by Robert Singer
February 16, 2009
Robert Singer is a retired
information technology professional and an environmental activist
living in southern California. In 1995 he and his cousin Adam D.
Singer founded IPC The Hospitalist Company, Inc., where he served as
chief technology officer.
Today the company manages more
than 130 practice groups, providing care in some 300 medical
facilities in 18 states.
Prior to that he was president
of Useful Software, a developer and publisher of business and
consumer software for the personal computing industry.
In September of 2008 he wrote his first commentary for OpEdNews
about our consumer society. Since then over 20 articles have been
published on Opednews, Marketoracle, Silverseek and many other
They cover social, economic and
environmental issues facing Americans and the rest of the world in
the 21st century.
Many of the articles are also available on his authors page at
August 21, theatres around the nation screened
a live discussion with America's most notable financial leaders and policy
William Niskanen, chairman of the Cato
Pete Peterson, senior chairman of The
former U.S. Comptroller General, Dave
August 25, Mr. William Niskanen, CEO
of the Cato Institute, confirmed his remarks on the I.O.U.S.A.
post-broadcast panel discussion.
Dear Mr. Singer,
I do not have a tape of my remarks last Thursday evening.
As I remember, however, I expressed being
puzzled why the central banks of China, Japan, and South Korea have
continued to invest so much in U.S. Treasury securities. For these
central banks have earned a negative real return on these securities,
for which the interest rate has been lower than the depreciation of the
I would value your judgment about this puzzle...
William A. Niskanen
China is a "Hot Topic" at the nationally and
internationally recognized Center for Trade Policy at Mr. Niskanen's Cato
Institute, but the research staff has been unable to find a political,
diplomatic, military or economic solution to the China puzzle, because there
China's economic policy is an enigma that would baffle Ludwig von Mises
and Karl Marx.
The answer to the Chinese enigma: China is
now the Air Pollution champion of the world.
No country in history has emerged as a major industrial power without
creating a legacy of environmental damage. But just as the speed and scale
of China's rise as an economic power have no clear parallel in history, its
pollution problem has shattered all records as well.
China's environmental degradation is so severe it has become the world's
problem. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides spewed by China's coal-fired
power plants fall as acid rain on Seoul, South Korea, Tokyo and according to
the Journal of Geophysical Research, much of the particulate pollution over
Los Angeles originates in China.
Chinese officials, before and after the Tiananmen Square massacre, pretend
to pursue economic development and industrialization for the benefit of
their population, but in spite of the glitter of China's big cities and the
rise of its billionaire class, the vast majority of the Chinese people are
repressed, working in slave labor camps and living in poverty.
The path China took to industrialization was unusual.
John Watson, Professor
at Reno-based Desert Research Institute, notes:
"They're making a lot of the same mistakes
we made in our air pollution history. You can just see the parallels:
they're building more highways and encouraging more sprawl."
Mistakes? Consider the
Communists First Five-Year Plan
When Communism became the ideology of the people in 1949, they fought
pollution during the successful First Five-Year Plan from 1953-57 and were
moving towards 100% recycling until 1958 when the Great Leap Forward became
the Great Leap Famine and between 16.5 million and 40 million people died
before the experiment came to an end in 1961.
During the Five-Year Plan, Chinese articles and journals extolled the
benefits of recycling.
"When a case of pollution arose, there was
scientific and collective action to undo the damage. The most harmful
industrial wastewater is that which contains phenol. If this kind of
poisonous industrial water is drained into a body of water (such as a
river, lake, or sea) before treatment, it will pollute the water, kill
the fish, and endanger the health of the people. And if such poisonous
waste water is drained into the farmland, it will badly affect the
normal growth of the crops."
The "Mistakes" explanation requires you believe
no one in China read or studied the industrialization of the Western
"Cost-benefit analyses in the U.S. show that
emission reduction programs have provided much greater benefits than
their costs, by a ratio of up to 40 to 1. Air pollution damage not only
impacts the ecosystem but imposes major economic costs as well as, from
premature mortality, increased health care and lost productivity and,
more importantly, decreased crop yields."
Air Pollution thick as
A World Bank study found China is home to 16 of the world's 20 worst cities
for air quality. Three-quarters of the water flowing through urban areas is
unsuitable for drinking or fishing.
