19 September 2010

Thomas Friedman's Tall Tale

[UPDATE 9/22: In a follow up column today, Friedman cops to telling tall tales for political reasons:
Some of my Chinese friends chide me for overidealizing China. I tell them: “Guilty as charged.” But have no illusions. I am not praising China because I want to emulate their system. I am praising it because I am worried about my system. In deliberately spotlighting China’s impressive growth engine, I am hoping to light a spark under America.]

Thomas Friedman, columnist for the New York Times, again trots out the "if only we were doing as good as China" story:
[B]because runaway pollution in China means wasted lives, air, water, ecosystems and money — and wasted money means fewer jobs and more political instability — China’s leaders would never go a year (like we will) without energy legislation mandating new ways to do more with less. It’s a three-for-one shot for them. By becoming more energy efficient per unit of G.D.P., China saves money, takes the lead in the next great global industry and earns credit with the world for mitigating climate change.
It is a great story.  Except for the fact that it is not true (see also).