Matt Faherty blogs here occasionally, but we don’t have property rights in the guy, so he blogs elsewhere as well. Feel free to check out his blogging at the Heartland institute’s Somewhat Reasonable blog. His latest post is on environmentalism. What he says in that post seems to me to border on the undeniably true. Just one comment (not really a disagreement) on one brief passage:
“Sweat shop” laborers in India and China would rather work in a Nike factory next to a polluted river, than on a subsistence farm in the untouched countryside. Based on the migration movements within these countries, clearly they prefer the environment of one over the other.
True enough, though I’d add that they shouldn’t be forced to choose between the two, as they often are. It’s the function of a legitimate government to make sure that rivers aren’t polluted–but naturally, a lot of third-world governments (let’s not call them “developing nations”) do everything but what they ought to be doing.
For an eye-opening account of the latter phenomenon, I’d suggest this column on Pakistani politics in Karachi’s Dawn by Irfan Husain. My point in citing it is not to endorse Husain’s expansive conception of the state (much less his nostalgia for the PPP) but to offer a glimpse into the “workings” of politics in a “developing” country. With governments like that, it’s no wonder that sweat shop laborers face the choices they do.
Click the links, and take a look.