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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Nailing bad ideas about self-sufficiency and trade

I have been reading and enjoying Matt Ridley’s recently published book, The Rational Optimist, which shoots down a number of doomsterish ideas with great aplomb. For instance, he zaps the idea that we somehow reduce our “carbon footprint” by not importing foodstuffs from overseas. The international division of labour, he argues, is good for the planet, not harmful to it. The book is crammed with data to back up such points.

Ridley also has a blog based on the book, and it is worth bookmarking, in my view. Whatever his shortcomings as the former head of failed UK lender Northern Rock, Ridley is a fine writer and debunker of fashionable nonsense. More power to him.

2 comments to Nailing bad ideas about self-sufficiency and trade

  • I loved the story about the guy who set out to build his own toaster from local materials in order to prove the evil of trade, and to my mind proved the exact opposite:

    ” To Thwaites this illustrated his helplessness as a consumer so divorced from self-sufficiency. It also illustrates the magic of specialisation and exchange: thousands of people, none of them motivated by the desire to do Thwaites a favour, have come together to make it possible for him to acquire a toaster for a trivial sum of money.”

  • blob

    I don’t like this. I don’t want to depend on the Borg. I want to live on Walden Planet. I don’t want to use spreadsheets and word processors written in Javascript that save my work into the cloud. I want my rep-rap, my aquaponics tilapia, my openfarmtech world construction toolkit, and my edible spirulina algae so I can live in a closed loop Todos Santos, which can eventually be lifted up whole into L-5.