Beyond the Cusp

July 5, 2017

The Unintentional Racism of the Eco Movement


We hear all about how the Eco Movement is a holy and wonderful group of people who are simply so superior to the rest of us. Their concern is that the Earth might be becoming ill and, as Albert Gore has loved saying, the Earth has a fever! They demand that bio-fuels, wind power, solar power, geo-thermal power and any other kind of power which does not depend on carbon be used exclusively despite any and all consequences. They ignore much and this was first demonstrated in great detail starting with the 1962 publication of Silent Spring which gave a near hysterical depiction of the world and the wide over-dependence on pesticides. This book began the investigation into the use of DDT and the claim that its use, not its over-use, just its use leading to thinner shells on the eggs of birds leading to eventual inability of birds to reproduce successfully. We will grant that there was an effect on insect eating birds’ eggshells. That is obvious as the way it was utilized all but expunged the entire areas of their insect populations. The rarifying of food sources for these birds is what led to their thinned eggshells. Had DDT been used more precisely, sparingly and moderately rather than spraying DDT indiscriminately over wide-expanses with frequent refreshing whenever a single mosquito was detected by one of the more influential community members, the problems such spraying caused would have been mitigated. In other words, instead of such broad and inundating usages ,DDT had been limited to delicate use where mosquitoes breed such as where there was still water and actual mosquitoes present, then the whole species of insects would not have been so drastically affected. This would have caused less of a deleterious effect on the birds and their eggshells. By 2001, the anti-DDT crusaders reached their pinnacle of success, a world-wide ban on the use of DDT. There were side effects which everybody simply brushed aside but there was a reason the pesticide chemical manufacturers backed, through third party donations such as the World Wildlife Fund, the ban on DDT which we will cover shortly.


The ban on DDT was extended to cover the entire globe after malaria had been almost completely eradicated from the developed world but was still a major problem in the developing world, especially in tropical environments where mosquitos were a present and serious problem. The problem can be put into perspective by simply considering the toll caused by malaria in the developing world. In 2012, malaria caused an estimated two-hundred-seven-million clinical episodes, and six-hundred-seven-thousand deaths. An estimated 91% of deaths in 2010 were in the African Region. The saddest statistic is that aside from tourist cases, the most vulnerable amongst us are the young children, who have not yet developed partial immunity to malaria, and pregnant women, whose immunity is decreased by pregnancy, especially during their first and second pregnancies. The elderly also are more susceptible. The immediate response when people wish to show concern is, are there not other pesticides which can be utilized to reduce mosquito populations? The answer is yes and then people brush off their hands and simply advise that these nations simply use the modern, more specific and targeted pesticides which are more ecologically friendly. Seldom is the next logical question asked, what about affordability? Well, that is the elephant in the room. These new and fancy chemical pesticides which are so completely wonderful and Earth-friendly are more costly and the Eco Movement will contend that the Earth is worth the price. That is true except when the government cannot afford the fancy new pesticides. There was a reason the chemical industry was so keen on seeing DDT banned, it was very inexpensive, extremely effective and was not raking in the money and they were not being able to sell their fancy new pesticides throughout the world as long as DDT was available, thus it had to be banned. Still people are falling to malaria and the poorer nations cannot afford the expensive new and less effective pesticides which, unremarkably enough, also require far more frequent applications making their expense grow even higher. The developing nations then claim to care, especially when fundraising, but they kept pushing until finally in 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants the United Nations banned DDT universally. Now to produce and use DDT makes a nation an international pariah and punishable by the World Court. So, tell me who really cares about third world populations, those who claim to be loving but deny them the use of an affordable pesticide like DDT because, hopefully unknown to them, the corporations desired larger profits from more expensive exotic designer pesticides or the people who want these nations to use DDT more sparingly and dedicated to areas of habitation minimizing its harmful effects.


Malaria Transmission Rates

Malaria Transmission Rates


Energy is exactly the same as pesticides, simply a little more complicated. The Eco Movement would have one believe that with technology and new storage abilities that solar, wind and other ecologically friendly sources of power that we can reduce the carbon footprint of nations around the world. What they do not bother to tell the world is that these new technologies and the ecologically friendly means of producing electric power are extremely costly initially and produce far less power per dollar than coal, oil and natural gas. This puts us right back in the same discussion as the pesticide predicament. The developing world requires inexpensive power, more simply put, cheap power in order to begin to develop industries and everything which goes with a more productive economy. The best example is China which has been building coal and oil power plants about as rapidly as humanly possible in order to build their economy which is heavily dependent upon industrial production. Their consideration for ecological impact of their electrical production must be serious as they have been evident at every conference. They have also managed to have assured themselves to be excluded from the requirements list along with India and Brazil as well as numerous other developing nations, the one small allowance which is commendable. Granted, at some point these developing nations will need to start to address the pollution problems which are now becoming very evident even to them. What need be noticed is that when nations reach a certain level of development and sophistication they also begin to notice the need to be responsible keepers of their own natural resources for their people and their health as well as for the future. The United States has taken on cleaning its air, water and other treasures of nature by turning to the more ecologically friendly sources of power. The rivers and air around the cities has been measurably cleaned since the peak pollution of the 1960’s and 1970’s when the Cuyahoga River burned and Denver would have a brown haze over her for days on end and at one point people in Los Angeles would be healthier breathing their air through an unlit cigarette than breathing the air directly. The European nations also have made strides in reducing pollution just as have the United States. Perhaps it is because these nations have reached the point where they can afford to reduce their pollutants that they are leading the demands for everyone else to do likewise. Perhaps they desire these demands through blindness or maybe in order to keep their comfortable place as economic leaders.


