You know what? Screw that. Levine’s not some big radical on the water blogs. What is Levine talking about anyway, a powerful cabal of billionaire farmers? That’s conventional wisdom in California. That’s baby talk for amateurs who watched Chinatown and read Reisner. You want to know who’s saying really revolutionary shit that will up-end people’s lives? Me. I made a list, from least to most controversial.
Less controversial, but often goes unsaid:
We should save fish species because ending a species is morally wrong. If the cost includes the end of some human lifestyles, then we should still pay that cost.
My faction is part of the problem and should pay for that part of the solution.
DWR should follow the fucking law and write EIS/EIRs for its programs before it does them.
California’s water rights system is massively unjust for current citizens. Some people are awarded huge wealth by historical chance; others who are no less worthy as citizens and people are expected to pay the winners for any additional water supply.
Trade-offs should be explicit, and not left undefined. The reader may prefer the other side of the trade-off, so it shouldn’t be hinted at darkly or left as an unconscious assumption.
A process-based objection is not proof that the policy that resulted from the process is wrong.
If an enterprise is not profitable once it has internalized its environmental and social externalities, it is an ongoing loss to society and shouldn’t exist.
Society as a whole will become poorer; at the same time, the costs of everything ecosystem-based will rise sharply. People will be herded in from the exurbs and suburbs by the cost of everything.
Agriculture will substantially contract due to lack of water. The ballsy part here is that I actually estimate an amount of three million acres, down from 9 million. I predict the lost acreage will be from the west side, the Delta and most lands currently in alfalfa.
People will live in smaller places and eat less meat, because meat will become very expensive.
A market should be designed to do something, accomplish a goal that is bigger than existing as a market.
Subsidies themselves are not inherently bad. Subsidies become bad when society shifts away from the goals they continue to promote.
Local jurisdictions cannot be relied upon to work against narrow self-interest. Where those conflict, a larger entity should compel them to act (to maintain, upgrade or move infrastructure), at their expense.
The ecosystem based part of our economy will contract for the next hundred years (at least). We shouldn’t look for the gains of growth economies to lift us painlessly out of recession.
We could select and plan for a pleasant future; we could choose a transition that minimizes the pain of shrinking. We are in the realm of minimizing pain, not expanding to additional consumption.
Population planning should be part of that transition.
Some of our dilemmas do not have win-win solutions. The better choice for the whole state should be implemented even when there are people who are made substantially worse off. (This is a taboo notion in a lot of state processes. They simply dwindle to a stop when they can’t find win-win solutions. We tactfully don’t mention the program again. Four years later, the same problem generates a new program that won’t be able to do anything so long as no one can be made worse off.)