Journal Article

IDS Bulletin 37.4

Copperplating One’s Navel

Published on 1 October 2006

The very rich, disturbed by noise and fumes from the badly maintained cars of poor people in their own country, have been campaigning with increasing success to preserve an environment that has little to do with rendering tolerable, for the workers who live there, such real black spots as Gary, Indiana, or the Gorbals in Glasgow.

This selective environmental concern has acquired a pseudo-liberal underpinning in the form of almost hysterical threats (usually totally lacking in careful scholarly support) that we shall run out of essential minerals, or pollute our air and water beyond redemption, unless (now that the rich have enough) we stop trying to increase available income.

Nobody has ever shown that such ecological disasters as the destruction of Lake Erie could have been prevented by slower growth; or that they have become more frequent during (let alone because of) affluence. Nobody with the slightest knowledge of the conditions under which working people lived in Britain between 1815 and 1850 could seriously contend that the environment enjoyed by most of the people, most of the time, is worse now than it was then. Indeed almost all the subsequent improvements are the result of increasingly carefully directed growth.

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IDS Bulletin 37.4

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Lipton, M. (2006) Copperplating One's Navel. IDS Bulletin 37(4): 12-13


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Lipton, Michael
IDS Bulletin, volume 37, issue 4


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