Wednesday, 3 April 2013
Wednesday, 20 March 2013
An often under appreciated but extremely important aspect of advertising is the music. Ads in the past have spawned number ones as well as ruining one song for an entire generation. I thought I would pick out five examples of the best use of music in ads that I can think of. Some of these ads are new some old, but all use music brilliantly. Enjoy and if you can think of any do comment below.
1. Lynx 'Getting Dressed' -BBH
2. Mc Donald's Happy Meal Boxes.- Leo Burnett
3. Tesco- Wieden + Kennedy
4. Guinness- Evolution of life- AMV-BBDO
5. Cadbury's Gorilla- Fallon London
Monday, 18 March 2013
A criticism that is often used against Conservatism is that it is primarily designed to ensure that the ruling classes or the aristocracy maintain power and influence within society. This criticism is based on the top down form of government that is associated with Conservatism and their belief in a natural hierarchy. Socialists in particular might argue that Conservatism is a class based ideology as their belief has often been that ideologies reflect the interest of a particular class.
In my opinion this argument is completely undermined by the fact that Conservatism is not an ideology but an attitude of mind which has been shaped and interpreted by many different pragmatic thinkers. One aspect of Conservatism that supports the idea of a ‘ruling class ideology’ is their strong belief in tradition and authority. The Conservative stance on tradition is summed up effectively by twentieth century novelist G.K.Chesterton ‘The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected’. It can be argued that the Conservative support of undemocratic and unelected systems such as the House of Lords and the Monarchy shows a reluctance to release power from the ruling class who inhabit these systems.
Further to this the conservative view on human nature makes them suspicious of democracy, instead they believe that people are better suited to a highly controlled society in which everyone does their duty, in the words of Edmund Burke; “good order is the foundation of things’ and this again suggests a society in which one class has total control over the rest. In terms of authority conservatives have always rejected natural rights preferring to emphasise the duty of the citizen to the state. In this way they do not believe in a ‘social contract’ but instead a ‘natural necessity’ for strong leadership. This suggests a ruling class ideology as conservatives also believe that due to human imperfections authority should be exercised from above, this is supported by the words of French philosopher Maistre ‘Man in general, if reduced to himself, is too wicked to be free.’ In this way not only do conservatives believe in strong authority, they believe it should come from above. This point can be strengthened by the words of conservative Lord Salisbury who said; ‘always wealth, in some countries birth, in all intellectual power mark out the men to whom…a community looks to undertake its government.’ This shows how conservatives often choose to place this much needed authority with those in the ruling classes.
Overall there is strong evidence to suggest that due to the conservative stance on human nature and the necessity for tradition and authority Conservatism could be viewed as a ruling class ideology. Another way in which Conservatism might be viewed as a ruling class ideology is in the economic inequalities that are created when it is put into practise. Conservative ‘Thatcherites’ believed that the previously adopted method of Keynesian economics had lead to ‘idleness and dependence’ and instead adopted monetarism due to its ability to create wealth. The ‘natural injustice’ that this created can be seen to benefit the ruling class as it allows them to maintain social control whilst strengthening the class gap. Conservatives justify this by arguing that inequality gives people greater incentives to work harder. In reality the absence of social mobility which may be caused by this ‘functional necessity’, guarantees that the same ruling class can continue to stay in power.
On the other hand Tory democracy advocates economic policies designed to bridge the gap between the rich and poor. Benevolent paternalism was supported by the Conservative Disraeli who argued ‘To tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection: it is plunder.’ This fiscal policy shows how conservatives have not only sought to help and secure the ruling classes and this is further shown in their adaptation of Keynesian economics at the end of the Second World War. Keynesian economics works by creating a large state and public sector in the ultimate goal of reaching full employment. This again is not coherent with an attempt to maintain a ‘ruling class’. In this way although the economic policy under Thatcher can be seen as advocating a ruling class society it is clear to see that in the past many conservatives have employed a fairer economic policy, and this weakens the strength of this point.
