“Some of these stories are closer to my own life than others are, but not one of them is as close as people seem to think.” Alice Murno, from the intro to Moons of Jupiter

"Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see." Arthur Schopenhauer

“Why does everything you know, and everything you’ve learned, confirm you in what you believed before? Whereas in my case, what I grew up with, and what I thought I believed, is chipped away a little and a little, a fragment then a piece and then a piece more. With every month that passes, the corners are knocked off the certainties of this world: and the next world too. Show me where it says, in the Bible, ‘Purgatory.’ Show me where it says ‘relics, monks, nuns.’ Show me where it says ‘Pope.’” –Thomas Cromwell imagines asking Thomas More—Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

My favorite posts to get started: The Self-Righteousness Instinct, Sabbath Says, Encounters, Inc., and What Makes "Wolf Hall" so Great?.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Entrepreneurial Sins: Part 3 Environmental Degradation

That one of the byproducts of industry is pollution ought to be pretty obvious by now. So, as an example, I use a study from the University of Massachussetts-Amherst that doubles up on the entrepreneurial sins. The study shows that it is disproportionately minorities and the poor who are made to suffer from pollution--certainly not the industrialists who are making the profits.
Here is the study: http://www.peri.umass.edu/fileadmin/pdf/dpe/ctip/justice_in_the_air.pdf
And here is commentary from The Baseline Scenario:
http://baselinescenario.com/2009/05/05/pollution-race-and-poverty/#more-3548

I'll end this series of entries by clarifying that I don't believe the evils inherent in capitalism make it an evil in itself. I do believe free markets, for the most part, are part of the basis for freedom in general. The problem is that the conservative ideology that asserts that unregulated market competition is in each and every case an unqualified good has ridiculously strong traction in America.

Market competition is good. But that doesn't mean we should let entrepreneurs and rich people do whatever they want--we humans have a tendency to justify things we ought to recognize are atrocious.

3 comments:

caynazzo said...

I enjoy reading these serial posts.

One of my favorite photographers is Edward Burtynsky, who's best known for his manufacture landscapes gallery. You're probably familiar his red river scene featured on the cover Granta a few years back.

His TED presentation
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/edward_burtynsky_on_manufactured_landscapes.html

Dennis said...

I haven't seen Burtynsky's work in quite a while, not since he was on the News Hour. The link got cut off so here it is again:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/edward_burtynsky_on_manufactured_landscapes.html

caynazzo said...

This is tangential. http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/paul07/paul07_index.html

I came by it via Coyne's blog. He has a post up "Does Insecurity Support Faith."

I'm reading "Distant Mirror: the calamitous 14th Century" so religion and politics are on my mind a lot.