Tragic Hurricane likely a natural wake-up call

The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina has exposed the difference between myth and reality in America.

Myth: We live in a land of inexhaustible milk and honey, one where everyone is doing just fine.

Reality: We don’t inhabit a Magic Kingdom where all good things flow endlessly to all people.

Just have a look at some of those affected by Katrina to find proof that many people -according to some indicators-struggle to obtain even basic necessities.

This hurricane season (11 storms and counting) also belies another tall tale many senior U.S. officials would have us believe, namely that global climate change is a fantasy. The reality? The Midwest is enduring a summer of drought while Katrina and company ravage the American South. Perhaps the most dramatic and immediately lethal change in weather was the 2002 collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf, a frozen mass on the eastern Antarctic Peninsula. Wake-up calls don’t come much louder than that.

Ideologues can use rhetoric only so long in an attempt to turn back the reality of economic disparity and global climate change.

If anything good comes from the Katrina disaster, it is perhaps such suffering will encourage an honest discussion about human impact on the planet. We can begin counteracting these challenges with a market-based strategy that prices vehicles and fuel at a level reflecting true environmental costs. Such a move doesn’t prevent consumers from owning gas guzzlers; it just ensures they will think about that decision more closely to determine if it’s worth opening their wallet wider for the privilege.

Economics is all about allocating resources under scarcity. We need to decide how we want to live, and then accept the consequences of that choice. Indeed, we must understand that our actions have definite consequences.

Matt Golosinski

Evanston, Ill.