The impressive creativity of other European countries in denying disproportionate German contributions to the continent is once again on display. This time it is a French politician complaining about the supposed costs (in pollution) of German chemical production. But what about the benefits?

Nor was there any mention of the health benefits of the chemical industry. Suppose the German chemical industry were to shut down tomorrow, what would the costs (to European health alone) be? Almost certainly they would be incomparably greater than the present costs: Imagine life without any of the chemicals that the industry produced. In other words, based on the logic of the article, the rest of Europe owes Germany even more than it pays for the chemicals it buys from it. But the thought of the writer of the article dates from before the development of double-entry bookkeeping. In his world there are only costs, no benefits, except where there are benefits without costs, and which depends very much on a preexisting political stance. You always get the answer you first thought of.

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