The final way in which Conservatism can be interpreted as a ruling class ideology is in its promotion of the family and their stress on the importance of family in society. It could be said that the conservative’s support of families has a more sinister backing as they seek to install a sense of a natural hierarchy. Families, it’s argued, represent an ideal conservative state in that within a family inequality is natural, the parents rule as they are more equipped to lead on account of their education, experience and skills, authority is assumed and not contractual. Just like parents rule over their children Lord Salisbury and the conservatives believe it is natural for the aristocracy to rule: ‘every community has a natural leader to whom, if they are not misled by the insane passion for equality, they will instinctively defer.’ This reliance on family is still reflected in the modern conservatives with David Cameron making family a key priority in England; ‘it’s (family) the key to repairing the broken society’.
Further to this with more families, society is rendered more stable and therefore the ruling class are able to exercise a greater amount of social control, this is touched on by Burke who described the ‘little platoons’ within a society. In a conservative state the family would be the model for all institutions and this supports the idea of Conservatism as a ruling class ideology as the family contains a natural and strong hierarchy that rules from the top.
The first and most obvious way in which Conservatism is not a ruling class ideology lies in the fact that most conservatives would say that it is not an ideology at all. Conservatives distrust abstract theories and systems of thought. They have always believed in ‘travelling light’ with ideology and instead prefer to put their trust in experience, history and pragmatism. This point is strengthened by Lord Hailsham’s belief that ‘Conservatism is not a philosophy but an attitude of mind.’ The pragmatic nature of conservatives means that they don’t view situations through an ideological lens but prefer to instead make decisions that will have the best outcome in the circumstances. For example had Conservatism been an ideology that looked to fight all forms of reform then the current Conservative party would’ve taken a negative stance on devolution. However using rationality and pragmatism they instead have taken a more positive stance, and this reflects the way in which there is no fixed set of beliefs within Conservatism. The lack of ideological status is a very strong point against the accusation of Conservatism being a ‘ruling class ideology.’ The fact that Conservatism is not an ideology means that there are many different strands within it. If we analyse the views of the Neo-Liberals who are a major thread of Conservatism we find further evidence against the accusation. Firstly the Neo-Liberals, who’s most famous affiliate is Thatcher, believe in meritocracy. In this way they deem that wealth and status should be distributed to those who are more skilled and hard working. This is reflected in their attitude towards the economy. Thatcher wanted to ‘roll back the frontiers of the state’ and in doing so promote economic liberalism which would encourage the free market and individual responsibility, this is belief that was greatly supported by the New Right American conservative Milton Friedman who claimed; ‘government is the cause of economic problems not the cure’. This goes against the idea of a ruling class as it allows for social mobility and rewards those in terms of achievement rather than ensuring that one class is rewarded. Further to this rather than a ‘natural hierarchy’ which favours the ruling class Neo-Liberal conservatives promote equality of opportunity. With Thatcher stating ‘there is no such thing as society’ we can clearly see that this Neo-Liberal strand of Conservatism which has been present in England since the 1970’s undermines the idea of a ruling class as it allows for greater social progress and economic freedom.
Finally, there is a second strand of Conservatism that also provides evidence against the concept of a ruling class ideology. One Nation Tories believe in trying to help the people who need this help the most. This type of Conservatism was endorsed primarily by Disraeli who thought that the wealthy and powerful must shoulder the burden of social responsibility which is their price for the privileges they have obtained. In this way they believe that the job of the aristocracy is not to rule over society but instead to help those within it. This burden of responsibility that is placed on ‘the ruling class’ is called ‘noblesse oblige’ and was later described as ‘compassionate conservatism.’ This idea of compassion for all classes is further reinforced by the fact that when in power Disraeli past the social reform act of 1867 which extended the right to vote to the working class for the first time. As One-Nation Conservatism developed through Randolph Churchill in the 19th century it became known as a form of Tory welfarism which sought to improve the lives of the less fortunate. This proves that there are aspects of Conservatism which have sought to help the less privileged and have looked to ensure that the aristocracy do not just rule but also assist those in need, this is therefore another strong point against the idea of Conservatism being a ruling class ideology.