Pea-soup air in Beijing is caused in part by a sudden switch from bicycles
to automobiles as a means of transportation. With nearly 156 million motor
vehicles, bicycles are no longer welcome in cities that are being rebuilt to
China's bike lanes have been sacrificed in the name of road and highway
In the Fujian province, Chinese city and regional officials
went so far as to ban electric bicycles because they were worried,
"the lead-acid batteries are an
environmental risk, and that the use of electric bikes undercuts the use
of public transit."
Both arguments apply far better to automobiles,
but automobiles are encouraged and riding a bicycle without a license can
get you arrested.
Following Western Pollution's Footsteps The U.S. also sacrificed mass
transit in the 1930's when the National City Lines (NCL) converted the
nation into an automobile-dependent society by dismantling most streetcar
systems throughout the United States.
John D. Rockefeller, the #1 wealthiest
man in all recorded history, was a founding member of the NCL holding
company and our "Federal"
Under the ruse of Christian temperance, he gave $4
million to a group of old ladies, and the temperance movement was no longer
about drinking alcohol but about the knob on the dashboard of the Model T.
The knob allowed the driver to adjust the fuel-air mixture for either
alcohol (ethanol) or gas.
Henry Ford said that alcohol was,
"a cleaner, nicer, better fuel for
automobiles than gasoline."
Ironically, no one followed Henry's advice until
George W. Bush subsidized Archer
Daniels Midland to burn up, according to the distinguished McKnight
University Professor C. Ford Runge, enough calories to feed one
person for a year every time we fill up the 25-gallon tank in our SUV.
The Federal Reserve and John D. were behind our automobile-dependent
consumer society and the outlawing of the production and sale of alcohol.
John D. was a notorious "robber baron", so we naturally assume his
motivation was greed and profit.
But Rockefeller, known as a brilliant businessman and visionary, already
owned or controlled most of the world at the end of the 19th century and as
a member of the Federal Reserve he understood no one gets wealthier printing
their own Monopoly money.
Therefore, if profits were the motive of the world's richest man - John D.
would have bought up all of the farmland in the United States or for that
matter all of the farmland in the world, so he could really control the knob
on the Model T.
Then Henry Kissinger's quote would have been:
"Control ethanol - you control nations and
Rockefeller and the Federal Reserve were
critical to our fossil-fueled industrial and consumer society, but that also
made them responsible for much of the environmental damage done to the
China's leaders and their Central Bank were critical to the unprecedented
growth of the Chinese economy that benefited the West, but replacing
bicycles with automobiles is responsible for much of the environmental
damage done to the East, West, North and South.
The vast trade surplus of $1.4 trillion and counting, a result of official
Chinese government intervention to depress
the Renminbi (RMB), is that every
person in the (rich) U.S. has borrowed about $4,000 from someone in the
(poor) People's Republic of China so the Chinese economy can produce the
most environmental damage in our history.
All too often we see the result of failed public policies, government
actions and inactions, and conclude the leadership is inept, arrogant or
Our last president Bush
wasn't "stupid" if his goal was Ecocide
At the G8 summit, George W. Bush said,
"Goodbye, from the (then) world's biggest
He proposed drilling in the Arctic National
Wildlife Reserve, which would trash America's last arctic wilderness.
Sonar testing is about torturing whales and
dolphins, and the border fence that keeps everything out but the illegals is
disrupting an extraordinary source of biological diversity along a
2,000-mile-long region that includes deserts, mangrove forests, plains,
mountains, river valleys and wetlands.
Chinese officials are
worried about their people eating... meat
On November 11, 2008, NPR aired the story:
"Chinese Government Fights Recession," where
Beijing's correspondent Anthony Kuhn reports: "there is a lot of worry
in the government that ordinary Chinese were not going to be able to
afford to eat meat."
In 1980, when China's population was still under
one billion, the average Chinese ate 20kg (44lbs) of meat. Last year (2007),
with an additional 300 million people, it was 54kg.
Promoting meat in the world's highest populous country and diverting grain
to fatten animals will be,
"the end of self-sufficiency for China,"
says James Rice, Chief of China Operations for Tyson Foods. "This year
will be the last in which China produces enough corn for itself, and the
last that it is self-sufficient in protein."
The editors of World Watch state that,
"the human appetite for animal flesh is a
driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental
damage now threatening the human future-deforestation, erosion, fresh
water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity
loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the
spread of disease."
Lee Hall, the legal director for
Friends of Animals, is more succinct:
"Behind virtually every great environmental
complaint there's milk and meat."
Automobiles, milk and meat are the answer to the
China is on the bridge to ecocide.