Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 25, 2007 / 7 Iyar, 5767

How About Economic Progress Day?

By John Stossel


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last Sunday was marked by an orgy of celebrations of Earth Day, the worldwide annual event intended to "to spark a revolution against environmental abuse."


Even the Bush administration had an Earth Day website, which stated, "Earth Day and every day is a time to act to protect our planet" [http://earthday.gov/].


Watching the media coverage, you'd think that the earth was in imminent danger — that human life itself was on the verge of extinction. Technology is fingered as the perp.


Nothing could be further from the truth.


John Semmens of Arizona's Laissez Faire Institute points out that Earth Day misses an important point. In the April issue of The Freeman magazine [http://www.fee.org], Semmens says the environmental movement overlooks how hospitable the earth has become — thanks to technology. "The environmental alarmists have it backwards. If anything imperils the earth it is ignorant obstruction of science and progress. ... That technology provides the best option for serving human wants and conserving the environment should be evident in the progress made in environmental improvement in the United States. Virtually every measure shows that pollution is headed downward and that nature is making a comeback." (Carbon dioxide excepted, if ,/I> it is really a pollutant.)


Semmens describes his visit to historic Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts, an area "lush with trees and greenery." It wasn't always that way. In 1775, the land was cleared so it could be farmed. Today, technology makes farmers so efficient that only a fraction of the land is needed to produce much more food. As a result, "Massachusetts farmland has been allowed to revert back to forest."


Human ingenuity and technology not only raised living standards, but also restored environmental amenities. How about a day to celebrate that?


Yet, Semmens writes, the environmental movement is skeptical about technology and is attracted to three dubious principles: sustainable development, the precautionary principle, and stakeholder participation.


The point of sustainable development, Semmens says, "is to minimize the use of nonrenewable natural resources so there will be more left for future generations." Sounds sensible — who is for "unsustainable" development?


But as the great economist Julian Simon [http://www.juliansimon.com/] often pointed out, resources are manmade, not natural. Jed Clampett [http://timstvshowcase.com/beverlyh.html] cheered when he found oil on his land because it made him rich enough to move to Beverly Hills. But his great-grandfather would have cursed the disgusting black gunk because Canadian geologist Abraham Gesner hadn't yet discovered that kerosene could be distilled from it [http://www.sjgs.com/history.html#ancient_to_present].


President Bush chides us for our "addiction to oil." But under current conditions, using oil makes perfect sense. Someday, if we let the free market operate, someone will find an energy source that works better than oil. Then richer future generations won't need oil. So why deprive ourselves and make ourselves poorer with needless regulation now?


Anyway, it's not as if we're running out of oil. That's one of the myths I expose in my new book, "Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity" (linked for purchase below). If the price of a barrel of oil stays high, entrepreneurs will find better ways to suck oil out of the ground. At $50 a barrel, it's even profitable to recover oil that's stuck in the tar sands in Alberta, Canada. Those tar sands alone contain enough oil to meet our needs for a hundred years.


The precautionary principle, popular in Europe, is the idea that no new thing should be permitted until it has been proved harmless. Sounds good, except as Ron Bailey of Reason writes, it basically means, "Don't ever do anything for the first time."


Stakeholder participation means that busybodies would be permitted to intrude on private transactions. Semmens's example is DDT, which for years would have saved children from deadly malaria, except that "'stakeholders' from the environmental quarter have prevailed on governments to ban the trade in this product."


The first victims of these principles are the poor. We rich Westerners can withstand a lot of policy foolishness. But people in the developing world live on the edge, so anything that retards economic progress — including measures to arrest global warming — will bring incredible hardship to the most vulnerable on the planet.


If we care about human life, we should celebrate Economic Progress Day.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JUST OUT FROM STOSSEL
Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel --- Why Everything You Know Is Wrong  

Stossel mines his 20/20 segments for often engaging challenges to conventional wisdom, presenting a series of "myths" and then deploying an investigative journalism shovel to unearth "truth." This results in snappy debunkings of alarmism, witch-hunts, satanic ritual abuse prosecutions and marketing hokum like the irradiated-foods panic, homeopathic medicine and the notion that bottled water beats tap. Stossel's libertarian convictions make him particularly fond of exposes of government waste and regulatory fiascoes. Sales help fund JWR.



JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.


Archives

© 2007, by JFS Productions, Inc. Distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles