Sunday, February 10, 2013

broaching rationing

In the struggles to turn the tide of fossil fuel use, several approaches have been advanced. These approaches range from personal lifestyle decisions to cap-and-trade to carbon tax, and some have broached rationing.

Rationing has some features that most of us alive today have never experienced personally, though I heard about it from my parents' generation who lived through World War II.

One is more cooperative behavior, such as pooling coupons to make a birthday cake.

Another is legitimate barter, such as sharing a car ride with someone willing to use their gasoline coupon as partial payment.

Another was the chagrin when a commodity is not available at any price, even with careful accumulation of rationing coupons. When metal products were in short supply, my mother took a full day going from store to store in Philadelphia seeking an iron, which she really needed to dress properly for work.

To the best of my knowledge, my parents did not participate in a black market for goods, but sooner or later everyone heard about that activity.

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