Looking Behind Us to See the Future
Dave Killion — March 17, 2012
Human beings have always had to struggle to acquire resources to fulfill our wants, and the creativity and ingenuity individuals have displayed in the face of this challenge have allowed us not only to survive, but to prosper. This gives me what I consider a rationally derived confidence that so long as we embrace free markets and property rights, humanity will continue to enjoy higher standards of living while restoring the environment to a less and less degraded state.
To get some idea of what that might look like, I direct you to the blog ‘Things You Wouldn’t Know If We Didn’t Blog Intermittently’ (TYWKIWDBI) and a review of the book ‘Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery‘ -
“When the Vikings arrived at the New World, Atlantic salmon weighed 25-50#, were 4-5 feet long, and swam in 3000 rivers.
The waters off Labrador and Newfoundland were called the “Sea of Whales” because they were so abundant. By the end of the seventeenth century, they had been slaughtered in such abundance that their bones were piled on the shorelines. “there must have been in our estimate the remains of more than two or three thousand whales. In one place we counted ninety skulls of prodigious size.”
Oysters in Chesapeake Bay were a foot in length. In the early 1600s the sturgeon were harvested: “in one day within the space of two miles only, some gentlemen in canoes caught above six hundred.” All the rivers of the east coast were thick with sturgeon – “in some rivers so numerous, that it is hazardous for canoes and the like small vessels to pass to and again…”
Humanity has, literally and figuratively, barely scratched the surface of the earth in terms of resource development. There is still untold wealth for us to create and share, and who knows? If libertarians win the battle of ideas, perhaps one day we will return to Eden.
Disclaimer: The articles and opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Libertarian Book Club.