Banana Counting Monkey

Friday, September 06, 2002:

"Poverty Today Is Truly Miraculous"

Excellent, excellent column by Leon Louw, making hte basic point- poverty can be cured. The cure is obvious. All it requires is embracing the free market and the rights of man- the foremost being freedom of speech and freedom to own property. That wealth requires rulers to give up socialism and dictatorial control is the big stumbling block to world prosperity.

Prosperity in such countries is no "miracle". It is the natural outcome of relative economic freedom. If there are "economic miracles", they are backward countries, where governments have succeeded in preventing prosperity. India is a nation of manifestly energetic and enterprising people. If left alone, they would prosper. This was clearly demonstrated when India implemented modest pro-market reforms and the country was rewarded with one of the world's highest growth rates.

However, India's flirtation with prosperity may be short-lived. It has formidable enemies, including most first-world governments, leading academics and scientists, wealthy foundations, thousands of non-governmental officers, influential journalists, passionate activists, and countless other powerful interests.

These forces constitute a new kind of colonialism, which we might call eco-imperialism. As a delegate at the World Summit in Johannesburg, I have seen that it has been vigourously represented here. It is more insidious, pervasive and potentially more devastating than traditional imperialism.

There is not such thing as an "economic miracle". There is only cause and effect. Calling a country's prosperity and advancement a "miracle" is profoundly wrong and serves only to obscure the causes of prosperity. Given much of the media and government's attitudes towards economics, I suppose they are giving their honest opinion of what occurs. "Getting prosperity after curring the government's involement in helping everyone! It MUST be a miracle!"

BCM // 11:48 AM


Quote of the Day #2

The claims of these organizers of humanity raise another question which I have often asked them and which, so far as I know, they have never answered: If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that
they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?"

Frederic Bastiat

Freemarket Foundation of South Africa

BCM // 11:34 AM


Quote of the Day

"How do you tell a Communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an
anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin."

-Ronald Reagan

BCM // 11:31 AM


New Green Bottles

John Fund on the Johannesburg Summit

Colin Powell need not be shocked at either the jeers that he faced or the cheers that greeted Robert Mugabe. The World Summit on Sustainable Development wasn't about helping the world's poor. The summiteers' real aim was to put spoiled socialist wine into new green bottles.

The WSJ Editorial calls the summit Colin Powell's finest hour- and noted the split which occred between the EU, the NGOs and dictatorships vs. The U.S and developing countries which actually take in interest in their citizen's welfare.

The first smart U.S. decision was to keep President Bush away, showing he'd learned from his father's embarrassment at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Then the U.S. delegation, with notable support from Australia, quietly bypassed the Europeans and worked out deals with developing countries, virtually all of whom have no interest in forgoing economic growth in order to assuage First World guilt. Ignored, for example, were European suggestions for targets on the amount of energy produced by "renewable" sources that even rich countries can't afford.

Instead the final document stresses the importance of "affordable" energy, as well as trade and honest governance as engines of economic growth--themes the Bush Administration raised at the U.N.'s Monterrey summit in March and in Doha last November. Where First World commitments were made, they are concrete and achievable, such as a 2015 target date for getting clean water and sanitation systems to at least half of the 2.4 billion people who now lack them. Contrast this with the airy ambition of such dreams as the Kyoto global warming pact, which have the effect of making greens feel good about themselves in the comfort of Hamburg but do nothing for poor Africans who die of malaria and cholera.

Small wonder the world's self-styled environmentalists were less than pleased. "We should never have such shameful summits again," said Richard Navarro of Friends of the Earth. "The reaction to Colin Powell's speech is a very accurate reflection of the anger of non-governmental organizations at the role played by the United States at this conference," said Remi Parmentier of Greenpeace.

Sigh. Schedenfreude is such a delightful feeling when I feel it for the Greens.

BCM // 11:16 AM


Movies This Weekend

Nothing I want to see. Nothing whatsoever. Maybe I'll just go see Spider-Man again. Maybe not, given the ticket prices.

Or maybe I'll go see
Swimfan. It looks so suspenseful, and the trailer didn't give anything away at all. (I hate when they do.) It looks completely original too. I'll have to go and see it twice, just to make sure I get all of the subtle artistic nuances. {/sarcasm}

BCM // 7:25 AM


Wednesday, September 04, 2002:

And Proud Of It.....