I believe that Conservatism is not a ruling class ideology and that by analysing the separate strands of Conservatism we can discover that this ‘attitude of mind’ often looks to help and consolidate the underprivileged. I think that although their strong beliefs on tradition and authority may appear to be designed to ensure that the privileged remain in power, they are actually policies that are rooted more in religion and a fear of the law of unintended consequences. It is important to remember that Conservatism can’t simply be branded an ‘ideology’ and has instead been shaped through the ages by pragmatic thought. Although it can be said that in some ways Conservatism does defend the interests of the dominant elite it is in the internal conflict that we discover this is a system for all classes.
Thursday, 14 March 2013
I'm hearing reports that MP Eric Joyce may have hit someone in the Commons sports bar...again!
This would be the second time he has been involved in a fight in the bar after previously being taken away from the Strangers Bar in the Commons in February. Back then, he was arrested by police after reportedly headbutting a Tory MP and attacking several other Conservatives.
A source at the bar now says:
" I can't believe it, everyone just got kicked out the bar. Police everywhere.....I was standing outside having a cigarette when I saw him punch someone in the face outside the Sports Bar...the police had to pull that apart"
There are also reports that he may have also hit a police officer but it's unclear at the moment.
It can often be very difficult for Governments both domestically and internationally to find the right balance between policies that intervene in markets and ones that leave them to follow their own course. This can be particularly true of developing countries where unnecessary intervention in the markets could have damaging effects on that country’s economy.
In developing countries the state has four key roles to play. To provide public goods, to correct market imperfections, to protect the vulnerable and ensure equitable distribution of income and finally to provide an environment in which markets can flourish. Here the second and forth points are the most relevant to this question as these suggest that it is important for the Government to have a hand in the market in order to correct imperfections and create the correct environment.
One deficiency that may damage the market if there is no Government intervention is the effect of the imperfections on the price level. In a developing country, we would expect that spillovers of knowledge would be far less than perfect. The result of this is that the markets will never be perfectly competitive. In this way, the first entrant in a market will enjoy monopoly rents. These monopoly rents may account for the persistence of income differences, and changes in the pace of innovation would then account for a widening of income differentials. In the presence of market imperfections, price may not always reflect marginal cost this is because, tariffs, subsidies and other imperfections distort free market prices upon which private producers base their production decisions. Furthermore the existence of externalities can give rise to multiple equilibria.
Another result of a lack of Government intervention in the markets is that if you leave production to the markets, you cannot guarantee that vital developmental goods and services will be produced. The existence of externalities both positive and negative results in some goods being underprovided and others overprovided from a social point of view. For example many infrastructure projects, which don’t yield obvious economic benefits, could be overlooked. One solution to this is for the Government to intervene and by compensating or subsidising companies in order to encourage more social projects. This is a particular problem in countries like Somalia, which has the least functional educational system in the world with just 10% of children going to primary school. This lack of education has been worsened by the global economic crisis, for example in Kenya, which is rated in the 50 worst countries for education, plans to provide a free primary school education to 8.3 million children were delayed due to a lack of funds.
As I have shown there are many market imperfections that occur in developing countries that require Government intervention to prevent market failure. So I want to explore why it is that some people are reluctant to allow Governments to become to involved.
Firstly corruption is one of the major issues facing developing countries. It is estimated that corruption can cause the growth rate of a country to be 0.5 to 1.0 percentage points lower than that of a similar country with little corruption. Meanwhile it has been predicted that a country that improves its governance from a low average level (and in doing so reduces corruption) could triple its average per-capita income in the long run whilst also tackling education and health rates. Returning to my example of Somalia, we can see how the Government’s corruption has actually hindered efforts to build up the markets and developmental institutions like schools. In July 2012 the BBC alleged that around 70% of money intended for development and reconstruction was in fact unaccounted for. This demonstrates why people may be reluctant to trust Government in interfering with the markets. The main problem with corruption in terms of the markets, is that the support the markets require to avoid failing (e.g the allocation of property rights) is exactly the sort of support that can be corrupted. When the Government controls the import permits, licenses regulations, taxes and subsidies it is more likely to carry out rent-seeking behaviour.
