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Do you know what compost is? Neither do I. Or at least I didn’t until recently. All that changed thanks to the Wall Street Journal’s Chavie Lieber, I now know compost is a combination of waste from horses and cows, along with ingredients like weeds, wood chips and buckwheat. Who knew?

Where it gets interesting is that there are apparently grades of compost. Lieber reports that in the hyper-prosperous world in which we’re lucky enough to live, farmers interested in achieving the best and healthiest of crops are willing to pay more for “upscale compost.” One brand is Climate Compost Inoculum, and according to Lieber it doesn’t include just any old horse and cow waste, rather it can claim the horse and cow waste of Althorp Estate, a 500-year-old property where Princess Diana grew up.

That there’s now such a thing as “upscale compost” is very telling. And it’s telling beyond what it means for farmers and their crops. Upscale compost is a reminder that what we want in life cannot be decreed. Particularly luxury items. Are global warming theorists listening?

While there are healthy ongoing debates about whether global warming is real, a threat, or both, what can’t be argued is that interest in the theory is a luxury item. That is so simply because more people are killed annually by cold weather than warm, after which it should be said that those most fearful of the theory that is global warming live in locales where air conditioning and heating are most prevalent, as are cars and airplanes. Global warming theorists can lament the allegedly negative externalities of progress while enjoying the undeniable progress that airplanes and cars embody, along with offices and houses that are heated and cooled to maximize comfort (Alex Epstein refers to this as “climate mastery”) based on the actual weather outside.

It’s all a reminder that those most fearful of the alleged externalities of high living almost invariably live high. How we know this has to do with how few who lack air and automobile transportation, along with air conditioning and heating, would refuse it if offered to them. Not a chance. And if anyone doubts this, please move to the Washington, D.C. area this summer while renouncing all transportation powered by electricity or gasoline, along with any kind of air conditioning. Life without these comforts is excruciating, and this truth didn’t suddenly reveal itself in concert with the more modern discovery of “warming” by those in the developed world.

If anyone doubts the above, they should stop and ask themselves why the restaurants and movie theaters of old had signs outside indicating “Air Conditioning” inside their businesses. They didn’t do this long ago because air conditioning was common, but precisely because it wasn’t. Yet it was much desired. Air conditioned interiors are more and more the norm, and they are because we can more and more afford them. Yes, the paradoxical truth is that we can lament things like “warming” precisely because we don’t suffer hot and cold in the way we used to.

Global warming theorists will ideally keep the above in mind if ever of the mind to critique nations not the U.S. for their rising use of appliances and machines that emit – gasp – carbon dioxide. The simple truth is that they’re not rich and spoiled enough yet to decry the comforts of modern life in the way that we are.

Back to compost, the “upscale” kind wasn’t always available. No one could afford it. It’s an effect of prosperity. So are paper straws. If you’re drinking through one as you read this you’re part of the global 1%. Your worries are rich people worries. Deal with it. Call upscale compost a luxury item. Just like global warming.  

John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, Vice President at FreedomWorks, a senior fellow at the Market Institute, and a senior economic adviser to Applied Finance Advisors (www.appliedfinance.com). His latest book is The Money Confusion: How Illiteracy About Currencies and Inflation Sets the Stage For the Crypto Revolution.

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