Friday, April 23, 2010

Environmentalism As Religion

Excellent Wall Street Journal article by Emory University economics professor Paul H. Rubin:

"Many observers have made the point that environmentalism is eerily close to a religious belief system. Consider some of the ways in which environmental behaviors echo religious behaviors and thus provide meaningful rituals for Greens:

• There is a holy day—Earth Day.

• There are food taboos. Instead of eating fish on Friday, or avoiding pork, Greens now eat organic foods and many are moving towards eating only locally grown foods.

• There is no prayer, but there are self-sacrificing rituals that are not particularly useful, such as recycling. Recycling paper to save trees, for example, makes no sense since the effect will be to reduce the number of trees planted in the long run.

• Belief systems are embraced with no logical basis. For example, environmentalists almost universally believe in the dangers of global warming but also reject the best solution to the problem, which is nuclear power. These two beliefs co-exist based on faith, not reason.

• There are no temples, but there are sacred structures. As I walk around the Emory campus, I am continually confronted with recycling bins, and instead of one trash can I am faced with several for different sorts of trash. Universities are centers of the environmental religion, and such structures are increasingly common. While people have worshipped many things, we may be the first to build shrines to garbage.

• Environmentalism is a proselytizing religion. Skeptics are not merely people unconvinced by the evidence: They are treated as evil sinners. I probably would not write this article if I did not have tenure."

52 Comments:

At 4/23/2010 10:34 PM, Blogger Cloudesley Shovell said...

Michael Crichton gave a speech on the same topic back in 2003.

http://www.crichton-official.com/speech-environmentalismaseligion.html

 
At 4/23/2010 11:16 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Yeah, but so what?

Praying accomplishes nothing--worse than nothing. it is a waste if time. A good case can be made that religions are parasites at best, and at worst fulminate wars.

Better stewardship of resources is a positive, despite some silly excesses.
Less trees planted due to recycling? What next--let's throw the plastic bottles in the water, so we can drill more oil wells?

If you are old, you will recall that the Cuyahoga River really did catch on fire (Cleveland). And not just once, several times. Imagine--a public resource so devoid of life and fresh water that it could catch on fire. You also remember when the air in Los Angeles was something you saw, but not through. It was like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, whether you wanted to or not. The pollution respected no property rights, and wafted over everybody's house and hotels, reducing property values where it was the worst.

Some inland resorts were crushed out of business--with no compensation from polluters.

Real classic economists (not hack mouthpieces for the American right-wing) know that the free market uttely fails when it comes to pollution.

The oddity of anti-environmentalism, now a pillar of the "We Are Idiots" wing of the R-Party, is that bona-fide classic economics does not validate unfettered pollution.

In an unfettered free market, he who excretes at lowest cost (to himself) wins.

Polluters are actually Communists. They force the common--the public--to bear the pollution costs of production (although they privatize the gains).

Milton Friedman wanted to tax pollution--now a mainstay idea of the greenie crowd. Of course, certain carcinogens should not be allowed into the environment at all.

I find everyone turns into a greenie-weenie when the rendering plant is proposed for their neighborhood.

Case in point: Try building a high-rise condo in Newport Beach OC CA. This is a place that votes R, and named their airport after John Wayne (you can't make stuff like this up). But they also voted that any development of larger than 100,000 sf had to be approved by all city voters. Kum-by-yah everyone!

As a result, Newport Beach does not have the shoreline condo towers of Miami Beach--and those property owners who wanted to build such towers simply had their property rights raped.

You see, it's different when it Newport Beach. And do not drill for oil offshore here. But offshore somewhere else--drill, baby, drill--although former Florida Gubbie Jeb Bush got a permanent ban on drilling off of Florida. You think they want to see oil wells offshore Palm Beach? But drill, baby, drill, somewhere else please.

The incredibly deep ignorance of extremist elements of right-wing, when it comes to pollution, would be lamentable, were it not for the huge economic costs imposed on the broader society by pollution.

 
At 4/24/2010 12:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Benny,

Here's a support group for you.

 
At 4/24/2010 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BENGIE man
You need another 6 of those bovine spongiform encephalopathy $1.95 bargain burgers

 
At 4/24/2010 3:16 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Benjamin:"Less trees planted due to recycling?"

