CNS Journal

Sunday, July 25, 2010

April is the cruelest month, T.S. Eliot told us. 2010 was a veritable wasteland of environmental disaster. April 20, 2010, a British Petroleum oil well exploded killing 11 workers and threatens environmental disaster on the US Gulf Coast. April 23, 2010, natural gas drillers will continue to threaten New York State and New York City drinking watersheds in their search for natural gas using the destructive technique of hydrofracking even under New York State's Department Of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) procedures. April 5, 2010, the West Virginia, Upper Big Branch coal mine exploded killing 29 workers. April 1, 2010, in a long overdue decision, the Obama Administration promulgated a still too low automobile fuel economy standard of 35.5 miles per gallon not to go into effect until 2016. April 2, 2010, NYSDEC ruled the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant violates the Clean Water Act because it kills fish, paying no attention to what the long-term storage of nuclear wastes will do to human beings.

Guidance to understanding the environmental wasteland is given to us in José A. Tapia Granados’ March 2010 CNS tour de force essay “Economists, Recessions, and Profits.” There we are led through an analysis of various theoretical understandings of what causes the business cycle. It is a full fledged review of the history of economic ideas in a 19 page essay. Granados concludes: Profits drive the business cycle. The business cycle is inherent in the capitalist system. The environment is bound to suffer under the pursuit of profit.

In April petroleum, natural gas, coal, the slow application of technology designed to protect the environment, and the continued use of nuclear energy all make his point.
What do you think? What other environmental disasters occurred during April 2010? Is José’s essay sufficient to explain the disaster you describe? What additional explanation might be needed?
Maarten de Kadt