We Don’t Like The Market, Give Us The State



Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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8 Responses

  1. I get where you’re coming from, Patrick, but I don’t quite agree with this line: “Unsurprisingly, it turns out that when the state doesn’t require you to meet regulatory standards, but the marketplace does… you’ll just turn to the state to beat up on the marketplace.”

    The corporations that aren’t LEED-compliant (or whatever word fits better) aren’t beating up on the marketplace. The marketplace can still adhere to LEED standards. They’ve just convinced the government not to adhere to LEED standards for the government’s building projects.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for government projects being environmentally friendly (I don’t know enough about LEED to approve or disapprove of it, specifically). My hope (not that I’m particularly optimistic) would be that citizens/voters would disapprove of these government decisions.Report

    • Avatar Patrick says:

      They’ve just convinced the government not to adhere to LEED standards for the government’s building projects.

      My reading of the article (again, disclaimer, no fact-checking) is that they’ve used the power of the State to forbid local governments from using LEED standards and have instead demanded that they use a specific, non-LEED standard that is more advantageous to certain industries.

      This violates the ideals of layered government, where decisions are made closest to the problem.

      It also sounds an awful lot to me like rent-seeking. “We don’t like this regulatory framework that the market came up with without any government intervention. So here’s a different one, and the state *will* use that one”.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        This violates the ideals of layered government

        Sure, and that’s a problem. But what the state isn’t intervening in the free market (not through this particular regulation, anyway). It’s regulating local governments, which are essentially wholly-owned subsidiaries. Though obviously just because it has the legal authority to do so doesn’t mean it should.

        It also sounds an awful lot to me like rent-seeking.

        It does, yes. But to play Devil’s advocate, sometimes standards are created for rent-seeking purposes. For example, a standard may not be justified on its merits, but rather have been created primarily for the purpose of giving a competitive edge to companies which are more easily able to comply with the standards.

        Is that the case here? I don’t know. I doubt it. Just saying that the details matter.Report

  2. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Am I reading this wrong, our does it just say that the government can’t use LEED certification as a criterion in the decision process?Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    This is just an example of corporations lobbying gov’t to ensure an advantage. It has nothing to do with the “free market”.Report

    • Avatar Scott Fields says:

      Except to the extent that “free market” advocates would find anathema any attempt to constrain the capacity of corporations to lobby the government.Report

  4. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    The GOP reflexively abhors adjectives such as Green and Sustainable, no matter who uses them. In any other standards-based industry, where better standards translate into efficiencies and lowered costs, initiatives such as LEED would justify themselves.

    But then, Republicans are not exactly modern, scientific people.Report

  5. Avatar LWA says:

    A couple of things-
    Local governments often require that designs conform to LEED; these states are overruling that ability, and forbidding a local government from doing what they want.

    While they can buy time, the tide of history isn’t really on the side of the anti-LEED activists.
    LEED has grown less as a result of wolly treehugging sentiment , but more by market forces.

    The centerpiece of LEED ratings is reducing embedded energy- which is why for instance, local materials are given preference over imported; why recycled products are preferred over virgin material.

    There is a reason you might be seeing new solar panel carports covering parking lots- energy costs are rising, and aren’t coming down anytime on the horizon. Shipping stuff from China isn’t getting cheaper, and probably won’t ever be this cheap again.

    Whether a local government demands that its new city hall be LEED compliant or not, you can bet their facilities manager will insist that it have lower utility bills- which means stuff like LED lights, waterless urinals, and drought resistant landscaping.Report