1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5244/the-spring-is-silent-on-ddt/

The Spring is Silent on DDT

June 29, 2006 by

Let there be no doubt that the war on malaria has failed. It is estimated that 800,000 children in Africa die from the disease every year, and as many as three million people altogether every year.

We know how people contract it: from mosquitoes. We know how to control it: kill the carrier mosquitoes. And we know what kills them: DDT.

So why has the war on malaria failed? Because governments banned the cure. Now they claim to wonder why people are sick and dying.

FULL ARTICLE

{ 20 comments }

David C June 29, 2006 at 9:34 am

I am really glad that someone mentioned this, because millions of people needlessly died from it’s ban. However, blaming the environmental movement is a set-up designed to paint people like us into a corner as being anti envoronemnt – we should not take the bait.

The force behind DDT’s ban is not enviromental, but patents. For example, DOW’s patent on freon ran out the very same month it was banned. DOW also happened to have a newer patent on the only suitable replacement.

A similar situation happened with DDT. The excuse was the environment, but the cause was patents. When the patent ran out, it’s benefitors were desperate to have fill-in monopoly on a substitue. The book was likely influenced, or just happened to be at the right place at the right time – an excuse that was pounced on.

Seriously, one can never effectively promote just causes until they call a spade a spade. I see it happening all the time where monopoly interests hide behind environmental causes, and then the people opposed attack the environmental causes – setting themselves up for failure.

tom June 29, 2006 at 10:03 am

David,

Your explaination doesn’t make sense at all to me. If, as you say, the patent on making DDT ran out, then there was no longer a monopoly on the production of DDT. No one could be excluded from producing DDT. How could the ending of a patent be the cause of the non use of DDT? If anything, the ending of the patent, would cause greater production and use of DDT. Where are the “monopoly interests” if the monopoly has ended?

ed June 29, 2006 at 10:20 am

Its likely that the promoters to ban DDT are simply uninformed and have swallowed the hype about DDT rather than maliciously trying to create death and poverty.

An interesting note on the promotion of DDT hysteria. In the 1970′s Mad Magazine was as big as Playboy or Newsweek. The cartoons against DDT were probably as influential on todays mind set as any “serious” article printed by an adult magazine.

David C June 29, 2006 at 10:44 am

tom,
The patents incentivize getting DDT banned for other patented replacements. In addition, the patents have already financed the people who have an interest in maintaining an ongoing monopoly.

You can see this in other industries too. Like how the vitamin and herb industries are under constant legal and regulatory attacks promoted by pharmacutical interests. Their patents in pharmacutical products incentivize this kind of behavior.

tom June 29, 2006 at 11:20 am

Can you imagine the lawsuits generated by such a strategy by a company, that every time the patent is to run out the company moves to have the product banned? Company A says, “You know that product we have been selling to the public for the past 14 years, well guess what? It’s dangerous and should be banned!” Any monopoly profits the company might have earned would certainly be threatened by product liablility and other legal claims.

I don’t see any finacial benefit or “monopoly interest” for a company to adopt this strategy.

Wild Pegasus June 29, 2006 at 11:27 am

The DDT Ban Myth

The simple fact is that DDT is available for use in most third world countries, and is still used, but its use must be managed to avoid insect resistance.

- Josh

Nat June 29, 2006 at 11:30 am

Ed said, “It’s likely that the promoters to ban DDT are simply uninformed and have swallowed the hype about DDT rather than maliciously trying to create death and poverty.”

That may have been true 35 years ago. But if an environmentalist were genuinely concerned with people, they would say, “Gee, I thought banning DDT was a good idea at the time, but after seeing all of the death and suffering the ban caused, we should lift the ban.”

I haven’t heard a single environmentalist make this statement.

Francisco Torres June 29, 2006 at 12:23 pm

Wild Pegassus:

The simple fact is that DDT is available for use in most third world countries, and is still used, but its use must be managed to avoid insect resistance.

It is not available – you need a big production facility to manufacture it, which means regulations, permits, licences, and other hindrances. When a government bans something, it means it will not give permission to manufacture it. Nor will it give permission to store it, move it, bottle it, label it, shelf it, et cetera. The enviro-cuckoos always seem to forget that when saying “you can still sell DDT!”.

Another thing is that the few bird studies that were so touted by enviro-crazies found a correlation between DDT and the thinning of eggshels in birds of prey, but that was it – a correlation, NOT a causation. It has been found that other birds do not show this thinning as long as their diet contains calcium, which usually does. Nevertheless, banning a certain life-saving substance because eggs have thinner shells reeks of an ethical aberration, placing human life below that of birds.

Vince Daliessio June 29, 2006 at 12:43 pm

I read one of the sources for the reference “The DDT Ban Myth”, and it had this interesting bit in it;

http://kenethmiles.blogspot.com/2004_02_01_kenethmiles_archive.html#107570569615970184

“Malaria is a major, ongoing disease problem in much of the developing world. Increases in the incidence of the disease have occurred for complex reasons. Reduced insecticide usage is one, but others include the resistance to treatment in both the parasite and the mosquito vectors, changes in land use that have provided new mosquito habitat, and the movement of people into new, high-risk areas.”