What revolution are You?
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BCM // 10:19 AM

"If you build it, they will come"- but they won't buy.

Ford motor Company is discontinuing their
"Think" electric car.

In an article in today's Financial Post (unavailable online), Ford's decision to cancel the environmentally friendly project is discussed. (Here is Ballard Power's reaction.. They're the guys who were to manufacture parts for it.)

Ford launched the Think City Car in the european market three years ago, but it "failed to spark consumer interest". What does this tell us that's useful? Well- the price of gas in Europe is double that of Canada. Even with that difference in price, consumers still didn't embrace this cheap ($6500 USD) electric car. The Kyoto-loving, environmentalist, Green party voting european public didn't start buying the environmentally friendly choice they were offered.

Maybe consumers aren't interested in the environmentally friendly cars if they have to give up the preformance and power of the Internal combustion engine. Hell, the biggest Green I know drives a massive Dodge Dakota. Ford wisely decided that if the europeans weren't going to buy it, then there was no chance in hell that the US consumer would.

Ford did release their Think "Neighbour" in the US, a unit more resembling a golf cart. Sales were dissapointing at barely 500 (out of a capacity to bulid 10,000/year).

There's a Dow Jones WSJ editorial which makes a few good points too. (Link unavailable)

Where are the environmentalists when you really need them? That question comes to mind after Ford Motor Co.'s decision last week to abandon its electric-car venture known as Think.
Ford actually spent $123 million and several years trying to develop these vehicles, much loved by the greens but alas not much by drivers. The company had the capacity to build as many as 10,000 a year of its Think Neighbor version, which resembles a high-class golf cart. But it sold barely more than
1,000. For some baffling reason, American soccer moms prefer to drive SUVs with four-wheel drive and seats for the entire Little League.

But what about the greens? Here they had a perfect chance to be true to their philosophy and drive a car that wouldn't pollute the air, much less melt the polar ice cap. But apparently members of the Sierra Club prefer to drive sturdier, faster, more polluting cars themselves too. This crisis cries out for bold government action. California Governor Gray Davis recently signed a bill mandating that car makers offer 100,000 electric and other low-emissions vehicles a year for sale in the state, beginning this October 1. But it's now not enough to mandate merely that they be offered; if Mr. Davis and his friends in the legislature are serious, they are going to have to mandate that such cars also be bought.

And to set the proper moral example, the politicians will certainly want to be the first on their block, not to mention Highway 101, to drive one of these electric beauties. It's true this will make for a rather more hazardous, and slower, commute. But think of the new respect voters will have for these public servants as they speed by, honking, in the passing lane.

Now- my rant.

One of the things that I always hear from Greens is that the car industry/ oil industry are conspiring to keep electric cars and more fuel efficient alternatives away from the public. We would instantly have much more environmentally friendly cars which everyone would snap up if only the corporations weren't standing in the way! Bullshit. Enron couldn't carry off a simple accounting fraud- global conspiracies to prevent fuel efficient cars from coming out is something faaaar beyond their capabilities. Ken Lay is not Darth Vader. The reason we don't have cars that run on a dime and yesterday's coffee grounds a la Back To The Future is that they aren't feasible yet, or rather, they aren't what people want to buy. Sure, everyone says they want such cars, it's a "ForTheChildren&Trade" issue that no one is against. (Even me.) Unfortunately, the fact that we want it does not make it instantaneously real. (If it did, I want my battlemech, dammit and I want it now.) Until we get electric or hybrid cars that perform up to the level of the Internal combustion engine at a reasonable price, it isn't going to happen.

The Dow editorial had a dammed good point besides- where are the Greens when it comes to buying according to their convictions? Ah yes- it's always someone else's job to make the sacrifices for the planet.

BCM // 7:08 AM


"Tranzi" continues to spread

David Horowitz is using it now.

It's interesting to watch the meme spread.

BCM // 7:07 AM


Monday, September 02, 2002:

I've been experimenting with my gaming blog. I am now fully acquainted with the legendary "Blogger Archive bug".

I'm in at work today. The idea of getting the satutory holiday pay and then time-and-a-half on top of that was far too tempting. It is nice and quiet here, giving me plenty of time to work on "other" things.

Excellent. So peaceful, so enjoyable.

BCM // 9:47 AM


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