Sunday, July 06, 2003


A reader writes:

Environmentalist Jack Hollander has come to the conclusion that "the real environmental crisis" is poverty ..and promoting affluence, not retarding it, is the best way to promote environmental quality. See here and here. Hollander's conclusion is not so radical, even if it is news to the environmentalists. In economic terms, 'wilderness conservation' and 'quality of life' issues are both "luxury goods". Items people demand more of as their incomes rise. The term "luxury goods" in economics is not the same as the common usage and does not necessarily mean Rolls Royces or diamond tiaras. Of course environmentalists assert wilderness is a fundamental need and will bite at the mere suggestion it is a 'luxury good' . However if you look at the way people actually behave (not necessarily how they should behave) these are luxury goods. So Hollander's conclusion merely confirms textbook economic analysis. Originally environmentalists, when the movement first arose in the 1970s, were noted for their desire to promote 'quality of life' issues and promote wilderness conservation. That was of course before the collapse of Communism. Then the rechristened "green" movement was taken over by refugees from the far left ...more interested in promoting foreign policy and social agendas irrelevant to the environment, whilst spinning any real conservation issues in an anti-corporate direction: Thus undermining our most successful method of improving environmental quality. I wonder how long it is before Hollander joins the growing list of Green heretics, like Bjorn Lomberg, Garrett Hardin and Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore? All three have been sent to coventry for not treading the party line.


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