Do you doubt this, Benjamin? Do you understand why land owners need incentives such as a market for paper before investing in a crop such as pine trees?

benjamin: "and named their airport after John Wayne (you can't make stuff like this up)."

You got a problem with John Wayne?

 
At 4/24/2010 3:56 AM, Anonymous hooligan said...

hey, don't forget we all worship at the great god Windows and are tempted by an AAPL, now where's that snake?

 
At 4/24/2010 4:13 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

JetBeagle, did you mean to say:

Hey, pilgrim, you got a problem with John Wayne?

 
At 4/24/2010 4:16 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Anon @ 12:08

Benny is well aware of that group, in fact, he's a member. That was him at 1:35.

 
At 4/24/2010 5:52 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Benny is well aware of that group, in fact, he's a member. That was him at 1:35"...

Oh damn!

Now that struck me as a very funny comment!

Excellent and on target!

 
At 4/24/2010 7:40 AM, Blogger Marko said...

My first thought when reading the headline was "why is that bad?" I don't believe religion is necessarily bad (and I think mine is right). Environmentalism is not bad because it is like religion, it is bad because it is stupid.

 
At 4/24/2010 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the Christian Bible there is one character who says "Worship me and I will give you power and authority over all the kingdoms of the Earth". The modern environmental movement has taken this an turned it around: "Worship the Earth and it will give you power and authority over evil".

 
At 4/24/2010 8:48 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Pay attention pseudo Benny:

A Tree Responds To Tree-Huggers

 
At 4/24/2010 8:51 AM, Blogger David Rotor said...

I like the descriptions used to describe religious beliefs. Well done.

 
At 4/24/2010 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recycling makes no sense when it is not cost effective, all things considered. Whether new trees are planted to grow new paper seems to me p[retty much outside of the meaningful economic system boundaries. New trees will be planted for other reasons.

 
At 4/24/2010 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Real classic economists (not hack mouthpieces for the American right-wing) know that the free market uttely fails when it comes to pollution.

The oddity of anti-environmentalism, now a pillar of the "We Are Idiots" wing of the R-Party, is that bona-fide classic economics does not validate unfettered pollution.



Amen


But, the environmentalists have gone too far in disregarding property rights in an attempt to protect them. Strong property rights and market based solutions to environmental problems need to become the rule rather thn the exception.

 
At 4/24/2010 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better stewardship of resources is a positive, despite some silly excesses.


I don't think so. That attitude allows silly excess to build up and continue. Like litter a little bit here and a little there really adds up.

There is no more reason to waste resources for a good cause than a bad one. A true environmetalist will not want the cost of protection to exceed the cost of damages.

Even those products that seem to have no redeeming value might have some valuable uses if we do not ban them entirely out of ignorant fear.

 
At 4/24/2010 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Support group.

Get over it.

If you want a tree to last forever, make a Stradivarius out of it.

 
At 4/24/2010 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(and I think mine is right).

"There are 240 religions in the world, each claiming to be the one true voice. At most, one of them is correct."


Bertand Russell, I think.

Probably applies to the fanatical predilections of Juandos as well.

 
At 4/24/2010 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try building a high-rise condo in Newport Beach OC CA.

Newport beach isn't even that radical. There are places where you basically cannot build anything.

I once wanted to add on to my septic field to accomodaqte an addition to my house but was told I couldn't because the ground did not drain fast enough. (Never mind the existing field has never failed in over a hundred years).

The same day I applied to re-dig an old silted in pond and was told I couldn't because the ground drains too fast.

And this isn't untypical, In Australia and Washington there are places where 85% of your land is reserved for natural habitat and cannot even be farmed.

Such building restrictions, despite any other claims are primarily desinged to enrich those people with existing structures. there may be some auxiliary validating environmental or conservation (not the same thing) purposes, but some communities find ways to achieve them without ruining property owners.

 
At 4/24/2010 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" I probably would not write this article if I did not have tenure."

That is really sad. Also true. such people seem to have no compunction in resorting to the politics of fear or exclusion.

After I wrote a number of articles for a local paper, an elected public officiial suggested, in an open letter to the newspaper, that if I didn't like the rules, I should move.

 
At 4/24/2010 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brokeback Benny,

Real classic economists (not hack mouthpieces for the American right-wing) know that the free market uttely fails when it comes to pollution.

The oddity of anti-environmentalism, now a pillar of the "We Are Idiots" wing of the R-Party, is that bona-fide classic economics does not validate unfettered pollution.

