Sunday, November 28, 2004

Self Esteem losing steam?

Roger Scruton seems to think so, as he writes in an article for The Spectator:

The recent memo purloined from Prince Charles made the accurate observation that ‘child-centred’ education, by encouraging false expectations and discouraging effort, seriously hampers the one who receives it. University teachers know this, since they have to deal with the products of an education which puts self-esteem before real achievement. Despite the plethora of As and Bs gained through dumbed-down examinations in dumbed-down subjects, young people tend to enter university without the skills required for real study. The likelihood that an incoming undergraduate can read a book or write an essay diminishes from year to year, and only the entrenched sentimentality of the educational establishment prevents it from acknowledging that the cause of this lies in the culture of self-esteem. The ruling principle of our educational system seems to be that children should be made to feel good about themselves. The curriculum should therefore be ‘relevant’ to their interests, and examinations should make no judgment of their linguistic or literary skills.


In an essay written over a century ago the philosopher F.H. Bradley reflected on ‘my station and its duties’, and said that the human being becomes what he truly is only by realising his freedom in society, and each act of self-realisation involves creating and adopting a social station. Whether you are rich or poor, smooth or rough, leisured or banausic, you become what you are through the circles of influence and affection that distinguish you. Unhappiness comes from being discontented with your station, while lacking the means to change it. And for all of us there comes a point when we settle in a social position which we have neither the power nor the will to change. It is from this sense of our social station that our duties emerge, Bradley argues. There is no single set of obligations, no ‘duty for duty’s sake’, that applies to all mankind. Each of us is encumbered by the duties of his station and happiness comes through fulfilling them. However humble your position, it comes to you marked with the distinction between right and wrong — a right way of occupying your station and a wrong way. Your duties may take the form of a professional ethic, of a specific role like that of doctor or teacher, of an office like that of prime minister. They might even take the onerous hereditary form of those imposed on Prince Charles as the Prince of Wales — duties which he takes extremely seriously.

If Bradley is right, then it is through the idea of duty that we come to feel content with our lot. The culture of self-esteem wants everybody to feel OK about themselves, regardless of merit. True self-esteem, however, comes through the sense of being right with others and deserving their esteem, which in turn depends upon fulfilling the duties of your station. The office cleaner who conscientiously does her job is rewarded with the friendship of the workers whom she benefits. It does not matter that her social position is a humble one; for by occupying it rightly she earns a place in society as honourable as any other. This is what George Herbert had in mind in those lines made famous by the Victorian hymn:

A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweep a room as for Thy laws
Makes that and th’ action fine.

It follows that a society can be hierarchically ordered without being oppressive. For every station has its duties, the performance of which is both an end in itself and a passport to social affection. And through education, ambition and hard work you can change your station, to arrive at the place that matches your achievements and which, through performing its duties, you possess as your own.

It makes perfect sense, of course. We are not created equal with regards to aptitudes, temperaments or aspirations. We can't all be corporate CEOs or astronauts. If you want to play a cruel mind game on a child, make him or her believe that there is no reason that he or she can't do anything. They will spend the rest of their lives in self recrimination over not having become a corporate CEO or an astronaut.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The need for a weak dollar

Stephen Roach, the chief economist for Morgan Stanley and one of the voices for sanity with regard to the US economy, sums up the case for a weak dollar in the New York Times:

What's certain is that a lopsided world needs to be put back into balance. The dollar is the world's most widely used currency, but its fall affects more than just foreign-exchange rates. A weakening dollar is an encouraging sign that the world's relative price structure - essentially the value of one economy versus another - is becoming more sensible. If the world can manage the dollar's decline wisely, there is more reason for hope than despair.

It is time to put the screws to China to float their currency.

Blue Gold

One of my favorite sites on the web is the Financial Sense Online site run by Jim Puplava. Jim has been posting articles on the precarious state of our economy for many years, and his articles are detailed, thorough, and convincing. Note: this is considered by many to be a "Gold Bug" site, and by virtue of that not worthy of serious consideration. But Jim is far from a raving conspiracy nut. This article, Blue Gold, is a well researched investigation of the state of water resources both here and around the globe, and why water is not a resource to be taken for granted.

There are many things in life that we take for granted. We expect to turn on a switch and the lights to go on. When we turn on the faucet, we expect water to flow. Whenever we are hungry, we expect the grocery shelves to be stocked and we expect to be able to fill our tank with gas whenever it needs filling. These things we take for granted are life’s necessities. Our lives need food, water, and energy to function. We expect them to be there and we give them very little thought until we have difficulty getting them. Occasionally, Mother Nature reminds us just how precious these natural resources are. Standing in line to fill your tank after a storm has shut down energy production in the Gulf of Mexico, walking into a grocery store to find stock shelves empty ahead of a hurricane, or securing water rights for farm land or a city in the midst of a drought are subtle reminders of just how precious these resources have become.

For the last two decades the U.S. and the rest of the world have invested very little to develop and secure these necessities that are so casually taken for granted. Energy, water, base metals forests and farmland have all been ignored by the financial markets. Bull markets run in cycles lasting 20-25 years. They are the product of supply and demand imbalances. The declining prices that accompany bear markets lead to a scarcity of new investment. Capacity shrinks, the industry consolidates and new investment dries up leading to decline. In the last two decades no new refineries have been built, very little has been spent on building new pipelines or power plants, building new mines, developing new cocoa or sugar plantations, or developing water infrastructures. Productive equipment in these areas have gone into disrepair, deteriorated or been cannibalized, scrapped, or shut down. The mining and energy industries are suffering from a shortage of qualified geologists and engineers. Who wanted to go to college and study geology when there were fortunes to be made on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley? The natural resource industry is suffering from a dearth of qualified personnel.

As a result of this lack of investment, we face shortages in several key commodities. The balance between supply and demand is out of whack again and it will take more than a decade to fix it. Inventory levels of major commodities are down across the board. Gold and silver are running multi-decade deficits, oil and gas are getting harder to find and water tables around the globe are dropping dramatically. We seldom think about these necessities unless prices suddenly spike. While energy and the sky-high price of oil and gas has captured headlines, water will shortly move front and center as the cost of procuring it becomes more difficult and our existing water infrastructure breaks down. As we begin this new century, a global water crisis could threaten the security, stability and the environmental sustainability of the developed and developing world. The looming water crisis will affect all nations. Without an adequate supply of clean fresh water, human development is stifled.

Read the whole article, it is well worth the time. Such straight shooting is out of favor today, seen as alarmist and overly pessimistic, especially among conservatives. Unfortunately, conservatives have been given over to a goofy kind of permanent optimism once reserved for progressive utopians of the left. I recommend a frequent visit to the Financial Sense Online site if you feel yourself coming down with this affliction.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Would you buy a religion from this man?

In a New York Times article describing the rise of new sects in comunist China, I was struck with the image of a new continent, previously barren and off limits to life, suddently being opened to new and existing species of plant and animal life to rush in and populate. It is like a laboratory to study an interesting facet of human culture, the formation of religions:

The demise of Communist ideology has left a void, and it is being filled by religion. The country today has more church-going Protestants than Europe, according to several foreign estimates. Buddhism has become popular among the social elite. Beijing college students wait hours for a pew during Christmas services in the Capital's 100 packed churches.

But it is the rural underclass that is most desperate for salvation. The rural economy has grown relatively slowly. Corruption and a collapse in state-sponsored medical care and social services are felt acutely. But government-sanctioned churches operate mainly in cities, where they can be closely monitored, and priests and ministers by law can preach only to those who come to them.

The authorities do not ban religious activity in the countryside. But they have made it so difficult for established churches to operate there that many rural Chinese have turned to underground, often heterodox religious movements.

Charismatic sect leaders denounce state-sanctioned churches. They promise healing in a part of the country where the state has all but abandoned responsibility for public health. They also promise deliverance from the coming apocalypse, and demand money, loyalty and strict secrecy from their members.

Three Grades of Servants, a banned Christian sect that claims several million followers, made inroads in Huaide and other northern towns beginning nearly a decade ago. It lured peasants like Yu Xiaoping, as well as her neighbor, Ms. Kuang, away from state-authorized churches. Its underground network provided spiritual and social services to isolated villages.

But it also attracted competition from Eastern Lightning, its archrival, which sought to convert Ms. Yu, Ms. Kuang and others. The two sects clashed violently. Both became targets of a police crackdown.

Xu Shuangfu, the itinerant founder of Three Grades of Servants, who says he has divine powers, was arrested last summer along with scores of associates. Mr. Xu was suspected of having ordered the execution of religious enemies, police officers said.

Yet such efforts rarely stop the spread of underground churches and sects, which derive legitimacy from government pressure.

As a former Catholic who has crossed the line into disbelief, one of the most difficult aspects of my former faith to defend was the belief that the prophets of ancient Israel, as well as Jesus and the Apostles, solely received the true and untainted Revelation of Gods Word. Had the Hebrew prophets of old stood alone in history as claimants to divine revelation, their message would have much greater power and credibility. Even accepting that Jesus and Paul, who interpreted the events of Jesus's life in the context of the New Covenant, raised the specter of a competing claim to Divine Revelation, forcing a choice of true faiths among the faithful. Had the history of man's claims to Divine Revelation only included the claims of these two traditions, then the Judeo-Christian tradition would stand alone among all of history as a unique set of events that would command serious consideration.

As it is, and can be seen in the proliferation of new revelations pouring fourth in China, Divine Revelations are a spontaneous, frequent, and normal occurence of human culture across all times, geographies and eras of civilizational develpoment. In a February 2002 article in The Atlantic Monthly entitled Oh, Gods!, Toby Lester describes this phenomenon as it has continued to gather force heading into the 21st century :

In 1851 the French historian and philosopher Ernest Renan announced to the world that Islam was "the last religious creation of humanity." He was more than a bit premature. At about the time he was writing, the Bahai faith, Christian Science, Mormonism, the Seventh-Day Adventists, and a major Japanese religious movement known as Tenrikyo were all just coming to life. Falun Gong and Pentecostalism—both of which now have millions and millions of members—had yet to emerge. Whoops.

There are many other examples that one can think of, whether it is the channeling of J Z Knight, or the Raelians, or Scientology. Seen from the perspective of a 21st century observer, how would one determine that the revelations recorded by the early Hebrew and Christian prophets were any more likely to be true than the revelations of these modern day prophets?

It is instructive to note from the example of China that the repression of religious freedom may actually spur the formation of new religions. It is something akin to the desireability of an expensive item. The value gained from an experience, religious or otherwise, often is directly proportional to the price paid. Persecution raises the bar for membership, and those who can clear that bar will enjoy a heightened sense of closeness to the divine. That is why the "easy" mainstream Protestant churches in America are in decline, and the more demanding evangelical churches are not.

For the secularist, who may tend to feel a little paranoid living among people of strong religious faith, and who fears above all things a society dominated by a single faith that will condemn the unbeliever to the periphery of political, social and economic life, there is good news to be gleaned from this. Though he will need to get used to being the odd man out in society by professing no faith in a divinity, he can take heart in knowing that the dominance of a single religion over a large society is a rare, very difficult and very costly state of affairs to maintain. The religious spirit is fruitful, it multiplies, mutates, and cross-breeds constantly. No established faith will ever be safe from heresy, and repression of heresy is like pouring gasoline on a flame. The communist masters of China are finding that out.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Why is the Dollar declining?

Daily Duck regular Michael Herdegen clued me into this article by Donald Luskin at

SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT the U.S. dollar? Should you be worried that it's trading at all-time lows vs. the euro, and at more than nine-year lows vs. a trade-weighted basket of foreign currencies?

Yes — you should be worried. The falling dollar is the one dark cloud on the market horizon right now, the one thing that has the power to threaten the post-election "Bush rally."

But the reason you should be worried about the dollar is very different from the scare stories you're hearing in the media. Let me explain. But to do so, I will
have to take the dangerous step of daring to disagree with a very popular and powerful market guru — Warren Buffett.

Buffett has announced to shareholders of his company Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) that he has taken a short position in the U.S. dollar. I'm not sure exactly how he implemented that trade, but at the moment, it's almost certainly in profit. That's great — my hat is off to him. The problem is, Buffett is making money on this trade by sheer luck, because his reasons for putting it on in the first place make no sense at all.

To oversimplify Buffett's reasoning a bit, he has shorted the dollar because he is worried about the impact of the U.S. trade deficit, which is now running at record levels in excess of $166 billion at a quarterly rate, as of the second quarter. As he wrote in an article for Fortune magazine, "our trade deficit has greatly worsened, to the point that our country's 'net worth,' so to speak, is now being transferred abroad at an alarming rate."

Luskin points out the real culprit:

Longtime readers of this column will know the answer to that. It all comes down to another financial guru who is just as dangerous to contradict as Warren Buffett — Fed chairman Alan Greenspan. Greenspan, like Buffett, is making a mistake about the dollar, and Greenspan's mistake is what's making the dollar fall. Greenspan's mistake is that he has kept interest rates too low for too long, and now inflation is beginning to creep back into the U.S. economy.

