Pristine Existence

by Don Boudreaux on August 30, 2006

in History, Myths and Fallacies, Standard of Living

Jacqueline Massey found this cartoon a while back on Patri Friedman‘s site and — knowing my interest in pre-industrial history — sent it to me by e-mail.  It’s a classic — and one that contains a vital lesson for people today who worry that industrialization and markets pose huge health risks for humanity.



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Reach Upward August 30, 2006 at 9:41 am

Now, that is funny. Thanks for posting it.

bbartlog August 30, 2006 at 10:03 am

It is funny :-) . Though recogizing that we are on the whole vastly better off than we were in preindustrial times shouldn't lead to us to ignore the possibility that we are maladapted to certain components of our modern environment (I am thinking of refined sugar for example).

thebizofknowledge August 30, 2006 at 10:15 pm

I stumbled upon this site as I was in the process of doing some online research. Every years the government approves 1,000's of new chemicals for manufacturing, drugs, pesticides, etc.

python August 31, 2006 at 3:39 am

A couple years back there was a story published in the NYTimes by a woman about her life. One of her stories was about when she learned that the medical industry can analyze your blood for toxins and other nasty things. She claimed they had found dozens and dozens of such chemicals. Her final sentiment on the topic was that it's sad but after 60 years of life in the industrial world her blood had become so contaminated.

Talk about ironic ignorance.

What will people say in 2100? It's sad that I have to live these 110 years in such a chemical-filled place.

(Sorry I have no reference for her article.)

Jesrad August 31, 2006 at 4:47 am

I can help but laugh when I hear about someone who is past his or her 60s and finds out there are thousands of "nasty" chemicals in his or her bloodstream, and acts all outraged. The very reaching of such an advanced age (by third-world, all-organic-food standards) defeats the attitude.

"Ohmigod after living 60 years in an industrial country I'm poisoned !" And yet you have lived up to 60 years and are healthy ! See some *connection* maybe ?

In unrelated news, there is so much cocaine diluted in the river Thames that London officials are flabbergasted.

Chris Meisenzahl August 31, 2006 at 8:27 am

That's great! ;-)

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