Grassroot Perspective – Jan. 13, 2003-Sustainable Development; 911 and Private Market Alarm Response Providers; A Foreign-Policy Primer for Children: The Fable of the Hornets

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”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Sustainable Development

*1. A careful review of world economic data finds that resources are becoming more — not less — abundant with time and that the world is in fact currently on a quite sustainable path.

*2. For example, proven oil reserves are 15 times larger than in 1948 and about 40 percent larger than in 1974.

*3. Food production has outpaced population increase to the extent that the world fed twice as many people in 1999 as in 1961 with only 9 percent more land under cultivation.

*4. Wild fisheries are being relieved by fish farms, which now account for 25 percent of the total catch. The fundamental premise of the idea of sustainability, or sustainable development, is that economic growth, if left unconstrained and unmanaged by the state, threatens unnecessary harm to the environment. But the concept of sustainability is dubious: Sustainable development is essentially concerned with limiting economic growth; but if economic growth were slowed or stopped it would impossible to improve environmental conditions around the world.

*5. The bias toward central planning behind the idea of sustainable development will serve only to make environmental protection more expensive; hence society would be able to “purchase” less of it.

Finally, defined strictly, sustainable development would require
restricting consumption to prevent natural resource exhaustion — in
effect reducing the welfare of future generations. The current western system of free markets, property rights, and the rule of law is in fact the best hope for environmentally sustainable development.

Source: Jerry Taylor, “Sustainable Development: A Dubious Solution in
Search of a Problem,” Policy Analysis Study No. 449 Cato Institute

For text For more on environment see

– 911 and Private Market Alarm Response Providers

*1. A new study suggests the burden on the nation’s 911 systems would be lessened significantly if there were a decrease in the number of incoming non-emergency calls and false fire and burglar alarms. Researchers recommend establishing a market of private alarm response providers.

*2. They argue that consumption of the alarm response providers would be restricted to those who pay, and service providers would adjust their pricing to adequately cover the service. Salt Lake City implemented such a policy in December of 2000: In the preceding year, Salt Lake police responded to 8,213 false alarms, at a direct cost of $492,780 and an average response time of 40 minutes — though occasionally it took as long as 2.5 hours. Furthermore, only 12 percent of the city’s residences and businesses had alarm systems; hence, 88 percent of the population subsidized a private service to a small, well-defined group of people.

*3. Those costs dissipated significantly following the December 2000 ordinance because police were no longer the primary responders to burglar alarms. Instead, seven security companies began offering initial response services for fees ranging from $15 to $35 an incident — rates that were substantially less than the $60 average cost to the police. Security companies’ response times ranged from six to 15 minutes, with most responses under 10 minutes.

*4. The Salt Lake City results could be replicated elsewhere, researchers say. If other areas were to adopt similar policies, many private security firms would enter the market to provide services. Also, a private market for initial alarm response reduces the number of false activations, reduces taxpayer costs, and allows police to concentrate on the apprehension of criminals.

Source: Erwin A. Blackstone, Simon Hakim and Uriel Spiegel, “Not Calling the Police (First),” Regulation, The Cato Review of Business and Government, Spring 2002, Vol. 25, No. 1.
See 9/3/02 Daily Digest

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

– A Foreign-Policy Primer for Children: The Fable of the Hornets
by Jacob G. Hornberger, December 2001

Once upon a time in a faraway land there was a happy and prosperous village filled with industrious and fun-loving people. To protect the villagers from occasional thieves and marauders, the village council had hired a policeman named Oscar.

One day Oscar got bored and took a long walk into the woods, where he discovered some of the biggest hornets’ nests he had ever seen. The next day and every day thereafter, Oscar returned to the nests and took to poking at them with a big stick. That angered the hornets and caused them to attack Oscar, but their stingers could not penetrate the brand new suit of armor that he was now wearing.

A few days later, however, a terrible thing happened. Several hornets flew into the village and stung some of the villagers, who were understandably outraged. The village council immediately called an emergency meeting. “The hornets have attacked us,” one man cried. “We must destroy them all!” After several hours of discussion, everyone agreed that the village had no choice but to wage war on the hornets.

At that point, however, a young boy arose and said, “Maybe if Oscar
stops poking the hornets’ nests, the hornets will no longer attack the

A gasp and a hush immediately swept across the room. Suddenly, one man screamed, “The boy is supporting the hornets!” Another yelled, “He’s saying that they were justified in attacking the village.” A woman weighed in: “He’s suggesting that we got what we deserved!” “Unpatriotic!” “Treason!”

The boy slunk down into his seat and did not say another word, and the villagers turned their attention back to the upcoming war on hornets.

The next day, Oscar and several big deputies, all fully suited in brand
new suits of armor, headed into the woods. With several big sticks, they began hitting and beating the big hornets’ nests. The hornets were furious, and immediately attacked Oscar and his men, but to no avail because their stingers could not penetrate the brand new suits of armor. After several hours, all the hornets’ nests had come crashing down.

When the news reached the village, everyone roared his approval and began celebrating. All of a sudden, however, hundreds of hornets swarmed around the villagers and went on the attack. Later, when Oscar returned to the woods, he noticed something foreboding — dozens of new, smaller hornets’ nests were now under construction throughout the woods.

Under siege, the village council enacted the Anti-Hornet Patriot Act,
which established the new Anti-Hornet Security Police, whose job it was to peer into everyone’s windows day and night for the purpose of searching for hornets. When one villager expressed misgivings, the
village council responded, “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you
shouldn’t care.”

One year later, the village council called a meeting to give a report on
the war on the hornets. Everyone wore a suit of armor, which had become normal attire. The council advised the villagers that the war was not going well: that it seems that each dead hornet had been replaced by five new ones, which continued attacking the village.

At that point, the young boy again arose and said, “Maybe if Oscar stops poking the hornets’ nests, the hornets will no longer attack the
village.” A gasp and a hush again swept across the room. But this time, one man said, “Maybe the boy’s got a point!” Another joined in: “Yes, what do we have to lose?”

Oscar exclaimed, “If we stop poking the hornets’ nests, hornets
everywhere will think we’re weak. Anyway, they hate us so much by now that they’ll attack the village anyway. We’ve got to continue waging the war on the hornets until we kill them all.”

But under pressure from the villagers, the village council voted to end the war on the hornets and ordered Oscar to stop poking their nests and to limit himself to protecting the village from thieves and marauders.

After a time, a remarkable thing happened: the hornets stopped attacking the village, and they never again returned. And so it was that the village in that faraway land once again became happy and prosperous, filled with industrious and fun-loving people who lived happily ever after.

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom
Foundation in Fairfax, Va.

Articles from

”Evergreen (Today’s Quote)”

*I like to do my principal research in bars, where people are more likely to tell the truth or, at least, lie less convincingly than they do in briefings and books. – P.J. O’Rourke

*The most guileful reporters are those who appear friendly and smile and seem to be supportive. They are the ones who will seek to gut you on every occasion. – Ed Koch

*Journalist: a person without any ideas but with an ability to express them; a writer whose skill is improved by a deadline: the more time he has the worse he writes. – Karl Kraus

*Do not forget: Inflation is a creature of politics, and politicians never lose their lust to spend money. Yours. You know the old folk etymology of “politics” (Greek Scholars, please don’t write in with corrections) — that the word comes from “poli,” meaning many, and “tics,” meaning small blood-sucking creatures. The blood is money, printed by central bank chairmen. – Kenneth L. Fisher

Above quoted from Forbes 12/9/02

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