At last week's Fed meeting, Greenspan and his colleagues stated, "Inflation and longer-term inflation expectations remain well contained." They may be right about "expectations," but the reality of inflation is anything but "contained." Already this year, the "core" consumer price index, which excludes food and energy, has nearly doubled.

And don't let yourself think that the high price you are now paying for gasoline doesn't reflect inflation — it does. Measured in U.S. dollars, oil prices are near all-time highs. But measured in euros, oil prices are no higher today than they were three years ago. That's because the Fed has let the dollar weaken (so it buys less oil), while the European Central Bank has kept the euro strong (so it buys just as much oil as it used to).

And that's why the dollar is falling. It buys less than it used to — while the euro buys just as much. Therefore, by simple arithmetic, the dollar buys fewer euros than it used to. The falling dollar is a bad thing — but not because it means we are living in Squanderville. It's a bad thing because it means we are living in Inflationville.

So who do you believe? If neither Buffet or Luskin sund convincing, there are other theories. Larry Kudlow, on his weblog, argues that it is the fault of the Europeans (scroll down to the post titled "Money" from 11.10.04):

The Fed is right to follow market interest rates, especially its unregulated T-bill cousin. Would that the central market would decontrol its own overnight target rate; then market forces would run monetary policy rather than econometric models that abide by discredited trade-offs between inflation and unemployment. Also in the realm of market forces, the dollar lately has lost some additional value in terms of gold and foreign currencies. So there could be a small amount of excess money which needs to be absorbed by the government bank. When they raise their target to 2.25 percent next month it is quite possible that they will have removed the monetary excess. One important issue not mentioned in the Fed’s policy statement was the dollar. Everybody on Wall Street is talking about the falling dollar. They are obsessing about it. And most blame the lower greenback exchange rate on America’s widening trade gap. This is totally wrong. The main reason the dollar has slipped when measured against the euro is that European monetary policy and their creation of new euros is way too stingy; it is in fact still deflationary.
As for the trade deficit, the U.S. grows faster than its biggest customers. So we import more than we export. However, exports are rising at a 13 percent pace; a great sign of economic health. Imports are rising even more by 17 percent. We are selling goods and services to China at a 37 percent rate. But the volumes are too small to dent the trade gap. This will change over the next decade. Meanwhile, America’s profitable investment margins attract foreign private capital inflows from all around the world. Lately foreign inflows have come in around $600 billion, about the same as our $570 billion current account deficit for goods and services. In other words, there is no financing problem at all and no reason to tie the dollar to the trade accounts.However, it would be foolish if the U.S. Fed started targeting the euro for its monetary policy. If the Europeans are stupid enough to crash their economy, that’s their business. But whatever hedge fund traders may say, the U.S. must not make the same monetary mistake that would wreck our prosperous recovery. Domestic price stability should be the Fed’s strategic goal. As long as they follow interest rates and commodity movements, as Greenspan seems to be doing, then the U.S. will continue along a path of non-inflationary economic growth.

So you have 3 arguable "experts" on the economy giving 3 different explanations for the falling dollar. How does the average citizen, who is not an expert, decide who is right?

One of the challenges that I undertook with this blog is the question of how the average citizen, who is not an expert on such topics, should make decisions based on the multiple and contradictory positions taken by the "experts" in that field. We are all faced with that challenge, whether in economics, foreign & social policy, or science & technology.

One way to evaluate the experts is to look at their track records. From the trio cited above, Warren Buffett has by far the longest and most impressive track record. Buffett has been managing Berkshire Hathaway, a small insurance company turned investment portfolio, since 1965. He has turned many ordinary investors in his company into multi-millionaires, and his investments have far oustripped the major market indices through good times and bad.

Another way, and perhaps the best, is to reduce the topic to a question of basic principles. Economics, for all the mathematical complexity that is invested in some of its more advanced theories, is at its heart a simple set of relationships. When you hear justifications for policy based on a statement that deficits don't matter, a statement that contradicts a basic foundational principle of economic truth that any homeowner trying to balance her monthly household budget knows, then you know that you are being asked to look through the wool.

Deficits do matter, and that is why the dollar is heading south. For more deficit discussion, Matthew Yglesias has a good roundup from the blogosphere.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Dinosaur's Farewell Tour

Bush's re-election offers a rare opportunity to watch an ossified creed march into its overdue sunset. I'm talking of course about 60's era liberalism. Ronald Bailey recounts a pathetically hilarious episode of such, at a Joan Baez concert:

Sixty-three year old Baez came out on stage and asked how the audience felt about the election? Of course the audience groaned and moaned—after all, this IS a Joan Baez concert. For her part, Joan said that she felt like she had been run over by a truck. One audience member yelled, "You give us hope." Now I like a good rendition of "Joe Hill" or "Diamonds and Rust," as well as the next person and I do recognize her talent as a singer. And Baez has a perfect right to dedicate a song, as she did, to that insufferable, lying self-promoter Michael Moore, whom she praised for doing his best to save the country. Later Baez announced that she was going to sing a song that she sang only in countries that were undergoing extreme political strife. In fact, she hadn't sung it in the United States in the last 20 years. The song? "We Shall Overcome."

However, the most remarkable and disturbing episode occurred halfway through the concert when Joan stopped singing and announced that she had "multiple personalities." One of her multiple personalities is that of a fifteen year old poor black girl named Alice from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas. Baez decided to share with us Alice's views on the election. Amazed and horrified I watched a rich, famous, extremely white folksinger perform what can only be described as bit of minstrelsy—only the painted on blackface was missing. Alice, the black teenager from Arkansas
Baez was pretending to be, spoke in a dialect so broad and thick that it would put Uncle Remus and Amos and Andy to shame. Baez' monologue was filled with phrases like, "I'se g'win ta" to do this that or the other and dropping all final "g's." Baez as Alice made statements like, "de prezident, he be a racist," and "de prezident, he got a bug fer killin'." Finally, since Bush won the election with 58.7 million votes to Kerry's 55.1 million, Alice observed, "Seems lak haf' de country be plumb crazy." Since Baez was reading Alice's notes, it is evident that she thinks that Arkansas' public schools don't teach black children to write standard English.

It is a sure sign of your dinosaur status when you begin to parody yourself. The 60's liberals once prided themselves on open-mindedness. That Baez and her audience could believe that George Bush stands for racism shows that the liberal mind slammed shut sometime shortly after January 1st, 1970, and has been reliving its glory days as an endless rerun since then. In their senescence they will suffer far more ridicule from younger generations than they visited upon the elderly dinosaurs from their youth. Karma indeed!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Bankruptcy Society

One of President Bush's more idiotic ideas is his plan to encourage home ownership to low income families through the "American Dream Down Payment Act of 2003", whereby $200 million per year will be directed to down-payment assistance to up to 40,000 low income borrowers. A nasty little secret of the recent housing boom is that close to 20% of down-payment assisted mortgages are in bankruptcy. Home prices are at historic, and unsustainable highs, fed by record low interest rates and loosened underwriting standards. Richard Benson describes the rotten foundations propping up today's real estate bubble:

The good news is that home ownership rose 2 percent to an all time record of 67.2; the bad news is what had to be done to get it there while the labor force participation rate has dropped 2 percent! In other words, easy credit and record low interest rates have boosted home sales. In previous economic cycles, the boost to home sales came from rising incomes and more jobs!

Easy mortgage credit has been fostered by new mortgage products. New types of mortgages have been introduced over the past couple of years that transfer interest rate risk from the financial institution (mortgage owner), to the borrower, while allowing the borrower to take out the largest possible mortgage. Long gone are the days when a borrower borrowed what was considered a safe, prudent amount that they could actually pay back. Today, the borrower takes every penny that lenders will lend. In turn, lenders have “gone crazy” because at the end of the day, the lender is not lending “his” money. The loans go to a GSE security, or into a rated mortgage security, which in turn is bought by a bank or Hedge Fund that is invested just for a short term in the “Cash and Carry Trade”.

Today, the new mortgage lenders are offering various types of mortgages to keep mortgage volume and quick origination profits up. These mortgages include Adjustable Rate, Interest Only, 40-Year, and Piggy Back. A Piggy Back mortgage is a senior mortgage combined with a junior mortgage that can leave the borrower owing more than 110% of the cost of the house. Moreover, these lending tactics leave the borrower more than a bit stretched and short liquidity, so it is no surprise that new mortgages that allow the borrower to skip payments and add the interest to principal are becoming popular. What will lenders who don’t lend their own money think of next?