Rent-seeking increases the cost of private business and in doing so, perhaps more importantly, it also discourages future investment. Further to this a weak Government may unintentionally undermine markets. There have been cases for example where one or two political companies become monopolies, which serves to undermine the market and also reduces the utility of the consumers. This was certainly the case during the development of modern Russia, where a lot of the companies that harvested Russia’s natural resources were split between political allies of the Government.
Although it is clear that there is a lot of potential pitfalls in allowing a potentially corrupt government to interfere in the markets. I argue that these negatives are still better then the potential consequences of no government intervention. This is best demonstrated in the failure of the Washington Consensus in the 1980’s and the 1990’s. The Washington Consensus was a set of policies that the US government and the international financial institutions based in the US thought were necessary in order for developing countries to increase their growth and fortify their economies. Amongst these policies were included financial liberalization, Trade liberalization, privatization (of state enterprises), deregulation (removing rules that impede the entry of new firms or restrict competition) and a reduced role for the state. Clearly the intention here was to discourage any government intervention in the markets. However the result is not as they would have hoped as the absence of market-facilitating economic practices and weak governance undermined the functioning of the markets. One of the main assumptions of the consensus that was quickly discovered to be false was that as long as a country was growing, then the people in that country would be getting better off. In fact economists now know that a certain amount of intervention is required in order to provide essential support in alleviating poverty whilst also protecting the environment.
The solution therefore should not be to cut out Government from a developing economy, but rather to reform it. This is exactly what the IMF have tried to do in Kenya through the creation of a ‘wealth declaration law’. This law requires leaders and civil servants to declare their income and assets each year and forces a weekly inspection of the central bank’s balance sheet to ensure that foreign aid isn’t being used for private gain. In country’s that are not being monitored by the UN it is important to find the correct balance between intervention and liberalization. As Stiglitz (1989, p.202) writes;
“Market failures are particularly pervasive in LDCs. Good policy requires identifying them, asking which can be directly attacked by making markets work more effectively (and in particular, reducing government imposed barriers to the effective working of markets), and which cannot. We need to identify which market failures can be ameliorated through nonmarket institutions (with perhaps the government taking an instrumental role in establishing these nonmarket institutions). We need to recognize both the limits and strengths of markets, as well as the strengths, and limits, of government interventions aimed at correcting market failures.”
This quote sums up perfectly the importance of finding the right balance of intervention in developing countries. This is just as important in developed countries as well. Only with the right balance of state actions and with a drive to decrease corruption can a country start to truly develop both economically and socially.
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Lots of people don't even realise it, but there is a huge selection of films available for free on SkyPlayer (Sky Go). The difficult thing is deciding which one to watch. That is why I have been picking out the 5 best films on Skygo each month since November last year. If you have seen any of these films and agree/disagree with my short reviews then just comment below. Enjoy.
Margin Call is the scarily realistic film about one bank's actions on the night before the recession. It has a great cast including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Zachary Quinto (the bad guy in Heroes). This is an intense film so not the easiest of watching and also probably not great for those who are uninterested in the financial system. However it is completely gripping and leaves you wanting to go to Goldman Sachs and punch the first banker you can find.
This is basically the murderous thriller version of 'Wall Street'. Christian Bale plays a yuppie banker who enjoys boozy lunches by day and bloody murders by night. This isn't really a horror film as such as it has that almost comedic 'Tarantino' style violence, that said, it's probably not the most romantic of films so might be a good one to watch with friends. Right that's the last banking film I promise.
They tried to make a whole series of these films (a bit like with Final Destination) but none of them were as good as this original (which strangely was written by the Final Destination guys). I like the premise of this film- what would happen to your future, if you could change your past? Okay some of the acting is a bit questionable and the plot just gets weird towards the end but I would definitely recommend this for a nice easy film to watch one night.
