The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Thursday, July 17, 2003


I'm glad to see that some portion of my tax dollars -- and Ted Turner's Atlanta Braves ticket receipts -- are used to pay the salary of a know-nothing Luddite:


China's ambitious economic growth plans are environmentally unachievable because the world does not have enough resources to allow its 1.3 billion people to become Western-style consumers, a U.N. official has said.

Klaus Toepfer, head of the U.N. Environment Program, said China's aim of quadrupling its economy by 2020 can only occur if developed nations radically change their consumption habits to free up scarce resources for the world's poor.

"Quadrupling the GDP of a country of 1.3 billion, can you imagine what are the consequences if you go in the same structure as was done in the so-called developed countries?" Toepfer told reporters during a visit to Sydney Wednesday.

He said that if China had the same density of private cars as, for example Germany, it would have to produce 650 million vehicles -- a target that environmentalists say the world's supply of metal and oil would be unable to sustain.


In the past, say, 20 years, the developed world added tens of millions of new citizens. And millions more people in countries like Taiwan and Korea and Malaysia greatly increased their standard of living. I don't remember the world running out of metal and oil.

Economist Julian Simon made a famous bet with gloom-and-doom activist Paul Ehrlich. He wagered in 1980 that the price of five metals would fall by 1990; basically Simon sold short on those metals, with a 1980 price of $1000.

Simon made $576, because the price of those metals (inflation-adjusted) fell in half in the 80's. Too bad Simon is dead, else he could make some more dough betting with Toepfer.


(Thanks to Hit and Run for the link.)


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