Saturday, October 01, 2011

That Bad Government Loan Aside, What Happened to Solyndra?

The market happened to Solyndra, as the prices of the competing, standard solar panel, built in China and heavily subsidized by its government, simply plunged during the recession. (The price of high-grade silicon, according to the linked-to LA Times article, went from $1,000 a pound to less than $100.)

If our government is going to subsidize industry, then I suggest that it retain as consultants the masters of the technique, the Chinese government itself, import docile, subsistence wage labor (actually we tend to do that with our easy border access, the genius of which approach is that the people who use that access are "illegal" so that they do not qualify for government benefits, making them - and us - more like the Chinese than we might like to think), and create a free zone of government regulation of all sorts, including but certainly not limited to environmental and safety regulations. We might also think about taking the lid off the small number of visas we extend annually (via lottery) to highly qualified people from other countries who want to come and live here or foreign graduates of our universities, which institutions we also subsidize, who would like to stay.

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