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Unforced Variations: August 2017

Filed under: — group @ 2 August 2017

This month’s open thread.

592 Responses to “Unforced Variations: August 2017”

  1. 351
    Thomas says:

    More on the Neoliberal “all regulation is evil & bad” meme, quoting:

    Since January, the Times report found, “Pai (new head of the FCC) has undertaken a deregulatory blitz enacting or proposing a wishlist of fundamental policy changes advocated by Mr Smith and his company (Sinclair).”

    Tom Wheeler, Pai’s predecessor at the FCC, who is now at the Brookings Institution, said: “What’s surprising is how fast the Trump FCC moved and how they moved without any real opportunity for public comment and without any following of procedural due process … So you look at that kind of behavior and scratch your head.” […]

    “Sinclair’s probably the most dangerous company most people have never heard of,” said Michael Copps, the George W Bush-appointed former FCC chairman. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/aug/17/sinclair-news-media-fox-trump-white-house-circa-breitbart-news

    imho, it’s Rupert Murdoch who’s the leading modern age ‘anti-christ’ globally https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/18/james-murdoch-criticises-donald-trumps-response-to-charlottesville

    Dark Money https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/02/corporate-dark-money-power-atlantic-lobbyists-brexit

    Roger Stone of Black, Manafort, and Stone – https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/05/get-me-roger-stone-donald-trump-netflix/526296/

    How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/27/the-reclusive-hedge-fund-tycoon-behind-the-trump-presidency

    This article is the subject of a legal complaint on behalf of Cambridge Analytica LLC and SCL Elections Limited. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/robert-mercer-breitbart-war-on-media-steve-bannon-donald-trump-nigel-farage

    Meanwhile, some ‘ancient history’ by John Daniel Davidson senior correspondent for the Federalist on Sunday 5 February 2017 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/05/trump-not-fascist-champion-for-forgotten-millions – huh, Trump’s not Fascist?

    and by the NYTs https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/06/nyregion/donald-trump-marble-collegiate-church-norman-vincent-peale.html

    How Barack Obama paved the way for Donald Trump – Don’t blame it all on racism. During the financial crash Obama sided with the bankers, not people losing their homes – making Trump’s victory possible https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/16/how-barack-obama-paved-way-donald-trump-racism

    Linguist George Lakoff explains how the Democrats helped elect Trump http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2017/01/linguist-george-lakoff-explains-how-the-democrats-helped-elect-trump.html

    The questions remain – Why is the USA ground zero for Climate Science Denial globally? Why did Trump get elected? Why did HRC / Democrats lose so badly?

    When Trump pulled the USA out of the Paris Treaty why were there no riots on the streets and an immediate Revolt in Congress? Who is really running the Country and the Political System in America … the so called land of the free and government by the People?

    (rhetorical only)

  2. 352
  3. 353
    Mike Roberts says:

    Nemesis,

    Yes, I know Hansen’s viewpoint, in general, it’s the same like Sarah Palin’s view …

    No, it’s not the same based on the quote you used. Hansen wants fair markets (by including external costs – the costs of environmental damage), Palin (as far as I know) does not. From Palin’s viewpoint, I suppose she would see a carbon fee as not allowing the markets to run free.

    Ray Ladbury,

    Capitalism/markets work because they harness human avarice

    Well, they work for a while but, being unsustainable, capitalism will fail (i.e. not work) eventually. Capitalism is enabled by relatively abundant and low cost energy. Humans will still be humans without that cheap abundant energy but they would not have the capability of ruining the environment so much. So it’s not a matter of stopping humans being humans but removing the things that enable them to be so destructive.

  4. 354
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Thomas and Nemesis,
    Sooo…, you basically got nuthin’. Thought so. Look, we know where we are (unsustainable, growth-oriented, extractive, consumption-based economy headed toward disaster with way too many mouths to feed). We know more or less where we need to wind up (a sustainable economy where growth is driven by advances in science and technology rather than extraction/consumption). What nobody has any idea of is how we get there.
    So, since we know these things well, your pointing our our origin and our destination and providing squat about how we get there is less than constructive.

    Now, run along. The adults are trying to have a conversation.

  5. 355
    MA Rodger says:

    NOAA has also now posted for July with an anomaly of +0.83ºC, the =2nd coolest anomaly of the year so far and not far above June’s anomaly of +0.79ºC (the 2017 wobbles being much less in NOAA than in GISTEMP). 2017 weighs in as the second warmest July on record after July 2016’s +0.88ºC. (Jul 2017 was first warmest in GISTEMP, just) just ahead of July 2015 (+0.82ºC) and well ahead of the Julys of other previous years – =3rd 2010, 1998 +0.73ºC, 5th 2014 +0.71ºC, and 2012 +0.68ºC.
    July 2017 sits as =26th warmest anomaly on the full monthly NOAA record (while in GISTEMP it was 28th).
    “Scorchio-wise”, the first seven months of 2017 sits in 2nd spot behind 2016 and ahead of 2015 (the difference to 2015 is smaller than in GISTEMP) and pesenting an anomaly which would annually easily snatch 2nd spot (which is not quite the case in GISTEMP). While there is still a lot of 2017 to go, without the affect of the 2016 El Nino, in the NOAA record 2017-so-far also achieves “scorchyissimo”

    The years are ranked by Warmest-Jan-to-July below.
    …….. Ave Jan-July … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +1.04ºC … … … +0.95ºC … … …1st
    2017 .. +0.90ºC
    2015 .. +0.86ºC … … … +0.91ºC … … …2nd
    2010 .. +0.76ºC … … … +0.71ºC … … …4th
    2014 .. +0.72ºC … … … +0.75ºC … … …3rd
    1998 .. +0.70ºC … … … +0.63ºC … … …8th
    2007 .. +0.66ºC … … … +0.61ºC … … …11th
    2002 .. +0.66ºC … … … +0.60ºC … … …13th
    2005 .. +0.65ºC … … … +0.66ºC … … …6th
    2013 .. +0.64ºC … … … +0.67ºC … … …5th
    2009 .. +0.62ºC … … … +0.64ºC … … …7th

  6. 356
  7. 357
    zebra says:

    As you know, you and I agree on many points. However, I would say that you are not making the case for those positions.

