What’s the Goal?

by Don Boudreaux on February 13, 2010

in Cleaned by Capitalism, Energy, Environment, Trade

Here’s a letter that I sent to the New York Times:

Bob Herbert has peered into his crystal ball and discovered that the best energy sources in the future will be the sun and wind (“Watching China Run,” Feb. 13).  Perhaps his ball is right.  But Mr. Herbert is wrong to conclude that China’s leadership in producing solar panels and wind turbines is bad for America.

The ultimate goal is to use equipment that productively harnesses solar and wind energy.  And the use of such equipment will come sooner, and be more widespread, the lower is its price.  So what if the Chinese are world-leading producers of such equipment?  Specializing in the production of other goods and services – things that we produce more efficiently than the Chinese – we Americans can then buy solar panels and wind turbines from the Chinese for use in our homes and offices.  Doing so will bring all the clean-energy benefits revealed by Mr. Herbert’s crystal ball.  The latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of the factories where the final assembly of such equipment occurs are irrelevant.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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