Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Is There a Conflict Between Economic Growth and Environmental Protection?

I think one of the hallmarks of the liberal University is the open and collegial discussion of ideas, even controversial ideas, as is the case here perhaps, but we have two speakers who have agreed to come and talk about the question: is there a conflict between economic growth And environmental protection and I'm going to introduce one of the speakers and then have someone else introduced the second speaker, but before I introduce the first speaker, I would like to say a few words of thanks to some sponsors. For this event, the fmu artisan lecture series, the South Carolina, sustainable universities, initiative the FMU School of Business and the F mu Department of Biology, without whose support this event would not have occurred. So, thanks to all of these organizations and people, I would also like to introduce the moderator for tonight's debate. Seated at the center of the table is Professor Susan, giusto of the Department of mass communications here at Frances Marion. It'S my pleasure to introduce the first participant in tonight's debate. Dr. Brian check is the president of a nonprofit organization called the Center for the Advancement of the steady-state economy. Dr. Chuck has extensive background in wildlife, biology and conservation biology. You can see a list of his accomplishments in the paragraph on the second page. His academic background includes a BS in wildlife, ecology from the University of Wisconsin PhD and a master, MS and wildlife science from the University of Washington and a PhD in renewable natural resources. From the University of Arizona he's also adjunct faculty at Virginia Tech, where he teaches courses in endangered species management and ecological economics, which is a relatively new field. That you'll learn about tonight, he's also the author of two books, including shoveling fuel, for a runaway train. Errant economists, shameful spenders and a plan to stop them all now that you've heard from the Treehugger tonight, it's my pleasure to turn over the lectern to the official capitalist Pig of Francis Marion University and my good friend Dean of the business school dr. Barry, O'Brien Dwight. We get no more respect here than you get at the University of Georgia. First of all, thank you to the biology students and the economics students. There'S a lot about our universities about our university to have this attendance here tonight. I'M an economist incentives matter. I hope your professors reward you justly if I can before I introduce dr. Dwight Lee I'd like to give a little perspective to our discussion tonight and try and embarrass a dear friend and a former student Matt. Would you just stand for a second, so everyone could recognize you now you can sit back down Matt as a teacher every once in a while, you get a student to walk into your life. That makes all the difference, and I don't remember if it was 1993 or 1994 that I was sitting in my office on a Friday afternoon. I don't know what I was doing in my office on a Friday afternoon. It was about 4:45, as I recall, and I got a phone call from a very eccentric freshman student in the dorm late August. He proceeded to tell me that I was his academic adviser and he had been here for three hours and couldn't find anyone that wanted to discuss existentialism with him: ecology, economics, political science or anything else, and I was wondering how I landed this young man to be My advisee he ran over to my office and Matt was the first student ever that the following Monday morning he was working with dr. Pompey and dr. Reinhardt. Two economists doing research on environmental economics still had not taken his first classes of freshmen about two years later. He he's an alumnus of our University with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Bachelor of Arts in economics. Two years later, he was complaining to dr. Kyra and dr. Pompeian to professor Knowles in Pike and crepes, that we really need to start talking to each other, because he walks out of economics. Lectures thinking that markets and economic freedom and capitalism is the answer to all of our society's questions and then he would go over to Leatherman and so he's a bit conflicted in many ways he still is, but but he started something here and he actually bought me. The first book he started a book discussion group among the faculty and the students in biology and economics that continues to this day, and the discussion continues after Matt left our university for seen at the University of Georgia. Where he's already earned his PhD in economics and if he continues his usual work ethic, he will earn his PhD in ecology sometime in 2006. Matt welcome back to campus were mighty. Proud of you. Iii was looking at Travis. Travis was the one who came up with the short BIOS in the program for tonight and he said: you'll introduce dr. Dwight Lee tonight. Won'T you and I said I'll, be glad to and then, when I looked at his curricular Vita and I shared it with a colleague, my colleague informed me that dr. Lee had written more than I have ever read, which is not an overstatement dr. Lee earned dispatch Of arts degree from San Diego State University in economics, with distinction his PhD in economics from the University of California in San Diego he's a professor of economics at University of Georgia, and holds the Ramzi chair of economics and free enterprise. He has received literally dozens of honors and awards past president of the southern economics Association he's written more than 12 books, more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, more than 150 magazine articles and everything from Fords to economic freedom. But what economists love about Dwight Lee is his wit, his wisdom and his ability to take the economic way of thinking and apply it like a laser beam to everything from sex to crime, to the environment. I hope tonight that he read the program and he'll focus his attention on the question at hand. So I'd like for you to give a warm welcome to Francis Marion to dr. Dwight