    If you say we can’t be as scientific in our language and analysis, or that you don’t want to “philosophize” (meaning, establish theoretical constructs), then the discussion is just “in my opinion” or “because I say so”.

    Adding to the other questions about definitions, I still have no idea what you or others are talking about with reference to “growth”. I see no justification for this claim that “growth” is necessary, but maybe “growth” means something I don’t understand.

    Say that tomorrow, the world population stabilized, and started to go down, as it has wherever there is social security and women are empowered. Would there still be “growth”? Would there still be poverty, and great wealth/power disparity?

  8. 358
    Mal Adapted says:

    Nemesis:

    I am sure, Trump and all the funny, super”rich” “high” society do-goods give to charity too. So you are in good company.

    Nemesis, OTOH, appears to have only Thomas for company.

  9. 359

    Mal, #332–

    “Heh. Droll, but it sacrifices context. Shakespeare was skillful with dramatic verisimilitude 8^).”

    Well, sacrifices have to be made, sometimes. Luckily, context is a renewable resource.

    And yes–yes, he was. Though “skillful” seems a bit–pale (in context-depleted context, anyway.)

    Various commenters on growth, spread over ungodly amounts of virtual real estate

    I think it would be fabulous to have an illuminating conversation about the possibilities of zero-growth economies. I tried to start one here, once. Didn’t really take.

    But, questions I think interesting:

    1) Is zero economic growth really necessary, or is zero energy growth sustainable, at least in principle? For instance, some folks get paid to write songs, which would seem to be a creation of value. Others create software, organizational paradigms and many other ‘intangibles’. I would think that in many cases the environmental footprint of such things is pretty much indistinguishable from what I’m going to metaphorically call “base metabolism”. Don’t such instances imply economic growth with little or no energy growth, or environmental net cost?

    2) What about the difference between the coming decades and some equilibrium ideal? It’s been shown that humans can survive and even thrive, even (or perhaps especially) in very harsh environments by applying sophisticated knowledge of the local environment and resources. However, carrying capacities typically haven’t been very high, and we’re living in a world that is headed toward 10 or 11 billion inhabitants (assuming that climate change doesn’t ramp up mortality rates drastically first, which IMO is a questionable assumption.) It’s also a world in which that ‘sophisticated knowledge’is often being rendered obsolete by climate change, and also in which those local resources are being depleted or at least transformed. So how can we limit consideration to the idealized equilibrium state? Don’t we need to consider, when we are talking about what to do in the near future, trajectories, not just endpoints?

    3) Speaking of trajectories, Ray has argued in the past that to preserve any sort of technological society means clean energy, and that means expenditure to do the work necessary for transformation. Hence economic growth is needed at least during the transition phase. Killian, Thomas, and maybe Nemesis (if I understand correctly) would say that’s at best wasteful because it’s essentially ‘more of the same’, a gigantic effort in greenwashing, and more likely a destructive distraction from the real solution of simplicity.

    I hope I’ve stated that fairly and with reasonable accuracy.

    For my part, I have multiple concerns. I’ll start with two.
    A) I’m not convinced by anything I’ve seen so far–(nevertheless thanks to Killian for pointing me toward a few sources here, and I remain interested in further references)–that ‘simplicity’ can possibly support more than a small fraction of the current, let alone projected population. Therefore, I’m concerned that reliance on it in the immediate future would be a death sentence for most of us.
    B) Simplicity, as articulated by Killian at least, implies renunciation of militarism; only thus, he says, can we survive; militarism is vice we can no
    longer afford. My concern is that, although that may well be true, I find it hard to imagine a scenario in which the virtuous pacifistic simple-lifers don’t get creamed by nasty, fascistic militarists looking to steal their food (and anything else not nailed down, no doubt). In history, the only way that really pacific societies persist is with some sort of geographic or climatic protection. (Eg., the Inuit in the Arctic rarely indulged in warlike conflict because their survival skills were both very difficult for others to emulate, and extremely critical to survival in their environment. Similarly for some desert-dwellers in the American Southwest (though I think most of them succumbed to European diseases, firearms and gold-lust eventually.)

    3) More generally, what would a zero-growth (or zero energy gorwth) economy ‘look like?’ (Again, Killian has put some ideas–mostly in the form of design principles–out there.) But lots of questions remain.

    Last time I asked questions about this, I raised the idea of design for durability. That would be a drastic departure from our current economic structure, which incentivizes rapid turnover and lots and lots of waste. Is that an important idea? And does it imply a slow rate of change?

    And would a ZG or ZEG economy be adaptable? We know environmental conditions are going to change over time, and we know human social evolution is likely to continue, too, as it has historically even in quite conservative societies. Can we envision flexibility somehow built in, even as society remains steadfast WRT sustainability issues?

    4) Ray has raised the question of equitability, at least by implication. International inequity has been a major theme of climate talks since the very beginning. Nations characterized by persistent grinding poverty want growth, and there’s no prospect of changing that. But inequity is a tough problem in a ZG context, because if the pie can’t grow, then the only hope for the ‘losers’ is to defeat the ‘winners’. Killian proposes an egalitarian model precisely for this reason, as one of his design principles, and that makes sense. But is there a way to ‘get there from here?’ My guess is, yeah, there might be, but the road isn’t going to be short.

  10. 360
    Mal Adapted says:

    Whether anyone’s still paying attention or not, I’m testing a hypothesis, to wit (heh):

    “Thomas can avoid commenting on his favorite topic.”

    I’ll regard his continued silence on the topic of himself as support for my hypothesis.

    I’ll regard anything he says in the first person, or any response to provocation (e.g. “I am not interested in your bs”, or “What’s your null hypthesis, Mal, huh?“), as failing to support my hypothesis.

    Testing may take quite awhile, I hope, so I’ll go ahead and explain why his recent criticism of a comment I made fails: it’s because he didn’t read my entire comment.

    That’s perfectly all right, of course. If I chance to read anything he posts, I almost never read the whole thing either. Playing him is more fun that way.

  11. 361
    Fred Magyar says:

    @335 Ray Ladbury says:
    17 Aug 2017 at 12:32 PM

    “If you have serious proposals, I would love to hear them. Until then, I’ll continue to live in the real world.”

