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  • Chavez on Climate Change: Blame Capitalism

    President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Hugo Chavez received resounding cheers from the audience after saying, “Seven percent of the world population – some 500 million people – are responsible for half of contaminating emissions. Capitalism is to blame for this.” He also asserted, “our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.”

    If President Chavez means carbon dioxide emissions when he says “contaminating emissions” his point is moot. The scientific evidence simply isn’t there to support that. But even if he’s talking about real pollution, the evidence still isn’t there. Not only has capitalism increased our prosperity and standard of living, it has made us cleaner and healthier in the process. George Mason economist Don Boudreaux explains:

    “These complaints remind me of the cancer victim who, cured of his horrible disease by medical science, endlessly complains about the scar left from his successful surgery.

    Industrial, developed economies do produce certain kinds of pollution that our preindustrial ancestors did not have to endure. (Although even this fact isn’t as universal as you might think. A recent story in Nature detailed the high levels of lead pollution generated by medieval Celtic miners.) But the overwhelming fact — a fact so overwhelming it goes unnoticed — is just how incredibly clean, sanitary, and healthy our lives are compared to the lives of our pre-industrial ancestors.

    We live today in houses with solid floors and roofs — as distinct from dwellings featuring dirt floors and vermin-infested thatched roofs that were typical for most of human history (and that are still common today in undeveloped countries). Automobiles keep our streets free of horse dung and the swarms of flies attracted to it. We have several changes of clean clothes, and inexpensive laundry detergent that we use to recycle our clothing for use after use after use.

    Inexpensive soaps, shampoos, and toothpastes combine with reliable running water in our homes to provide us with a daily level of personal hygiene and physical attractiveness that were out of reach for even the wealthiest nobleman of 500 or 5,000 years ago.

    We have household cleaning agents, plastic wraps, and refrigeration – not to mention antibiotics – that protect us from lethal bacteria.

    This list of how capitalism and commerce make our lives cleaner and healthier goes on and on. On balance, capitalism has done far more to clean our living environments than it’s done to pollute them. It’s good to keep this perspective in mind when listening to the loud complaints of unchecked pollution.”

    Be sure to check out Boudreaux’s entire series Cleaned By Capitalism as well as all of Heritage’s work on Copenhagen.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Chavez on Climate Change: Blame Capitalism

    1. Bobbie Jay says:

      Dear Mr. Chavez,

      your ignorance is apparent. Your narrow minded thinking is understood. Your dishonest is right on. Your fear mongering, PERFECT! It ALL speaks of your closeness to the American President. The reason you are underdeveloped is because your leadership is. Get off your high horse, and give the people FREEDOM. CAPITALISM AIDS IN INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM. But freedom to the people ruins your selfishness, pompous, ugly nature. Your vulnerability is showing as usual. MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING DOES NOT EXIST. Thank you.

      Love, Bobbie Jay

    2. Larry Dittmer, Illin says:

      I grow corn and soybeans on some of the best farmland in the world. This farmland, like similar soil in the Ukraine and Argentina, was formed in conditions of frequent grassfires in preindustrial times. Under modern farming practices, burning crop residue is rare. The sequestration of complex carbon compounds may be greater now than it was in preindustrial times.

    3. Pingback: Journal: ClimateGate 17 December 2009 Evening « Public Intelligence Blog

    4. Ozzy6900, CT says:

      President Chavez is a typical dictator. He blames capitalism for all of the problems in the world but if you look at his Country or Cuba or any Country ruled by a dictator, what do you see? Strife, impoverished Citizens, Marshall Law and misery. How is this better than people working, saving money, buying food at will and Citizens free to live their way? The difference is no Government control. Dictators have to control every facet of their subjects lives or they risk loosing control. Hint – President Obama and the Liberals!

    5. SScol, Colombia says:

      While Chavez arguing was what everybody expected, this arcle fails to give a reasoned or well developed respond, which only shows a primitive way of thinking about climate change and does not address a not antropocentric way of understanding environmental problems.

      First of all, environmental problems, while they are can affect humans they actually affect any living think on the planet, so by saying that capitalism has improve environment because we live on cleaner houses does not count for the effects of capitalism or any economic system on an environmental media, especially in this case in which we are talking about carbon emissions to admosphere.

      A good way to refuse Chavez arguing is that carbon emisions of the Soviet Union were higher than actual Russia and the former countries. In fact regarding to pollution, the Volga river was a receptor of hundreds of tons of contaminants under lack regulation from the comunist country.

      Also it is important to remember that the worst environmental disater, the expotion of the chernobyl reactor in Ukrain was directly linked with the heavy bureocratic way of operation of the comunist system.

      If we dont develop reasonable reasons to critic Chavez we are not better than he is.

    6. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      Without capitalism, which created the opportunities to defeat many dreaded diseases, hundreds of millions would have died.

      You could go on with numerous examples but it is a waste of time. The fact that many people in this country admire Chavez, Castro, and Mao is prove-positive that freedom is never cheap. It is a constant battle against our history-ignorant leftists.

    7. Pingback: Copenhagen Forum: ANTI-AMERICAN, ANTI-CAPITALISM « Climate Change Sanity

    8. Randy,SA TX says:

      when i read most of comment about hugo chavez i then understand that the people making the comment have no understanding of the history of latin america.

    9. Pingback: Chavez on Capitalism « Cutting (B)logs like I'm a LumberJack.

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