Lee well, dr. O'Brien is correct. It'S time that we all learn to talk to each other and it's exciting, as a mass communications professor, to see this many people from I'm sure so many different backgrounds coming together. If not to talk and at least to listen - and this is a something that we have not a lot of practice in in our campus, life - sometimes is engaging in unfamiliar ideas and thoughts that we aren't necessarily used to hearing out loud and that get us out Of our box a little bit so this is going to be interesting tonight, we'll keep it very lively. I don't think we'll have to keep it lively, it's going to be lively, but it's also going to be authentic and it's going to be very interesting for all of us, no matter where we are, and I'm sure we'll be doing a little bit of moving on Our chessboard of knowledge tonight, as we learn so many new things and are exposed to many new ideas. So tonight, let me tell you a little bit about the procedure. Will open up with about 15 minutes from each of our speakers tonight to give their opening statements? And let us know what they're thinking about in this topic. After that, we will open the floor up to discussion and two questions, and we have a few questions that were submitted by various students on campus through their professors earlier this month. So those questions will also be offered for answers and reflection. So I think we'll begin tonight with dr. Brian who will know pardon doctor Lee is going first excellent. Then dr. Lee you'll be going first tonight and we give you 15 minutes and I'll try to be polite. When I take my hook and get you off the safe well, thank you Susan. I thought I was going first, but I wasn't sure and and thank you very much for Barry for that nice introduction, I'm trying to remember the article I wrote on sex. Maybe I wrote more than one I don't remember, which reminds me of a supposedly a true story. Apparently some psychologists or sociologists or some group of academics did a survey recently people about my age to find out if we were still interested in sex and are still interested in members of the opposite sex and the answer was yes, we still are, but we've forgotten. Why well tonight's debate on these are a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. My position will be well there's a conflict on everything economists like to talk about trade-offs, but I'm going to argue that there's not much of a conflict. I think this concern of this question arises out of the fear that a lot of people have that rich people use up more resources than poor people, including environmental quality, so that the more rich people we have and the richer they become the more rapidly we're going To deplete our resources and degrade our environment, but this assumes that there's a fixed quantity of resources and it afix assumes there's a fixed amount of environmental quality, and you can only use it up. You can't create it, you just use it up and if that's true the faster we use these resources, the faster they'll be gone, but economists think about things a little bit differently than that. We don't see the world it's kind of a zero-sum game or if I get more, somebody else gets less. We use more. That means there's always more or less in the future. There'S a question: how do people get rich? Why are we richer today? Then people work 200 or 300 years ago or a thousand years ago and we're far richer today than they are. Is it because you we don't have any more resources, we don't have any more wealth than they had, but somehow we're just the lucky few that have it all and other people have less know. The whole world is richer. We'Re lucky we're Americans we're a lot richer than a lot of the rest of the world, obviously, but the whole world is richer than they were a couple hundred years ago or even fifty years ago. So how do people become rich? They become rich by producing more valuable Goods and more valuable services, and they do it by using fewer resources for each unit of goods and services that we produce, and we also do it and a lot of people find this hard to get their minds around. But I think it's absolutely true. If you think about it, we also get rich by producing more resources. A lot of people think with just so many resources up there and we're using them up. But the fact is - and I don't have time to spend a lot of time talking about this but I'll spin a little bit. There are more resources in America today and in fact, in the world today than there were when Columbus discovered America. I know I didn't discover America when he first landed here in seven 1492. Knowledge is the ultimate resource. There were all kinds of things lying in the ground and under the ground and under the ocean in 1492 that our resources today they were not resources when Columbus arrived petroleum. I know a lot of people say: well, that's a bad resource. We'Ll talk about that. A minute petroleum that was just something that got you know it kind of bubble out of the ground in certain places it wasn't a resource at all. It was a pain in the you-know-what it stuck to your feet. It was a mess. You know it was. It was not a resource today. It'S a major resource sand sand wasn't much of a resource but sands a big resource. Today you can substitute sand copper, you make these fiber optic cables primarily out of sand, and you don't need to use copper now and there's. You know it's so much better than copper. We can have so much more information flowing these fiber optic cables, air ways for for trees, newsprint. You know we get our news through air ways. Now didn't used to be able to do that. We'Ve turned the air into a very valuable resource, not just for breathing, but in terms of delivering the news. Chemicals, hey a lot of people, don't like chemicals. I love chemicals. Actually I am chemicals. That'S all I consists of is chemicals and I'm organic to everything I eat is organic, although I don't always shop at organic store. The fact is, chemicals have been substituted for clear cutting force. Let me talk about that in a minute. One reason as we get wealthier, we have a cleaner