    While I can’t speak for Thomas, I have been on a similar quest to yours with generally similar results.

    However, I have been somewhat intrigued by some out of the box thinking on a number of fronts, including: scientific, technological, political, social and economic, etc… on display at the Disruptive Innovation Festival https://www.thinkdif.co/

    To be clear, a lot of what is found there is still just spruced up BAU, but there are some glimmers of genuinely original thinking. There are literally hundereds of talks during the duration of the festival.

    I can’t promise you that you will find the ‘Holy Grail’ there but you never know, if nothing else it has renewed some of my lost faith in humanity. Check it out for yourself and form your own opinion. In any case the best of luck in your quest!

    Cheers!

  12. 362
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @346,good point. However as I said at end of my post, things may end up like that anyway, with low or zero growth in the developed world, and good growth in the developing world for some time. It seems inevitable regardless of what we do.

    Just look at how growth is slowing in western countries, regardless of various different economic policies in different countries. Its saturated markets. Its gone from 6% in the 1950s to 2% recently with no big increase likely.

    When people have a decent lifestyle with all the basics the impetus for growth slows down. Marketing can stretch it out, but only so much. How many cars and televisions do people really need? A lot of people are choosing travel over material possessions and larger houses.

    The only thing really growing is electronic goods, and share market speculation and property prices. Unfortunately what goes up like this tends to come down.

  13. 363
    Thomas says:

    354 Ray Ladbury – ROFL

    “A Conclusion is Simply Where You Stopped Thinking”

    (shrug)

    Whatever! Be like that.

  14. 364
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @357, ok, its good to be scientific and precise with definitions if possible, goes without saying really. I have a lot of respect for your rigour.

    But capitalism is a very, very difficult thing to define in just one sentence or even two sentences, and to define precisely like the force of gravity. Capitalism is really just a collection of attributes, and standard dictionary definitions do a reasonable job imho. I haven’t seen you really improve on that, and I struggle to believe capitalism doesn’t include private ownership as a key attribute.

    “Adding to the other questions about definitions, I still have no idea what you or others are talking about with reference to “growth”. ”

    Most people on this thread clearly mean growth as per capita gdp growth per annum. I see no missunderstandings on the thread. Economic growth is normally taken to mean gdp growth which in turn means an increase in output of goods and services.

    “I see no justification for this claim that “growth” is necessary, but maybe “growth” means something I don’t understand.”

    Bit of a strawman. Growth is obviously not necessary, but its certainly arguably desirable. It gives us more goods and services, including health services.

    There are only three ways poor countries can improve their position. Either increases in growth, ie economic output, charity from wealthy countries, or discovering some oil field or such like.

    Having said this, not all growth seems like good growth. For example growth in gambling, drugs, weapons sales, etc. Growth that wrecks the environment.

    “Say that tomorrow, the world population stabilized, and started to go down, as it has wherever there is social security and women are empowered. Would there still be “growth”? Would there still be poverty, and great wealth/power disparity?”

    Population growth is a different thing to gdp growth. You can have smaller populations but higher gdp growth, because of automation.

    I think wealth / power disparity and inequality are mostly separate issues from growth in populations or total gdp. You can have high inequality (gap in wages and wealth held) in both poor and rich countries, growing and stable countries.

    It’s not fashionable, but the only real way to resolve high inequality once its established is some degree of wealth distribution. It would have been preferable to have stopped high inequality emerging in the first place. Neoliberalism is a prime cause of high inequality, even the IMF have conceded that, see the links in my earlier post.

  15. 365
    Thomas says:

    359 Kevin McKinney,

    Re: 2) re-posting this video / link fyi https://youtu.be/grZSxoLPqXI?t=7m5s (RIP Hans Rosling)

    Re: 3) Hence economic growth is needed at least during the transition phase. Killian, Thomas, and maybe Nemesis (if I understand correctly) would say that’s at best wasteful because it’s essentially ‘more of the same’, a gigantic effort in greenwashing, and more likely a destructive distraction from the real solution of simplicity. I hope I’ve stated that fairly and with reasonable accuracy.

    Where did I say that, or intimate that Kevin? I think you are being overly and unnecessarily “simplistic” and drawing unreasonable assumptions by placing such words into my mouth. Others can speak for themselves.

    “simplicity” has never been a word that I have used to describe my personal beliefs/opinions/knowledge in regard to rational action on AGW/CC and the direct implications upon “economic norms” and “thinking” and “values” and “morals” and “politics”. And “greenwashing” is also a word/concept that I do not use.

    So these words must merely be your own interpretation for “simplicity sake” as your take away “conclusion” of various things I have said here and the hundreds of links shared here for general consideration and some critical thinking based on historical facts and abundant evidence that contradicts accepted norms and beliefs. These matters are far from “simple” imho. I have never said otherwise akaik.

    fwiw What Does the New IPCC Report Say About Climate Change?
    08. October 2013
    http://www.easterbrook.ca/steve/2013/10/what-does-the-new-ipcc-report-say-about-climate-change/

  16. 366
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @351

    “How Barack Obama paved the way for Donald Trump – Don’t blame it all on racism. During the financial crash Obama sided with the bankers, not people losing their homes – making Trump’s victory possible”

    It’s just not that simple. Obama had no real choice. If he had let the banks collapse, America would now be in a 1930s style economic depression of dire magnitude. Obama also wanted more support for home owners, but was voted down by congress.

    Of course I agree its obviously its a terrible thing the tax payer having to bail out banks. They didn’t deserve it, their behaviour was appalling, its socialising losses, its odious. It was done only because they had become too big to be allowed to fail.

    The solution is to break up some of these banks and have better, more flexible bankruptcy laws that allow them to go bust without taking down the whole economy. There is absolutely no sign of Trump or congress doing this.

    “The questions remain – Why is the USA ground zero for Climate Science Denial globally? Why did Trump get elected? Why did HRC / Democrats lose so badly?

    Rhetorical but fair questions worth a comment.

