It is a veritable religious belief that people look at “pollution” and identify its existence as “bad.” Never mind me lecturing you on the economics of pollution – which would start with a study of property rights and how weak or non-existence property rights are the only way “pollution” can even exist in the first place. We would then explore the idea that zero pollution is not an option, since it is not costless to reduce. We would then explore the idea, therefore, that there is an optimal level of pollution. In other words, the existence of pollution itself tells us no more about whether an outcome is desirable or undesirable than the existence of a firm’s labor costs tells us about whether it is being optimal or not.
With that in mind, I find it hard to reconcile folks’ religious belief about physical, observable, pollution (that there should be none!) with the way they live in their personal lives. Does everyone who is “anti-pollution” wash their car every day? Are their beds made each and every morning? Do they ever leave dishes in the sink? Do they … [you can ask your own favorite question here, such as always brush their teeth?] You might, at your next dinner party, ask folks why they ever allow these horrible “pollutants” to damage their lives. And then ask them what they think about carbon emissions.
But just don’t plan on being invited back for the
Christmas holiday party.