Tonight, Hilary Benn, the environment secretary, said the ban would have both financial and environmental benefits. It would cut greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites and from manufacturing new products such as cans and bottles from virgin materials.
It would also save councils money on the landfill tax charged for every tonne of waste, and allow them to make money from selling recycling materials. As existing landfill sites fill up, there is also a looming problem of finding new locations.
And the lie is so transparent. They are still not including in their cost estimates the time it takes households to sort the rubbish so that it can be recycled. They are thus ignoring the major cost of such schemes.
And, yes, I know I\’ve been banging on about this for years. However, I\’ve now some support from two Nobel Laureates to underpin my basic contention. That time spent doing such things is a cost and a cost which has to be included in our cost benefit analysis.
Mssrs. Stiglitz and Sen did a report for M. Sarkozy on alternatives to GDP as a measurement of how well we\’re doing. In it they make the clear and obvious point that household production must be included in any proper measure of wealth and/or income. They also provide us with the metric by which we should value it. The cost of undifferentiated general labour. In our case that\’s almost certainly the minimum wage.
Now, true, they are saying that because we cannot measure the output of such household production we should measure the input: the time spent creating that household production. This isn\’t as odd as it seems, this is what we do with most Government already. We cannot measure the value of a court system so we simply assume that it adds to GDP what it costs us to have a court system. And so on with much/most of government.
But one of the things you\’re not allowed to get away with in economics (as is also the case in other sciences) is to say that we\’ll treat this (in this case, household labour in household production) in one manner over here and then in another manner over there.
If household labour is to be valued at minimum wage then household labour is to be valued at minimum wage.
So if we place a geas upon households that they must labour at a certain task then we must value the labour we are forcing them to put into that task.
And absolutely none of the estimations of the costs and benefits of recycling include the value of this labour. Therefore they are all lying through their teeth to us, the arrogant, spiteful, bastards.
Therefore we get to hang them all.