Don’t you find it interesting that the current administration in the USA is pushing both an environment and socialist agenda, as if these two agendas are inherently compatible?
Folks on the left are often advocating tearing down capitalism and replacing it with eco-socialism. How often have you heard that climate change is a crisis of capitalism? Many perceive the Green New Deal as a call for large scale nationalization for the sake of saving the planet. Look at any rally in support of the environment, and advocates of Socialism are in attendance in large numbers.
In reality my experience has been quite the opposite. Fly into Shanghai even 25 years ago, and the smog is overwhelming in comparison to any major city in the West.
The Soviets lived in air polluted environments 3 to 4 times that allowable in Western countries. The indiscriminate use of pesticides, water pollution and deforestation policies were rampant in comparison to Western States.
The evidence appears to challenge the established “conventional wisdom.”
I know the response from the left will be that Venezuela, East Germany and former USSR Socialist states were not true socialism and subject to corruption. If this had been “done right”, Socialism would have an exemplary environmental record.
I contend that this is all BS. Socialism is inherently more damaging to the environment.
The first reason for this is that socialist economies are inherently less efficient. There is little incentive to minimize waste and conserve resources.
Secondly State-owned land suffers from the “tragedy of the commons”. In the absence of private property rights, who pushes back against irreparable property damage, and who sues for compensation to arrest the decay?
Every lived in or near a commune? Who takes care of the grounds and ensures that the place is kept tidy? A visit to a frat house in comparison to a privately owned dwelling will illustrate the concept of the “tragedy of the commons” very graphically for you.
Of course, unregulated capitalism can also lead to massive environment exploitation and requires strict legislation and there is ample history to support that claim. I’m all for the government setting the rules for playing the game through legislation, I’m just not as keen to then see them being the ones actually running onto the field.
Bottom line of course is that more prosperous economies with increased per capita wealth can afford the luxury of taking greater care of the environment.
If we truly care about the environment, I suggest we need to be very selective in the company we keep.