Human Achievement Hour, 2011

by Don Boudreaux on March 26, 2011

in Complexity & Emergence, Environment, Standard of Living

Join Fred Smith and his CEI colleagues tonight from 8:30pm – 9:30pm to celebrate Human Achievement Hour.  Keep your lights on!

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{ 27 comments }

will sankey March 26, 2011 at 4:27 pm

Right on! Every light in my house will be on.

Daniel Kuehn March 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm

The pairing with Earth hour gives the odd impression that we have to choose between the goals of each.

The light in the room I will be in will be on and most likely all others will be off. I call it “human achievement, moderation, and respect for the environment are all great hour”

Vog March 28, 2011 at 6:50 am

Well put Daniel; the idea of turning on all the lights to prove a point is absurd and wasteful!

W.E.Heasley March 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

The ‘greens’ have attributes that have long been identified such as religious zealots, collectivist ideology, “the cult of crisis”, etc. A central theme is that all externalities are negative and all externalities need regulated by a centrally planned government intervention of one sort or another. Their arguments gloss over or exclude positive externalities as positive externalities weaken their already weak arguments based on shady statistics/finding.

Years ago Milton Friedman made an excellent point in his book Free to Choose regarding externalities. Friedman basically said that just about any course of action creates some sort of externality. Those who advocate centrally planned government intervention to reduce externalities should/must remember that their proposed course of action merely creates another set of externalities. That the new sets of externalities created in many cases are worse than the original set of externalities. More importantly, those advocating government intervention regarding externalities conveniently leave out the discussion of the new set of externalities.

Daniel Kuehn March 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm

“Their arguments gloss over or exclude positive externalities as positive externalities weaken their already weak arguments based on shady statistics/finding”

It seems to me most externality arguments are positive externality arguments. Education… infrastructure… basic R&D… that covers a lot. As usual, of course, Friedman’s point is excellent and I think at the forefront of the minds of most people who think seriously about these things (perhaps not those who hammer their single-issue causes).

vikingvista March 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm

“Those who advocate centrally planned government intervention to reduce externalities should/must remember that their proposed course of action merely creates another set of externalities.”

Great point. The adage “cutting off your nose to spite your face” is apt. Though the lesser known variant–”cutting off everyone’s heads, and the heads of their house pets, to spite your face”–is more apt.

Emerson White March 26, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Wanton waste is not how humans achieved so much. How about you leave the lights that you are using on and leave the rest off so some brilliant capitalist can do something with the energy that you don’t waste.

Daniel Kuehn March 26, 2011 at 9:13 pm

*like*

Seriously Don, the “I don’t like librulz” vibe comes off of this considerably stronger than the “I care about human achievement” vibe.

jhodapp March 27, 2011 at 11:03 am

How so? It is very consistent for Don based on his older posts to call for something like this. He is both skeptical about our government planned ability to change the course of supposed human global warming, and he’s also always been pro-individual choice and hence the suggestion that those who disagree Emerson White exercise their choice to leave their lights on. By the way, as someone who subscribes to a libertarian philosophy, I am a “librul.”

Daniel Kuehn March 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm

My point is precisely that leaving all your lights on seems to me to say nothing about a high valuation of individual choice, but it says an awful lot about a deep investment in getting upset with and picking fights over a group that simply wants to convince people to make decisions that they think will have a positive impact on the environment. Both Don’s hour and Earth hour have, at their heart, a desire for people to exercise free choice. Earth hour symbolically acknowledges a scientifically substantiated environmental risk. Don’s hour only seems to me to symbolically acknowledge a personal frustration with people who take that risk seriously. Nothing about “human achievement” seems to be celebrated by it.

vikingvista March 26, 2011 at 10:08 pm

How about you let consumer desires communicate to brilliant capitalists via price signals?

Sandre March 26, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Emerson,

What’s your opinion on Christmas, New Year, or Independece day celebration? What about Oscars? Should they just save it for some capitalists?

Richard Stands March 27, 2011 at 2:12 am

I note that “wanton waste” is often defined by a third party.

vikingvista March 27, 2011 at 10:35 am

The central planner believes that he personally is the measure of all prosperity. In fact, values are subjective, and each person is the measure of prosperity in his own life. It is not for another person do decide if my life is enriched by my choice to pay for more light use tonight, in place of paying for something else.

