Cleaned by Capitalism V

by Don Boudreaux on August 26, 2009

in Cleaned by Capitalism, Complexity & Emergence, Environment, Everyday Life

Perhaps the most famous line from the 1967 movie “The Graduate” is: “Plastics.”  A middle-aged gent self-confidently offers this advice to Dustin Hoffman, newly graduated from college.  This scene was meant to show how dreary so much of modern American life had become and that American business people are such philistines.

It’s easy and apparently gratifying for economically ignorant folk to look down their noses at persons who spend their lives producing and selling products as seemingly mundane as plastics.  “How sad that so many modern people spend their careers in such insignificant, even if financially profitable, pursuits,” is the lament.

Of course, there’s nothing at all mundane about the production and distribution of plastics.  All sorts of engineering, creativity, risk-taking, and effort are required from the raw-material stages to the retailing stages.

Nor is there anything mundane about the fact that plastics are among the most important shields standing between us denizens of modernity and bacteria.  Plastics are truly a wonderful anti-pollutant.


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