This film is basically about what would happen if Lance Armstrong met Neil Armstrong. Set in the future, where people who are genetically weak are treated as second class citizens, Ethan Hawke steals Jude Law's identity (including blood transfusions) in order to be able to work at a futuristic Nasa. The whole thing is quite silly but fun, it's worth a watch.
I always get excited when there's a Hitchock film on Sky and this is one of my all time favourites. Even with his slightly dated special effects, Hitchcock creates such brilliant tension in this eerie thriller. If you have never seen a Hitchock before this is a good place to start. Even if you don't watch the whole thing just watch this clip below. Its the best scene in the whole film and Hitchock's use of music is genius.
Watch the clip then click my link and watch the whole thing.
Creepy Birds Scene
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
So this is my 100th post. I have been blogging since the 16th July 2012 and strangely by most popular post is till the very first I ever wrote. Here are my three most popular posts with links, followed by some blogging rules I have picked up and finally I have linked my personal favourite posts out of the 100:
1. G4S- Click to Read
2. My Exclusive Interview with Fredric Bourdin (The Imposter)- Click to Read
3. The Best Films on Sky Go (August 2013)- Click to Read
I guess now that I am an 'experienced blogger' I am in a position to say my 5 rules of blogging that I have learnt over the past few months.
1. Write Regularly- Nobody is going to read a blog that only has a short piece about your amazing holiday in Thailand last Christmas.
2. Be Original- This doesn't mean that every post has to be completely off the wall but if you find one thing that it makes it different to all the other posts on the net then it's bound to be successful (it might even go a tiny bit viral). Also mix up the style of posts you write, people don't want to read the same stuff each time.
3. Spread the Word- annoying as it is for everyone else if you don't tell people about your blog then they won't know it exists. Twitter, google, stumbleupon are all good options.
4. Don't be put off- When you first start blogging, nobody will read your stuff then all your friends will find your blog and take the piss. For example I have this one Iranian friend who takes the piss at whatever I do. He got the Nolovirus this week so I guess I got the last laugh. Don't be put off.
5. Get on with it- There are days when a blog seems like the worst most boring idea ever. Again don't worry about hits the point of blogging is just to create something of your own. If you're finding it horrible do something else.
Finally here are some of my personal favourite posts in each category with reasons why:
1. Bercow's Bellamy's Blunder- This was the first time I had a 'political exclusive', it got picked up by Guido Fawkes and then I got a whole load of abuse online. Good Fun.
2. Andrew Mitchell- Long before he was proved to be telling the truth I posted this about the Plebgate affair...
1. Time Out Goes Free- I managed to 'break' this story which was picked up by a few other media websites...right time right place really.
2. Hey Whipple Squeeze This Review- This was quite a normal review but I got a nice message from the author afterwards which makes it all worthwhile.
3. 5 Best radio Ads- for some reason nobody had thought to do this before and this post got loads of hits.
Skyfall Review- This is a good example of how to make a film review slightly more original.
Family Films- My family's favourite films.
Monday, 11 March 2013
I have recently been trying to put more of my own work up on here so that I am not just blogging about other people's stuff. So here are a few spec ads I made for a small portfolio. Feel free to comment/ mock/ support in the comments at the bottom of the page.
This is an ad I made for Gym Box. Was quite happy with this and I recently saw they have a new campaign with the line "Train Different" so I guess I wasn't too far off the mark.
In this ad for Innocent Smoothies I tried to bring a bit of the countryside to this urban brand.
These ads for Tom Tom, capture the moment when you realise that it's time to buy a Tom Tom.
For me there is no better way to describe a Bic 4.
Check out some earlier work here
Thursday, 7 March 2013
Last night I went to a very interesting seminar that was both talking about the first half of this coalition government and then going on to try and make some predictions about the future, and the election in particular. What became very clear is that this election will be as unpredictable as ever. Despite this I'm going to now try and answer myself some the key questions that arose last night. If you think i'm wrong then comment below this article.
