Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard

Here it is. She claims to have 3 million viewers, so let's try to nip this in the bud.

This is a neatly packaged montage of all the familiar Marxist-Luddite gripes, and still without any real solutions proposed beyond "sustainable development, get involved, click around." This will always be the case because it is an intellectual fraud, most useful for rallying political movements, which in turn destroy millions of lives (USSR, Mao's China, Nazis).

As for her gripes, she is right to blame pollution and externalities, but what she fails to realize is that they are ultimately caused by a lack of property rights, not capitalism, profits, corporations, consumption, greed, etc. If we paid the full cost of disposing of our garbage, e.g. through a private dump rather than having goverment take it away magically, then we'd consume less and be more careful with our refuse.

Child labor is a bit more complicated, since we're talking about countries where child-slavery is still OK. Those countries have a lot of problems, chief among them is poverty. Capitalism can fix that. It worked in Europe, it can work anywhere. That's not to say that moral pressure from the world community isn't effective, especially in the short term, but ultimately we must let these countries get rich through capitalism and free trade. And remember that perhaps the most important thing we trade is ideas.

(Hat tip to Sammy, who also pointed me to this gem, a guy discussing the Georgia-Russia war with peanut butter on his face.)

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