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Notice that the elite is especially important in Keynesianism maintaining a functioning industrial society because the good functioning of the industrial system requires functioning top-down institutions

Fixed it for you.

You are free to favour village-level localism. But village-council localism will not have electricity.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat May 31st, 2014 at 11:03:31 AM EST
Village areas can make out fine. Here 50% of our electricity is local and renewable. A second turbine on the river is planned, and with some more solar and some wind, the village (and surrounding smaller villages) could reach 100% local renewable. And it's not even DFHs in charge.

Major industrial-level generation is surely much more needed for the large urban areas.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 31st, 2014 at 11:30:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Were the turbines produced locally? And I mean, including supplying the materials.
Is there a fully autonomous network at local level? Which would not only that it needs not be connected, but that all its operations can be run from the village -including writing software for it.

Then wiring towards the houses must be done by a local craftsman. As would writing and enforcement of safety regulations.

OK, I'm not actually trying to piss you off. So I'd better stop.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sat May 31st, 2014 at 12:38:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know the answers to these questions. Of course the turbines are not produced locally. Of course (in France) the local network cannot be independent of EDF.

Wiring towards consumers, maintenance, etc are done by the local network employees. Writing software or regulations at local level is not impossible, though obviously standardisation would be desirable.

But my point was not to say that there was no need for largescale industry. Just to counter the local=candlelight theme.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat May 31st, 2014 at 12:56:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Something like the subsidiarity principle so dear to Starvid?
But in a positive way (subsidiarity  is often used as dog whistle for deregulation): starting local and going bottom up rather than top down...
by Bernard (bernard) on Sat May 31st, 2014 at 03:47:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the thing is that localism does mean candlelights.

You can do a lot of things bottom-up, but maintaining a reliable electricity network is just not one of those things. For the same reason a deregulated market of small tradesmen cannot do it.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat May 31st, 2014 at 06:03:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The local electricity authority here (and it is far from unique in rural France) has maintained its network for decades without outside aid (other than standardisation, very good thing). It is part of the national network 1) by legal obligation 2) out of need to distribute half the electricity consumed from outside sources. The second constraint could change with increased local generation.

I'm not suggesting an independent local grid would be a good idea, nor that there is some magic bottom-up solution for electricity generation. Just that I think your sweeping disqualification of local potential is mistaken.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2014 at 02:06:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not dismissing local potential to do good work. I am dismissing local potential to protect you from incompetent or malicious central elites, which was the key contention of the diary.

If you want to vest enough power with local warlords that they are able to offer effective protection from malicious central warlords, then you will not have electricity.

Because your local regions won't share the same set of rules and dispute resolution systems which enable trade. Which means you will be unable to draw upon a supply chain (of both commodities and technical specialists that you cannot feasibly train at the local level) robust enough to sustain industrial production. And even if by some miracle you have the raw materials readily at hand, and you are willing to expend a disproportionate amount of effort training specialists, you will not be able to deploy the products of advanced industry into a large enough market to recoup the fixed costs of establishing the industrial production and supply chain.

Now, if you are talking about localism in the sense of the local authority being empowered to support bottom-up initiatives, then that's perfectly fine and proper. But it's not a bottom-up, local system of governance. It's a top-down, centralist system of governance which leaves room for local, bottom-up initiatives.

The key difference, and the way you tell the difference, between the two is that in the latter system the center can kill any local initiative that is deemed seriously contrary or disruptive to the center's planning or interests. (Imagine, if you will, a local authority establishing an excise on non-locally produced products. This is something the center will come down on like a ton of bricks.)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2014 at 03:40:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great synopsis Jake.

Remember that 40 million Euro fine proposed (legislated?) in Spain for removing your solar panels from the grid and powering off batteries?

Not sure if it is/would be enforced but it's a hell of a message. A ton of bricks indeed!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2014 at 04:23:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, completely agree. ;)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2014 at 05:10:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will say this: within a 20 mile radius we have two dams with 10 turbines between them. Even though Entergy, through the political process, got the right to sell power to the citizens of the city of Mountain Home, they have no generation facilities within 100 miles and I am pretty sure they just resell power from the dams that they acquire on the market. But in the event of a national disruption I still expect to have power delivered. One generator alone will more than supply all needed power for our county and the surrounding counties. Were there problems with this I would not be surprised were problems to appear in the distribution power lines - Arkies being Arkies.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2014 at 03:20:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For the same reason a deregulated market of small tradesmen cannot do it.

A deregulated market of large corporations can't do it either (q.v. Enron et al) so I'm not entirely sure what your point is here.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2014 at 01:43:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A deregulated market of large corporations is a contradiction in terms. Large corporations create their own regulations in the absence of a strong central authority to bring them to heel.

That this regulation protects the interests of the large corporations and their immediate stakeholders is of course unsurprising. And that these interests do not coincide with electricity for everyone is equally unsurprising.

So my point is that if one likes having both electricity and democratic accountability, then one needs a central authority which is democratically accountable and strong enough to come down on major corporations like a ton of bricks.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2014 at 02:06:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This whole subthread throws me back to a discussion we had in 2006:
One also has to think of economies of scale, or rather of limitations imposed by small scales. There are technologies that simply cannot be deployed by a community below a certain size.

My point is that the technological infrastructure is not a cheat, it's precisely what allows you more control of the way to get there from here, and it may be what makes it possible to begin with.

I mean, suppose the Amish wanted to build a wind turbine. Are the turbine blades going to be made or wood, or wrought by an ironmonger? Where do you get advanced materials from?

Then again, 3D-printing holds long-term promise in this regard...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2014 at 06:38:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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