Crawford: “Natural Resources” Are Anything But

Writes Jason Crawford on One man’s junk in his insightful Roots of Progress blog:

“Natural resources” are anything but.

I have said this before in the sense that everything we get from nature comes in an inconvenient form: metals must be extracted from their ores; grain must be milled or threshed and the wheat separated from its chaff; crude oil must be refined into its constituent weights.

But the more philosophical point is that all resources are the product of the human mind. A “natural” resource is only a resource at all in the context of a particular technology. It is only a resource to someone who can look at it and understand its use and value. And it is only a resource to someone who has the technology and the capital to extract it from its environment and put it to that use.

You can see this in the stories of the early development of industries.

Crawford then goes on to list and elaborate on resources that were once waste products: natural gas, portland cement and cast iron.

The Extraordinary Grassroots Revolution of Low-Cost Private Schools

Without numbers, a great many myths about education and educational provision would go unchallenged. Before James Toohey started his work (with colleagues) on low-cost private schools, the accepted wisdom was that only government education could provide for the poor in developing countries. In this talk James explores these myths and shares his findings. He has been described in the pages of Philanthropy magazine as “a 21st century Indiana Jones” travelling to “the remotest regions on Earth researching something that many regard as mythical: private, parent-funded schools serving the Third World poor.

Victor Davis Hanson on “The Case For Trump” Over Clinton

From the video description:

“How did blue-collar voters connect with a millionaire from Queens in the 2016 election? Martin and Illie Anderson Senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson addresses that question and more in his newly released book, The Case for Trump. He sits down with Peter Robinson to chat about his motivation to write a book making a rational case for those voters who chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. Hanson and Robinson, the Murdoch Distinguished Policy Fellow, discuss how voters connected with Trump’s “personal authenticity” during the campaign and how the media has a “historical amnesia” of the bad behavior of past presidents when talking about President Trump. The president, Hanson argues, was always an outsider from elite society in Manhattan, which helped him to better to connect with voters who felt like outsiders. He analyzes President Trump’s platform agenda, which was composed 80% of traditionally conservative views with the remaining 20% being radical ideas that fit with many of the views of the midwestern states. He breaks down why, in the end, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich didn’t appeal to voters in the way that Trump managed to. Hanson turns to talk about his background and life growing up in California’s Central Valley and how different the area feels now compared to when he was younger….”

Hanson argues that the political “outsider” Trump is not merely the lessor of two evils, but putting aside his anti-intellectuality, pettyiness and crudeness, in some policy areas he is good. For a contrasting view see Onkar Ghate: Why Ayn Rand Would Have Despised a President Trump. The era of the Trump Presidency is an interesting test for America’s constitutional republic and rule of law.

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