The direct addition of value inflation to the rate of price increases is quite small. The larger effect arises from secondary influences, in whose shaping human psychology plays an important part. These influences are triggered by the small value inflation component and its corollary, a slowing of the rate of net throughput increase relative to gross throughput increase. ... Read more
In Australia the federal government is trying to implement an Emissions Trading Scheme to combat global warming. Opponents of this scheme argue that it will cost jobs.
Surely the whole point of trying to slow and stop global warming is that if such warming continues unchecked, it will cost millions of jobs, and lives, worldwide, because of the destructive effects of changing climates and rising sea levels. ... Read more
Another misconception held by many in both “rich” and “poor” countries is that the “rich” should go on making and using ever more goods and services, thereby “creating wealth” that can somehow find its way to the “poor” nations, making them “richer”. ... Read more
In a feat of enterprise and endurance, Hans Tholstrup drove a solar-powered car across Australia in 1979. The car had a large flat roof arrayed with photoelectric cells that turned the sun’s radiation into electricity and charged a battery.
Solar radiation cannot deliver more than about a kilowatt, roughly an old-fashioned horsepower, per square metre at ground level, and it usually delivers less. ... Read more
The principle of consuming resources at a rate no faster than their rate of renewal appears to be untenable in the case of resources whose renewal rate is almost zero, as is true of fossil fuels, gas, oil, and coal, also fissile uranium and thorium. ... Read more
The extraction of minerals often leads not just to the consumption and depletion of the mined material, but also to the unintended but unavoidable consumption and depletion of rich and necessary biological resources, which are quite wasted in the process. ... Read more
First, it will be noted that things that common sense tells us are always good, such as efficient government or nuclear disarmament, or always bad, such as strikes or cartels, may actually be bed sometimes and good other times depending on the circumstances. ... Read more
In terms of physically damaging, poisoning, or depleting the earth’s living environment, there are no such things as visual or noise pollution.
These are red herrings in the sense that, for example, people who object to the noise of rock music, traffic, or children at play, or object to the replacement of an ornamental old building by a stark new one, feel entitled to attach their cause to the environmental cause (feeling licensed by the use of the word “pollution” in describing what they object to), thereby distracting attention from issues of real importance to the living environment and diverting energy that should go into resolving those issues in the environment’s favour. ... Read more
In 1964, the ship Alkimos was wrecked on a reef off the coast of Western Australia at a time when our largest city, Perth’s, suburban sprawl had not reached that far. The ship was Greek but had a varied and colourful history, including on-board murders and criminal activity, under different names and flags. ... Read more
So, environmental conservation must be the primary goal, and economic well-being depends on it – not the other way round.
That last phrase refers to the spurious argument that economic “progress” as currently understood, i.e., increasing throughput of wealth, provides money which can be spent on conserving the environment. ... Read more