    The following is a fantastic analysis of the roots of climate change denial, and how political they are and rigid they are. It is obvious from the article why this is especially dominant in America

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/science/climate-change-week/18-08-2017/climate-change-is-happening-but-dont-bother-trying-to-convince-a-denier/

    The trump clinton thing is a complex combination of things, and getting OT. However I think the email bombshell in the final week finished her off. I don’t understand why the Democrats selected her with the email issue hanging around her neck right through the campaign and never fully resolved. It was never going to end well.

    “When Trump pulled the USA out of the Paris Treaty why were there no riots on the streets and an immediate Revolt in Congress? ”

    Humanity is not psychologically good at responding to long term threats as below. It’s just the way many people are. Some are visionaries, many are not.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/nov/10/brain-climate-change-science-psychology-environment-elections

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5530483

  17. 367
  18. 368
    Killian says:

    nigel is paraphrased as saying Aiming for zero growth doesn’t make sense to me.

    Yes, we know. Thus the endlessly pointless debate from two people with extremely little understanding of economics taking up half the Unintended Variations. You don’t get it, so stop talking about it.

    Limits to resources is ALL you need to know. But still you don’t get it.

    Capitalism, to be successful, requires endless growth, which is impossible, which is ALL you need to know, yet, you still don’t get it.

    Creation and consumption of virtually everything we use in modern society requires destruction of the environment and an increase in GHs, which ALL you need to know, yet you still don’t get it.

    Any one of these three is enough to know. You do not need to understand every single fact known to man about economics to understand whether a system is sustainable or not. Any form of economics is essentially voodoo. Even steady-state, though preferable to capitalism, is unsustainable… because it retains some elements of the economics of academics, such as profit.

    There is only one economics system that works with nature, and that is simple exchange within a series of bio-regional Commonses, and Commonses down the line to the level of the neighborhood/village.

    That’s it.

    We get it: You don’t want to get it. You are a human version of greenwashing. We get it.

    Now, be quiet and let people who do get it talk.

  19. 369
    zebra says:

    Kevin McKinney 359,

    Second the motion. But illuminating discussions don’t “take” for the reasons I suggested in 357 (that was addressed to nigelj, BTW).

    People come to the very scientific RC and criticize the Denialists for being unscientific and rhetorical in their arguments, but demonstrate the same lack of reason and self-discipline when it comes to their own emotionally-driven position on everything else.

    I applaud your effort to establish some parameters. Let me repeat my last question in the hope of moving things along:

    Say that tomorrow, the world population stabilized, and started to go down, as it has wherever there is social security and women are empowered. Would there still be “growth”? Would there still be poverty, and great wealth/power disparity?

  20. 370
    zebra says:

    nigel,

    Usually, I do not argue definitions, as I have said in the past– only when I think some term has acquired emotive baggage does it seem worth the trouble.

    So, to move things along, I will call your “capitalism” ncapitalism and mine zcapitalism.

    Zcapitalism is characterized only by the existence of “money” and the rule of law (meaning, everyone in society accepts some durable token as having value, and the State enforces that.)

    I make the distinction between real property (land, and resources like oil) and wealth in the form of money. You have agreed that the State actually “owns” the real property. (Some have argued that this “ownership” should be maintained to the maximum benefit of citizens, even if “private enterprise” is allowed to exploit the resource and be compensated for the service.)

    We’ve also agreed that citizens might vote to exploit a resource like oil even if there is evidence of some long-term harm… the Koch brothers are not completely aberrant; put to a vote in Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and other petro-states, I think stopping FF production would be a losing proposition. See Norway, for example, where people really do vote.

    Now, with respect to growth. Here I disagree about how things would play out, per capita v overall GDP. If you have a declining population, certain things happen.

    First, the value of labor increases as it becomes more scarce. Will robots replace some humans? Sure, but at some point there must be an equilibrium that will be determined economically.

    In terms of resources and resource extraction and consumption– well, you can only “eat” so much, actually and metaphorically. As the number of capitas declines, the inputs (e.g., fertilizers) necessary to provide food declines in a non-linear fashion. Even some of Killian’s and Scott’s bio-utopian-hippy dreams begin to make (a little) sense.

    Transportation likewise, and housing, and healthcare, and energy, because people tend to concentrate geographically, and marginal infrastructure will be abandoned. (Note to Kevin M– yes, durable houses make more sense in such a scenario.)

    Anyway, my point is that if you begin with the assumption of continued population growth, you might as well give up. Not because 10 billion people will live USA lifestyles, but because the existence of those people drives the factors in ncapitalism that create problems.

  21. 371
    Mal Adapted says:

    Thomas:

    Where did I say that

    Thomas was able to avoid talking about himself for less than 10 hours after testing began. That’s underwhelming, I’m afraid. We’ve learned nothing new.

    The testing clock will reset when this comment appears.

  22. 372
    Nemesis says:

    @Killian, #368

    Great comment. They WILL learn it for sure, when shit REALLY hits the fan. We just need patience, there needs to be more pain. Folks in the rich countries are simply doing too well for now, they live in a material garden of eden so to say, they don’t know, what real hunger and thirst is anymore. Nature will do the work for us, Killian, we just have to lay back, relax and wait :-)

  23. 373

    #365, Thomas–

    Where did I say that, or intimate that Kevin? I think you are being overly and unnecessarily “simplistic” and drawing unreasonable assumptions by placing such words into my mouth. Others can speak for themselves.

    Sorry I got it wrong. But I already knew that I could be “simplistic” (without or without quotes) and draw unreasonable conclusions (or ones that may seem so to others). Not what I try to do, of course, but there you are–“to err is human”, and I ain’t no bot.

    More interesting to me is, what would you say on the vexed topic of transition to a sustainable world? (Note: haven’t perused your links yet, but I will, though I regard video as a relatively inefficient way to absorb information, and will ‘continually reassess’ my watching of it. ;-) )

    And–thanks for responding directly to specific points.

  24. 374

    #365, Thomas–

    Good video. Reposting link for those interested:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grZSxoLPqXI&feature=youtu.be&t=7m5s

    A bit dated, of course. (2013) I’d say his “We haven’t begun to tap the potential of wind and solar” should now be “We’ve just begun to tap the potential of wind and solar.”

