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China Is Winning Global Race To Make Clean Energy 346

Posted by timothy
from the comparative-advantage-oh-noes dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that China vaulted past competitors in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States last year to become the world's largest maker of wind turbines, has leapfrogged the West in the last two years to emerge as the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels, and is pushing equally hard to build nuclear reactors and the most efficient types of coal power plants. These efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies raise the prospect that the West may someday trade its dependence on oil from the Mideast for a reliance on solar panels, wind turbines and other gear manufactured in China."
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China Is Winning Global Race To Make Clean Energy

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  • by Krakadoom (1407635) on Monday February 01, 2010 @06:54AM (#30979108)
    The OP is comparing a natural ressource only present in specific places with something that is easily manufactured anywhere. So, dependence on chinese wind turbines - hardly.
  • by Manip (656104) on Monday February 01, 2010 @06:56AM (#30979114)

    You cannot compare our need for oil to our "need" for manufactured goods. The former is a finite resource, you can only get it from a handful of places around the world, the latter will be sourced from literally whoever is cheapest. If China suddenly cut the west's supply of goods off I'm sure one of their cheapest competitors would happily step in to fill the void. Or if it got too expensive then they would be produced in the west.

  • Re:You think so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:14AM (#30979202)

    I'm surprised that we can ignore all the toxic byproducts created by manufacturing solar panels and still call them "green".

          Because there are no toxic byproducts created when fossil fuels are burned, or fossil fuel burning equipment is manufactured?

          I've had this argument before. Nothing is really "green", unless you eradicate the human race completely. And then there will still be animal farts to deal with. But honestly when you tell me that a solar panel has a life expectancy of 25 years, well, spread out the manufacturing "damage" over 25 years. It's not so bad after all, compared to burning oil/coal for 25 years, is it?

  • by what about (730877) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:16AM (#30979214) Homepage

    Oil and wind/photovoltaic/nuclear share something, they are energy producer.

    Two issues at the table
    1) It would be OK to pay for energy to a foreign state if the money comes back to buy something (goods or services).
          It is NOT ok if the money comes back to buy companies, land or buildings since this just means selling OUR country (whatever it is) to buy energy. (selling you house is NOT the same as selling what you produce)

    2) It takes time to "acquire" technology AND production plants, if you are in a race and you lose out to the top runners it will be very unlikely
          that later on you catch up, you will be just left out of the race (there are now plenty of jobs for unskilled workers, it is that we still
          have enough money to "avoid" them, but this will not last long)

    I stand that there are advantages to global economy but as usual there are disadvantages, we better know the two sides of the coin before jumping to quick conclusions.

    In other words I suggest that at least 50% of needed energy should be produced in the country where it is used and it should be produced by companies based and staffed by the people of the country.

  • Re:You think so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c6gunner (950153) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:20AM (#30979234)

    Ok, if that upsets you just call them green-ER.

    We consider CFL bulbs to be "green" by the same reasoning - they still have an impact on the environment, but it's much lower than that of normal bulbs.

  • Re:You think so? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:31AM (#30979278)

    But honestly when you tell me that a solar panel has a life expectancy of 25 years, well, spread out the manufacturing "damage" over 25 years. It's not so bad after all, compared to burning oil/coal for 25 years, is it?

    But the "damage" isn't spread out, we pay it up front and then hope to make up for it over the 25 year life span of these panels. Do we really want to do that at this time when we might be on the edge already ? The greenest way out is to use less and spend what we do use more wisely manufacturing "greener" power sources that we then use to bootstrap production of ever greater numbers of these same power sources, not this phony economic thinking.

  • by jabuzz (182671) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:31AM (#30979286) Homepage

    With oil you need to buy more every single day, which is what creates the dependency.

    Once you have purchased your cheap Chinese wind turbine and/or solar panel that is that. Sure they don't last forever, but once set you could easily say to a China screw you and not buy any turbines or solar panels from them for a decade without problems. That is neglecting the fact you could manufacture them elsewhere if need be.

