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Note to self: learn to write as clearly as this

As usual, Megan McArdle does an excellent job breaking down an issue into straightforward logic. In explaining why Kyoto isn't a good idea, she responds to the suggestion that we consume too much:

Which goes to show that deciding which things we need and which ones are superfluous sounds great – when you’re doing the planning. But they’re not going to just poll Thomas – they’re going to ask the other 270 million people in the country too. And you’d be surprised at how much of the stuff you like the majority might consider superfluous. The internet, for example. Or they might decide that you don’t need the option of not working for 3 years if you lose your job. They might decide that it’s not in society’s best interest to have you taken out of the labor force, what with the looming demographic crisis and all, and seize your “excess” savings. Or they might decide that being single (I’m presuming, from your posts), you’d be more energy efficient in a barracks with other single men, leaving apartments for families who “need” it more. Start imagining all the things that neighbors who don’t particularly like you might find superfluous in your lifestyle, and you begin to see what a world of trouble you might be letting yourself in for by trying to decide what we need and what we don’t.
As always, I say: read the whole thing.


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