24 May 2018

Review: The Lorax (1972)

I watched this animated short the other night. It's based on the 1971 book by Dr Seuss.

The plot is simple (capitalists destroy trees "owned by nobody" to make a fast buck, until they are all gone), but Seuss's fun language and colorful images make the film both entertaining and depressing.

Although one might argue that such destruction would not occur if the trees were owned by someone who wanted to maximize their value over time, it's also easy to see these dynamics at play in areas where property rights are absent or ignored (i.e., most traditional communal societies) or where the commons are unprotected (e.g., the open oceans with respect to fishing or atmosphere with respect to GHG emissions). The only "solutions" in those cases is to not be greedy -- a moral that many children can and should learn from this short. Sadly, there are far too many greedy adults around to undermine those sustainable notions.

(I'm not surprised that the 2012 remake of the film has a happy ending. It should have stuck with the original.)

Bottom line: I give this film FIVE STARS for making an important point nearly 50 years ago. Sadly, that point has been lost on many corrupt politicians who allow greedy capitalists to cut down our collective natural wonders.

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