  • by Dunbal (464142) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:36AM (#30979312)

    When the US attacks Iran...

          That will never happen. For all that the Iranian government has not exactly made friends in the West, I doubt that the Chinese would stay quiet. AND I doubt that the Russians would be happy with so much American presence on their southern flank. They stayed quiet about Afghanistan because the whole world was shocked by 9-11 and expected American retaliation. The Russians protested the Iraq war and Putin at the time (2003) called it an "error". Going into Iran, hmm, I think the Russians would side with China and take action.

          Laugh if you must. Perhaps you don't feel threatened by those two very large countries. I'm sure the British scoffed at the American Militia in the late 1700's too. Remember that Iran is a lot closer to Russia and China than it is to the US. Technology alone doesn't win wars. Ask Napoleon. Ask Hitler. Ask the Romans. The strategic outlook for going into Iran is bad bad bad, which is probably why it hasn't happened yet.

  • Re:You think so? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by data2 (1382587) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:46AM (#30979350)

    Actually, you probably make a very good point as to why they just passed the west in regard to solar panels: They don't care about the environment being poluted. So it is, neccessarily, much cheaper to produce them there than in "the West"

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:47AM (#30979354) Homepage Journal
    They stayed quiet about Afghanistan because the whole world was shocked by 9-11 and expected American retaliation.

    No, more than likely they stayed quiet because they expected America to end up in a long, protracted, bloody and costly war much like the Russians did 2 decades earlier.....
  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:51AM (#30979368) Homepage

    Either that or there's nothing of any real value in Afghanistan and being there is helping to ruin the US economy. Win-win (for them).

  • by maxume (22995) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:52AM (#30979382)

    Economics isn't like a foot race.

  • by suzerain (245705) on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:58AM (#30979408) Homepage

    This will be a somewhat general statement, but I'm an American and the endless flood of stories like this is quite disheartening. I've left the USA now, because it seems to be in decline, but more importantly because no one seems to give a damn. Just today I read the article about China (where I currently live) leapfrogging the West in renewable energy products (which is clearly happening, despite the West's complaints), as well as an article on Cringely's blog [cringely.com] about upcoming cuts to NASA (which is probably the single most important government agency for the future of humanity).

    Then, I go over to facebook, and all I see are status messages from politically-minded friends, essentially acting like children watching a football game "Go Democrats! Fuck Republicans!" "Go Republicans! Fuck Democrats!", and no one seems to give a flying fuck about actually making changes that position the country for the future.

    Take China as an example. Like every other country, they injected a huge financial stimulus into their economy, but they are doing it with purpose. They're building new highways to serve parts of the country presently unserved; they're building bullet trains faster than those in Japan, Korea and France; they're upgrading their power grid to technologies surpassing that of any other country. When all is said and done, they will have used the downturn as an opportunity to improve their country's efficiency.

    Meanwhile, in the USA, they bailed out the oligarchy that runs the banking system, and then gave money to a bunch of aimless projects that just put band-aids on current infrastructure. There was no national call to action (for example..."we're going to put unemployed auto workers to work building an all-new high-speed rail system to link our urban areas" or "we're going to use this opportunity to completely replace our power grid, because we lose such a high percentage of power to inefficiency of the lines") that would have solidly improved the country for the long-term, improve its ability to transact business.

    Anyone to this site ought to understand that networks are important. The Internet, power grid, airports, train system, highway system...all networks, that allow society to function. In the USA, only the Internet and highways actually work well (the power grid is antiquated and incredibly inefficient, the air traffic control system is a dinosaur and most U.S. airports are shitholes comparatively speaking to the many other countries, and although highways work well, they depend on a resource that is finite and running out). When will Americans wake up and start pushing the country to actually upgrade the country's networked infrastructure; prepare the country for the future?

    I know this seems to be out of place here, but the fact that the USA is doing essentially nothing on the renewable energy front is just another example. After a while, it gets pretty disheartening.

  • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Monday February 01, 2010 @07:59AM (#30979414) Homepage

    I stand that there are advantages to global economy but as usual there are disadvantages, we better know the two sides of the coin before jumping to quick conclusions.

    And since when is an equal society a disadvantage? Who would really want to say that a majority of the people should suffer and be poor for the benefit of others?

    And the more advanced the poor countries get the more productive do they become. Which mean more items produced for lower prices.

    So in the end the people at large get richer and more equal.

    Oh the horrors! We deserve to be the only rich über elite!

    Lack of land, water and food will be a different story though. Better stop relying on the bigger next generation to pay for the elders and thereby increase the demand for more and more young people.

    Or we can just fight for it and die off from diseases instead.

    The protectionism crap is, well, crap.

  • Re:You think so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal (464142) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:00AM (#30979418)

    Do we really want to do that at this time when we might be on the edge already ?

          So you think doing nothing is better?

    he greenest way out is to use less and spend what we do use more wisely

          What you say makes sense in theory. However it's not going to happen. You would need to fundamentally change human nature. People will starve to death before that happens. You can't ask people not to breed, not to strive for a certain standard of living, to consume less. They won't listen. Oh some might pretend to listen, but if you look at the statistics it just won't be happening.

          When I was born in the 60's there were 4 billion people on this planet. We've just about doubled that. And yet when I was young I remember hearing all the time about how important it was to "control" the world population. Guess what? It hasn't happened, and it won't happen.

          So go ahead and preach modesty and frugality - you are absolutely correct. But know that no one is listening. Therefore at least let's find some other way of producing what we need in the meantime - because believe me, we WILL use all the resources on this planet at one point. ALL of them. And then we die, just like the J-curve bacteria in the petri dish when they finally deplete their nutrients.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:05AM (#30979446)

    America won't wake up. They built this industrial power, much of it based on cheap wages (partially as a result of our own unions pushing theirs too high. Look at towns like the suburbs of Detroit and Flint, Michigan -- because unions are led from the top, there isn't an ounce of timely self-preservation when eaten from the bottom). In return, we gave the Chinese our technology, methods of production, and the rest in exchange for cheap junk now -- and are led to dream this will open up a huge market for America, perhaps as huge as the American car market is in Japan.

    BTW, where did you move to? Canada, though small in population, seems to be in the upswing, and at least their health care system is sane...

  • How about Norway (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tokul (682258) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:09AM (#30979470)

    In order to win race you must finish first. I don't think that China can do that when Norway is already 100% green. Or maybe "green energy" does not include hydro power.

  • by rikkards (98006) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:27AM (#30979576) Journal

    Let alone they don't have the EPA breathing down their necks to deal with the toxic crap that is a byproduct of solar panel manufacturing. I am sure if the US didn't have to worry about ensuring this stuff didn't get into the environment everybody would have solar panels on everything

  • by delinear (991444) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:33AM (#30979602)
    Of course, if those self-same "hippies" hadn't been busy doing Big Oil's job for them by demonising nuclear power at the time, the environmental situation, not to mention the face of world politics, might be very different today (I would have liked 20 years of building more efficient breeder reactors and better means of dealing with the waste, for instance, than the status quo of pumping the waste directly into the sky). I guess it's easy to say, in hindsight, that the world might be a cleaner, better place today if we'd done more nuclear back then, but the truth is the facts were there all along, people just chose to ignore them or distort them to their own ends (on both sides of the debate, I might add).
  • by silviumc (989732) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:37AM (#30979622)
    Wait, you moved to China from US? How's the freedom there? Did you keep your US citizenship? If yes, fuck you. How about you don't have that protection, see if you enjoy China so much. I live in an ex-communist country. I know communism.
  • by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:43AM (#30979650)

    You cannot compare our need for oil to our "need" for manufactured goods. The former is a finite resource, you can only get it from a handful of places around the world, the latter will be sourced from literally whoever is cheapest. If China suddenly cut the west's supply of goods off I'm sure one of their cheapest competitors would happily step in to fill the void. Or if it got too expensive then they would be produced in the west.

