Tax Pollution

2 min readAug 16, 2022

Money is a man-made instrument, not something divine. Let’s use it properly.

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

When I immigrated into the United States, one of the surprises I encountered were the people worshipping money over freedom. I was flabbergasted and had no clue how anyone could ever be that way.

Over the years, I learned that people have weeks, months, sometimes years of vacation time on the books, never using it so they can have more money in the end. I also learned that a good number of them ended up with about two years of retirement before dying.

The idea that money is not an abstraction of value, but something that is inherently good, still makes me scratch my head because money is a mechanism. Money is not a something; it’s a way we organize and deal with values in our societies.

What happened to these people that believe that money is divine? How were they not indoctrinated to think that something not real is somehow the highest we can achieve? I have a degree in economics, so don’t get me wrong. But to worship money to the point it becomes the ultimate decision maker is not a healthy state of mind.

Naturally, money has value. That is the whole idea. We were able to create an abstract system in which we captured all values that we desire to translate into that easy mechanism of exchange.

Yet next to an abstraction of value, we also established an abstraction of power. We created democracies so we can guide ourselves toward collective outcomes that are much better than those nations that have a dictator in top. We outperform them to a large extent, exactly because we make money talk.

The spot where we fail miserably is in the monetary department where the villains are getting away with the biggest prices.

We forgot to tax pollution.

Now, we are picking the monetary fruits of our negligence. These are sour grapes.

We embraced putting a value on what we consider positive, but we forgot putting a value on what we considered negative.

The negative is now biting us in the butt. We are not using the value system to suppress the negatives.

We need to tax pollution (more than today). The value of pollution is negative, so we have to create a negative incentive to pollute.

Otherwise, we did not really liberate ourselves from a dictator; all we did then was pick a different dictator. We are not free when the air is not free to breathe anymore, when the water is not clean anymore, when the planet does not cool down anymore like it used to.

Our value system got hijacked by the ones having us focus on the positives. The truth is that the negatives are not far behind us, and they are gaining ground.