Government Structures in the U.S.A. and the Sovereign States of the Former U.S.S.R: Power Allocation among Central, Regional, and Local Governments

By James E. Hickey Jr.; Alexej Ugrinsky | Go to book overview
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PART VI
ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

The production of energy (from oil, coal, natural gas, enriched uranium, and such alternative energy sources as the sun, wind, and geothermal energy) historically has been the engine for economic growth in both the United States and the former U.S.S.R. Those natural resources are converted to essential electricity, heat, and mechanical energy, which are used to manufacture goods, to transport goods to market, and to provide light, warmth,. and cooling for businesses and homes. Those energy sources and their products will continue to be just as critical to the sustained domestic economic growth and competitiveness of both the U.S.A. and the states of the former U.S.S.R. in the emerging global economy as they have been in the past. However, the production and use of energy in the future will be increasingly constrained by the demand to avoid the adverse consequences of inefficiency in the energy fuel cycle (from production to end use). Those consequences, of course, are experienced in the form of air, water, and land pollution within states, within regions, and in global commons such as the atmosphere and the oceans.

A critical question for all governments in the twenty-first century will be to determine the best government structure to produce energy efficiently in ways that minimize domestic and international environmental consequences and that maximize economic wealth. The issue underlying the papers in Part VI is whether a central command and control structure, or a decentralized market control structure, or some structure in between will provide the most suitable governmental answer for the U.S.A. and states of the former U.S.S.R. to accommodate sustained economic development in an environment that is safe and healthy in the decades ahead.

Oleg S. Kolbasov soberly observes that the future government structure to deal with the environment in the Russian Federation in the wake of the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. into 15 independent states has been a "minimal" effort. Currently, environmental protection and use of natural resources is governed jointly by Moscow and the member-units of the federation, much as it was in the former U.S.S.R. but with heightened contests over sovereignty, budgets, and applicable law--all of which are taking place in the context of privatization, high inflation, and exploitation by new "businessmen" and criminals.

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