    Too expensive? No, I don't think that's the danger. Too cheap is the danger. The most important asset a country has is its workers. We've seen decades of off-shoring and out-sourcing, resulting in huge proportions of unemployment within many cities. Many Americans are unemployed pretty much because someone else - somewhere - is willing to make a cheaper thing. The global economy is a complicated system, but I'd think it would be better to actually be the cheapest manufacturer, and sell the thing to others in exchange for other things you want. If all the best things are made elsewhere, what do you have left to trade? Wood? Ore? Maybe some corn? Right. Resources. Great.

    I could be wrong, but it seems to me that where the jobs are, that's where the prosperity is. At least in the long term.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:53AM (#30979690)

    There was no national call to action (for example..."we're going to put unemployed auto workers to work building an all-new high-speed rail system to link our urban areas" or "we're going to use this opportunity to completely replace our power grid, because we lose such a high percentage of power to inefficiency of the lines"

    America seems to be somewhat unique in its hatred of such government-run projects - there are many people who have denounced Obama's proposed national high-speed rail network [wired.com] as "socialist" and it will be an uphill struggle to get legislation passed. The Chinese administration, in comparison, can decide to build those networks and immediately procure the funding without the legislative battle. Slavoj Zizek [wikipedia.org] has been proposing a very interesting hypothesis recently - that the Chinese have actually discovered a system that is more efficient, and more productive, than the capitalist liberal democracy that the rest of the world has moved towards in the last century. Maybe it will be a turning point in the development of our civilisation.

    Another interesting observation is that China is racing ahead with these projects, with economic growth expected at 8% this year, and yet has very little enforcement of patent or IP protection. Coincidence? The bullet trains are a great example of the lack of IP enforcement leading to rapid development, with Siemens technology finding its way into Chinese designed and manufactured trains.

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Monday February 01, 2010 @08:59AM (#30979708)

    Oh, not this right-wing crap again.

    Unions didn't cause the decline of our manufacturing sector. Germany and Japan have strong manufacturing sectors with high wages.

    The real problem is wealth disparity. More and more wealth is concentrated at the top, where instead of circulating in the real economy and increasing demand and creating jobs, it goes into dubious investments where it creates bubbles over and over again.

    Well, most of it: some of that money goes into campaign finance, and into convincing people like you to vote against their own interests. The labor union is one of the very few mechanisms we have to move wealth back into the real economy. Progressive taxation is another. People like you oppose both.

    Instead of demanding a decent wage for yourself, as you deserve (wages after inflation haven't increased in 30 years), you simply begrudge a few industries farsighted enough to still have unions for earning a decent living. It's masochistic.

    Yes, America is an unrecoverable tailspin, and unwittingly, you demonstrate why.

  • by lq_x_pl (822011) on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:07AM (#30979750)

    Let alone they don't have the EPA breathing down their necks to deal with the toxic crap that is a byproduct of solar panel manufacturing. I am sure if the US didn't have to worry about ensuring this stuff didn't get into the environment everybody would have solar panels on everything

    I don't have the points, somebody mod this up!
    It is as though the whole Cadmium-children's necklaces thing was just a bad dream! They are manufacturing a lot of solar panels and wind turbines, my hat is off to them. The byproducts of such manufacturing (and the industries busily manufacturing them) are often much less than 'green.'
    But they know that the west is buying this stuff up like candy.

    The Chinese are excellent businessmen, and that isn't said as an insult. I admire their ability to think in terms of generations of sustainable output and make business decisions accordingly.

  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:10AM (#30979762)

    If you can dump the effluent from your factories into the rivers and if you don't need to give you workers protective gear, its amazing how financially compelling your argument to build in China becomes. Obviously China will outstrip the workers paradises in Europe, and nobody, least of all the Europeans, are going to complain about polluted rivers and skies in China.

