Here’s another picture of a modern anti-pollution device. Not only is indoor plumbing clearly a major advance in fighting pollution, but automatic flushers – flushers that require no touching of knobs or handles – are a further advance.
By the way, just because some of the devices and innovations that I will point to in my series are located in government-owned facilities, the point I am making remains valid. One way to re-interpret my point is that we moderns who live in advanced industrial economies — for whatever reason — suffer far less pollution than did our pre-industrial ancestors, despite the fact that our ancestors never had to worry about things such as man-made carbon emissions.
But I nevertheless insist that it is capitalism that is chiefly responsible for bringing these pollution-fighting goodies to us. For example, even though airports in the U.S. are typically owned and operated by governments, these governments contract with private firms to design and build airports — and the creativity and innovativeness on display in our daily lives is due not to the bureaucracy of the state but to the competition and creativity of capitalism. (Look at it this way: no one would insist that the fact that most government buildings in the United States are air-condidtion that, therefore, affordable air-conditioning is not mainly an achievement mainly due to competitive private-property markets.)