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Capitalism: The Great Anti-Pollutant

Posted By Don Boudreaux On July 11, 2007 @ 1:42 pm In Environment,Standard of Living,Technology | Comments Disabled

We modern folk are fortunate to be able to worry, if we choose, about environmental problems such as global warming, species loss, and whether or not companies drill for oil off of the coast of California.  A principal cause of our good fortune is the fact that capitalism makes our daily lives so clean, sanitary, and healthy — and, generally, wealthy — that we can afford to stew in concern about environmental problems that are more speculative and far more distant than were the environmental problems that plagued our ancestors — problems such as houses with thatched, bug-infested roofs and no indoor plumbing or hard flooring.

I call capitalism the great anti-pollutant.  Our lives truly and thoroughly are cleaned by capitalism [1].  This realization first hit me several years ago as I stood at an automatic-flush urinal in LaGuardia airport.  "I don’t have to touch this thing to flush it; how wonderfully sanitary!" I marveled.

Well, here’s a further development along these lines: no-touch dispensers of toilet paper [2].

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[1] cleaned by capitalism: http://www.gmu.edu/departments/economics/boudreaux/articles/2000/capitalism.html

[2] no-touch dispensers of toilet paper: http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070711/auto_toilet_paper.html

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