Alex Epstein – author of the wonderful 2014 book The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels – explains eloquently, in this video, the typically ignored benefits (and they are gargantuan) of fossil-fuel use. (Yes, fossil-fuel use also has costs – as does nearly every other beneficial thing in the universe. But the benefits of fossil-fuel use clearly, in my view, far outweigh their costs. As David Henderson reminds us, good economic thinking involves cost-benefit analysis rather than merely a cost-only analysis or a benefit-only analysis.) I would add to Alex’s superb video only the Deirdre McCloskey-inspired insight that the great benefits of modernity come not exclusively or originally from fossil fuels but also from innovationism – market-tested creativity unleashed by respect for bourgeois pursuits and values and protected from plunder by good institutions.
For those of you who cannot play these videos as embedded here at Cafe Hayek, here’s the link to this one.