Indeed, once you start noticing that markets enable us to protect ourselves, at low cost, from the filth and household pollutants that were routinely encountered until very recently, you can’t stop noticing. Here are some anti-pollution advances, each admittedly small, but the sum of which is significant:
- disposable paper towels
- bug spray
- mesh screens for our windows
- antimicrobial personal-hygiene products
- UV-blocking eyewear
- keyless automobile entry, which that enables us to get into cars more quickly when it’s raining
- oxygen-absorbing packets, which are commonplace now in many packaged foods
You can even get shoe trees to kill the fungus in your footwear.
But I don’t wish to end with these small conquests of pollution. Here are four other, major advances, each brought to us by innovative capitalism, that rival antibiotics in reducing our exposure to lethal pollutants: electric lighting, air conditioning, asphalt, and — last but not least — the automobile.
On this Earth Day, look around your home and workplace and take notice of the very many ways that capitalism has made your daily life less polluted than that of any of your ancestors. And then give thanks.