  25. 375

    zebra, #369–

    Say that tomorrow, the world population stabilized, and started to go down, as it has wherever there is social security and women are empowered. Would there still be “growth”? Would there still be poverty, and great wealth/power disparity?

    Well, nobody really *knows*, of course, and if someone wanted to model scenarios, many more assumptions/parameters would be needed–but as a thought experiment…

    In order:

    Would there still be “growth”?

    Yes, if we assume that most other factors don’t change. So many folks would still be dirt poor that economic productivity would be able to outpace population decline. You’d have fewer people, but much richer ones, for quite some time–again, other variables being held equal. (Climate catastrophe would be a huge potential spoiler, obviously.)

  26. 376

    Dang, that thing unintentionally posted somehow. Curses…

    Continuing, then:

    Would there still be poverty, and great wealth/power disparity?

    Tricky. The problem with that is that persistence of too much poverty & inequity would make it hard to fully achieve the posited demographic transition in the first place. But if we assume that there is ‘just enough’ to reach global ZPG, then yes, I’d expect to see poverty (as per previous comment) and economic inequality, probably some of it quite drastic.

    Going forward, if economic growth can continue–and I’m not saying whether that is sustainable or not here; that’s another (important) issue–then the question becomes, to whom does it mostly accrue? If it’s realized by the wealthiest, then obviously inequality will increase. That’s politically unstable over time, I think. On the other hand, it’s perhaps not beyond imagining that the rich may be prepared to get richer at a lower rate than the poor. (It wouldn’t be an altruistic choice, it would be a tradeoff to achieve political stability.)

    (On a related point, I recall as a graduate student hearing years ago that the President was giving everybody a 1% raise. I member wishing that instead he’d taken the same sum of money and instead split it equally among everybody employed by the school instead. His 1% increase amounted, IIRC, to more than I (or most of the support staff, for that matter) made in total. I didn’t mind so much for myself; a crappy car and economizing on most things is supposed to be part of the grad school deal. But the departmental secretary at the front of my mind, I knew, was raising two kids by herself on that meagre salary. Ah, well, way OT…)

  27. 377
    Walt says:

    @MA Roger

    Thanks for the thread link about the Global Dimming (Dimming the Sun) videos. Indeed there was some hyperbole there, although the idea that we would eliminate particulates to create a worst-case scenario was simply not possible in any real sense. It appears that there was a lot of discussion, but the subject disappeared quickly. The second half which has all the potential long-term effects does remind me that regular IPCC predictions always seem to be on the conservative side and we never get any idea of the potential power and momentum of the of these processes.

    Pliocene sea levels are no joke but it will be some time before they happen, I hope. However, in the last 3 years I have seen flotsam and jetsam on “dry land” at the Everglades campground. Formerly only storm surge from hurricanes would do that, not merely high tides.

    As far as the video goes, I think I will take a couple of snips from it and fill in with what we have seen instead of what could happen. That should be easier on the students.

  28. 378
    Mal Adapted says:

    zebra:

    Say that tomorrow, the world population stabilized, and started to go down, as it has wherever there is social security and women are empowered. Would there still be “growth”? Would there still be poverty, and great wealth/power disparity?

    FWIW, z, I think these are key questions. I’ll present some condensed Jared Diamond by way of Larry Gonick first, please bear with me.

    Until very recently, economic growth and population growth fed back on each other. Prior to astronomic global warming around 10kya, human populations were supported on a foraging economy. Population size was limited by natural (i.e. ecological) carrying capacity. For nomadic foragers, wealth meant food.

    Economic growth began when agriculture increased food supply. As long as the population grew, the economy had to keep pace. Meanwhile, stored seasonal food surpluses allowed aggressive men to become kings, maintaining themselves and their armies on food produced by their subjects. Armies grew along with populations, so social strata and empires arose. Net-consumer classes had leisure, and privilege to enjoy luxury goods, resulting in ‘civilization’; net producers not so much, yet their numbers grew nevertheless.

    After 10K years of slow economic and population growth, wind, hydro and fossil energy accelerated the former while decoupling food production from the latter. Global transport allowed successful kingdoms to seize more remote resources, and eventually to create a single, global economy supporting a globally-stratified population of 7+ billion.

    Where am I going with this? From the retreat of continental ice until the mid-20th century, population and economic growth were driven by social inequality. Since the 1950s, a rising tide of energy consumption has lifted all boats to an extent, and decoupled population growth from economic growth globally. Whether socioeconomic privilege can be sustained in a stable population is an interesting question, because one expects the privileged to try.

    Yet even with global population stable, energy consumption must increase – that is, the global economy must grow – if more are to enjoy social security and empowerment. The most interesting question, IMHO, is whether energy consumption can be decoupled from privilege.

  29. 379
    Thomas says:

    366 nigelj says: “It’s just not that simple.”

    Yeah I know Nigel. However my nz ‘bro’ sharing different views perspectives angles frames beliefs has to be done “simply”, one simple step at a time, one simple link at a time, one simple blog comment at a time. *twinkle*

    Economics is no less complex than climate science. It’s the deniers who irrationally and unreasonably demand that it should be and is “simple” or who falsely claim that climate scientists asserting there is a “consensus” is a simple point that proves all their work and opinions / conclusions a failure and a definite conspiracy by crazy greenies and radical left wing anarcho-communists intent on destroying the world and turning them into slaves imprisoned in Gulags.

    Nothing is simple, imho. However there some pretty simple people out there with access to very complicated computer tech they bought at a shop that convinced them they are just as good as PBS/ABC/NZTV. Unfortunately. :-)

  30. 380
    nigelj says:

    Killian @368

    “nigel is paraphrased as saying Aiming for zero growth doesn’t make sense to me.Yes, we know. Thus the endlessly pointless debate from two people with extremely little understanding of economics taking up half the Unintended Variations. You don’t get it, so stop talking about it.”

    Really? In fact quite a lot of people on this thread question aiming for zero growth. Most of the economics profession are against the idea.

    “Capitalism, to be successful, requires endless growth, which is impossible, which is ALL you need to know, yet, you still don’t get it.”

    Capitalism doesnt require endless growth to work. Private ownership and making a profit does not require growth. Capitalism has ALREADY been successful.