And his anonymous lover,

Amen

I'll say one thing, the two of you are very consistent. That means that the meds are working, your psychiatrist only needs to increase the dosage.

 
At 4/24/2010 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are no temples, but there are sacred structures."

What about LEED certification of buildings? There are even different grades of environmental "holiness" under LEED. And solar panels and windmills have a certain totemic appeal apart from their actual economic utility.

 
At 4/24/2010 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... anti-environmentalism, now a pillar of the "We Are Idiots" wing of the R-Party ... The incredibly deep ignorance of extremist elements of right-wing, when it comes to pollution ... - Brokeback Benny


Ah, yes, if only the "We Are Idiots" wing of the R-Party were as smart as Benny's heroes. Here are a few quotes from, the first Earth Day, 1970, from those sages of our environmental future:

"It is already too late to avoid mass starvation." -Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day, 1970

"Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction." -New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day, 1970

"Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support...the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution...by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half...." -Life Magazine, January 1970

"At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it's only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable." -Kenneth Watt, Ecologist, 1970

"Air pollution...is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone." -Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist, 1970

"We are prospecting for the very last of our resources and using up the nonrenewable things many times faster than we are finding new ones." -Martin Litton, Sierra Club director, 1970

"By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate...that there won't be any more crude oil. You'll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill 'er up, buddy,' and he'll say, `I am very sorry, there isn't any.'" -Kenneth Watt, Ecologist, 1970

"Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct." -Sen. Gaylord Nelson, 1970

"The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age." -Kenneth Watt, Ecologist, 1970

"Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." -George Wald, Harvard Biologist, 1970

"We have about five more years at the outside to do something." -Kenneth Watt, ecologist, 1970

"Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions....By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine." -Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University, 1970

Yes, those backward, knuckle-dragging, anti-science Republicans just don't get it. We must always follow are more knowledgeable leftist betters. RFLMAO.

 
At 4/24/2010 1:26 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I have to add to the "We Are Idiots" branch of the R-Party the "We Are Willful Retards" branch.

Not a single intelligent retort, and no hint that anyone reading this blog is educated in classic economics.

As to pollution and property right, what about the rights of property owners who suffer from pollution? Plenty of people in the Los Angeles basin suffer lower property values form pollution, and anyone downstream on a polluted waterway suffers from upstream polluters.

 
At 4/24/2010 1:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Anon @ 09:33

>"Recycling makes no sense when it is not cost effective..."

Absolutely right.

>"Whether new trees are planted to grow new paper seems to me p[retty much outside of the meaningful economic system boundaries."

Those who grow trees for paper production will plant fewer if they anticipate lower future demand for the product. This is the same as for any other commodity that is grown and harvested.

>"New trees will be planted for other reasons."

Yes, to sell carbon credits. But that won't happen on my tree farm, as I expect that current silliness to blow over soon, making it unprofitable to plant more trees.

For a good perspective, see the excellent time capsule provided by Anon @ 11:39.

 
At 4/24/2010 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who grow trees for paper production will plant fewer for paper production. That doesn't mean fewer trees will be grown.

More likely is that fields planted to trees will revert to grain.

 
At 4/24/2010 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As to pollution and property right, what about the rights of property owners who suffer from pollution?

Everyone has equal rights to have their property protected.

The problem we hacve is that those who insist on zero pollution, or insist thet there is NO RIGHT to pollute, necessarilly put themselves in a position where they think they can impose $1000 in pre-emptive costs against their neighbor in order to prevent $100 worth of damage to themselves.

They do this by artificially inflating estimates of the damage: no matter how much it costs to prevent X it is better than the [low probability and far in the future] alternative.

Classical economics would suggest that is crazy.

There is no reason to spend mopre to prevent damage than the damage costs. The way you discover that price is create a market.

 
At 4/24/2010 3:06 PM, Blogger OA said...

If contributions to the church of environmentalism were voluntary, then fine. But I have to put a 10 cent deposit down every time I buy a bottle of soda. And my tax money goes toward buying someone else's solar panels, or insulating his/her house now, and they want to tax CO2.

Going after acid rain or smog is fine. Those were real problems.

But reality is blurring into blind faith in spite of proof of intentional deception.

