Thursday, January 20, 2011

Editorial: The Only Way to Go Green

The only way to truly go green is to efficiently allocate our resources. The economic definition of efficiency is getting the most out of our scarce resources. Sustainability is essentially dynamic efficeincy, getting the most our of our scarce resources over time. Decisions about allocating scarce resources must be based on the best information we have, using the best technology available. Market prices serve this role in information coordination and resource allocation. However, as we see in the editorial below, our ability to sustainably feed the world is often limited by institutional constraints on market forces:



"Warnings of a global food shortage are cropping up in the news. This should not be happening in 2011. But while our technologies have advanced, our politics are still prehistoric....Man cannot control the weather. But famine today is as much man-made as it is a force of nature."


"Zimbabwe, for instance, was once considered the breadbasket of Africa. It exported wheat, corn and sugar cane across the continent and beyond. But the country's agriculture industry has been destroyed by a Marxist government that has seized privately owned farms in the name of "land reform."


"Friends of the Earth publicly asked governments in the hungry African countries of Ghana and Sierra Leone to recall U.S. food aid that contained genetically modified rice. Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa set the wrong tone in 2002 when he called the food offered to his famished nation "poison" and "intrinsically dangerous."


"Given that we have the technology to grow larger crops on smaller parcels and fly fresh food around the world to where it's needed in a matter of hours, the obstructionism is inexcusable. We need policymakers who are as advanced as today's technology."

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