Jonah Goldberg (NRO) bids good riddance to the just concluded Copenhagen climate conference extravaganza by quoting noted anti-capitalist environmental champions Evo Morales, Robert Mugabe, Hugo Chavez and Diane Francis. Then he points out the obvious.
The historical record is clear: Democratic free-market nations are better at protecting their environments than statist regimes for the simple reason that they can afford to. West Germany’s environment was far cleaner than East Germany’s. I’d much sooner drink the tap water in South Korea than North Korea.
Mugabe rails against capitalism as if he has a better idea of how to run things. That’s almost funny given that Mugabe has destroyed what was once a great cause for hope in Africa, in large part by abandoning capitalism and democracy. Zimbabwe now has the highest inflation rate in the world and one of the lowest life expectancies. Let’s hope nobody was taking notes when he was giving out advice.
Moreover, capitalism, and the wealth it creates, is the best means of bending down the population curve. Don’t take my word for it. The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges that “affluence is correlated with long life and small families” and that growing prosperity will cause world population to decline even further.
Want to know the best way to heal the planet? Create more rich countries. Want to know the best way to hurt the planet? Throw a wet blanket on economic growth.