I was willing to listen to the global warming theories. It's no secret that historical warm periods in geologic history coincided with higher CO2 levels. But the more I checked, the less science there is for man-made global warming.

Ask questions about the science and the response is personal attacks, not discussion about the science.

Even ask how solar panels and windmills are going to help us stop oil imports, and there's personal attacks. The Picken's Plan at least tried to tie the two together, by trying to free up natural gas to be used for vehicles. But the price of natural gas fell and he able to jettison the windmill part of the plan.

But there's blind faith that solar and wind reduce oil usage. So I have to chip in for someone else's system.

To me the blind faith is the part most comparable to religion. "Denier" is a term that could have been used during the Spanish Inquisition.

 
At 4/24/2010 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are a few quotes from, the first Earth Day, 1970, from those sages of our environmental future:


They were wrong as far as the timeline goes, but the basic premise still holds.

Earth is a petri dish and when are the culture. When we consume resources to the edge of the dish, we will die back.

Environmentqalists/conservationists wish to esablish a new artificial boundary to preserve what is outside of it.

The end result is acceleration of the problem: we consume up to the edge of the artificial boundary and then die off.

Except that won't happene because there will be warfare over the unclaimed (protected) turf.

The flip side is that virtually unlimited (BUT DILUTE) energy rains down on us. If we can capture and concentrate it we can make almost any kind of other resource, from scratch.

It is not going to be cheap, and the result will be many people living at lower standards than today. Those that are scraping by today are in deep trouble.

I'm a technologist, and I don;t buy the argument that technology can solve anything. The laws of economy are derived from the laws of physics.

 
At 4/24/2010 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I have to chip in for someone else's system.


You are chipping in to the oil system now. We just don't have the proper accounting to know who is paying for what.

The result is that anyone can make your claim about nearly anything and be partly right. Then, based on the argument that no one has any right to take anything from me, we conclude that this is wrong, without really knowing whether we were actually better off under the alternative.

This amounts to the argument that the value of my property is infinite, compared to everyone elses. (The same stupid argument environmentalists make.) This, then is a claim for more than equal protection of your property compared to others.

 
At 4/24/2010 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Going after acid rain or smog is fine. Those were real problems.

But reality is blurring into blind faith in spite of proof of intentional deception.


You are right, but I see it as a price issue. We don't have the right kinds of markets to discover the right price.

Suppose we "Issue" property rights to each person for their 7 million kilograms worth of atmosphere. Those that have little use for their property (Bedouins as compared to long distance commuters) can sell what they don't use too those that need it.

It's an accounting problem. But we need to not get silly about it, and get bogged down in transaction costs that are bigger than the supposed market insult.

It's like the guy closest to the water tower claiming he should get lower water rates, until youpoint out to him that he is also farthest from the sewage tredatment plant.

We are already working in this direction. In chicago your tax bill consists of the sum of bills for the many overlapping service districts you may live in.

We already know pretty much what everyone burns for most everything.
some people think we need to prevent that by putting (basically) an infinite price on the atmosphere to combust it with, which they claim ownership of.

(Or, they claim we all own it, and they think we all share their values.)

I think we need a better way to set the price.

Excuse me, I gott go burn some more diesel fuel.

 
At 4/24/2010 3:42 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

>"Not a single intelligent retort, and no hint that anyone reading this blog is educated in classic economics."

OK, Benny, here's one for you; maybe few here take you seriously because you don't appear to know what you are talking about. The nonsense you spout doesn't usually rise to a level that requires an intelligent response. What you see, then, is people laughing at you. Even someone who might be interested in your comments is likely put off by your angry and insulting tone.

Here's an example:

>"Real classic economists (not hack mouthpieces for the American right-wing) know that the free market uttely fails when it comes to pollution.

The oddity of anti-environmentalism, now a pillar of the "We Are Idiots" wing of the R-Party, is that bona-fide classic economics does not validate unfettered pollution."


Pretend you don't know who wrote that. if you encountered that comment would you stop to form an intelligent and thoughtful response, or would you just laugh and move on? Be honest, now.

Your primary concern seems to be externalities, and you are are angry that those who advocate free markets are ignoring them . Am I right so far?

In the example above, you refer to 'classic economics' when what you may really mean is 'classical economics'. If that's the case, you should be aware that 'classical economics' doesn't consider externalities at all.

