Author Topic: Capitalism and the Environment  (Read 2641 times)

Sigma

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Capitalism and the Environment
« on: April 22, 2009, 11:23:02 AM »
http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=325207473659451

Save Capitalism
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, April 21, 2009 4:20 PM PT

The Environment: Wednesday's airwaves, print media, cable news shows and Webosphere will be filled with nonsense about the scourge of capitalism, corporations and humanity. All of it will ignore the real truth.

Buried beneath all the badgering and fear-mongering about lavish Western lifestyles is a reality that the stuck-on-green left won't talk about and the average American isn't aware of: The world, especially in developed nations, is a cleaner — and greener — place than it was when the environmental movement began.

Every year Steven Hayward, a scholar at the Pacific Research Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, compiles his Index of Leading Environmental Indicators. And every year, his findings contradict the alarmists' warnings that the world is on the edge of environmental cataclysm.

From evidence "that tropical rain forests may now be expanding faster than they are being cut down" to the improving health of U.S. ocean fisheries to better outdoor air quality in American cities with the worst air pollution, Hayward shows there's more to be optimistic about than there is to be troubled about.

The Environmental Protection Agency has also published its own Report on the environment. Last year's report, the most recent, indicates outdoor air quality has improved, there's been a net gain in wetland acreage, public-source drinking-water problems are uncommon and forest land is expanding after declining for a century.

Americans are actually generating no more trash per-capita than they were in 1990, our production of hazardous waste has fallen from 36 million tons in 1999 to 28 million tons in 2005, and lead levels in our blood have shown "a steady decline since the 1980s."

And then there's carbon dioxide. We are pumping out more than ever. But there's no evidence, only speculation, that this weak greenhouse gas is having any effect on the environment.

"Overall, the health of the U.S. population has continued to improve," the EPA says. "Mortality rates continue to decline, and life expectancy continues to increase."

We're not saying the Earth, or even any part of it, is environmentally pristine. It's not, it never has been and never will be. Yet there's actually more positive news to celebrate than there are problems.

Of the estimated 1 billion people who will observe Earth Day worldwide this year, few will know about the progress that has been made. Fewer still will know how it was made. The media, uninterested in looking at the real story, will simply credit the environmental movement for the improvements.

We won't discount the movement's contribution. Four decades ago, it helped show the world the value of global stewardship. But that movement is no longer interested in a cleaner world.

Filled with extremists and anti-capitalist crusaders, its primary goals have changed. Topping the agenda of today's environmentalist groups is the pulling down of market economies, the raising up of central planning for egalitarian goals, forced lifestyle changes and the vilification — in hopes of the elimination — of signs of wealth.

None of these advance the planet's environmental health. But capitalism has. Through wealth generated by the free market, we have enough resources to move beyond the subsistence economies that damage the environment, enough disposable income to fund clean-up programs, enough wealth to scrub and polish industry.

Only in advanced economies can the technology needed to recycle hazardous waste or to replace dirty coal-fired power plants with cleaner gas or nuclear plants be developed. That technology cannot be produced in centrally planned economies where the profit motive is squelched and lives are marshalled by the state.

There's nothing wrong with setting aside a day to honor the Earth. In fairness, though, it should be complemented by Capitalism Day. It's important that the world be reminded of what has driven the environmental improvements since Earth Day began in 1970.

"The learned Fool writes his Nonsense in better Language than the unlearned; but still 'tis Nonsense."  --Ben Franklin 1754

Lunican

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 11:34:01 AM »
Is this how Investors Business Daily recognizes Earth Day?

Sigma

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2009, 11:38:48 AM »
Yes, by pointing out some of the positives. Sort of a bigger picture than just "capitalist pigs are destrying the environment!" tripe that gets by without question.  But thanks for asking.
"The learned Fool writes his Nonsense in better Language than the unlearned; but still 'tis Nonsense."  --Ben Franklin 1754

Lunican

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009, 11:42:29 AM »
Maybe they can take credit for Christmas because capitalism made package delivery so efficient as well.

By the way, 'capitalists' have had to respond to many local and federal laws regarding the environment. Most of the changes made were not by choice, but were mandated.

Sigma

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2009, 11:46:01 AM »
Good point, but the article recognizes that the wealth created contributes to investment in technologies that do less harm and increase productivity.  Did you read it?
"The learned Fool writes his Nonsense in better Language than the unlearned; but still 'tis Nonsense."  --Ben Franklin 1754

Lunican

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2009, 11:55:13 AM »
You are right that corporations have been required to pay for the cleanup of environmental problems, but that is not a staple of capitalism. In fact, that is the opposite of capitalism.

Sigma

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2009, 11:59:32 AM »
really?  You need to back up your statement with some evidence - and not just blind belief and opinion. 
"The learned Fool writes his Nonsense in better Language than the unlearned; but still 'tis Nonsense."  --Ben Franklin 1754

Lunican

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2009, 12:06:04 PM »
Capitalism and environmental stewardship have always been at odds.

gmpalmer

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2009, 12:27:52 PM »
Lunican,

You couldn't be any more wrong.  Part of capitalism is responsibility for your actions (one of the reasons corporatism != capitalism).  If a business is polluting, the business is responsible for ameliorating that pollution.  Period.  End of story.

Also, since you seem to be so anti-pollution, pro-environment, etc, how much time have you spent working against large shipping vessels versus talking about creating new Priuses and electric cars?  Do you even know why I'd bring that up?

Sigma

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2009, 01:15:01 PM »
Also, most businesses adhere to the "triple bottom line":

1. Financial/economic
2. Social/community
3. Environmental/Sustainability

"The learned Fool writes his Nonsense in better Language than the unlearned; but still 'tis Nonsense."  --Ben Franklin 1754

Doctor_K

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2009, 01:27:16 PM »
Capitalism and environmental stewardship have always been at odds.
Industrialism and environmentalism, perhaps.  Why does wanting to have a successful enterprise have to buck against being a good environmental steward?
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create."  -- Albert Einstein

Lunican

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2009, 01:36:10 PM »
If a business is polluting, the business is responsible for ameliorating that pollution.  Period.  End of story.

Is that mandated by capitalism or by law? If it is mandated by capitalism why do the automakers oppose stricter emissions standards before they become law?

Also, since you seem to be so anti-pollution, pro-environment, etc, how much time have you spent working against large shipping vessels versus talking about creating new Priuses and electric cars?  Do you even know why I'd bring that up?

I don't lobby for Priuses or electric cars and I don't lobby against shipping vessels. I'm also not anti capitalism, but this is a poorly written article.

Thanks for posting anyway though!

gmpalmer

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Re: Capitalism and the Environment
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2009, 01:40:13 PM »
Um, if someone is polluting your property, every system of law that recognizes private property recognizes your right to redress the wrong.

Since capitalism only exists within lawful structures (b/c in an alegal system you could simply take whatever & wouldn't need capitalism) I'm not sure what your point is.  The law is not the opposite of capitalism.  Capitalist companies work within the law.  If they lobby to change that law it should be of no more surprise than an environmentalist, KKK member, or gay activist who tries to change the law.

If laws are written by men, men will manipulate them.