About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Monday, March 5, 2012

On mining

There's an ongoing debate on government policy on mining in the Philippines, but a lot of it seems to be fueled by emotion and appeals to "save Mother Nature". I've always looked askance at people who use the phrase "Mother Nature". It looks like a regression to belief systems where people pray to the sun and wind, and maybe dance for rain during droughts.

I'd rather have reasonable numbers, and a good cost-benefit analysis. So it's nice to read an article that doesn't use the "Mother Nature" card, and instead attempts to give an argument based on numbers and fairness. One paragraph that I really liked has this to say about the issue: 

"As for the argument that minerals are meant to serve humanity and are the raw materials for the modern conveniences we use everyday, the point is that, in cases where mining is allowed, the minerals should be priced at full cost, including environmental, social and economic costs. Otherwise, our poor who mainly bear these costs would be subsidizing the consumerism of the rich, both domestic and foreign." 

Whether the numbers are right or not is something that does need investigation. But whatever the numbers are, an appeal for fairness is always a good argument.   

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