    Obviously endless growth is impossible in a finite world, but we are a long way from such constraints. There’s room for growth yet. Capitalism will eventually change as circumstances change.Its about what we do right now and whether limiting the system to zero growth today makes sense, and I don’t think it does.

    “Creation and consumption of virtually everything we use in modern society requires destruction of the environment and an increase in GHs, which ALL you need to know, yet you still don’t get it.”

    Yes I agree everything humans do has environmental impacts. Even steady state zero growth economies have environmental impact! On that bases human beings might as well commit mass suicide. Lets leave the planet to itself. Is that what you want?

    “There is only one economics system that works with nature, and that is simple exchange within a series of bio-regional Commonses, and Commonses down the line to the level of the neighborhood/village.”

    Vague, wishy washy and undefined. Any tool using culture still has environmental impacts. There’s no ideal system that does not “disturb” nature. However organic farming may well have merit.

    The answer is capitalism, but with much better environmental laws and controls (and controls on the bankers). This would encourage organic farming and things like that which you support. I have yet to see a sensible alternative. Growth will find its own level within such a system, and may ultimately get towards zero growth, but that is not my prime concern.

    Theres also such a thing as good forms of growth and bad forms of growth. This is what debate should be about.

  31. 381
    Thomas says:

    366 nigelj says: “It’s just not that simple.”

    #2 Consider how deniers leapt upon the shift in global temps growth and falsely claimed global warming had stopped. They took one simple number and proceeded to abuse the complicated truth unstated in that Simplistic Yardstick.

    People who do not know much and are not experts in economics, marketing, business or government do the very same thing about national and global GDP Growth – it’s a false Yardstick that’s far more complex than the simple minded would like it to be. Manipulators pushing their own self-interest also misuse such Simple Numbers to lie endlessly to the people – be they politicians, extreme ideologues or corporate boards.

    Of course I and others could present 100s of “facts” regarding the nuances and complexities and distortions within the simple notion of Growth % however what’s the point? Telling people facts makes no difference when they insist on merely defending their own “beliefs/ideology” as opposed to learning something new and accurate. They need a new story, a new narrative to educate them better.

    However, as it’s not the climate scientists job to tell people HOW to fix the current system to radically and rapidly cut GHG emissions, it’s not my job or responsibility to educate people better on the complexities of GDP Growth either. Mr KIA is not the only KIA in this world. Gavin doesn’t bother, and neither will I – for very sound rational reasons. :-)

    Like, it’s easy to blame Trump today for all the current ills in America, however there’s a lot more “Trumpism” lurking inside most peoples Psyche today than they are capable of admitting.

    Bottom line? GDP Growth is about as real and accurate and meaningful and useful as a Simplistic Yardstick as the NYSE DJIA is …. like in Global mean Temps the devil is in the complex details.

    *twinkle*

  32. 382
    nigelj says:

    zebra @370

    “Zcapitalism is characterized only by the existence of “money” and the rule of law (meaning, everyone in society accepts some durable token as having value, and the State enforces that.)”

    Well hmmm. What about an economy based on bitcoin? Doesn’t that undermine your argument?

    I don’t think you can reduce capitalism to one simple definition related to the money system. Governments enforcing value of money was something that enabled capitalism to grow, but doesn’t seem an essential defining feature.

    However I agree you could argue the rule of law was defining of capitalism, as it enables individuals to own private property if they want, but doesn’t stop the state also doing this! So you may be onto something…

    “I make the distinction between real property ……We also agreed citizens may vote”

    Yeah agreed on all that.

    “Declining populations?”

    But this is only happening in a few limited countries. The main trend is global population growth (unfortunately), that hopefully eventually stabilise. This is a separate from economic growth.

    “First, the value of labor increases as it becomes more scarce. Will robots replace some humans? Sure, but at some point there must be an equilibrium that will be determined economically.”

    Yes eventually, and it could be at zero economic growth. My concern was more should society deliberately aim for zero economic growth starting right now, both philosophically, practically and with the law etc. I’m not convinced.

    “In terms of resources and resource extraction and consumption– well, you can only “eat” so much…”

    Yes obviously.

    “Anyway, my point is that if you begin with the assumption of continued population growth, you might as well give up. ”

    I’m not talking about population growth, never have been. I have been talking about economic growth, as in increasing output of goods and services driven by better technology etc.

    I certainly agree we should stabilise population growth asap. Population puts pressure on the environment. We don’t need any more people!

  33. 383
    Thomas says:

    366 nigelj says: “It’s just not that simple.”

    #3, hi mate, not picking on you, “simply” using your comment as a ‘teaching moment’. :-)

    You mentioned “Obama also wanted more support for home owners, but was voted down by congress.”

    While my ref’d article also said “One cannot blame Obama for Trump. It was the Republicans – craven to the mob within their base, which they have always courted but ultimately could not control – that nominated and, for now, indulges him (trump).

    […] what Obama did – or rather didn’t do – economically. He entered the White House at a moment of economic crisis, with Democratic majorities in both Houses and bankers on the back foot. Faced with the choice of preserving the financial industry as it was or embracing far-reaching reforms that would have served the interests of those who voted for him, he chose the former.

    Even as we protest about the ‘new normal’, we should not pretend it is replacing something popular or effective.

    Just a couple of months into his first term he called a meeting of banking executives. “The president had us at a moment of real vulnerability,” one of them told Ron Suskind in his book Confidence Men. “At that point, he could have ordered us to do just about anything and we would have rolled over. But he didn’t – he mostly wanted to help us out, to quell the mob.”

    People lost their homes while bankers kept their bonuses and banks kept their profits.

    In 2010 Damon Silvers of the independent congressional oversight panel told Treasury officials: “We can either have a rational resolution to the foreclosure crisis, or we can preserve the capital structure of the banks. We can’t do both.” They chose the latter. Not surprisingly, this was not popular. Three years into Obama’s first term 58% of the country – including an overwhelming majority of Democrats and independents – wanted the government to help stop foreclosures. His Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, did the opposite, setting up a programme that would “foam the runway” for the banks.

