The principal points I emphasized on resource policy were that just as China and India, representing nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population, settled into hot pursuit of economic growth 30 to 40 years ago, raising demand for base and precious metals, energy and forest products so that they were much closer to being vendors’ markets than consumers’ markets, a confluence of improvident circumstances assaulted the oil and gas industry. Following the decisive defeat of the international left in the Cold War, the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the collapse of international communism and the defection of China to the virtues of a market economy (though still with a heavy command ingredient), the international left, evicted from power and even intellectual respectability, fetched up in the camp of the conservationists, those who cared most demonstratively for the environment. They shouldered aside the long-standing opponents of untreated effluent and advocates for natural habitats, and assaulted capitalism from a new quarter, waving the green flag of ecological radicalism rather than the red banner of Marx. Capitalism was not to be overthrown in favour of socialism, but rather the more incontestable goal of saving the planet. The left, for once, deserves high marks for improvisation.
Conrad Black: What did Canadians do to deserve this government?
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