måndag 19 januari 2009

Bin tax idiocy

Ministers have quietly adopted powers to impose pay-as-you-throw rubbish taxes of £50 or more around the country without the need for a parliamentary vote. Article in The Daily Telegraph

What is it about the British government that makes them jump at probably the most stupid policy imaginable? How can they be so out of touch? Over and over again, the wrong action is taken.

If people are made to dispose of rubbish, many of them will just dump it anywhere. It would be difficult to think of a better way of encouraging the dumping of rubbish.

If the prices of goods included a tax to cover the cost of disposal, then this would give a price signal: that buying rubbish costs money. It would also provide the funds for getting rid of it at the other end of its life cycle, no-questions-asked. And if there were incentives for re-use such as deposit schemes for reusable containers, they would cease to be a problem too, as people would collect them to get the money back.

How is it that British policymakers can have failed yet again to grasp the fundamental principle that if one wants people to act in a particular way, the best method is to give them an incentive to do that?

I despair. Anyway, only three weeks to go before I am off again.

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