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Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Behavioural economists and cognitive scientists sometimes speak of ‘context effects and framing’.

The former refers to the tendency of people to view product attributes differently depending on the context in which they are observed. Is a four dollar soy latte an expensive caffeine kick? Depends on whether it sits next to the five dollar mocha or the two dollar americano.

The latter is a bit of jargon that is academia speak for the art of salesmanship. “Tomatoes from a backyard in the projects” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “Community grown, organic, sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes”. (Are there any tomatoes that are not sun-ripened?)

Evidently the forces of evil completely understand how these things work. In November California voters completed a resounding defeat of Proposition 23, funded by Texas oil companies, and aimed directly at shutting down the state’s aggressive greenhouse gas mitigation legislation (AB-32), passed last year. Prop. 23 took enormous amounts of flak (and absorbed huge amounts of money) from environmentalists, Democrats and even a few Republicans.

Curiously enough, two oil companies also did not support Proposition 23. Both Shell and Chevron came out in support of CO2 cuts, and spoken of the voters’ right to decide. Chevron has been particularly enlightened.

In unrelated news a rather more boring public financing proposition did pass even as Prop. 23 was being voted down. This one, Proposition 26 (also known as the Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees Act – yes I felt sleepy reading that too), called for all new fees imposed by the state to be reclassified as taxes, requiring an unlikely two thirds majority at all levels of government in order to pass. Good news for those fearing new street cleaning fees. Oh and also good news for anyone fearing the imposition of any “polluter pays” fees. Proposition 26 essentially destroyed the ability of local and state government to implement any market based measures to lower carbon emissions or charge polluters for clean-up operations.

Interestingly, Prop 26 also had millions of dollars in funding from Chevron.

An early article on this – but sadly there were never too many of these.

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