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In the “no human being is creative enough to make this stuff up” category, Coyote shares a story about his son:

Scene 2, Spanish AP:  My son hands me a list of Spanish words he is trying to learn.  They are the Spanish words for things like “social justice,”  ”poverty”, “exploitation”, etc.  I told him it was an odd selection of words.  He said that nearly every Spanish essay in every Spanish textbook he had ever had were about revolution and stopping the rich from exploiting the poor and fighting global warming.  So he wanted to be prepared for a similar topic on the AP.    After the test, I remembered this conversation and asked him what the essay was.  He said the topic was “show why the government of poor countries should give free bicycles to the poor to fight global warming.”

Aside from the obvious absurdity of the world we live in, this demonstrates how damaging common curriculum standards are. It also raises a fun economics puzzle. Aside from the obvious consequence in terms of how expensive those bicycles will end up being, is it plausible that giving the poor bicycles would fight global warming? I tend to think it would do just the opposite. If someone is poor enough to not have a bicycle, they probably do not have a car. So I find it implausible that the bicycles would be substituting for motor vehicle transport. In fact, if you take the global warming alarmists seriously, then the production of these bicycles must be bad, because the poor would have been too poor to buy them, and so those resources (and CO2 emissions) never would have been used had the government not called forth their production (that’s not exactly true). And what other effects might we expect to see from this. And gosh, what an absolutely dumb question.

3 Responses to “Giving Free Bicycles to the Poor to Fight Global Warming”

  1. Harry says:

    I have often wondered why it is that Spanish- speaking Latin America, with a few exceptions, has made such a shambles of their well-being.

    As you have often pointed out, until just a few centuries ago, the whole world was vastly worse off than today, and that the reason for our happy condition is rooted in principles promoting freedom. You said it well in your AHI speech, and I will not attempt to resay what has already been put well.

    But it does not surprise me that Coyote’s son’s class teaches such vocabulary to be able to determine whether the state should give bicycles to poor people to limit their carbon footprint. Yes, an absurd audacious question.

    Yes, Latin America has a different geography and climate, with its own inherent problems. But how come Brazil, with its vast natural resources, has been an economic basket case since Vasco Degama?

    It has not simply been because of the Marxism, ascendant from time to time. Juan Peron was a kleptocrat, and there have been plenty of other examples of failure beyond Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Salvador Allende, and, lately, Hugo Chavez. Maybe the plan has been to keep the people ignorant. This goes back to the Middle Ages, long before Marx.

    You haven often written about economic literacy, and I assume you do not restrict that to the Phillips Curve, or whatever is taught in Econ 364 today by Professor Blinder. Rather, the question is how a few hundred years ago some people became literate in a practical way.

    As for giving poor people bicycles to fight global warming, that’s about as good as any of the other ideas.

  2. Speedmaster says:

    Wow, more on the rot that is govt. schools.

  3. Rod says:

    My brother in law taught Chemistry at the University of the North, in Antofagasta, while he was in the Peace Corps. His partial theory about the unproductivity of Chile was that everyone drank a bottle of wine at lunch, prompting the traditional “siesta”: in other words, from 2 to 3, everyone was passed out.

    Also, dinner was consumed sometime after nine or ten in the evening, with two or three or four bottles of wine. In other words, after sleeping off the wine at lunch, the average Chilean arose, went down to the currency exchange to exchange Chilean pesos for German Marks, and then went out to buy wine for dinner with those marks. No one was on time for dinner (a nine o’clock invitation meant at least ten or eleven), so everyone passed out from those three or four bottles of wine around one or two, meaning that few could roll out of bed before ten or eleven in the morning, the start of the work day, which then was interrupted by the wine for lunch, and the siesta, bringing everything to full cycle.
    Hasta la vista, amigo! Life is good!

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