Friday, 11 January 2008

Quote of the day

” Industrial progress, mechanical improvement, all of the great wonders of the modern era have meant relatively little to the wealthy.

The rich in Ancient Greece would have benefitted hardly at all from modern plumbing : running servants replaced running water. Television and radio? The Patricians of Rome could enjoy the leading musicians and actors in their home, could have the leading actors as domestic retainers. Ready-to-wear clothing, supermarkets - all these and many other modern developments woul have added little to their life.

The great achievements of Western Capitalism have redounded primarily to the benefit of the ordinary person. These achievements have made available to the masses conveniences and amenities that were previously the exclusive perogative of the rich and powerful.”

Milton Friedman

Indian car giant Tata launch a one Lakh ‘people’s car’

And Talking of environ-Mental-ists…

The Indian car manufacturer Tata have developed what is billed as the world’s cheapest car. £1,290, brand new all in. They are dubbing it the ‘People’s Car’ - or should that be a Volks Wagan? ;-)

It is small, cheap to make and has a tiny engine so it will be cheap to run. I caught the announcement on Sky News last night.

Much of the story was taken up with environ-Mental-ists bleating about what a disaster it was.

Now if it had been released in the US, or Europe, it would have been hailed as environmentally sound, low emission etc. Just the sort of thing that would be encouraged with low vehicle tax in the UK. But because it was in India and it’s price might allow Indians to actually buy it - well that was bad.

Their attitude struck me as dangerously paternalistic and unpleasantly patrician - in it’s best light.

The presenter pointed out that it would hardly be any worse than a motor bike and there were huge numbers of those in India. But the talking head seemed to think people who didn’t have a bike might buy one and increase pollution. They also suggested that oil reserves were running out and seemed to imply, in a self satisfied tone, that this would hasten it.

After some more discussion the presenter suggested that surely market forces would address the issues raised and the talking head was clearly aghast suggesting that market forces were the ‘last thing’ it should be left to.

This just about sums these people up Authoritarian, Paternalistic patricians who feel they should be in charge because they are the chosen ones who have the holy word direct from Gaia. Who think nothing of flying off to a conference in Bali, but criticise the ordinary people for wanting to have a holiday, or improve their lives.

One gets the impression they would just love a resource limited Malthusian world where they were the privileged overlords who could enjoy the benefits of modern society whilst the vast but diminishing bulk of humanity lived short, dirty, environmentally non impactive lives in mud huts.

UK Government Gives the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear power stations.

I have been mean to Gordon Brown and New-Labour of late, highlighting bad stuff – but finally, something that makes sense! The Government are to give the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear power stations.

I suggested that if they were actually serious about reducing carbon emissions they should stop playing around, get serious - and commit to a comprehensive nuclear generation program. It seems they have done just that and I applaud them for it.

Now they should estimate what it will take to cover all the countries power needs and cover it by at least half as much again.

Hopefully the state will interfere as little as possible, apart from encouraging it and setting up a sensible framework for it to operate within that does not stifle.

In the future we should be looking to encourage the development of technologies that can power cars and air travel with hydrogen that could be cracked from seawater by Nuclear, or renewable power.

If James Lovelock supports it then the environ-Mental-ists should ease up with their anti lobbying and consider how much cake they can keep if they want to eat it too.

Unfortunately Government is a bit like that advert where they joke that there is a clever/dumb balance and for every clever thing there has to be a corresponding opposite.

So I am now waiting for them to balance things up with something stupid ;-)

Of course if that were really true we would be seeing much more clever things happening to balance up all the stupid things they have done already ;-)