Who will win the next election?
Until last night, I thought this was a far from easy answer. Now I'm not so sure. The big problem for the Conservatives is their failure to get boundary changes implemented in this Parliament. The result of this is that they need an 11% average swing in order to win a majority. Furthermore, Labour are not their only problem, in order to win the election Conservatives would HAVE to win seats like Eastleigh from the Lib Dems. This actually may be far more difficult now they are their coalition partners. So I'm afraid I can't see past Labour being the party with the most seats but they may still need the help of the Liberals to form a Government.
Who will be in charge at the next election?
Ed Milliband is certainly safe, and I can't see any Liberals wanting to challenge Clegg before the election as they have a better chance of waiting and forming a coalition with Labour with a new leader. David Cameron is certainly not very popular within his party, but there's the simple problem that nobody is good enough to replace him (yes sit down Michael Gove). Chancellor wise there are certainly suggestions that Ed Balls is already starting to annoy Ed Milliband, and serval times this year Balls has come out with things that have clearly not been approved. However Balls has quite a lot of power and so it's unlikely Milliband will be able to shift him. Osbourne is about as toxic as a four day old sushi roll but replacing him would be an admission of failure on the economy. Again no change here I think.
How will the Scottish referendum change things?
The referendum is a win win situation for the Conservatives. They are campaigning to keep the Union together so if this does happen they can claim a victory and maybe gain some popularity in Scotland. Meanwhile if the Scots do vote to go it alone then suddenly Labour lose about 40 guaranteed seats in Parliament. This is certainly an interesting development to look out for.
What will the campaigns look like?
This is an interesting question as usually in each election you have two messages. The party in power says stick with us, let us finish the job we are on the right track. Meanwhile the other party says it's time for a change, they've got it all wrong. Well now we have a coalition government, and I think it is going to be a very hard sell for the Conservatives to mount a campaign with the message 'let us go it alone and we'll do better'. In this way I think Milliband will focus his attacks on the Conservatives and he will have the possibility of a future Lib-Lab coalition in the back of his mind. The debates will be key and this is an amazing opportunity for Milliband to stand apart from the other two and present himself as the only viable alternative as Clegg and Cameron argue over a shared history.
Will the Lib Dems be wiped out?
Many people have said that they expect the Liberals to be completely wiped off the electoral map at the next election. This won't happen. I think the fact they have now actually been in Government will help to get people to take them seriously. An interesting point made at the talk last night, looked at the difference between the polls and the results in by-elections etc. A lot of people at the moment might be embarrassed to say to a pollster that they are voting Liberal Democrat but when it comes to polling day their vote will hold up. The interesting seat will be Nick Clegg's where some predict he could get beaten, but that would require an epic swing and I don't think that will happen. The MPs who should be worried are the ones who rely on a big student vote.
So I hope this gets you thinking about the next election. If you have any other questions or think i'm wrong about any of the above just comment below. C
Wednesday, 6 March 2013
Each day the evidence grows in favour of the negative consequences that rise as a result of the increasing amount of emissions produced globally. Scientists have discovered that CO2 concentrations in our atmosphere are now higher than at any time in the past million years, and potentially even higher than in the past 15 million years. There is no doubt that a rise in CO2 causes temperatures to rise globally. 2011 was the 35th consecutive year since 1976 that the yearly global temperature was above average and although temperatures have gone up and down on occasions, the overall trend is of a long-term rise. 1997’s Kyoto Protocol marked the first step by the international community to try and tackle global emissions. However after several different climate change summits and very little being done to reduce climate change, it is clear that Kyoto did not work.
Although it was organised in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was not actually signed into law until 2005. This is because it required ratification from countries that accounted for at least 55% of 1990 carbon dioxide emissions. With countries like the U.S and Australia refusing to sign up, it took the participation of Russia, who accounted for 17%, to finally bring the treaty into law. The treaty required the industrialized Annex I countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions back to their 1990 levels by the year 2000 (BBC, 2009). This required a range of obligations from eight percent down for the European Union to 10 percent above 1990 levels in the case of Iceland. Moving on to the United States, their problem with the protocol seemed to be based around three major points. Emission reductions and the tough challenge set by the protocol, the seeming lack of responsibility put on developing countries and finally emissions trading and joint implementation.