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:11AM (#30979780)

    Define "solved". We know how to reprocess the fuel. We know how to bury it securely enough for any possible risk to be local and slight.

    The problem is that in the minds of critics of a certain age, the waste problem isn't "solved" until it turns itself into sugar-free gummi bears. For free. Immediately.

    We don't hold other kinds of industrial waste to nearly the same standard we hold nuclear, despite that waste remaining more danger for a longer time. (Ever hear of dioxin?)

    Now, you can have a coherent position that involves no pollution whatsoever. As a side effect, it'll make our way of life impossible, and as such, I'll reject it. But at least it's a coherent position.

    On the other hand, you can adopt my worldview, in which a tiny bit of pollution is acceptable, and we should rationally choose technology that results in the least pollution with respect to coal.

    But this notion many people have, that nuclear is a special category, and can't be evaluated using the same intellectual framework we treat the rest of our civilization, is incoherent and irrational. It's clearly the emotional byproduct of growing up during the cold war. It's not something one can rationally argue. It's a belief absolutely impervious to evidence, and is costing us billions each year we delay switching away from coal due to the fear of the nuclear waste boogeyman.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:29AM (#30979958)

    America seems to be somewhat unique in its hatred of such government-run projects - there are many people who have denounced Obama's proposed national high-speed rail network [wired.com] as "socialist" and it will be an uphill struggle to get legislation passed.

    The real wtf is that calling something "socialist" is a denouncement. Only in America.

  • by moeinvt (851793) on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:35AM (#30980028)

    "So in the end the people at large get richer and more equal."

    Don't be too quick to drink the free trade Kool-Aid. That's a nice theory, but it doesn't work out too well in practice. The OP has a good point. We need to know exactly what we're getting into. Do you think NAFTA was good for the poor and middle class workers in the U.S.? Remember how it was supposed to "create jobs" for U.S. citizens? LOL. Well, the Mexicans must be getting rich then, right? Ask some Mexican farmers (ones not working at Burger King in Arizona) how well they're competing against subsidized agricultural products from the U.S. It's amazing that the globalists have managed to figure out a way to structure a trade agreement so tha the poor and middle class get screwed on both ends.

    "The protectionism crap is, well, crap."

    Depends what you mean by "protectionism". We've made a few fundamental decisions, many of them good, about how business is to be conducted in the U.S. Our society decided that companies can't spew pollutants into the air and water with reckless abandon. We enacted laws so that people don't have to work long hours at slave wages under hideous and dangerous working conditions. We have child labor laws, etc. It's insane to have unfettered trade with countries which have NONE of these protections in place. We should absolutely be slapping import duties on foreign goods produced in places that don't live up to similar standards. Putting tariffs on coconuts and bananas because growers in North Carolina can't compete is "protectionism". Putting an import duty on a manufactured good produced by child labor using business practices which despoil the environment is more than fair.

  • Re:Just doing it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Steauengeglase (512315) on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:42AM (#30980124)

    On the other hand it is a hell of a lot easier to get people do to things when doing things is the only chance they have. You could go out and build wind turbines or you could starve. Millions of rural Chinese are choosing to not starve.

    Also, and just because I have a few bones to pick with the article/blog, saying that China is leading the way on solar and wind is like saying that a diabetic is leading the fight against world hunger and sugar imbalance. Of course they are producing more solar panels and wind turbines than anyone else, they are producing more of anything else than anybody else. This is just stating the obvious while the blogger quietly applauds China's take on cap and trade.

    As as far as green infrastructure building goes, of course they are. They have a ton of people and what would save other countries a penny, will costs China billions. If China didn't take that approach it would be like Wal-Mart swapping out their distribution chair for backpacked clowns on pogo sticks.

  • by cenc (1310167) on Monday February 01, 2010 @09:43AM (#30980144) Homepage

    I am sorry, but saying the Chinese government have suddenly developed an environmental conscious is bullshit. I have lived there personally, and I know environmentalist that have tried to work with the government. They are only interested in saving face in front of the World.

