Stephen Maseda | Plambeck Satisfied?

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It is good to know that Ms. (Lynne) Plambeck is able to see the positive effects of the shutdown (commentary, April 3). All it takes to satisfy her is millions out of work and a possible depression or serious recession, with all the human suffering these would entail, to reach her environmental goals — less freeway noise, more birds singing, bluer skies and cleaner air. 

We should all cheer up and see the bright side to all the suffering that Californians are going through while confined indoors. 

Environmentalists do not have the best reputation for putting forth rational proposals, and this commentary certainly did nothing to dispel this perception.

She discusses this against a backdrop of what she asserts are advancements that have followed other epidemics, giving as examples the bubonic plague and smallpox; and advances such as penicillin and the smallpox vaccination. 

She fails to note that the plague occurred in the 6th century, killing an estimated 25 million people; in the 14th century when it killed one-third of the population of Europe; and again in the mid-19th century. 

Penicillin was discovered in 1930, but only became readily available in late 1940 — too late for the tens of millions that had died. As for the smallpox vaccine — just looking at the Americas — millions of native Americans died from the disease prior to the development of variolation, a precursor to vaccination in the late 18th century.

Her other suggestion that we take to heart working from home is an elitist approach. An analysis of who can work from home demonstrates that it is overwhelmingly the upper economic classes — the dreaded top 10%. 

Just a moment’s reflection demonstrates that almost the entire service sector of the economy cannot work at home, nor can the manufacturing sector for the most part (unless we return to a cottage industry model), or the construction industry, they all need to be at work.

Stephen Maseda

Valencia

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