You accuse others of being economically illiterate, when in fact, it is you who appears to be challenged. Your one and only theme seems to be 'externalities'.

The idea of pricing costs or benefits to third parties is a fairly recent concept, historically, and not yet well developed. The problem, is that the cost or benefit is different for different people, so saying 'the cost to society' is meaningless, and setting a fixed price is near impossible. The attractive part to some, I suppose, is that attempting to do so calls for massive government involvement.

So, Benny, my advise to you would be instead of saying something like this -

>"Real classic economists (not hack mouthpieces for the American right-wing)..."

or this -

>"The oddity of anti-environmentalism, now a pillar of the "We Are Idiots" wing of the R-Party..."

or this -

>"Less trees planted due to recycling? What next--let's throw the plastic bottles in the water, so we can drill more oil wells?"

Try explaining who or what it is you are referring to, so we can know what you mean.

In other words, start making sense.

 
At 4/24/2010 4:25 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

>"Now that struck me as a very funny comment!

Excellent and on target!"


When I first viewed that little video, my immediate reaction was to LMAO, and say to myself "Those people are really f***ed!"; but on further reflection, I realize that it's very possible some part of my future rests in their hands. Then I got scared.

 
At 4/24/2010 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They were wrong as far as the timeline goes, but the basic premise still holds ... When we consume resources to the edge of the dish, we will die back.

Was that you on the street corner the other day screaming, "the end is near"? Time for a bath.

 
At 4/24/2010 6:25 PM, Blogger OA said...

Anonymous said...
So I have to chip in for someone else's system.


You are chipping in to the oil system now. We just don't have the proper accounting to know who is paying for what.



Last I checked, I benefit from the oil system. That solar system, not so much.

With that solar system, someone else gets to make their house more valuable and in 10 years or so they start making a profit.

I've never met anyone with a solar system who couldn't have paid for it all themselves.

With oil, I use gasoline, plastics, and all kinds of stuff made from it. Part of what I pay goes toward the system and infrastructure. I do that voluntarily.

If you're referring to tax credits to the energy companies, check their financial statements and there are more sales and income taxes on their revenue than profit.

For Exxon Mobil 2009:

Sales based taxes: $26 billion
Other taxes and duties: $35 billion
Income taxes: $15 billion

Net income: $19 billion

Seems like the oil users pay for even any credits the industry gets. And they do so voluntarily.

 
At 4/24/2010 7:31 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

anonymous: "That doesn't mean fewer trees will be grown.

More likely is that fields planted to trees will revert to grain."


Do you know very much about the land on which pine trees are currently grown? What grains do you believe will be grown there?

Do you know very much about the economics of grain production? What incentive exists for growing additional grain on land which is really not suited for such production?

Perhaps what you are meaning is that some form of plant life will grow on a given piece of land regardless of whatever incentive exists for producing paper. Is that what you are meaning, anonymous person who apparently doesn't have the courage to attach a name to your assertions?

 
At 4/24/2010 11:18 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Ron H., great reply to Benji. I guess his classical economics training did not include any mention of riparian rights, or how the common law could deal well with pollution issues, especially in states with laws explicitly granting riparian rights.

Benji, try reading this, it might help expand your obviously excellent eduction:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/p162311312058n20/fulltext.pdf

 
At 4/25/2010 1:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Benjamin is a good example of the 'tolerants.' The less of those 'enlightened' people govern, the better. He seems a bit bitter and hateful.

 
At 4/25/2010 4:20 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"As to pollution and property right, what about the rights of property owners who suffer from pollution? Plenty of people in the Los Angeles basin suffer lower property values form pollution, and anyone downstream on a polluted waterway suffers from upstream polluters"...

Oh boo! hoo!

There's nothing forcing those people to live there or move there in the first place...

This is exactly the same sort complaint people who move out by large airports (due to lower property values) make then whine about the noise airplanes make...

 
At 4/25/2010 10:27 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Well if environmentalism is a religion its a damned expensive religion especially for home owners...

 
At 4/25/2010 9:04 PM, Blogger Apolloswabbie said...

"If you are old, you will recall that the Cuyahoga River really did catch on fire (Cleveland). And not just once, several times. Imagine--a public resource so devoid of life and fresh water that it could catch on fire."

