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Hi ^^

I am here today with a passage from a TIME article about carbon credits, I don't find any grammatical problems but I just couldn't understand what the writer was intending...

'Maybe if the idea weren't so closely associated with hippies like Al Gore, conservatives might see carbon credits for what they also are; a brilliant next step in the development of capitalism. What offends conservatives about carbon credits is not some green absurdity but the very core of the capitalist economic system : the free exchange of goods and services, a.k.a. the deal. If a deal is voluntary, then by definition it leaves both parties to it better off.'

the emboldened part's meaning keeps eluding me. I don't understand, aren't the conservatives supposed to be for market deals? Isn't the writer here saying that conservatives are objecting to carbon credits because of its capitalistic deals?

Thanx a lot ^^
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From the sentence which follows the part in boldface it seems that the author believes that one of the principles of capitalism is that one of the parties in a capitalist transaction must be left worse off while the other profits. Otherwise it's not capitalism. This is a sort of exploitative theory of capitalism. From that, we might think the boldface sentence is saying that conservatives are offended that no one is exploited in a carbon credit deal -- and that is puzzling.

Maybe others will have a different interpretation.

CJ
CJ, I've puzzled over this too. It just doesn't make sense to me. (I'm generally considered a conservative, so perhaps that's the problem. I get the part about Al Gore...)

Maybe the problem is with cap-and-trade, you MUST make a deal if you want to keep polluting, and only voluntary deals are allowed? It really doesn't make sense to me at all. A true capitalist would believe that any deal benefits both parties because market forces dictate the point at which they are willing to "deal."
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JKBelieve What offends conservatives about carbon credits is not some green absurdity but the very core of the capitalist economic system : the free exchange of goods and services, a.k.a. the deal.

Just a guess with my very limited knowledge on carbon credits:

As of now US companies are better off than European ones, since there are tougher emission restrictions in Europe. If carbon credit policy is adopted, which would free trading, i.e. core of the capitalism, the US companies would be worse off (since emission restriction would become equal) and that's what conservatives don't like (offended by).
It makes sense to me but it is badly phrased.

What offends conservatives about carbon credits is not some green absurdity but the very core of the capitalist economic system : the free exchange of goods and services, a.k.a. the deal.

They are offended by carbon credits because of the capitalist economic system says that there needs to be free exchange of goods and services (and carbon credits would prevent this).
It makes sense to me but it is badly phrased.

What offends conservatives about carbon credits is not some green absurdity but the very core of the capitalist economic system : the free exchange of goods and services, a.k.a. the deal.

They are offended by carbon credits because of the capitalist economic system says that there needs to be free exchange of goods and services (and carbon credits would prevent this).

They are not being offended by their ideals, but because of them.
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I can explain this for you, though it will take more than a few words. Carbon credits is a way to include a profit motive for saving energy, and hence, a motive for lowering emissions. It works this way: You place a cap on acceptible emissions. Then those companies that produce less than the cap can sell their unused carbon on a carbon market. Companies that go over the cap can buy those credits. The reason they need to buy those credits is because going over the cap comes with a substantial penalty in fines. So buying carbon credits to offset the amount they've gone over the cap is cheaper for them. But it is cheaper still, and profitable to go under the cap, so there is pressure to reduce emissions. Was that clear?
How to you interpret the part about what the conservatives object to?
Nona,

They are offended by carbon credits because of the capitalist economic system says that there needs to be free exchange of goods and services (and carbon credits would prevent this).
Carbon credits would prevent the free exchange of goods and services because ... ???

... the government would set the price of the credits?
... production of goods and services would become more costly?
... something else?

I'm having real trouble wrapping my brain around this one!

Jim
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