A lot of the climate of paranoia about industrial society is much ado about nothing. As John Stossel points out so well, much of it is “myths, lies, and downright stupidity.”
Industrial society has done more to benefit mankind in terms of quality of life and length of life, than any Luddite “back to nature” movement. If this opinion were wrong, we wouldn’t see such a strong tendency for the most undedeveloped or “pristine” countries to have such lower life expectancies on average than more advanced (typically, industrialized) economies.
True, there are some poor countries with relatively long life expectancies. But if one lives in a richer country, that almost always means longer life expectancy, statistically speaking. In the above-linked analysis, if average per capita income (PPP) in a country is is more than $17, 140, then statistically that means an average life expectancy of above 73. (Qatar is the lowest of such higher income countries at 73.14.)
In essence, developing the economy, especially in low income countries, entails building up at least an industrial society. This statistically leads to a longer average life expectancy. In addition, there is a correlation of higher income with fewer children, draining less agricultural resources.
Obviously, if one lives in a more developed economy, again, usually entailing industrial development at some stage, then the statistical picture is that there are relatively fewer children and they tend to live longer, healthier lives. Fewer die of disease or malnutrition.
This is not to mention the millions of children who have died of malaria, due in part to Rachel Carson’s war on DDT, or the higher grain prices due to ethanol subsidies (and also Western central bank policy, but that’s another discussion).
It should also be pointed out that the most centralized economies in the world are also the worst environmental offenders. Russia, for example, is notorious for its collapsing industrial infrastructure. China is a belching behemoth of industrial gas, with few advanced safeguards to prevent emissions. It should be pointed out that Chinese life expectancy is currently about 72.
The U.S., on the other hand, is one of the few relatively industrialized countries to be cutting emissions. Apparently, manufacturing’s share of the economy has fallen 45% since 1971; but it’s not being “outsourced,” like is portrayed. It’s being driven overseas with oppressive environmental regulations and the highest corporate taxes in the entire world – including in Japan.
In any event, the following link is to a blog article on a study of “decarbonization” in the world. Ironically, the author complains that agriculture produces a lot of carbon emissions, and then points out how Ireland has industrialized and “decarbonized,” while saying that this is “cheating”! So what is the point of his complaint? That we should neither have much agriculture because it produces a lot of carbon emissions, nor an industrialized economy because that leads to more imported food because that is “cheating”? Mind you, this isn’t from some wacko blog, but from the “Wonk Blog” at the Washington Post, the most influential newspaper at the heart of our nation’s regulatory behemoth.
Overall, with environmentalism, as with nearly everything else on the left, the issue is not the issue. It is about government regulatory control over energy, industry, agriculture – central planning. It doesn’t matter to these ‘altruistic’ liberal types if their policies hurt people’s quality of life, leads to millions of deaths from disease or malnutrition, or a number of other negative consequences. For example, John Stossel confronted an African aid organization about the DDT-malaria connection, and she neither denied the connection, nor said she would do anything about lifting the ban on DDT! Millions of African children, sacrificed on the altar of self-righteous liberalism.
Modern liberalism about power, plain and simple, and this is best achieved through power over people’s mind. If people can’t realize that the left is manipulating them for political gain, at any human cost, they will become increasingly mystified why their quality of life is going down the waterless toilet.