Clean-tech Innovation Policy from Inside the Leviathan (Part I)

In The Leviathan (Thomas Hobbes, 1651) the social contract initiated and supported by the state is seen as the penultimate element in managing its citizens. Social contracts designated the proper functioning of markets, and allowed proper allocation of resources. Without such contracts, it is inherently difficult to increase the overall wealth and productivity of a particular state.

Yet one problem remained: Who or what might carry out the task of equally monitoring the duties of the Leviathan? Absolute but neutral power must be given to the Leviathan in order to punish those whom violate social contracts. Otherwise fair commerce would inevitably denigrate into piracy.

In the case for global clean-tech policy, in particular the United Nation’s climate negotiations, a Leviathan seems needed. For example, some call for a Leviathan responsible for monitoring progress for the world’s hopeful agreement in Paris this December under the auspices of the UNFCCC. Others call for a global carbon trading system, or carbon tax. These positions are put forward within the UNFCCC negotiations with the United Nations as the assumed Leviathan judiciary.

But is the UN the proper institution for monitoring the social contracts of trading permits for emissions into the global atmospheric system? After all, the UN has not been able to uphold pertinent global contracts, including both in Ukraine and Transnistria. Further, it is necessary to consider if the Leviathan can ever hope to stimulate innovation if its main task is to monitor emissions of archaic conventional energies? Emissions are not the problem of weak social contracts, they are the result of leviathan-mandated energy monopolies. Lastly, without enforcement mechanisms, the Leviathan quickly collapses.

So how are we to support and develop innovative new clean technologies?

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