This fundamental economic error is one reason keynesiacs cannot distinguish between different types of spending as promoting or hindering prosperity.

yet another Dave March 27, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Does this sound like a call for “wanton waste” to you?

To celebrate Human Achievement Hour, participants need only to spend the hour from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm on March 26 enjoying the benefits of capitalism and human innovation: Gather with friends in the warmth of a heated home, watch television, take a hot shower, drink a beer, call a loved one on the phone, or listen to music.

Evidently you didn’t even read what you criticized.

TheEvilCapitalist March 26, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Living in Australia, I got the celebrate the Hour of Power yesterday!

The highlight was a titanic hour-long battle for supremacy between the heater and the air-conditioner, with back-up support for the heater from the dryer and back-up support for the air-conditioner coming from the open fridge door.

In the end, I gave it to the air-conditioner on points.

tomharvey March 27, 2011 at 1:44 am

Uh… in an ordinary household configuration, your refrigerator was backing up the heater, not the air conditioner.

TheEvilCapitalist March 27, 2011 at 4:42 am

This is true, although presumably with the door open it would have helped neither, wouldn’t it?

Dan March 26, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Just got back from our neighbor’s house, where we celebrated Human Achievement Hour with lots of electricity, youtube, iTunes, iPod, stereo speakers, indoor plumbing, insulation, modern heating apparatus, fondue (chocolate with enormous genetically modified strawberries, among other treats), not to mention all of the clothes we were wearing, furniture we were sitting on, and all of the other wonderful things we take for granted but we only get to enjoy because of the ingenuity, resourcefulness, and frugality of our ancestors. Oh yeah, of course this was all accompanied by copious quantities of alcoholic beverages, themselves a monument to human achievement. Turn your lights on, everyone.

muirgeo March 27, 2011 at 2:47 am

Yes and the CEI will be serving lead based paint sandwiches sprinkled with PCB’s and the room will be pumped full of black soot to breath while the water will be acidified to a pH of 4.0. Oh and their will be some back ground ambient alpha radiation since that’s also good for you.

Krishnan March 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

Life was so much better 100 years ago – what with people dying before they were 40 or so … Fewer people lived long enough to destroy the environment and it gets only worse – people are living better and the earth is getting better/cleaner – so it gets worse … Ban development – time for a “Moratorium on Brains”

Imagine how much better the earth will be for humans if there were no humans to spoil it and consume resources. If we humans were to disappear, the earth will be so much better for those that follow us (Eh? You ask – How will there be followers if we do not exist? Please do not ask logical questions like that – the Elites have the asnwers to all questions)

W.E.Heasley March 27, 2011 at 9:50 am

As stated above: “cult of crisis” aka Muirgeo.

muirgeo March 27, 2011 at 10:36 am

Humans achieved so much by using their brain in cooperative and planned efforts. But for some reason their are those that believe we should abandon human reason and planning and rely on the emergent properties of individual action when it comes to setting up society. This internet is here because of planning NOT the emergent properties of individual actions. Two cups connected by a string… yeah that WAS probably an individual achievement but this is working a lot better.

Krishnan March 27, 2011 at 11:46 am

I see your point. Jonas Salk created the polio vaccine because he had a committee that decide how he should work and do research – Paul Allen and Steve Jobs had several committees and elites from the surrounding universities that told them how to design and build the Apple – Just about everything humans have discovered has been because of an all powerful committee of the most intelligent sentients who knew what to do – they had slaves who did what they were told to do and so here we are …

vidyohs March 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm

As usual my little muirhuahua your teacup brain can’t recognize facts, so you go with the training of your masters.

There is no known instance, any where, any time, of a group having an idea. Individuals have them, groups adopt them.

There is no known instance, any where, any time, of a group being born. Even twins are born one at a time, and animals that produce litters, do so one at a time.

No matter how hard you fight the truth, life is naturally individual. Groups are un-natural creations of man. Only a F…ing idiot places the creation above the creator.

Steve March 28, 2011 at 10:07 am
The National Benefit Authority April 19, 2011 at 3:58 am

This fundamental economic error is one reason keynesiacs cannot distinguish between different types of spending as promoting or hindering prosperity.

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