Thursday, June 26, 2008

Our Present Comfort

"In our present comfort, Americans don't seem to understand nature. We believe that our climate-controlled homes, comfortable offices and easy air and car travel are just like grass or trees; apparently they should sprout up on their own for our benefit.

Americans also harp about the faults of prior generations. We would never make their blunders -- even as we don't seem to mind using the power plants, bridges and buildings that they handed down to us.

Finally, high technology and the good life have turned us into utopians, fussy perfectionists who demand heaven on earth. Anytime a sound proposal seems short of perfect, we consider it not good, rather than good enough.

Hamlet asked, 'To be, or not to be: that is the question.' In our growing shortages of infrastructure, food, fuel and water, we've already answered that: 'Not to be!'"
It often seems to me that our prosperity has led to much being taken for granted. You may want to read the entire piece by VDH. I think there is another take on some of the things VDH writes about. Some of the things he writes about remind me of Mancur Olson's The Logic of Collective Action and The Rise and Decline of Nations. Perhaps our system of political economy is once again in the grip of sclerosis.

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