Philip Pullman (for those of you unawares- he wrote the 'His Dark Materials Triliogy).
This is a rather wonderful wonderful speech.
"Joy cannot flourish in the garden of anxiety." -Pullman
On with his strain about the Coal mines- when he says economic intrests, I think he's critiquing freedom of choice with regard to how you produce. That question, is super important, the question of who's role it is to raise the costs of using methods of production that are potentially harmful to the environment- but further, who's to decide that which is harmful?
He's saying that we shouldn't produce with methods that have a short term pay off when there are other "more important intrests". How does he define that, is it the state who defines it, or the people?
He says that in a good state the coal mine type of thing couldn't occur, wouldn't be allowed to occur.
so..seems that he's implying that the state defines that which is harmful. That is somehow magically knows.
I think the way he critiques 'capitalism' you may say, is really a good critique on centralized planning- looking only at certian aspects of something and it's consequences- what he doesn't express as clearly is that we can't know all the consequences, and that is one reason why centralized planning is often more destructive than helpful.
Though the rest of his speech is partial to freedom, this part is shady to me.
- Not only is it 'shady' I think he disproves the idea that it's the governments proper role to 'force' choice- I think he provides a good example in his story of the -livingroom in the road- that persuasion, privately, is often more effective, and productive, than government force.
And that what is needed for private persuasion to be effective, is an active, inquisitive, courageous (all the rest the wonderful things that you have to watch to findout !) how exciting.
(Further credit to C.Crawford for finding this somewhere.)