By restricting the means for energy production, the third world is the area most harmed as it also decreases the number of manufacturers of the coal, oil and natural gas plants. That will eventually be the methods by which such means of producing energy will become history, not because there will be little need but because those who most easily can construct such facilities will no longer require them and thus will cease to be major producers of such plants. As the production of such electrical plants dwindles, the developing world will need to build such plants themselves which will mean that these plants will have less of the advanced technologies such as scrubbers and other advances which make the coal and other plants cleaner for nature and ecological concerns. Would it not serve the purpose of the Eco Movement more to make these technologies available to the developing world even if it takes away profits in the near term for the companies currently building these plants in the third world? We know that such would be to the advantage of the planet as would requiring that all these new plants be built with such devices already installed. If the Eco Movement were serious and not just be used to make more money for the industrialists, then they would be raising funds to make sure that every coal plant installed anywhere in the world had the latest carbon reduction technologies included in its installation with the funds available to these developing nations who need such power to have a modern economic manufacturing base. Instead of lecturing the developing nations about the evils of CO2, the nations of the world could be assisting them in building the cleanest power plants even if they are to be coal fired. Would that not be the most productive use of their energies? They would rather take private jets and fly individually to some place like Paris, Tahiti, Hawaii, Tokyo, Rome, Rio or some other relatively exotic location for a conference where they make high-sounding proclamations about CO2 and how it is going to destroy the world. Currently it constitutes about 0.041% which is equal to 410 parts per million (ppm) by volume of the atmosphere. Human’s contribution is somewhere around 1% of that quantity. That means that human production amounts to 0.0041% of the atmosphere. That is the little secret; CO2 is not the main contributor to the global temperature. You desire beating greenhouse gasses; the largest greenhouse gas is dihydrogen-oxide. Di-hydrogen-oxide is better known as water vapor, plain old water vapor, though it has a relieving factor, it also forms cirrus clouds which reflect sunlight which lowers the temperature of the Earth. Water vapor has its harms, its cirrus clouds to mitigate the harms and between the two forms of water vapor mitigates itself and with any fortune, it balances itself out. And if water vapor does not balance out, well, we cannot live without water thus we are going to need to learn to live with water vapor.


Beyond the Cusp


June 24, 2016

Venezuela is Just the Latest Example


Socialism is the greatest form of magic and it can work wonders under one small technicality; those in charge must be capable of predicting everything and every need weeks before they occur. There have been some great minds and some not so great minds which have attempted to master this simple little but key problem. They have never succeeded and likely until we have some extremely advanced artificial intelligence (AI) capable of figuring more computations and be inspired and intuitive as well, even AI will not save the day. Unfortunately for Venezuela they were relying on Hugo Chavez’s daughter and the rest of his crony socialists which has led to the riots in the streets because when the government gives everything and its fails, everything fails right along with it. The people are suffering as there is no food, no electricity, nothing, not even toilet paper. Venezuela is on the fast track to join that other socialist utopia, North Korea as that was the system they were emulating. What were they thinking? Anyone looking at North Korea and thinking, ‘hey, maybe we should try that total socialist thing and see how it works for us geniuses,’ is asking for ruin for their people. But what they saw in North Korea was the ruling elite who were living large and eating good and they looked no further than the feast served in the palatial grounds of the Kim family and thought, we can live large too. They didn’t look at the people who have been eating grass and the bark off of trees. North Koreans have it so good that they are trying to sneak into China where they see a world of plenty. Maybe China has found a secret to make socialism work as China is socialist, right?


