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Letter to the New York Times on Americans’ Energy Consumption

In this letter published in the March 20th, 2002, edition of the New York Times, I asked why Thomas Friedman believes it to be “obnoxious” that Americans consume 25 percent of the world’s energy:

To the Editor:

Thomas L. Friedman (”Better Late Than . . .,” column, March 17) finds it ”obnoxious” that Americans ”consume 25 percent of the world’s energy, while we’re only 4 percent of the world’s population.”

Americans produce 31.5 percent of the world’s output — including food and pharmaceuticals exported to foreign countries. What’s so obnoxious?

Fairfax, Va., March 17, 2002
The writer is chairman of the department of economics, George Mason University.