I’ll take Two bags please.

The other day I was in line at a store when I overheard the gentleman ahead of me vehemently insist that he didn’t want to take a second bag “…to Save the Earth!” He said that was such earnest sincerity that I’m sure he believed it. And I’m sure that when I chuckled at him, that I hurt his delicate feelings. But if anybody believes that by not taking the extra plastic bag they can “Save the Earth” they are delusional. This delusion has fed an unknown number of local ordinances which have criminalized plastic bags, straws, and now printed receipts.

This is bunk.

In fact not using plastic bags is more of a danger to our environment then using plastic bags. As with many of the challenges that face us, there is a misunderstanding of Economics at its core. Teaching Economics is one way the Worcester Tea Party can help out.

You may have noticed that there is not lot of garbage strewn around in America. Here in America we are wealthy nation. We have resources to devote to keeping our neighborhoods and environment neat and tidy. Sadly some of our neighbors on the globe are still struggling with poverty. They don’t have resources to be able to afford the necessities of life. They don’t have the millions of dollars required for proper trash and sewage removal, or even clean water. There have been many well intentioned attempts to give our needy neighbors the infrastructure and systems that some people believe they need. Most have failed to create lasting improvement in their quality of life. There must be a way to help these people use their talents and resources so that they can get wealthier.

The answer to this challenge is global trade, Walmart has done more to end poverty than all of the UN charities that aren’t good at anything except creating massive reports that no one reads and end up in landfills. Walmart, Amazon, and eBay and others have created a way for people across the globe to be able to trade what they’re good with other people. Global trade is a rising tide that can raise all boats. The number of people living in crushing poverty has been decreasing for decades and is the most under appreciate fact of the modern age.

If you were to buy a box of single-use shopping bags you would notice that it says “Made in Vietnam”. Today Vietnam is struggling to move from the agrarian economy to a more industrialized economy which will provide opportunity for its people. One of the products that they are able to produce profitably is single-use disposable shopping bags. What this does is brings wealth to the nation of Vietnam. As that wealth increases they will be able to afford to clean up their environment and to make improvements in their sanitation and their disposal of waste. They will no longer be one of the nation’s that is dumping trash in the ocean.

But if they are forced shut down those plastic bag factories, we keep their impoverished until they can find something else to replace that industry. All that would do is set back the ecological agenda. Understanding global trade and The Wealth of Nations obviously it’s not the strong suit of the Chicken Little environmentalists that are banning plastic straws shopping bags. They don’t take into account that capitalism will provide the answer to the ecological changes the world faces. They believe that Socialism is required to protect “the Environment.” This ignores the fact that many of the worst polluters are Socialist nations. It seems as if these people have a solution (Socialism) and have found the problem it is supposed to solve (Human caused Climate Change).

It may seem silly that there are people that strive for power so passionately that get emotional satisfaction from banning single use plastic shopping bags. It isn’t. It is disgusting, and even scary that some people are so deluded that they can vest so much importance in so trivial an action, which is so counterproductive to their goals.

Matt O’Brien
President Worcester Tea Party