Thursday, September 13, 2012

The drawbacks of central planning

"One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century."
--"Our One-Party Democracy", by Thomas Friedman. Op-ed, New York Times, September 9, 2008.

Some of the 'drawbacks':

A 2002 comparison of the Aral sea from it's natural size, to it's then-present size

The Aral Sea, 2009--forty years after Moscow-planed water diversion programs began to kill a native fishing industry employing 40k workers (and producing 1/6 of the entire Soviet fish catch) in order to divert the water through inefficient canals to grow cotton on the cheap. Uzbekistan did become one of the world's largest cotton exporters, but its low-efficiency canals and poor planing mean that the industry requires far more water than is necessary to grow cotton under normal conditions--or would be possible in a private system--and the salt-flat lying where the Aral Sea used to be still gets the runoff from the pollutants and pesticides used in this massively inefficient centrally-planned industrial-farming venture (the problem may be complicated by the fact that the bioweapons facility and dump on Vozrozhdeniya island ceased to naturally quarantine its contaminants when the island joined the mainland in 2001).  The resulting climate produces hotter summers, colder winters, toxic dust storms which have caused cancer rates to skyrocket and led to a child mortality rate of 75 per 1,000 newborns and a maternity mortality rate of 12 per 1,000 women.
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