This is not so hard to imagine - this is the tragedy of the commons. There are many public resources similarly abused and neglected. Only in the very richest countries, with the very richest taxpayers, is it not the case always. That it was corrected is good, and that it happened was entirely predictable. The resource owned by all and thus by no one is the first one to be wasted.

 
At 4/26/2010 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://freethinkerspress.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/plastic1.jpg

 
At 4/27/2010 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evangelicals of any persuasion are annoying because they are so certain they are right and also because they are generally deaf to reason, however muted.

Anything that clashes with their preconcieved position is simply impossible for them to accept.

 
At 4/27/2010 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well if environmentalism is a religion its a damned expensive religion especially for home owners...


That's why you have fire insurance.

 
At 4/27/2010 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There's nothing forcing those people to live there or move there in the first place..."

This amounts to the people polluting there claiming they have superior proerty rights: the right to pollute others property, while probiting the same for their own. Or, it amounts to taking the other pwersosn property for their use (pollution).

Those people are entitle to equal protection of their property as anyone else.

If you mone into an area known to be polluted or noisey because of lower property values, then you have not paid for protection, and you have not lost any value as long as conditions continue.

But if the airport adds another runway and doubles the noise or the local mill adds another polluting facility, then you have the same right to have you property protected as anyone else.

The strategy of "if you don't like it, move away" amounts to assault, in my book. Liberty is important, but it is important to know its limits.

 
At 4/27/2010 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you know very much about the land on which pine trees are currently grown? What grains do you believe will be grown there? "

In my area there are farms planted over to pine trees, and other forest, where grain once grew, mostly corn and soybeans in this area. since 1933 approximately 2/3rs of the area formerly used for grain and grazing has reverted to or been planted in forest.

In my area we are neither competitive with the vast pine barrens nor with the grain belt, as far as producton is concerned but we have an advantage in location and markets.

Prior to the advent of tractors about 3/4 of farmland was used to feed the draft animals that worked the other 25%.

 
At 4/27/2010 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you know very much about the economics of grain production? What incentive exists for growing additional grain on land which is really not suited for such production?

In my area, depending on variable inputs and conditions you can expect the return on an acre of soybeans to fall between -$25 per acre to about +$38 per acre.

The incentive is that if you do NOT plant, then your entire property will be taxed as residential. The regular rate taxes your residence and two acres as residential and th evacant land at a lower rate, based on its use.

For the average size farm around here the differce is $8000 and up. Therefore the economics of the game are to farm the property and lose less than $8000 per year.

You can avoid the expense and labor involved by planting a tree crop, which you won't have to mess with very much for the next thirty years or so. Most forest land around here is thinned every 20 to 30 years, for a profit of around $1500 per acre.

Any way you slice it, something like -$50 to +$100 per acre isn't much of an incentive.

There are niche markets like grapes which can return $1000 an acre based on $5000 of inputs, but it's a five year up-front cost, and grapes don't take a lot of acres: it is horticulture, not agriculture.

 
At 4/27/2010 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last I checked, I benefit from the oil system.

So subsidies are OK, if the benefits are high enough?

 
At 4/27/2010 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was that you on the street corner the other day screaming, "the end is near"? Time for a bath.


Can you read. My argument was a critique AGAINST the end is near philosophy.

We do have some kind of limits as to what we can extract from and reject to the planet, that much is clear. What the evenuality is is not so clear.

But setting aside 80% as a artificial (conservation) limit only means we bump into the limits sooner.

Conservationists haven't addreesed the moral results of this, yet.

 
At 4/28/2010 9:44 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"The strategy of "if you don't like it, move away" amounts to assault, in my book. Liberty is important, but it is important to know its limits"...

Get a new book...

 
At 4/29/2010 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The strategy of "if you don't like it, move away" amounts to assault, in my book. Liberty is important, but it is important to know its limits"...

Get a new book...


I see that your idea of liberty is being able to order others around. Like I said before, nice logo.

 
At 5/26/2010 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading the comment from Benjamin @ 4/23/2010 11:16 PM. Well-informed, with points lucidly articulated.
I had hoped to see logical debate but, unfortunately, those who disagree launch petty 'ad hominem', attempting to belittle by renaming him "Benny", and not backing up disgareement with well-sourced facts or even a rational *emotional* argument.

This blog entry reminds me of the writings opposing MLK Day; and, by most of the criteria cited for a religion, civil rights activism wold fit... but so would avid sports fandom.

 

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