Economic facilities in th e form of opportunities for

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Unformatted text preview: nmental movement to speak of until living standards rose sufficiently so that we could turn our attention from simply providing for food, shelter, and a reasonable education to higher "quality of life" issues. The richer you are, the more likely you are to be an environmentalist. And people wouldn't be rich without capitalism. Wealth not only breeds environmentalists, it begets environmental quality. There are dozens of studies showing that, as per capita income initially rises from subsistence levels, air and water pollution increases correspondingly. But once per capita income hits between $3,500 and $15,000 (dependent upon the pollutant), the ambient concentration of pollutants begins to decline just as rapidly as it had previously increased. This relationship is found for virtually every significant pollutant in every single region of the planet. It is an iron law. Given that wealthier societies use more resources than poorer societies, such findings are indeed counterintuitive. But the data don't lie. How do we explain this? The obvious answer -that wealthier societies are willing to trade-off the economic costs of government regulation for environmental improvements and that poorer society are not -- is only partially correct. In the United States, pollution declines generally predated the passage of laws mandating pollution controls. 8|Page Capitalism Critique Affirmative BDL Capitalism Good – Environment [___] [___] Capitalism improves the environment: 4 ways Joseph Bast, president, Heartland Institute, 1994 (ECO-SANITY, p. 193) It is time to update our attitudes toward capitalism, and particularly our understanding of how it puts “a proper price on environmental resources.” Capitalism is based on a system of markets and private property rights. W hen rights are correctly defined and enforced, capitalism will protect the environment for four reasons: It creates incentives to do the right things; It generates and distributes needed information; It enables people to trade things or rights in order to solve problems that otherwise can’t be solved; and It enables property rights to evolve over time. The free-enterprise system creates wealth, rewards efficiency, and protects the environment better than any other system yet devised by man. [___] Capitalism is good for the environment Joseph Bast, president, Heartland Institute, 1994 (ECO-SANITY, p. 193) Without private ownership, it is difficult to protect wildlife, forests, or other environmental resources, because no one directly benefits when the resource is conserved or suffers a loss if the resource is mismanaged. When natural resources are owned collectively (or “by the government”), each of us may use or manage the resource very negligently, because we aren’t affected much by our careless behavior. As a result, public ownership often leaves the environment dependent on people’s charity of “good instincts.” These qualities are admirable, to be sure. But as the passenger pigeon, buffalo, and African...
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