My family and I just returned from Las Vegas. We emigrated there for five days. Fortunately for the Vegas natives, we took no jobs from them while there and we spent (if not gambled) rather freely. Unfortunately for the Vegas natives, we added to the congestion of the government-supplied infrastructure — for example, contributing to Vegas’s road and airport congestion. And because we don’t gamble, we were carriers of an alien culture that, if it took root in that desert town, could change it fundamentally.
Anyway, in Vegas we were. Karol and I were there for the annual meeting of the Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE); Thomas (our soon-to-be-nine-year-old son) was there because he very, very, very much wanted to see the fountains at Bellagio and the Luxor Hotel pyramid.
There’s much to say about Vegas — but here I want only to record that just as our conference was ending, another and much larger conference was starting: Waste Expo ’06.
Our hotel sat across a large parking lot from the Las Vegas Convention Center. On that massive building was hung prominently and proudly a big blue banner with the words "Welcome Waste Expo." (The Fly Bottle’s Will Wilkinson, also in attendance at the APEE meetings, first brought my attention to this banner.)
The cabbie who drove us yesterday to the Las Vegas airport reports that 20,000 people are expected to attend this conference on waste disposal and management. (Cab companies have quite accurate information about such matters, by the way.)
I don’t know much about Waste Expo, but perusing its webside makes clear that its exhibitors are mostly private firms in the business of supplying goods and services that improve humankind’s ability to manage and dispose of waste. These firms, therefore, represent literally millions of people working directly in the business of helping to make our world cleaner and more safe. And the vast majority of these people aren’t "activists," or government bureaucrats, or anything other than ordinary men and women who earn their livings helping the rest of us dispose of waste.
So with enterprise, it’s not "garbage in, garbage out"; it’s "garbage in, cleanliness out."