Small silhouette of Doug Wolkon WELCOME TO PLURANOMICS, THE ECONOMICS OF MANY.

Polluted “Wealth”

In response to Bali Schmali; Financial Times, Willem Buiter's Maverecon; Dec. 23, 2007

These so-called “wealthiest” 5%, that burn so much carbon, also have 1.) The most polluted waters, so we are forced to import day old “fresh” fish from the “poorest” countries to avoid m-e-r-c-u-r-y in our local fish, 2.) Acid rain, yes our rain actually burns through car paint, and 3.) Toxic air, asthma is an epidemic among children in America. Further, more and more of the food eaten by the “wealthiest” is packaged and not nearly as fresh as so much of the food in so many of the “poorest” societies.

Labor time in the Western societies has gone from 40 hours a week to 50, 60, and 70 hours for so many workers (don’t forget increased hours of inefficient car traffic). As a result, Free Time is dramatically lower for the “wealthiest” than it was as recently as 10 and 20 years ago. This year, the world is producing less food than the previous year and many of the “poorest” countries and continents (South America and Latin America) also have the greatest and most diverse land commodities (i.e. food and metals) in the world; just when the population is increasing at its greatest pace ever (think supply and demand fundamentals). Lastly, the oil costs (transport fuel and petroleum packaging) required to move these awesome raw materials around the world are hyper-inflating for the Western economies, which are printing money like they don’t know any better. If the “wealthiest” 5% of Western societies don’t conclude that they are literally peeing on themselves as more and more of their children breath with asthma and eat mercury-filled fish, I think the definition of “wealthy” will have to change.

 


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