Dear Editor: On Dec. 8, I attended the Socialist Potluck in Madison. The speaker was longtime Green Party activist Frank Koehn, and the title of his presentation was “Protecting Our Waters: Saying No to Mining.” His precautionary message was on the environmental and public health hazards of mining in northern Wisconsin, northern Minnesota and upper Michigan, specifically the environmental and public health hazards of the proposed iron ore mining project in the Penokee Range.
What the mining companies do is externalize as many of the costs of mining as possible to maximize their profits, which they internalize. By externalizing the costs I mean forcing the rest of capitalist society to pay the costs. Also, and very importantly, never explaining that the costs exist. By internalizing the profits I mean keeping all profits for themselves.
It is my understanding that in an economic democracy, i.e. a socialist economic system, all costs of the mining process — this includes the environmental costs and public health costs — will be considered in the mining permitting process. None of the costs of the proposed mining process will be externalized. When all of the costs are internalized and the proposed mining project is not economically justifiable it will not be permitted.
In my opinion, if under our present dysfunctional and failing capitalist economic system all of the costs cannot be internalized to determine the true cost of mining in the Penokee Range, this is because the mendacious capitalist mining companies will not allow all costs to be internalized, and then the mines should not be permitted.
John P. Stoltenberg