Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oops! I think I missed Earth Day...

Oops! I think I totally missed Earth Day this year. I for sure didn't acknowledge it here on the blog (I realized it when I stumbled on the below while searching for links for the last post). The good news is I---as I, and you, do on most days---was busy doing my part in preserving our planet, as I explained back in July of last year. Here's that entire essay:

I climbed out of bed at around 7 this morning (the office is closed today)---after checking futures from my smart phone two or three times from midnight on. Not that I wake up in the wee hours to check index futures mind you, it's just that, for some reason (it's not age damn it!), well, let's just say I must be drinking too much water---and I figure I may as well check the futures action while I'm at it.

Just read an article on global warming and got to thinking:

Last night my wife and I listened to our favorite music which is, by some marvel of technology, stored on my iPhone and piped all throughout the house --- I will never again buy a music CD or a machine that plays them. My overnight checking of futures involved a simple tapping on the screen of my phone --- I will never again fire up a computer just to see what's happening in the world. This morning I "wrote" a commentary on the bond market and distributed it to literally hundreds of people without using a dot of ink, a smear of graphite, a single piece of paper, an envelope or a postage stamp. I also performed a variety of functions related to client portfolios from the comfort of my home office. At one point my connection to our office system was off line, so I text (or texted?) our in-house tech guy Nick (on his day off), and he, from the comfort of his home, somehow logged on and had me up and running in minutes. My wife just walked in and, after I told her what I'm up to, said she remembers in the old days having to fire up the TV and wait for a weather report before deciding what to wear each day. Now she just goes to the weather app on her smart phone.

Trust me, I could ramble on all day with examples of how profit-seeking innovators are cleaning up the planet, but since Don Boudreaux does it so beautifully I'll simply link to his blog here (type "cleaned by capitalism" in the search bar).

The bottom line: I have had a very productive morning without touching a single energy-gulping machine that requires plugging in (save for the nifty coffee maker that so energy-efficiently makes one cup at a time, and the thirty minutes or so that I charged my smart phone [which will now go for hours without plugging back in]) or, therefore, consuming more than an immeasurably small quantity of natural resources or polluting the atmosphere. Not to mention that I was essentially at the office without having to get dressed up (in clothes that require dry cleaning), hop in my car and burn fossil fuel, tax the battery, or wear down its tires to get there.

As for the whole global warming phenomenon, I'm not sure what to think. Some "conservatives" would have us believe it's all a hoax. "Progressives" tell us we're on the verge of being torn to shreds by tornadoes and/or swept away by tidal waves. I've read accounts claiming that global temperatures have remained steady over the past 16 years and that air quality has actually improved over the past 40. I've also read where, over some Hawaiian mountain peak, heat trapping gasses have reached record proportions. Listen to a hardcore "environmentalist" and you'd think a recent heat wave in Alaska to be proof positive that hell is upon us. Since I don't own any of the instruments that would measure such things, and have an innate distrust for what I view as politically-inspired information, I don't give either camp much credence. What I do know to be indisputable, however, is that if Mother Earth, in sheer self-defense, is contemplating wiping herself clean of humanity, our best chance of turning the tide (so to speak) is to focus our attention on the business environment. Allow capitalists to breathe freely, as unrestrained as possible by self-serving politicians (who would pretend to protect the citizen through regulations, subsidies, etc., while in reality picking "winners" [think Solyndra and Tesla] and stifling their competition), and we'll continue to gain efficiencies while, albeit unwittingly, cleansing our atmosphere in the process. Should we, however, go the other direction (if we're not there already) and stifle industry innovation, we'll indeed have hell to pay.

"Kids today simply can't appreciate how technology has improved our lives" says my wife. I add, "and 'environmentalists', for whatever bizarre reasons, simply can't appreciate how capitalism is far and away the cleanest energy on earth."

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