Capitalism Hates the Environment

10/4/14
I've read somewhere in the ever growing realm of the internet that "capitalism doesn't save the environment."

 

Capitalism Cleans Up!

 

"The world in which I spent my early years was a very smelly place.  The prevailing odors were of horse manure, human sweat, and unwashed bodies.  A daily shower was unknown; at most there was the Saturday night bath.

 

Indoors the air was generally musty and permeated by the sweetly acrid stench of kerosene lamps and coal fires.  It was the era of the horse and buggy, the outhouse, and dirt.  Depending upon the weather, it was either dusty or muddy.  Only a few urban streets were paved-with cobblestones or brick.  Mud puddles and corrugated ruts or 'corduroy roads' were the potholes of my youth. 

 

Automobiles had been invented of course, but they were few in number, handcrafted, and expensive enough so that only the rich could afford them.  I was nearly ten years old when the Model T began to put America on wheels.  Indeed, Mr. Henry Ford made a greater contribution to public health than most practitioners of science by introducing an affordable auto-which led to the eventual elimination of horse manure on public streets."

Dixy Lee Ray
Trashing the Planet

 

 

The Waste of "Public" Resources:  An All Too Common Tragedy

 

Economists describe the fate of communally owned resources as a "tragedy of the commons," after a famous article by Garrett Hardin.  In Hardin's original historical example, before the great enclosures of pasture lands, herders would systematically allow their animals to overgraze, i.e. to eat more grass that would allow the pasture to sustain itself.  In modern times, communal lakes and streams are plagued by overfishing and not enough fish are left in the water to sustain the population.  Everyone is aware of the problem, but no one has the incentive to change even if an individual fisherman limits his catch that won't prevent the next one from taking the fish himself.  The way to solve the tragedy of the commons is to convert the public resource into private property.  With privately owned and managed bodies of water, over fishing would be as obsolete as overgrazing.

 

Robert P. Murphy
Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism.

 

 

These are just a few examples of how free markets/capitalism and the protection of property rights starting with self ownership protect the environment and manage resources.

 

Yes, it is true that free market / capitalistic solutions are not perfect; but neither is government involvement.  Of the two solutions one is not founded on justifying acts of coercion against others to profit itself first and then redistribute to aid others.

 

Markets free of government intervention and unwarranted aggression (i.e. taxation, regulations, 'rule of law' at majority whim or that which rejects the consent of the individual to be governed at all) will manage the resources in such a way that they are both used and restored.

 

But sometimes there is not restoring the resources so free markets will more often than not absolutely use the resources in a way that at least promotes the replacement of the finite resource to enable a continuation of business that promotes the business owners' interests by providing goods, services, and ideas to exchange; thus promoting the preservation and prosperity of humanity.

 

Yes, there are imperfections.  Yes, there are bad people.  Yes, mistakes will happen.

 

But none of these things will happen because people are being unjustly coerced into them.  People will learn; sometimes quickly and sometimes not quickly.  The truth is that humanity is full of imperfections and giving a relative handful any authority over the rest of us is just a recipe for disaster; for if humanity were perfect government would work exactly as planned but would be unnecessary; and since humanity is so perfectly imperfect no government will work beyond that which is limited to each individual choosing to think, learn, and interact voluntarily with others through boundaries that each sets according their ability to reason with one another.

 

And yes, people can reason with one another.  It's just a skill that must be taught.  But a better phrase for that skill is: critical thinking.  It's possible if we stop shirking our responsibilities to maintain our own lives by giving or allowing governments to take responsibility for us.

 

 

-JLD

 

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