Defend the economy

Defend the economy A slate of recent letters suggests or outright states that environmental issues are more important than economic ones. Although I agree the environment is to be respected and treated as kindly as possible, I would argue that a strong e

A slate of recent letters suggests or outright states that environmental issues are more important than economic ones. Although I agree the environment is to be respected and treated as kindly as possible, I would argue that a strong economy is at least as important as a healthy environment, and that we need to find a proper balance between the two.

There have also been lots of comments to the effect of “We have to learn to live with less.” The suggestion is that we need to reduce the strain on our planet’s resources, and to cut back on the size of the economy, particularly the resource extraction industry. The ultimate aim is to decrease the global population.

However, I strongly disagree that the economy on a global scale should be reduced. Why? We now have seven billion human beings on the planet, mostly in the developing world. This is likely to rise to at least nine billion in the next few decades, a figure that likely is indeed unsustainable in the long run.

There are only a few ways to reduce this figure. Historically, the human population was most effectively controlled by:

* War. Most wars originate when there aren’t enough resources to go around.

* Famine. Obviously the result of a very poor economy.

* Disease. Epidemics break out in overcrowded conditions in areas of inadequate health care. Until recently in human history, this meant everywhere, and is still the case in the world’s poorest nations.

A more recent and somewhat less unpalatable solution is global socialism, where the wealthy countries give abundantly to the poor nations in an effort to equalize income levels. But when you get right down to it, this is a Band-Aid solution, unsustainable in the amount of spending required, despite much of the current rhetoric. Given the debt levels of most of the developed world, it’s unlikely to happen anyway.

That leaves strengthening of the world’s economy (essentially globalization), in order to create the wealth required to provide proper education, sanitary infrastructure and other public services, particularly in the developing world. And that takes money, lots of it. It’s only when education levels are raised to a decent standard that population control can take hold, through the knowledge of effective birth control, empowerment of women, and elimination of harmful superstitions.

Wealth can be most effectively created through primary industries, consisting of agriculture, fishing, forestry, oil and gas extraction and, yes, mining. Everything else is either a secondary industry, which increases the value added of primary industries through manufacturing, or a tertiary industry, such as the retail, service and tourism sectors. They all essentially rely on primary industries at the start of the economic chain.

Public services, and government in general, rely on the private-sector tax base, and are not contributors to the economy of a nation, although they certainly can be locally. The best that government can do is manage its tax-derived funds effectively and encourage investment.

So, although care of the environment is crucial, it needs to be equally balanced by a strong economy if the human race is ultimately to survive without encountering an apocalyptic event.

That’s what didn’t happen during the Peel planning process, where economic considerations were placed last in importance, behind environmental and socio-economic ones. The economy may not need to be the dominant issue, but it can’t be given lesser weight than the other main factors affecting any land-use planning process.

Carl Schulze


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Most Read