environment and the evidence up to this point is pretty clear on that: a wealthier economy, a cleaner environment is because, as we get wealthier, we have more demand for environmental Clawd. We have more demand for all kinds of nice things and there's nothing much nicer than Environmental Quality economists like Environmental Quality, despite what you may have heard, I live in the environment. I want it to be as clean as possible, but when you're hungry, when you're sick, when you're generally destitute you're, not that concerned about how beautiful the the Vista is you're, not that concerned about pristine environmental quality, it's not surprising that the environmental movement in this country Didn'T start until somewhere in the 60s nineteen sixties, not the 1860s. Also, as we get wealthier, we have more ability to provide environmental quality to provide a lot of things we like, including Environmental Quality. I know the fear is that soon millions of Chinese will soon be driving cars instead of walking riding oxen and bicycles. We want to keep driving, but let's keep them on their oxen, but the fact is transportation. Damn nice stuff, we all believe in diversity right. That'S almost a mantra on campus: let's have more diversity, what promotes diversity more than people traveling around the world and meeting each other and learning from each other. You know, I would argue, that's wonderful! That'S wonderful, stuff, diversity, a little Cana, Mislav diversity for a whole host of reasons and in fact is cars. I know we don't like cars if we're environmentalist, but I'm an environmentalist, and I love the environment. But I like cars too and in fact cars are far less polluting today than they were just a decade or two ago. Also I'm going to argue quickly - and I know there's a trapdoor here when I hit fifteen minutes, I'm gone if I disappear. You know what happened. Susan has a finger. I ride the best thing that happened to the environment or one of the best things that happened to the environment is the internal combustion engine. It substituted the pollution that comes out of the tailpipe of cars for the pollution that comes out of the tailpipe of horses and I'll tell you. That was a huge, huge improvement in public health. One thing that started immediately is decreased infant mortality. You know it had fly borne diseases and all these big cities - you had horses rotting in the streets, they carted him off. I don't know how many pounds of you know what they had to car it off. It was a mess it wasn't pretty and that increased longevity because of economic growth. New inventions has been wonderful because it gives us the thing we value most the one resource we value more than any others, and that is the time that we have in our life. You know because longevity has increased dramatically in the last 100 years and I'm in favor of that, even though some people wonder if I'm going to live long enough to finish, I get it, I get a discount at the movie. You'Ve seen your discount and that's because they say well, he probably won't live long enough for a movie to finish, but the fact is, I've got long. I'Ve been dead 20 years ago if we delivered in 1900. If I'd lived in 1900 infant mortality rate - and this is a result of increased wealth and from tality rate, was over 15 times what it is now in 1900 in 1900, the rate at which women died from childbirth was a hundred times greater than it is now. We not only live longer, we live healthier, we are living longer and healthier. We have safer jobs, safer, cleaner, faster, more reliable transportation. Diversity, like I say, that's wonderful because of this transportation. We can have more of it better health care in Lessig's and we're less exposed. Now to some of the most horrible horrible pollutants, the pollutants. When I was a kid when I was a kid, we had a lot of these pollutants - polio, for example, my mother, wouldn't let me go out and run around the block, because I was a spastic for one thing: I'd trip and skidding my knee, but she's afraid I'D get you know, lathered up and too hot and get a fever and catch polio. No, these were serious pollutants, diphtheria, try, Ford, malaria, polio, cholera and a host of others. Wealth has allowed us to eliminate those photochemical smog, not very good we'd like to get rid of it, but diphtheria, malaria, polio, cholera. These were serious pollutants, internal combustion engine and petroleum and chemicals haven't have increased the number of trees in America. I know a lot of people don't understand this, don't believe this when I tell them, but it's true, there's more trees in the not lower 48 states in America today than it was in 1850, and the reason is: we've got all these chemicals and we're better producing Fertilizer, better producing crops, food and we have a lot fewer, a lot fewer acres devoted to agriculture today than we did in the past and most of those acres haven't gone to. Disneyworld, haven't gone to strip malls, haven't gone to shopping, centers and houses. They'Ve just gone back to nature. We have more trees today, a good deal more trees today than we had in 1850. It was it estimate. We took 93 million acres of land in 1900 to grow the food just to keep the draft animals on the farms alive. That'S 93 million acres of land that we don't need now for agricultural production and also, if you kind of an animal rights lover like okay, I'm a bit of an animal rights lover. I love animals. You know that was good for animals, fewer, less animal cruelty. Today, we're wealthy enough, I don't know how many people know it, but April is in America. Is dental hygiene, pet dental hygiene month now we're flossing teeth for animals we used to just have them on the farms and beating the hell out of them to pull our here. So if you like animal rights, you'd like wealth, consider the situation in 1850s. How much time do I have two minutes? Oh in 1850s, many people couldn't afford a horse transportation, so they walked. Unfortunately, autumn had to walk behind horse had a situation where horse transportation was a major source of pollution. Infant mortality, filthy air