How much does our insistence that everyone pay cost us?

You know, I’m really curious how much overhead our resource allocation system tracking some things adds. I’ve talked about how much cheaper it might be to run the city bus if we didn’t collect fares (and have to deal with keeping the collection system working, and taking the money to the bank, and counting it, and accounting..) but another, even more obvious example of how could this possibly make sense occured to me.

Why do we meter power?

How much does it add to the cost of running the power grid to have people doing disconnects? How much does a disconnect cost when it ruins resources (food), sometimes kills people (disconnects in the winter)? How much does the power meter itself cost? How about the collections department? Isn’t there something better these people can being with their time than having a job making other people’s lives worse?

We seem to have more or less agreed that most people in the USA (I’d say 95%) want large amounts of energy delivered via copper. Why not just make it a government service – no charge, it’s part of your taxes – and run it to be as efficient as possible? We’d still need to measure usage over large areas, and shut off people doing obnoxiously stupid things – but I’m fairly sure we’d save a lot of resources..

3 Responses to “How much does our insistence that everyone pay cost us?”

  1. ClintJCL Says:

    It’s like you’ve never heard of tragedy of the commons. I’d heat my house via bitcoin machines if electricity would be free. Imagine how much more resource that is than computer code running on one more record. I shouldn’t have to point this out..

  2. Sheer Says:

    Just like I shouldn’t have to point out that BitCoin is based on work units and that if everyone did this, the result would be that almost no monetary gain would come of it and you’d never even earn back the wear-time on the computer. Generally, the tragedy of the commons is the result of stupidity that I really think can be educated out.

  3. Sheer Says:

    For that matter, if you heat your house with resistive heat, you’re doing something worse than if you were at least mining for bitcoins with that power. And lots of people do heat with resistive heat.

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