By Every Measure, Socialist Countries Pollute the Environment More than Free-Market Economies


It is an article of faith among trusters of government that free-market capitalism is hard on “the environment.” Yet by every measure–total pollution per-acre of land, pollution per-capita, pollution per unit of GDP, etc., socialist societies produce more pollution and greater destruction of the environment. The great economist Julian Simon had this to say:

Telling evidence is found in the economic comparison of North and South Korea, and of East and West Germany, and also of Taiwan and China. . . . The Communist countries use(d) much more energy and produce(d) much greater amounts of pollution both per person and per dollar of GNP. One might say that this is because the Communist countries were (are) poorer. But this relative poverty is itself part of the story: centrally controlled economies do less well economically, which is part of the reason they pollute more per unit of GNP, and even per capita.”

from Julian Simon’s “The Ultimate Resource 2” (1996), pages 306-07.