pollution, relying on coal in the wealthy did that for heat, wealthy were able to buy factory, bought goods the poor weren't. What? If I ancestors, what if I ancestors had said this is horrible, let's stop growth today in 1850, so people don't get wealthier and buy more horses and in heat more with coal and buy more stuff with polluting factories. These things are bad for the environment. Well, I don't think you would have liked the results. No cell phones, no iPods nor indoor plumbing your choice would have been an outhouse. You would had a choice, one hole or a two hole or drinking water. Drinking water have been unsafe so, with the food high high rate of death from food poisoning back then child labor would have been common. You wouldn't have finished high school, much less been attending college. Smallpox would have scarred the face of the lucky ones out there. The unlucky ones would have died from smallpox. I could go on. The point is and I'll stop here because I'm not through, but I'm going to stop anyway, because this trapdoor looks threatening. If we tried to stop growth, we would have missed out on this amount of wonderful things, and one of those things would have been lower pollution, a cleaner environment, and if we try to stop growth today, the only way to do it is by reducing the freedom Of Americans to get rich, which, what's he going to do with freedom and mess up the market, which is our best hope for continuing the growth, the innovation that will eventually result in more environmental quality, not less. Thank you. Thank you, dr. blue, excellent. Just to remind everybody what our question is again as we listen to our next speaker. Is there a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection to offer a second opinion, we have dr. Brian check. Thank You, Susan, and thanks to FM you for hosting the debate. Thanks for everybody for coming this evening, and thank you dr. Lee for participating this question: is there a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection? I think needs to be debated in as many venues as possible and as soon as possible, because getting the answer right in this country is absolutely crucial to the long-term economic security of this country. And if we're going to get the answer right, we have to start out with making sure we know exactly what these terms mean. Economic growth is simply an increase in the production and consumption of goods and services. It entails increasing population times per-capita consumption and it's it's generally indicated by increasing gross domestic product or GDP. In a nutshell, economic growth is more stuff more activity and it always takes more energy, the environment. Well, that's the air. We breathe, it's the water we drink. It'S the soil that we grow our crops in it's our forests, it's our it's our grasslands and pastures and prairies, where we grieves our cattle. It'S our mountains. It'S glaciers, which many of our cities in the northwest need further of water supply. It'S our lakes and rivers that, of course, a lot of other places need for their water supply, lakes and rivers and aquifers. Wetlands and it's it's our oceans and and it's our it's the atmosphere as well. So the protection of these things, then that would be that would mean things like keeping the air that we breathe clean the water we drink, keeping that clean keeping soil period from erosion and ideally keeping it clean as well and maintaining the the functioning of these ecosystems That I gave a short list of the forests and the range lands and the wetlands keeping them functioning in the ways that they always have that have provided our economy with the essential services that are virtually irreplaceable or hard to replace at any with any level of Economies amiss you will, for example, we need to try to maintain what's left of our coastal wetlands in the Gulf and the Florida coast and the Atlantic coast to help buffer us from from these hurricanes. You know the the wetlands if we can retain them, we'll do a lot better job of that than any insurance company. Can we need to maintain things like the glacier at the head of the Cedar River watershed for Seattle gets its water from Seattle's gon na, be in a real, tough spot once that glacier melts and it is melting and it will be gone in X number of Years, I don't know the precise figure, but it's interesting that, for example, Glacier National Park named for its glaciers, while it won't have a glacier left by 2032. So that's that's. What environmental protection is it's, and it also means maintaining the stability of our climate, protecting us from the perils of global warming, some of which we don't know nearly enough about yet, but certainly including things like sea level rise and climate disruption, and environmental protection has always And everywhere also referred to wildlife, conservation or biodiversity conservation, if you prefer birds and mammals and fishes and amphibians and reptiles, invertebrates like bees and butterflies and and a myriad of plant species as well, and this, I think it's worth focusing a little bit on biodiversity, because This biodiversity is kind of like the canary in the coalmine of the environment. If we see biodiversity declining, that's a sure sign that that something is awry with the air, with the waters with the soils in these ecosystems that that comprise biodiversity, the forests and the rangelands and the wetlands. So, let's focus a little bit more on biodiversity and the way that that I will attempt to do this. If I can get this thing back on which wasn't supposed to be problematic, but, oh okay, don't you have to touch okay? I think we're set. Oh, and I think I'm going to engage this alternative microphone so that I can actually head up to where the slides are and maybe do a little better job, although since we had to bring it up with that alternative way, that means I need to try to Get it back into the old slideshow mode, so is this mic working? Does it seem like it's not, it says it's on, but I hey is anybody gon na have a hard time hearing me? No okay!


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