The Human and Economic Devastation of Leaded Gas: How the Visible Hand Saved the Day

With all the well-deserved attention going to Kevin Drum’s excellent Mother Jones article on crime rates and lead in gasoline (more here), I thought it worth revisiting my post on the subject from a year and a half ago, which was itself prompted by Angry Bear’s own inimitable Robert Waldmann.

Government Gets the Lead Out, Crime Plummets

In which I said:

We’re seeing it in spades: the history of tetraethyl lead (read it and weep) is a tragic textbook case of market/profit interests eviscerating the commons and making us all (including the rich) far worse off, in the name of “the invisible hand” making us all better off.

That ebil gubmint man with his heavy-handed regulations impinging on honest businesspeople (who are just trying to make a buck, for everyone’s benefit) sure did have a pernicious effect, huh?

I can only imagine how many trillions of dollars that lead-driven crime wave has cost our country, and how many tens of millions of lives that lead poisoning has destroyed.

But don’t worry: you can rely on profit-making companies to “allocate our resources most efficiently.” Trust me on this.

Cross-posted at Angry Bear.