Friday, January 11, 2008

Not that sinister

We can all recall "do not litter" campaigns from our growing up years. Since approximately the time of the first Earth Day, these have morphed into campaigns for more recycling. I recently attended a lower school's "winter sing" (also the modern version of something else) and the young kids were singing (caroling?) about recycling! So, once again, it is the modern faith.

Too bad about all this because it obscures the economic point that markets prompt recycling and the kids could be learning a lot about the role of price signals in all this.

But better than a (possibly) dry econ lesson, there is the piece in this week's New Yorker, "American Scrap: An old-school industry globalizes". (Gated but here is the abstract.) Anyone with access to young minds should start with this and then fill in with stories about the behenid-the-scenes heavy lifting that's done by prices.

All of a sudden, globalization will not seem that sinister.