World Bank memos

Enzo Michelangeli em at
Wed Dec 9 18:59:15 PST 1998

-----Original Message----- From: Henry C.k. Liu <hliu at> Date: Thursday, December 10, 1998 2:26 AM

>Sometimes I think you are just pretending to be outrageous.
>Surely you are aware of the concept of interdependence, its the new mantra
>of the new capitalism that you love so much.
>The error in tyour last statement comes from your assumption that the
>unthinking elimination of "harmless or harmful" species is always
>beneficial to human's welfare, nor at least no "big deal", as you put it.
>You must be aware that the delayed effects of environmental damage is
>poorly understood by current science.

We have a lot of evidence in countries (Europe, united States) who once were covered by forests or wild prairies and now are heavily farmed. A pre-industrial economy could support a tiny percentage of the present population.

>With the accelerated pace of man-made environmental damage, this
>deficiency in understanding puts human future in great jeopardy.
>For example, by the time we notice the damage from air pollution to
>ancient architectural landmarks in your beloved country, Italy, it is too
>late to do much.

Don't tell me: far from owning two Rolls, I've never got a driving license, and am a diehard fan of public transportation :-) Which, incidentally, is why Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world where I could live, with the possible exception of Manhattan. For greehouse gas emissions, look elsewhere... By the way, a while ago I have read that the metan produced by the digestion in cattle livestock makes a larger impact on greehouse effect than the CO2 in car exhausts.

>In China, the campaign to eliminate the four pests, flies, mosquitos, and
>what not, caused birds to die and forest to shrink and famines to
>following a few years later.

And the worldwide ban on DDT has caused a new surge in deaths for malaria. (Besides, China's famines have much more to do with bad planning than killing mosquitoes).

>As Budhhists say, all life is sacred.
>Any deviation from that fundamental tenet runs the danger of leading to
>justifiable genocide.
>Even as a diehard capitalist, you can't afford to narrow the food chain.
>At least stay on the positive side of capitalism, which is negative enough
>without elaboration.

But the fact is that all the historical evidence says that industrialization and capitalism have hugely _expanded_ the size of the food chain and the human life expectancy.

Cheers --


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list