When journalist Don Hoeffler first coined the term “Silicon Valley” in the early 1970s, the San Francisco Bay and Santa Clara Valley areas had already been home to thriving technology companies for decades.
Then future giants like Apple and Adobe joined the scene, and the field really started to take off.
Today, Silicon Valley is responsible for about 3% of US GDP. Considering that its geographical size is only 0.1% of the country’s land mass, this is a very good use of resources.
Now imagine you’re the leader of a country… and you have the power to snap your fingers and do the same thing – increase economic output by 3% by giving up just 0.1% of your land.
This is a very good compromise. And it seems worthwhile to at least consider the costs and benefits of such a deal.
That is exactly the opportunity facing the Republic of Panama.
Most people might be surprised to learn that Panama has vast mineral reserves – especially copper. And some limited mining operations have taken place in the past.
One site in particular, known as Cobre Panama, is a major copper mine that has been producing commercially for the past few years. The operator of the mine is a Canadian company called First Quantum Minerals, and last quarter they produced 112,734 metric tons at the site.
This is enough for a copper mine. In fact, production is so strong that the value of Cobre Panama is estimated to be approximately 3% of the entire national economy.
And at approximately 30,000 acres, the project covers approximately 0.1% of Panama’s land mass.
They’re basically Silicon Valley proportions: 3% growth in GDP on just 0.1% of the country’s land.
Now, even though the mine has been operating commercially for some years, the government has only recently awarded a mining concession to First Quantum; And last month the contract was formally signed into law by the Panamanian government.
But people were furious and protests began almost immediately.
Panama is undoubtedly a country where political corruption runs deep, and there have been issues of corruption and bribery in the past, including with other large-scale mining projects.
So it’s understandable that Panamanians are suspicious of their government.
There are also many Panamanians who are against mining contracts for environmental reasons.
But protests have brought the country to a near standstill for much of the past month.
The protesters have adopted a favorite tactic of European climate protesters, that is, they have blocked roads, intersections, bridges and even the country’s main Pan-American Highway.
(European climate protesters have glued themselves to the sidewalk; fortunately Panamanians have not yet done so.)
The net result for Panama is that the economy has practically ground to a halt. This is almost as bad as the COVID lockdown.
People are not able to go to work. Schools have been closed. And since transportation is nearly impossible, even basic goods like gasoline are beginning to become scarce.
It has gotten so ridiculous that some areas of the country have had to truck in vital supplies from Costa Rica.
Most people in the country are strongly against shutting down their economy. But, as is the case in most cases, all it takes is a few passionate ignoramuses to cause a big problem.
Many of the protesters are young… and incredibly passionate in their support of the environment; And I try not to judge people based on their views, even if I disagree.
But I have a hard time respecting ignorance and hypocrisy.
Very few protesters have bothered to read the contract – including prominent protest leaders (I suggest the protest leaders are in it for the status, power, and money, and don’t really care about the environment).
They have never studied copper mining or bothered to read environmental impact studies. They just have a knee-jerk reaction to protest something, based on almost zero understanding of the issue.
These same protesters are about green energy like wind and solar.
But what does each wind turbine and solar panel need? copper!!
So they are simultaneously in favor of green energy, yet fiercely opposed to the mining of one of the most essential elements for the production of green energy.
They also failed to understand that the copper would be mined anyway. If not in Panama, then elsewhere in the world.
So you would think that a person who actually opposed copper production would eliminate every demand for copper from his life. This means no electricity, no mobile phones, no internet, no automobiles.
Without copper, you would essentially have to go back to living in caves.
But the protesters are not ready to do so. They are very ignorant about what they are protesting about. They are also unaware of their own hypocrisy.
Yet they are so emotional that they do not even realize that they are completely ignorant.
This is what constitutes ‘activism’ today. And it is all over the world.
Two years ago, after Georgia’s democratically elected state government passed a new voting law, several major institutions and individuals jumped on the bandwagon.
Joe Biden called Georgia’s new voting law “Jim Crow 2.0.” CEOs of major corporations, including Delta Airlines, Coca Cola, and Major League Baseball, stressed that requiring people to present ID to vote is racist.
(Never mind that you need to present an ID to get tickets to a baseball game or to fly on Delta Airlines.)
These were all very prominent people who were completely ignorant, yet extremely passionate.
We saw the same during the BLM “summer of love” in 2021, even in times of Covid. And we are seeing it again today-
Most of the developed world has been taken over by passionate ignoramuses shouting “Allahu Akhbar” in the streets, who are too passionate to think straight about the issue.
I mean, the fact that a group called “Queers for Palestine” even exists shows a concept of obsessive ignorance.
Emotional ignorant people don’t want to engage in rational discussion. They do not want to be presented with ideas or thinkers that might challenge their ideological echo chamber. They don’t even want to study.
However, they want to scream and virtue signal on social media, without ever questioning their intellectual premises or actions.
They are also encouraged by the brainless media and celebrities, who are themselves completely ignorant.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio posted an Instagram message earlier this week in support of protesters in Panama and encouraged them to keep fighting for the environment.
I wonder if Leo has ever been to Panama or a copper mine. Or does he realize that this single mine produces 3% of GDP. Or that the contract is worth hundreds of millions of dollars each year to Panama (a huge sum for a small country).
I wonder if Leo realized that without copper mines, there would be no movies, no Instagram, no private jets.
I wonder if they ever thought about encouraging them to read contracts, or educate themselves, or act rationally.
apparently not. Leo believes that fighting for the environment is a good idea. So the emotional ignorance continues.