On emission reduction, had the United States fully participated in the Kyoto Protocol, they would be facing a target of about 30 percent reduction below business-as-usual levels in the year 2012. This was one of the major criticisms of the protocol in that it was accused of imposing high costs and substantial burdens on the more industrialized countries. A thirty percent reduction of emissions would obviously be an unviable solution for the America, as in this case the cost of abating is too high. Further to this America were unhappy at the extent to which a country’s emission reduction could be met through the purchasing of permits from other countries. A higher level would’ve allowed a country like the United States to ‘buy the right’ to emit rather than having to take difficult domestic action.
On developing countries the United States insisted that true success in dealing with climate change could only be achieved with the participation of the major developing Nations. The developing country bloc meanwhile argued that the Berlin Mandate excluded them from commitments in the Protocol, to limit emissions. Again this raised the economic issue of how to enforce emissions cutbacks that would be proportional to countries at different levels of development. This problem is known as “free riding”. Free riding occurs when a fall in rest-of-world emissions creates a welfare gain for a non-participating country, which benefits from the increased air quality. Consumers in this country may want to allocate some of this gain to private goods consumption. To do this, the developing country, which does non participate in the protocol, may in fact emit more pollution in order to transform the cleaner environment benefit into a real goods benefit. Overall the Kyoto protocol can been characterized by four key elements: “Ambitious, short-term emission reduction targets, but no long-term targets; full responsibility (targets) only for industrialized countries; flexibility provided through market-based mechanisms, such as tradable permit systems; and an absence of effective instruments for promoting compliance and participation.” This raises a number of economic issues, as I talked about with reference to the United States in particular. These issues have ultimately resulted in the failure of Kyoto to make a real difference. Therefore when looking at how the protocol could be improved, many glance towards the first three of these elements.
Opponents of the Kyoto protocol propose a system that reverses the way the protocol originally worked. Rather then having difficult initial targets they propose growth targets that are designed to increase developing country participation over time whilst having modest reduction targets in the short-term. So having pinpointed some of the economic issues that were raised by the Kyoto Protocol I now want to access some of the solutions and alternatives proposed by other economists. One proposal that is put forward that is not too dissimilar to the current agreement is that of Aldy, Orszag, and Stiglitz (2001), in their paper they build on the basic structure of Kyoto but instead propose; “a hybrid system of emission quotas with a maximum permit price.” They believe that by balancing the risks associated with climate change with the risks of excessively costly emission reductions there will be more successes in encouraging countries to reduce emissions on their own accord. Under this system additional permits would be available at a fixed price. Money raised from the sale of these permits would go towards climate change research and help the developing countries’ efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Developing countries would be included in the short term via voluntary measures and in the longer term via mandatory commitments. This proposal actually doesn’t represent a significant departure from the Kyoto framework, and again it may face difficulties in getting more developed nations to agree to the purchasing of potentially pricey permits in order to allow for emissions.
Another recommendation from Cooper (1998, 2001) moves significantly further from the current Kyoto Protocol. They propose that instead of trying to negotiate emissions quotas with countries at different stages of development around the globe, countries should try and work out a set of common actions that could be used to achieve an agreed global emissions target. In particular, they argue for the use of a coordinated carbon tax that would be used by all participating nations, whatever stage of development they were in, in order to tax their domestic carbon usage at a common rate. This would help to achieve a better cost-effectiveness, then in the current Kyoto Protocol. This sort of system might encourage countries like the U.S to join up as it relies on all countries participating in order to achieve shared goals. However we must also realise the difficulties that may arise when trying to outline what these goals might be, it’s also very likely that this sort of system would be opposed by developing countries like China and India.