    So when Hillary Clinton stood for Obama’s third term, the problem wasn’t just a lack of imagination: it was that the first two terms had not lived up to their promise.
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/16/how-barack-obama-paved-way-donald-trump-racism

    So much for Obama being an inspirational leader who would bring CHANGE to Washington. :-)

    and “And even as we protest about the legitimacy of the “new normal”, we should not pretend it is replacing something popular or effective. The old normal was not working. […] Symbols should not be dismissed as insubstantial; but nor should they be mistaken for substance.

    It’s Trump who is now using precedents set and highly empowered institutions by Obama to chase down and imprison “leakers” exposing Trump’s white house shenanigans and bs.

    Timothy Geithner (liberal democrat leftie pro-unionist pro-equality people person) left the Obama administration on January 25, 2013, and joined the Council on Foreign Relations as a distinguished fellow.

    In March 2014, he became the president and managing director of Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm. In February 2016, it was announced that JPMorgan Chase would provide a line of credit to help Warburg Pincus executives invest in a new multibillion-dollar fund at the firm.

    Go figure …. Obama hired him as Treasury Secretary in the first place. Obama was not and never will be a solution to any ills or problems – Obama was the problem – as was/is HRC and the rest of these slippery bs artists who falsely claim they care about the people and are “liberals”.

    Both Obama & HRC were publicly against same sex/gay marriage there entire political life all the way to being elected Senators including in the early days of the Obama Administration. Either they had a Road to Damascus moment or they were blatantly lying cowards before. You decide.

    But myself personally am 100% aligned to the blatantly lying cowards 24/7/365 (before and after the change in Marriage Laws occurred) – just like Geithner and Trump and all the rest are iow. :-)

    Thanks for the excellent AGW/CC denial/communication refs in #366 – good stuff!!!

  34. 384
    Thomas says:

    @ zebra
    “People come to the very scientific RC and criticize the Denialists for being unscientific and rhetorical in their arguments, but demonstrate the same lack of reason and self-discipline when it comes to their own emotionally-driven position on everything else.”

    That’s worth repeating. :-)

  35. 385
    Thomas says:

    373 Kevin McKinney asks: “More interesting to me is, what would you say on the vexed topic of transition to a sustainable world?

    I have already stated my position on that topic on a number of occasions. Basically, (or shall we say simplistically lol) it isn’t going to happen voluntarily nor by planned intent. The current paradigms are too entrenched in the collective psyche, imho.

    That and it is not the majority will or commons sense that rules this world, but the beliefs and actions of extremist minorities who will do and say anything to get what they want. There’s the ISIS cliche and then there’;s the neonazis who will drive through a crowd of people to make their point and insist upon acting out their attention seeking psychopathology. Trump and HRC are simply less violent versions of that kind of behaviour – same bone different horses.

    Look at it this way, Hitler’s nazis never once held a majority in the German parliament and yet Hitler was still made Chancellor and took control of the majority and the nation. Those extremists that push for AGW/CC denial and blocking any and every rational response to it are no different to Hitler or ISIS recruits. Then there are their enablers such as Rupert Murdoch who infest the news media of today – and for a majority of people in the west having the freedom to lie and manipulate is far more important to their corrupt values and belief systems than the freedom to know the Truth.

    In such circumstances as this, the most likely outcome based on human history and human psychology is reflected in the fall of Rome – things “could” change for the better – the problems/causes “could” be solved but history suggests other outcomes are far more likely at this point.

    Thanks for asking. No worries about the little error, I wasn’t upset/angry, merely correcting the record, for the record. :-)

    With “video” refs, when I note set time in the url’s usually 1 to 5 minutes conveys what I am pointing to for consideration. Up to you how much to view. The other alternative is note the speaker/source and do some research via google scholar or some other means to get where they are coming from. Often I provide urls to the home pages (and academic papers) of such people like Lakoff, K Anderson, Mirowski etc as a time saving help to readers interested in learning more.

    Each to their own though. :-)

  36. 386
    Thomas says:

    373 Kevin McKinney – PS – I think ti is useful and insightful to understand that like that idiot in Charlottesville there are thousands more who would happily put a bullet in every climate scientists head or run them down with a truck at the next AGU meeting. That’s the reality, that’s how totally bereft of reason and sanity many of these people are.

    It’s rhetoric by the likes of Trump, Victor, WUWT, KIA, Breitbart and Fox News, and Lamar Smith, and Judith Curry and Facebook, Twitter and Google’s Youtube who inspire such morons to action – and create enough crap in the public domain that psychotic delusional incompetent idiots like Trump get voted into office in the first place.

  37. 387
    nigelj says:

    zebra @369

    “Say that tomorrow, the world population stabilized, and started to go down, as it has wherever there is social security and women are empowered. Would there still be “growth”? Would there still be poverty, and great wealth/power disparity?”

    Gdp growth is increased output of goods and services. Smaller global population would not require so many goods and services, so I think the impetus for growth would stall a bit. Smaller population would struggle to achieve growth with less people to contribute, but it would be counter balanced to some extent by potential robotics and automation.

    There would still be severe poverty especially with lower growth rates to lift everyones boats. There’s enough wealth in countries like America to end poverty within that country, its a distribution question.

    There would still be income and wealth inequality. Changing the size of population or gdp growth rates obviously doesn’t alter wealth distribution or wage rates.

    Capitalism tends to generate inequality ( as a negative sort of side effect). The only period where inequality was reasonably low in the western world was in the period 1945 – 1980 as in the article below. This was in capitalist economies like America that had policies of trade protectionism, trade unionism, high marginal tax rates, inheritance taxes, income support, well regulated banks, etc. I’m not saying go back to all those things, but it may become necessary to adopt some of them somehow.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States

  38. 388
    Thomas says:

    377 Walt says, re @MA Roger

    “Global Dimming (Dimming the Sun) videos. […] It appears that there was a lot of discussion, but the subject disappeared quickly.

    Do you know why it disappeared quickly Walt? Only part of the answer is here: https://www.nature.com/news/geoengineering-experiment-cancelled-amid-patent-row-1.10645

    The complete holistic answer is to be found in understanding Neoliberalism and those people who live and die by this fraudulent Ideology – which is really more like a Religion than anything else that could define it and it’s High Priests or the Pope Rupert Murdoch.

