14. Internet economy

14th blog, March 1, 2019

Why do we let happen things that, when you start thinking, are clearly harmful to us? Why are we going to live in deltas? Why do we cut millions of hectares of forest every year? Why do we dump plastic into rivers - which then pollute the oceans? Why are we spraying insecticides that kill bees?

The deep cause is perhaps that the importance of the individual caused through influence - now we call that lobby - weighs heavier than the interest of the masses. Often this is reinforced by the ignorance or even disinterest of the masses, and so it is that we now have floods, forests have been cut down, we have to clean up floating plastic islands in the ocean and bees gradually die out. It is a kind of 'after us the flood' mentality.

Since about ten years a new phenomenon has been added that is causing us major damage: the internet economy. It is again the interest of the individual that violates the interests of the masses. Stores pay a lot of taxes, keep cities viable and vibrating, and give a lot of labour, but most importantly, they ensure efficient logistics. In the last 20 years, these stores have faced competition from internet shops that pay little or no tax (Alibaba, Amazon, Google, Zalando, etc.) and many stores go bankrupt by this competition.  Now we have reached the point that the centers of our cities become impoverished due to vacancy - in the United States there are now hundreds of dead malls - and instead of jointly efficient transport by ship and truck to the store, we now bring packets per piece with the plane - bought via Alibaba - all the way from China to home addresses worldwide. The emissions of such a package are dozens of times higher than before due to the individual, inefficient supply chain, while this course of action is growing daily. Does this way of doing business still fit in a Climate Agreement?

Why do we tax our stores with countless taxes, but we do not charge a 7 euro transport charge per package for individual delivery? Is that not much more fair than a ticket charge of 7 euros – which the Dutch government wants to collect - for someone who wants to go on holiday after a year of hard work? Should we, before it is too late and most of the stores have disappeared, not wonder whether we want such a costly and polluting way of transportation, which might cause a sea rise of 7 meters in the next 100 years? In the next blog we will discuss 'CO₂ levy, the Columbus’ egg'

Pieter Hoff
Green Musketeer 

Background information
On 8 October 2018, the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) issued an emergency call to all countries to reduce their CO₂ emissions by at least 50% by 2030. The Netherlands wants to comply with this by means of a Climate Agreement. Pieter Hoff is of the opinion that the Climate Agreement needs additional policies to achieve 0% net CO₂ emissions by 2030 and that this supporting policy can be implemented much more efficiently, quicker and less costly than the current proposals that are included in the proposed Dutch Climate Agreement.