There probably aren’t many West Virginia coal miners who’ve hailed a cab in London. I also suspect few London cabbies have visited a coal mine in Appalachia. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like these two worlds have much in common. But the sad truth is they are both threatened with extinction.
Because of concerns about climate change, increased mechanization and the shift to natural gas and renewable fuels, coal mining jobs are disappearing, seemingly by the hour. The rise of Uber and other ride-sharing services have put the London taxi industry on notice that its days as the dominant car-hire service are quickly coming to an end.
To a lot of people, these two developments may appear to be the inevitable outcome of evolving technological advances. It’s natural to believe that the underlying forces — an urgent need to protect the environment and the benefits of greater competition — more than justify the harm being done to a few miners and cabbies.
But simply accepting that change is both essential and unavoidable is a dangerous conclusion. No rational person opposes a cleaner environment. And who isn’t for better service and lower prices. But the rush to shut down coal-fired power plants shouldn’t mean that we stand by as coal miners watch their livelihoods disappear and their communities die...
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