If these new types of mortgages aren’t good enough to stretch a consumer’s buying capacity, a few years ago special charities sprang up to give a home buyer his 5% down payment. (Since a home builder was giving the charity their funds anyway, he could easily “give back” 5% of his 30% profit to charity. Clearly, charity starts at home!

Anyone with common sense can predict that this cannot last. There are signs in certain markets that the real estate bubble has peaked. So how is it a good thing to facilitate the entry of low income families into the home market at the peak of a bubble? Would it have been a good idea to encourage low income families to invest in internet stocks in 1999? This can only end badly for many of these families, who will be stuck with variable rate mortgages that will eat them alive as interest rates rise, and force them into bankruptcy or forced sales of their overpriced property at a considerable loss. Alan Greenspan's endorsement of variable rate mortgages for new homebuyers earlier this year must rank as one of the most irresponsible acts yet commited by a government authority.

President Bush has a historic opportunity to come clean with the American people about the considerable economic challenges facing the country over the next decade. If the bottom of the economy falls out during Bush's second term, and if millions of low income borrowers are driven to bankruptcy by these irresponsible programs, then he will have handed the Democrats a potent weapon that they will be able to use to gain the White House, and possibly the Congress in 2008.

Nuclear Spring

The 21st century will be a time of transition in resource production and use. People are only starting to realize that cheap oil is a thing of the past. There is still much denial that oil prices will not be going back down to the historically low prices of the 90s, but will continue to climb as it becomes evident that peak oil production has occured. Nuclear power, much maligned here in the US since the incident at Three Mile Island in 1978, and the later disaster at Chernobyl in 1986, is in prime position for a major comeback.

Peter George has written an informative article on this impending transition. He first takes on the irrational nature of the nuclear protest movement:

Even today, when the man in the street confronts the concept of 'atomic power,' he often thinks first of bombs and radiation. He can largely thank the 'Greens' and their political cousins in the 'Anti-War Brigade' for most of these distorted perceptions. In a fit of blind zeal the 'Greens' were set to ditch baby and bath water both. It was not always that way.

By the end of the seventies the nuclear option was gaining ground everywhere. The US had 100 Nuclear reactors in operation, 20 under construction and 100 more planned. The world had successfully constructed over 400 in total: then came 'Three Mile Island" (1979) and Chernobyl (1986). Most of the US '20' were halted. Those on the drawing board got cancelled. TMI was an American phenomenon. The world largely ignored it and waited for Chernobyl. The 'Greens' and their 'fellow-travelers' blew a minor glitch at TMI out of all proportion. Later, they and others totally misrepresented the true extent of 'fall-out' from Chernobyl
(1986). On the back of both they sowed a wind of invective against anything nuclear which succeeded in gutting it as an energy source for the next quarter century. The process was aided and abetted by a 20-year downtrend in oil and commodity prices. This helped defer decisions by skewing the economic risk from nuclear, to less complicated fossil fuels like oil, coal and more recently, liquid natural gas.

A quarter century later, thanks to the misguided efforts of the 'Greens,' the world looks set to reap a double whirlwind - a crisis in oil and gas supplies, coupled with a menace in 'global warming.' The former could see oil prices spike ten-fold in a decade. The latter could spawn increasingly nasty side-effects, ranging from 'acid rain' and radically changing weather patterns, to melting perma-frost and sharply rising sea levels. If at some point in the future every identifiable 'Green' is punched black and blue by an angry world, it would be no more than their just deserts.

If we look at the environmental impact of nuclear power harnessed to the production of electricity and hydrogen in comparison to the ongoing impact of greenhouse gas emissions and other air and groundwater pollutants that would be the result of extracting the dirtier grades of petroleum from tar sands, oil shale and other low grade deposits, it is exceedingly obvious which path leads to a healthier world. Nuclear hysteria has been overblown, and the economic impact of higher and higher oil prices will not allow Americans to indulge in the luxury of feel-good Greenie environmental romanticism in this century. Hopefully the victory of George Bush will set the stage for bold, pragmatic steps in the right direction for energy production In the US, including the licensing of new nuclear power plants. The Greenies are down, it is time to act.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Water Problems Down Under

John Ray discusses Aussie water problem on one of his many excellent blogs, Greenie Watch. Although down there it is not so much outdated political patronage holding back the free market, but Green politics. Check it out, as well as his excellent Dissecting Leftism.