    This is all about making products and money. If they thought they could sell blue widgets rather than solar panels for more money, they would. They will also likly dump the chemicals and waist from the manufacturing of the solar panels in to the rivers and lakes, while using the dirties coal powered energy to make them, making their workers sick with uncontrolled processes, and no one will even try to hide it.

    So while you are all feeling warm and fuzzy about your new solar panels, electric car, or whatever saving the Planet, stop and realize that it was made with some of the most environmentally unfriendly and unethical practices in the World in China.

    Try the rivers full of dead floating fish? How about the chemical spills that regularly kill thousands across China? Try driving by one of their coal fired power plants. Your eyes will be watering long before you see the plant. Has anyone on the East coast of China ever seen a star in their life?

    Talking about pollution in China is still officially a State secret that can make people disappear.

  • No Fear of China (Score:4, Insightful)

    by salesgeek (263995) on Monday February 01, 2010 @10:00AM (#30980372) Homepage

    In the long run, I have little fear of China. First, their oppressive government will eventually moderate or fail as the population becomes more educated and more connected to the rest of the world. Second, as China engages with other nations, they have quickly learned how taking shortcuts such as using lead paint on toys is not the path to success. Third, there is the lesson of Google, where China is learning that there is a high cost to forcing the private sector at private expense to do the government's bidding. Finally, China's public health issues and personal liberty issues are on a collision course with it's government ability to stay in power.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday February 01, 2010 @10:12AM (#30980542) Homepage

    My, what a curious idealistic planet you live on.

    On my planet, the rich people who make all the decisions are perfectly happy with the majority of other people suffering and being poor, as long as it increases the prosperity of the rich minority in any way at all.

    There's nothing particularly difficult about understanding this, and nothing special, or evil about the rich doing it. The vast majority of us peons would do the same given the opportunity. If not for yourself, then for your children. No? Don't you believe in evolution, and survival of the fittest?

  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday February 01, 2010 @10:20AM (#30980640)

    Define "solved". We know how to reprocess the fuel

    No we don't.
    A bit of googling will show the French experience in attempting to do so and only getting a small fraction at vast cost. In the USA there were never attempts to get so far so don't let this decay into mindless nation bashing (plus there were people from the USA involved in the French efforts). You can't just walk up to a fuel rod with an angle grinder, everything has to be done remotely and it becomes horribly expensive, time consuming and wasteful.
    As for storing the high grade waste Synrock is a pretty good option and is only now starting to get used after more than thirty years of low budget research. The "nukes are clean" crap was counterproductive so very little effort has gone into the waste problem.

  • Re:You think so? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by old man moss (863461) on Monday February 01, 2010 @10:20AM (#30980652) Homepage
    Unlimited population growth leading to certain death is not innevitable. The population in many developed countries is actually falling - that is why they are [mostly] happy to welcome large numbers of immigrants. Education, particularly of women, and wealth generally leads to a declining birth rate.
  • by originalhack (142366) on Monday February 01, 2010 @10:41AM (#30980906)
    The problem with investing in green tech isn't the EPA. (Many of the worst chemicals in Solar Panel manufacturing are so toxic that they kill you instantly if you mishandle them... and they don't stick around).

    The problem is that these investments take years to payoff and US corporations provide incentives for very short term results at the expense of serious long term investments.
  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Monday February 01, 2010 @11:18AM (#30981466)

    It's no surprise that as car companies come into this country, they go more to the South and a wide swath away from the unions. I believe Mercedes-Benz opened a plant in Alabama in the 1990s for this reason.

    I'm no auto industry expert, but as I understand it, newer automakers are somewhat advantaged because they're not burdened by pensions for their older employees. That $80/hr figure for GM includes having to pay for the retirement of previous workers.

    Also, the south wasn't attractive because it lacked unions: instead, it was attractive because labor was cheap. Newer automakers actually pay wages on par with their union counterparts to the north in a largely successful bid to not give their workers the temptation to unionize. Were it not for the unions, wages would be lower across the board.