Miles tacitly admits that there HAS been some reduction in DDT spraying, and that it has been a cause (though not the only one) if increases in malaria, the part that I found interesting was the last phrase about p[eople moving into high-risk areas. Certainly this is partly enabled by the USE of pesticides, in part, but more to the point such migrations to unsuitable areas of human habitation are boringly, predictably caused by government action.

On balance, Lew and the rest have it right – government meddling in DDT use has caused virtually all of the bad sequelae, from over-use to under-use. Let’s keep political and scientific distinctions clear, unlike the DDT-ban apologists.

Vince Daliessio June 29, 2006 at 2:00 pm

Of course, the discussion on this website is largely rhetorical rather than mathematic, but it would be interesting to catalogue all of the government interferences in the history of DDT’s manufacture and use and track its history in that way.

Dmitry Chernikov June 29, 2006 at 3:54 pm

Even if some company might want to have a product banned in order to benefit from selling its substitute, without ideological cover, such as the environmental concerns, it would not be able to succeed.

Paul Edwards June 29, 2006 at 5:19 pm

“Even if some company might want to have a product banned in order to benefit from selling its substitute, without ideological cover, such as the environmental concerns, it would not be able to succeed.”

You can say that again. The same is the case of how the bankers managed to put through the Federal Reserve. They had to try to make it look as if it was everybody but the bankers advocating its institution. It is almost unfathomable to me the level of tenacity, endurance and gall these people have and their ability to coordinate with other government funded and apparently disinterested propaganda distributing enterprises to get their agenda put over. It is a lesson in the success of persistence.

It wouldn’t surprise me if it was interest in government legislated monopoly that is one of the big motivators behind the banning of these products. At the same time, I am convinced that the prominent people behind the green movement are truly bent on killing off vast hordes of human beings. The ends of these two interests seem vastly different, but their means turn out to be the same. Life.

Sione June 29, 2006 at 8:26 pm

Imagine if DDT had already been used to see off the maleria threat. Think of the millions of productive lives that would not have been needlessly lost. What things could these people have achieved?

And imagine what the Gates, Buffet charity fortune could have been used for if maleria was not a problem any more.

That which is unseen…..

Sione

Curt Howland June 29, 2006 at 9:36 pm

Paul, which reminds me of the ploy used, for example, to get Ireland to join the EU: Bring it up for a vote, vote fails. Bring it up again. Vote fails again. Bring it up again, and again, and again until it barely passes, then stop.

The same thing with counting votes in Florida, according to Edward G. Robinson in a movie I heard about. Interesting. “We keep counting them until they come out the way we want ‘em to.”

imagine what the Gates, Buffet charity fortune could have been used for…

Same thing it’s used for now: Tax avoidance.

billwald June 29, 2006 at 9:37 pm

“Think of the millions of productive lives that would not have been needlessly lost.”

Is speculation. How many of the millions would have been productive?

The irony is that it is the people who “believe in” evolution who worry about the loss of a specie. Don’t they trust nature to come up with a replacement? The good fundimentalist Christians who think that God stopped creating don’t worry about the loss.

Mark June 29, 2006 at 10:32 pm

Curt:

You don’t get a dollar for dollar tax reduction by donating to charity. Even after taxes, Warren Buffet would have had more money for himself if he had liquidated his $30 billion in wealth and paid the taxes.

Of course, if you are inclined to give to charity, the tax laws do give you more incentive to do so.

Sione June 30, 2006 at 9:21 am

Curt

This is a little off the point but avoiding tax is doing good. Tax is theft after all.

What could the fortune have been used for? Well assuming the owners could avoid having it stolen there are plenty of possibilities. Instead it’s going to be used to solve a problem that should already have been solved.

Billwald

I guess we’ll never know what those people may have produced had they lived. Still, it’s always easier to write off some furrin darkies when at home in civilised, safe, wealthy suburbia. A pity people who are relatively comfortable think like that don’t you think?

So many wasted opportunities…

Sione

billwald July 3, 2006 at 12:50 pm

One of the conspiracy thgeories going around is that our owners – the internationalists – intend to kill off 5 billion or so people with disease and war, leaving sufficient population to serve them.

see some of the links on http://www.coasttocoastam.com

Francisco Torres July 3, 2006 at 3:10 pm

Billwald asks:

Is speculation. How many of the millions would have been productive?

Depends on what you think “productive” means. For me, anything they would do to improve their lives and condition is being productive, and that would have been enough to at least let them use DDT to save their lives.

Eric July 5, 2006 at 4:18 pm

Interesting that in today’s LA times there is a story about how a new DDT study claims developmental problems in 2 year olds of Mexican mothers with high traces of DDT in their system. I wonder if this could have been prompted by Lew’s story.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ddt5jul05,1,6223584.story?coll=la-headlines-california

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: