Professor Mike Munger returns to the show to explore the seen vs. the unseen in green energy and sustainability.
Soph·ist·ry: the use of fallacious arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.
The word ‘sustainability’ is a slippery one indeed. We’re told that our current consumption is unsustainable, and are cajoled into spending billions on Green New Deal type legislation by politicians who criss-cross the country on jumbo jets.
Even allegedly “clean” energy alternatives to goal and gas require material resources that often dwarf the emissions they’re supposed to offset. Point this out the the Climate Cassandras, and they will shriek that at least the projects create jobs in the Green Economy.
Mike Munger, prolific blogger and Professor of Political Science, Economics, and Public Policy at Duke University, has another name for the typical thinking behind sustainability: sophistry.
His latest article for AIER quotes Frederic Bastiat’s “Economic Sophisms” at length to make the critical point that costs are not benefits. Destroying wealth in order to create jobs is a lose-lose.
A modern-day Bastiat, Munger skewers today’s environmentalist sophists just by showing the logical conclusion of their preferred policies:
Burn all the gas-powered cars? Jobs! Tear down all the oil and gas-powered power plants, so we have shortages of electricity? So many jobs!
Munger returns to the show to explore the seen vs. the unseen in green energy and sustainability.
We talk about one of my personal bugaboos—recycling—and it why it’s typically worse for the environment than landfills. We also revisit Mike’s clear-eyed defense of capitalism, Is Capitalism Sustainable?
The question of sustainability boils down to this: how can we best fulfill the needs of the current generations without compromising the needs of future generations? We can talk all day about alternative energy, but Munger notes that there is no to alternative capitalism. Only the market can solve our sustainability woes.
For Most Things, Recycling Harms the Environment
In 2008 I was invited to a conference called Australia Recycles! in Fremantle. I flew coach for 30 hours (we had to divert, at one point, to Auckland instead of Sydney because huge headwinds used up more fuel than expected) and landed in Perth and then was driven to Freo by one of the conference organizers.
Green Energy is the Modern "Broken Window"
"If my choices are to have wealth but no job, or to have a job but no wealth, I'd rather have the wealth. But we don't have to choose: we can have both wealth and jobs, if we don't go around breaking all the darned windows." ~ Michael C. Munger
Green Energy Reality Check: It's Not as Clean as You Think | Manhattan Institute
How much does a mile of travel or a movie weigh? Such an odd-sounding question isn't about distance or time; instead, it points to the inescapable reality that every product and service begins with, and is sustained by, extracting minerals from the earth.
Michael Munger on Recycling - Econlib
Mike Munger, professor of economics and political science at Duke University and frequent guest of EconTalk, talks with host Russ Roberts about the economics and politics of recycling. Munger argues that recycling can save resources, of course, but it can also require more resources than production from scratch.
Is Capitalism Sustainable?
Is Capitalism Sustainable? - Kindle edition by Munger, Michael. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Is Capitalism Sustainable?.