business house with no experience of defence production get a contract for making fighter aircraft? Why should prisons be privatised and used as sources of unpaid labour? Why should Facebook and Murdoch be able to dominate official and social communication to the point of political mind-control and extremist propaganda? Why is the Modi government turning India into a nation of gangster capitalists? Why should an economic plan made by a cabal of corporates in Davos be imposed upon Indian agriculture in the name of 'national growth', when it is Monsanto and Dupont and Cargill etc who will be growing? We should revisit the issue of social regulation as also the glib assumption that capitalism is gods gift to the human race. DS

What caused the Texas disaster? Decades of Republican deregulation: "Laissez-faire run amok"

In a media blitz, Republican leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, tried to pass blame to perceived liberal enemies with baseless claims about the longtime oil- and gas-producing state's dependence on renewables like solar and wind. Those source indeed comprise an increasingly large share of the state's energy blend — a change largely driven by the market conservatives claim to love — but had little to do with the collapse, which primarily concerned the natural gas sector. Those lies also obscured a broader truth, which is that the renewables that failed did so for the same reasons that fossil fuels failed: The wishful thinking that Texas winters will always be mild, and therefore cheap.

Former Texas Democratic state senator Kent Caperton said in an interview that it's difficult to capture the full story behind the current crisis, because it has been so long in the making, and the consequences are decades removed from some of their most immediate causes.

In 1983, Caperton introduced a bill that created the Office of Public Utility Counsel (OPUC), the first state agency dedicated to representing the interests of residential and small commercial energy consumers before the courts and state and federal regulators. OPUC was a step in the right direction, Caperton said, but its ultimate aims were thwarted in 1999 when the state opened its utility markets to retail competition, which created complexities for pricing and regulation….

Modi risks turning India into a nation of gangster capitalists

Walter Benjamin: Capitalism as Religion (1921)

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