2 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. Lots of great examples for this too. Big ones that shift whole markets, not little demonstration stuff. Things like

    – Better design and manufacturing techniques uses lots less steel per car.
    – Aluminium has long been used as a substitute for copper (one of the few things we do really have a shortage of) especially in HV applications where the low currents mean resistivity is less important.
    – Plastic packaging rather than cardboard. Yes really. Much lower transportation costs, smaller landfill footprint, etc.

  2. (Tried to post this on the ASI site without success. Will try again).

    “families need children to provide for themselves later in life”

    Heard this many times, and “they’re needed to help cultivate the fields” – even if they haven’t got any fields, even if they live in the east end of London. And do you need 6 kids to look after one or two old people?
    The grossly simplistic arguments used by both socialists and libertarians (and, boy, aren’t both these groups so similar in many ways) ignore the fact that women conceive children for all manner of irrational reasons, and for no reason at all. Having lots of children is, in many societies, a sign of prestige, and/or an indication of a man’s masculinity. All over the world, and in parts of Africa in particular, children are concieved accidentally, or as a result of promiscuity. In Africa I have heard people say, “In my tribe/society when a woman marries, she has to go to live with her in-laws, so you have to have at least a boy and a girl to make sure you are cared for”, even if you’ve already got more of one gender than you can afford to raise. A bloke in a festering slum in Nairobi, who has six children – his wife, questioned privately, would only want two or three – says “some always turn out bad, thieves, or whatever, so you have to have quite a few to make sure you have a couple of good ones”. And so on, and so on. And one should never forget that Surah 2:223 of the blessed Quran says to blokes (naturally) “your wife is your tilth – go and cultivate her whenever you feel like it”. Know what I mean? Egypt, already with massive unemployment, and most people distinctly not prosperous, adds 1 million to its population every 9 months. Does that facilitate prosperity?
    And there are many other arguments. Like many people in our western culture, not libertarians though, space and access to the natural world are integral components of the good life. You pay estate agents more for space, for views from your window, large gardens – because we value them. Three quarters of the population of Finland has a holiday home by a lake with a sauna. The living room of their holiday home is probably the size of your average Bangladeshi’s living quarters. And I don’t think you’ll find many Bangladeshis with a second home in the country.
    Is it not enough to point out to people in the third world that fewer children consume fewer of a family’s resources? Is it not obvious?

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