Witch hunting, South Sea, Mississippi, tulips, dodgy mortgages, recycling

Human society is subject to fads and fashions. We’re most familiar with those in financial markets, where speculations give way to manias as with the South Sea Bubble, John Law’s Mississippi scheme, tulips, possibly dotcom and subprime mortgages. But it’s us humans subject to the fads, the manias, not financial markets. As witch trials and now recycling show us.

Monthly bin collections have been introduced for the first time in England and Wales, causing fury amongst residents who say they are having to burn their rubbish.

The controversial scheme was launched in the county of Conwy, North Wales, following a year-long trial for its 11,000 households.

Almost the first duty of local governance, the reason for it being instituited in the first place, is to rid the city of piles of foetid, stinking, waste. That local government now insists upon creating piles of foetid, stinking, waste in urban areas would seem to be an error in our system of governance.

The reason given is that we must recycle more and that’s where the error is:

At least 18 councils across England and Wales have moved to three-weekly rubbish collections, with a handful trialling four-weekly collections as they come under increasing pressure to reduce waste and increase recycling rates.

Some recycling is an excellent idea. Collecting up all that scrap gold makes money, we’re adding value by doing it. Other examples present themselves. But this is not then to agree that the mania, that all must be recycled, makes sense. For recycling everything doesn’t but that is the delusion under which modern society is being driven to act.

We’re even told that we must recycle plastics. Something that costs us money - subtracts value, makes us poorer - and the basic justification doesn’t even exist. For we’re told that we must “save resources” and it costing more is evidence complete that we’re expending more resources. But without that, what resource are we to save? Plastics are made from natural gas (not so much oil these days) and these very same environmentalists will tell us that we’ve already found enough fossil fuels, that we cannot use those we’ve got. There’s no resource here for us to save, is there?

True, we don’t want to choke the whales but that means that plastics are a waste management issue, not a resource and recycling one.

The idea that everything must be, or even ought to be, recycled is a mania as extreme as any of those financial market ones. One we’ll wake up from at some point but it might end up being more expensive than any of those tulip and trade ones. For what is going to be the cost if public health breaks down because local government insists upon the creation of foetid, stinking, wastes in urban areas? Doing so in opposition to the very reason we have local government in the first place.