Here is the idea: Propose an international treaty whose signatories would agree to eliminate gasoline from their transportation systems by a date certain — say, in 30 years. Seek initial support from Europe and Japan, but open the treaty to any country that cares to join. Specify only that the treaty should allow signatories to reach the goal in any fashion they please and that it should allow for tradable credits against whatever interim targets it sets. That way, countries can act at different speeds and in different styles. Then let the negotiations begin.
Dr. Reisman has already explained the problem with gasoline rationing–aka “tradeable credits”–and I have nothing to add to that analysis. But the idea suggested above Jonathan Rauch (and embraced by conservative outcast Andrew Sullivan) takes the fallacy to the next level. He proposes rationing as an interim step towards the forceable elimination of gasoline by an arbitrary deadline. I’m curious to know what happens when we hit 30 years. Will there be gasoline prohibition? Or is Rauch just ignoring the lessons of history and assuming that for once, a central planning scheme will actually work as intended?
I can’t wait for Rauch and Sullivan’s 30-year plans to eliminate poverty and provide all Americans with health insurance. Because apparently it’s just that easy.