So, since China might have found a secret, perhaps looking back at the socialist history and see what their magic bullet turned to be. Back when Mao Tse-tung initiated his socialist communist utopia of a planned production and state run farms and factories, they had such a failure that it is still unknown how many Chinese paid with their lives as a result of that first famine produced by crop and other farm failures. Estimates run from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions to hundreds of millions to unimaginable millions. The only Chinese who were safe from father Mao’s wonderful central planning were the peasants living in the furthest reaches of China in the remote farmlands who raised their own crops and were self-sufficient. Mao Tse-tung and his central planners then came up with a brilliant idea based on those remote peasants and allowed the farmers to work and plant as they saw fit and permitted them to keep sufficient food to feed their communities. But the factories still were under central planning because the communists understood the needs of the people. There were often shortages of particular items and sometimes unforeseen demands which were completely unexpected and there would be a lag time and waiting lists grew for such things as cars, televisions and other thought of luxury items. Housing became more sterile and stark as central planners placed a higher emphasis on quantity over quality and function and basics over appearance and luxury or even comfort. The people wanted more and knew about the rest of the world despite the attempt to control their news from the outside world. Mao Tse-tung gave in areas to the better minds but still retained much of the control centrally and thus restricting reactive production which led to continued waiting lists and production lagging demand sometimes by years. Mao died and the communists with time made a fateful decision as their economies could not meet their directive goals. They let loose of a degree of control and allowed for a select group of entrepreneurs, some free enterprise where industry owners were permitted to keep some of their profits providing they met the expectations and projections. This stimulated their economy and this led to meeting projections and industrial and economic growth beyond anything they had previously attempted. This led to economic growth rates sometimes surpassing 9% annual gains and brought the Chinese economy into the modern age and spawned the rise of a middle class, a new concept in socialist governance. But China was no longer a purely socialist system and it was the free enterprise which was permitted economic freedom which spawned the growth rates.


I can hear the questions asking what would happen if the growth rate slowed or even, heaven forbid, hit a recessive downturn. Well, that would be an easy one to answer with only one problem, the Chinese economy had been so repressive that the last decade plus, as they liberalized their economy and allowed more and more of the economy to be a semi-free demand economy with free enterprise, that they only recently finally reached a point where their gains slowed and failed to meet expectation and fell below their desired, if unreasonable, 9% per year and the initial signs are what some might call ominous. The central planners are showing signs of throwing out the baby with the bathwater as they are showing indications of returning to form and taking back the control over production planning thinking they can plan better than the profiteers as their decisions are empirical and not driven by guessing and risk taking. There is a positive side to this and that is we will see if after having witnessed the methods of for profit manufacturing and investment that the central planners might have an improved ability at decision making. Even if the central planning takes back sufficient control that the wait lists return and they end up where they were before their first experiment in free market economy, then their second experiment in free market economy will be the same inevitable success that they had the first time. The reason a free market economy works is that it is driven by greed, a vice which has never been vanquished from the human spirit and as long as there is greed, then profit based economy will work the best in satisfying the greed of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie as all gain from such a driven system. This could lead to a cyclical Chinese economy with it going in spits and starts as the free market produces growth until the inevitable recession. The central planners then clamp their control back over the economy and as that fails they resort to free market until it slows and back and forth and back and forth and eventually one will prevail. The likely winner, for the benefit of the Chinese people, will hopefully be free market and the central planners simply resort to governing wisely as we have always been taught the ancient Chinese rulers had managed when they were not fighting against one another in order to consolidate their control. The one thing that can be learned from the Chinese who found their way to allow for free market economy when central planning failed to meet the people’s demands is that even central planners can sometimes know when they have failed before it is too late.


Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie Lead to the Revolution

Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie
Lead to the Revolution


That is the problem with too many socialist governments, even those which are based on a free market economy but use socialist programs to redistribute wealth more evenly and to provide retirement income so nobody gets left out in the cold. When these programs reach a point where they outstrip the resources then either taxes need to be increased or other means of making the programs affordable even if they must cut back on their benefits. When the taxes are too high in order to presumably pay out welfare and retirement benefits the economy can still collapse into freefall such as was the case resulting from the 2008 economic downturn, bust if you insist, and Greece, Spain and others found themselves so deep in the hole that the economy was unable to recover. This was further exacerbated by the fact that they are on the Euro which receives much of its value based on the combined economies of the European Union which include Britain, Germany and other nations whose economic output is far greater than Greece thus Greece could also not support the value of the Euro which furthered their problem. The single currency may result in the end of the European Union if the nations being damaged by the single currency decide to leave so they can manage their own currency. Add into this the Brussels Eurocrats dictating immigration policies and forcing refugees into countries which feel threatened by the refugee situation. This will be a further demand on the economies of the nations taking in the refugees and you have another stress that will force more nations into economic difficulties. There is much to look at going forward and Europe is on the leading edge of the coming problems many which will result from the many and varied conflicts and other problems ongoing in the Middle East and North Africa, things we will most certainly cover here along with the other items of particular interest around the globe. In the meantime, let us hope that Venezuela figures out where they went wrong and change their economic means and systems to something which at least can feed and provide a few other necessities and even the luxury of toilet paper soon and the people can stop rioting and work and produce for their own enrichment and not just the enrichment of the central planners who apparently decided their wealth mattered more than the people and are now facing an ugly truth, they were wrong. We could hope for the people of North Korea as well, as their new leader, Kim Jung Un is apparently unbalanced and seems to believe if he is doing well the people should be happy enough by that knowledge even if they lack for virtually everything including decent food.


Beyond the Cusp


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