By Colton Pickard
The American left is pushing to eliminate capitalism and implement socialism in America to save the environment. The U.S. is working to keep the environment clean through capitalism because it is unachievable with socialism. The Center of the American Experiment explains that through capitalism, a countries’ relationship with the environment can only increase once it has reached a certain level of industrialization.1 This is explained through the Kuznets Curve. Thanks to decades of overall economic growth, America is moving beyond the point where it has been harmful to the environment due to industrialization and is now moving into offering an environmentally-friendly form of industrialization to continue economic growth.
The U.S. is one of the leading countries to protect the environment and keep the air clean. The United States is one of a handful of countries with less than 10% ambient air pollution at 8%.2 The U.S. is ahead of China, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, to name a few. With the freedoms that the free market in America has, it seems that the free market is doing more to address the climate than any government.
Thanks to free-market innovation, there's a competition between companies, which gives each company an incentive to create the best technology for its customers. A government-run market means that there's no incentive to create something new and better for the environment because there's no worry about competition beating you out. It also means that citizens in those countries are forced to use the same equipment and technology for decades, which is usually not great for the environment.
In socialist Cuba, new cars haven't been imported into the country since 1959. When a government kills the private market and its incentive to build the best technology, even when it comes to cars, you're stuck driving the same cars for 50 years that are horrible for the environment.
Tesla is a perfect example of capitalist innovation in the United States. Tesla is building innovative and environmentally-friendly vehicles. There are plenty of companies that now have electric cars to choose from, even if you can't afford a Tesla. Patagonia is another excellent example. They pledge 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. 3
Venezuela struggles with water quality, 4 North Korea is suffering from deforestation thanks to food shortages and natural disasters, 5 and has 51% ambient air pollution, compared to America's 8%. You could also throw in the Soviet Union pollution issues due to paper mills being constructed on different shores. The pollution issues that arose in Lake Baikal and the shrinking of the Aral Sea are seen as one of the worst environmental tragedies in history. 6 Socialist countries are the furthest thing from being environmentally friendly, and their dictators couldn't care less about protecting the environment.
Colton Pickard is a Journalism major with a focus in sports and politics at Middle Tennessee State University. Colton is involved with multiple political organizations on campus and is fighting for freedom and educating his peers on the real dangers of socialism.