    Walmart also is anti-union; when a man up in Canada started a union in a store up there, Walmart shut it down rather than deal with the possible spread of unions throughout its workforce and as a warning.

    And? Of course companies resist unionization. It's bad for profits! That doesn't mean it's bad for society as a whole.

    My friends wanted to do a convention in Philadelphia in 2008. But, because of unions (and not just location), renting the pretty medium hall would have cost 100K. So they held just outside Philly, for the same size hall, it came to 12K. Nearly 10% of the cost.

    I'm quite skeptical of this claim. Everything space-related is more expensive inside a city than outside it, and for reasons that have less to do with unions than with real scarcity. I'm going to have to see some evidence for this one.

    And yes, there is a pay disparity in the America's top corporations.

    Repeat after me: progressive taxation.

  • Fewer Luddites (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hasai (131313) on Monday February 01, 2010 @11:36AM (#30981736)

    Build a wind turbine in the US or EU, and it's "Agggh! You might hurt some birds!"
    Lawsuit-lawsuit-lawsuit....

    Build a hydroelectric dam in the US or EU, and it's "Agggh! You might hurt some snails!"
    Lawsuit-lawsuit-lawsuit....

    Build a solar panel in the US or EU, and it's "Agggh! You might shade some weeds!"
    Lawsuit-lawsuit-lawsuit....

    Build a nuclear reactor in the US or EU, and it's "AGGGH! GIANT ANTS!"
    Lawsuit-lawsuit-lawsuit....

    Folks in China don't seem to have to deal with as many of the "technology is baaaaad" types.
    I suspect it's because they have far more-recent memories of what it's like to freeze in the dark.

  • by bjourne (1034822) on Monday February 01, 2010 @11:48AM (#30981932) Homepage Journal

    You are lying. The worst chemical used in some types of solar panels is cadmium, which is toxic but hardly lethal. NiCd batteries have been used for ages without anyone being "instantly killed."

    That said, there are recycling programs for solar panels so the cadmium is reused and does not contaminate the environment. There isn't anything more ecologically unfriendly with solar panel production, than with any other modern manufacturing process.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Monday February 01, 2010 @11:56AM (#30982018) Homepage

    The planet the other person of course refers to, is the planet run by psychopaths and narcissists. Those who no longer see themselves as part of human society but as exploiters that prey upon human societies. In accurate terms they are in fact no longer a part of human society as a result of their genetic psychological dysfunction. That inherent mental disability that prevents them from being an effective contributing part of human society rather than a destructive corruptive burden upon human society.

    Obviously they represent a considerable problem that must be dealt with, so that human society (we are a group species, who evolve along with the society that we are a part of, we are not lone reptiles). In human terms survival of the fittest is based up the whole species not lone individuals. In evolutionary terms eliminating psychopaths and narcissist improves the collective quality of the human species and improves it survivability. It should be pretty obvious by now that if left to their own devices with out restraint, the psychopaths and narcissist, would blithely destroy the rest of humanity and planets ecosystem to further their own immediate ego (destroying their own progeny as well), so emphatically an evolutionary dead end. It simply remains upon society to remove that dead end before they remove us.

  • Re:Congrats! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the Atomic Rabbit (200041) on Monday February 01, 2010 @12:18PM (#30982364)

    That's what they said about Japanese goods a few decades ago, and about American goods a few decades before that.

  • by Reservoir Penguin (611789) on Monday February 01, 2010 @12:27PM (#30982520)
    And the Russian achieved better results too, after they left many expected the Socialist regime to collapse, instead they lasted for quite some time inflicting heavy defeats on the 'freedom fighters', the Afghan army they trained successfully operated jets, tanks and other advanced equipment on large scale. Compare it top the Afghan army of today, illiterate, undisciplined mess of unshaven men in dirty uniforms (if any) with no supply and command and control capability. It won't last a week against the Taleban.

What ever you want is going to cost a little more than it is worth. -- The Second Law Of Thermodynamics

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