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What I’m going to share today starts with something posted by Brian in response to Part 3 of my Going To Hell in a Handbasket series. My response contains some important information, but is buried so deeply among hundreds of other comments that I thought I should create an entire post around it.

Here’s how it started:

Bill,

I really liked the live video chat on facebook. I think it is a much better way for you to communicate information than through writing on this blog (though I still really like this blog). It’s just easier to tell what someone means when you see how they are saying something instead of just the words they are saying. Definitely do more video chats!

I have an economics question for you if you feel like taking the time. Harry Browne brings up an example in his book about the more expensive cost of using recycled paper vs. new paper. Browne explains this means that the resources consumed in recycling paper are more valuable to the market than the resources consumed in making new paper (aka trees). So basically the market should go with new paper since trees are less valuable than all the things that go into recycling paper.

What I struggle to understand is how you can judge the value of trees solely by their price in the market. Say we discovered that cutting down trees significantly affected oxygen levels that were unhealthy for people. How would the free market naturally account for this to make trees more valuable?

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