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Single Entendre

Well, no need to couch our ideas in clever little puzzles anymore:

I understand that our country has people living in poverty, some of whom are now losing their jobs to Chinese competition, but that’s simply our shame – we have all the money on earth, and we haven’t figured out how to spread it around.

Which is why it seems intuitively obvious when you’re in China that the goal of the twenty-first century must somehow be to simultaneously develop the economies of the poorest parts of the world and undevelop those of the rich

But try to imagine the political possibilities in America of taking Chinese aspirations seriously – of acknowledging that there isn’t room for two of us to behave in this way, and that we don’t own the rights to our lifestyle simply because we got there first. The current president’s father announced, on his way to the parley in Rio that gave rise to the Kyoto treaty, that “the American way of life is not up for negotiation”. That’s what defines a tragedy.

That from Bill McKibben’s classic piece, “The Great Leap.” I appreciate the honestly. However, this becomes a little problematic for me when over half of the students I will be teaching, and most of the academics who style themselves as “E”nvironmentalists deeply adhere to this line of thinking. I respect that you have these views, I really do. But I do not appreciate being forced into dozens upon dozens of “debates” about the environment and sustainability when it is falsely believed as axiomatic that economics as we know it has nothing to add to the discussion.

2 Responses to “Single Entendre”

  1. Harry says:

    To them, life is a zero-sum game. What ignorance. What twisted ignorance.

    I agree he at least calls a spade a spade, Wintercow. Hardly anybody would argue for diminishing the American standard of living so directly. But then, how do radical Islamists get away with teaching suicide bombing as virtue?

    We do not see many mullahs blowing themselves up, or our American nomenclatura traveling in Trailways buses that are not air-conditioned in the hot weather, discussing what to do with someone else’s property.

    I know that charging someone else with hyprocsy verges on an ad hominem argument, but is sick to wish the rest of the world misery for the sake of promoting one’s urges.

  2. Harry says:

    Meant to say, “… it is sick.”

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