Steve Mendell: Threat to sustainability |

Back to: News

Steve Mendell: Threat to sustainability

The biggest threat to "sustainability" is the so-called "sustainability" movement promoted by Sarah Jones in her March 11 letter to the editor. Why? Because only a centrally planned allocation of resources can ever (through government mandates and subsidies) result in the complete depletion of any resource. More on that later.

"Sustainability" is just the latest euphemism for the age-old central planning agenda — an agenda which holds that only a self-appointed elite who (falsely) think they alone possess a superior wisdom and insight can (forcibly) lead us all to the promised land of milk and honey.

There's just one problem with this utopian fantasy — central planning of resource allocations never works! It never has and it never will. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about centrally planning the allocation of capital, housing, water, food, health care, health insurance, energy, whale oil or any other resource. Central planning always misallocates all resources in wasteful and destructive ways. It always has and it always will.

If you wonder why I mentioned whale oil, do a little research into the previous "sustainability" movement which hysterically preached the world soon would end because we had reached peak whale oil and we soon would run out of whale oil.

Free market economic theories are, regrettably, not in fashion these days. But free market economics are rooted in the natural laws of supply and demand. These laws cannot be repealed. They only can be temporarily distorted (with, inevitably, enormously destructive results). As long as the natural laws of supply and demand are respected (through the free market interaction of willing sellers and willing buyers), the world simply cannot run out of any resource. Why? Because dwindling supply drives prices higher, and higher prices reduces demand until equilibrium is achieved. In the case of ever-dwindling supply, we see ever-rising prices until, eventually, a more economical alternative is developed (thanks only to the profit motive and never to government bureaucrats and the self-appointed elite). That is precisely how fossil fuels replaced whale oil.

As was the case with whale oil, the natural laws of supply and demand in concert with the profit motive will, at the proper time, deliver an economical and profitable alternative to petroleum (and other fossil fuels). But as the fracking revolution has demonstrated, now is not the proper time. Attempts to force this to be the proper time will only result in harm (and lots of it).

Global warming hysteria mongering (also promoted by Sarah Jones) is yet another false front for forcibly imposing a centrally planned economy (and wealth redistribution on a global scale). However, the RSS satellite data demonstrate more than 17 years (and counting) of global cooling. By NOAA's own standards, any 15-year period without warming invalidates all of the IPCC computer models (the root source for all of the global warming hysteria). The global warming hysteria movement was born in 1988, roughly 10 years after the cooling phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation had bottomed out and the warming phase had begun. That warming phase now has peaked and plateaued. Around 2018, we'll enter another distinct cooling phase, which will resemble the colder climate of the 1970s that led scientists and journalists to swear we were all going to freeze to death if big government did not come to our rescue. By 2040, at the bottom of the latest cooling phase, the global cooling sales pitch will have been revived (in the latest effort to pitch a more centrally planned economy).

Please, let us not allow the sustainability movement to misallocate any of our resources — monetary or otherwise.

Steve Mendell

Steamboat Springs