Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So who recycles the jobless?

Today the Ministry for the Environment announced that some 86 jobs are to be scrapped – some of them as a result of scaling back the Ministry's recycling programme.

Prof Don Boudreaux (Economics - George Mason University) notes that…..

No moral issue turns on recycling per se. It might well be immoral to waste things, but contrary to popular misconception, failure to recycle is not wasteful. Real waste happens when someone recycles for the sake of recycling—that is, recycles without weighing its costs and benefits. If it is immoral to waste, then it is immoral to recycle when the benefits of doing so are less than the costs of doing so, because such recycling is wasteful.

His is one of numerous conclusions about this activity. How much morality is involved in employing people to work on “recycling” programmes which seek to promote the unprofitable – then scrap the jobs when a recession (inevitably) drives the costs of continuing to employ to levels so uncomfortable that the fetish for recycling can no longer be defended?? 

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