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Beginning to Get Angry…

… at the field of economics altogether.


Here’s a little taste of what was written in an internal memo about “Dirty Industries”. The memo was dated December 12, 1991, and penned by the head economist of the World Bank at that time, Lawrence H. Summers.

Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]?… I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that… I’ve always though that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City… [and] The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostrate cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is is 200 per thousand.

Read the whole memo here. I warn you, you’re gonna feel sick, and angry, after you read it. It’s a sign of the kind of disconnection from reality that so many economists seem to suffer from. Of course, this man was appointed the U.S. Treasury Secretary on July 2nd, 1999 and later named president of Harvard University.

Which is insanity.

For a refreshing alternative, read this book: Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism edited by Stephanie Kaza and Kenneth Kraft. I read it a few years ago and some of the articles are not only shocking, but also dead-on in their criticism of mainstream economics, or what one might call amoral economics (meaning economics that has no humanist, moral, or other end beyond itself but places the highest value on straight monetary valuation of everything).

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