Saturday, November 17, 2012

Matt Ridley: Optimist or Fool?

I have been spending some time in doctor's offices lately which means I am reading a variety of magazines I don't usually see.  One such magazine was the Readers Digest (April 2012) which contained an article by Matt Ridley, a visitor from an alternate universe.
In this article Mr. Ridley posited a number of statements that prove his assertion that life on this planet has never been so good and it's only going to get better.
 One particular paragraph caught my attention and I record it here:

"By 9a.m., I have shaved with an American razor,  eaten bread made with French wheat and spread with New Zealand butter and Spanish marmalade,  brewed tea from Sri Lanka,  dressed in clothes made from Indian cotton and Australian wool,  put on shoes of Chinese leather and Maylasian rubber, and read a newspaper printed on Finnish paper with Chinese ink.  I have consumed miniscule fractions of the productive labor of hundreds of people.  This is the magic of trade and specialization.  Self-sufficiency is poverty."
"Self-sufficiency is poverty."   Autonomy, I suppose, is a psychosis.

Mr. Ridley is the ultimate consumer;  a globalist as well.  So thoroughly self-absorbed  in his well-being that his writings fly over troubling anomalies such as persistent famine and war.
He is unaware that the 'productive labor' of people around the world includes the killing in the diamond mines of Africa,  the slave labor in parts of Asia,  the suicide nets installed on the exterior walls  of Foxconn's factories to catch those who throw themselves out the window preferring death to a life of 'productive labor.'
Productive for whom, Mr. Ridley?  Productive for what?
Mr. Ridley lives a life of material comfort and ease.  He also lives a life of complete dependency.
Why he is a favorite of many conservatives escapes me.

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