    How do I know about this? Again, it’s back to Prof. Mirowski and his 2013 video lecture about Neoliberalism and the Global AGW/CC Denial Dynamic.

    Mirowski specifically brings up this Neoliberal driven ‘Global Dimming’ SPICE project as another prescient example of the real threats to any rational AGW/CC action — the ONLY thing which stopped it in it’s tracks: A legal financial argument over Intellectual Property Rights!

    Mirowski addresses the SPICE project starting here – https://youtu.be/I7ewn29w-9I?t=2938 for several minutes until 55:30 mins

    I have lost count of how many times I have offered up this one 2013 lecture as really important to learn about and understand HOLISTICALLY the immense barriers to rational action on AGW/CC today by this global Neoliberal Denialist Project.

    However — maybe better to for readers to start at this 11 minute section starting from: https://youtu.be/I7ewn29w-9I?t=2678
    Give it time to lay the foundational concepts before Mirowski tells the whole truth about this ‘Global Dimming’ SPICE project, the ongoing abuse of science for Profit motives alone, the fraudulent nature of Geoengineering science fiction fantasies, the rank hypocrisy & sophistry of the rhetoric, and the entrenched (unrecognized) Neoliberal factors involved that is driving these delusions in the public domain, in Congress and across the Media and SCIENCE landscapes.

    As Mirowski says often: “This is how the story works!” The “story” – get it?

    @Killian please note the slide at this point: https://youtu.be/I7ewn29w-9I?t=2691Orthodox Financial Theories are deeply flawed – they cannot ‘efficiently allocate risk’ — noting that Philip Mirowski is a Professor of Economics and Policy Studies who I suspect is far more knowledgeable on the subject than most RC commenters here who criticize your facts and your idealism.

    In that same slide it says (as I have repeatedly stated myself in my own words) “Carbon Trading does nothing to slow global warming.” – “That’s very important – because maybe that’s the object!” and “They are not stupid!”

    And words to the effect of: “Geoengineering fantasy/fiction does nothing to reduce GHG emissions – well, that’s THE point!”

    The Ultimate Long-Term Fix – Geoengineering by private firms to further alter the Climate. That is where we are headed.

    This ‘Global Dimming’ theory experiment was funded by the Gates Foundation among others. While ignoring the international treaties that exists regarding the removal SO2 in the atmosphere – the project wants to do the opposite – wtf? That isn’t science that’s lunacy writ large.

    Much like Big Tobacco there is a thing called Neoliberal Science today that is far more perverse and widespread than simply a handful of ‘climate scientists’ preaching AGW/CC denialism and the whole thing is a conspiracy of errors upon errors.

    There was one motivation for the ‘Global Dimming’ SPICE theory experiment – the potential of massive future profits for companies and the Patent IP Holders – who are SCIENTISTS and Science Institutions and their INVESTORS – doh!

    And noting it would all have to be paid for by Governments and the Tax payers of the world. So much for Neoliberals deeming big govt bad and govt spending an evil curse — core issues for them and their Republican-Libertarian co-workers aka co-conspirators – the do as we say, don’t do what we do Red Team! :-)

    Why not also watch the concluding 5 minutes of this lecture and see what it teaches: https://youtu.be/I7ewn29w-9I?t=3331

    Political understandings of Nature and Society come first; Science doesn’t ‘naturally’ support anything!”

    Or note this other Mirowski lecture snippet addressing the fact that: “Neoliberals are Anti-Enlightenment” https://youtu.be/QBB4POvcH18?t=1366

    Or maybe take a Holistic view and watch the entire Lecture? Philip Mirowski: Hell is Truth Seen Too Late https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBB4POvcH18

    and please, fwiw, how about the ‘scientists/academics’ here on RC also note that Professor Philip Mirowski is an ‘expert academic’ on the Philosophy of Science?

  39. 389
    nigelj says:

    Thomas #383. I don’t think anyone is claiming Obama was perfect. I do agree the Democrats need a shake up, and a few home truths. He was unwise to allow the bankers to keep bonuses and some of them were let off too lightly.

    But I think Obama was wise to bail out the banks, and hes better than many I can think of including Trump. It’s all ot and your point is not entirely clear.

  40. 390
    Thomas says:

    Traveling down the rabbit hole….

    Mar 2017 Professor Donald E. Pease: The Cultural Fantasy-Work of Neoliberalism https://youtu.be/Zfax6sH0gM0?t=225
    Professor Pease gave this lecture at the University of Pittsburgh on March 18, 2017 as part of boundary 2’s conference, “Neoliberalism, Its Ontology and Genealogy: The Work and Context of Philip Mirowski.”

    2009 Author: Donald E. Pease – Exposes the fantasies that shaped U.S. identity between the end of the cold war and the global war on terror https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/the-new-american-exceptionalism

    May 2017 The First 100 Days Trump’s America – Donald E. Pease is Professor in the Humanities at Dartmouth University https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIcrAwaE_Og

    What has this got to do with AGW/CC science denial and political corruption and manipulation of the public across the western world that has been blocking critical thinking and action to address climate change? Everything!

    Russia, China and Nth Korea are not real threats to America or Americans – Todays America is the biggest threat to Americans!

    Wendy Brown is Professor of Political Science at the University of California Berkeley. Her research interests include the history of political and social theory, Continental philosophy, and critical theory, together with the examination of contemporary capitalism. In her research into the problems that plague contemporary capitalism and neoliberalism, she employs theoretical works of Michel Foucault, Max Weber, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, and Frankfurt school. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqQ_dIjr3uU

    Her most recent work Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution (2015) uses Michel Foucault’s The Birth of Biopolitics to analyze the hollowing and evisceration of democracy under neoliberal rationality.

    Brown describes neoliberalism as a furtive attack on the very foundation of democracy. She treats “neoliberalism as a governing rationality through which everything is “economized” and in a very specific way: human beings become market actors and nothing but, every field of activity is seen as a market, and every entity (whether public or private, whether person, business, or state) is governed as a firm.

    Importantly, this is not merely a matter of extending commodification and monetization everywhere, as in the old Marxist depiction of capital’s transformation of everyday life. Neoliberalism construes even non-wealth generating spheres—such as learning, dating, or exercising—in market terms, submits them to market metrics, and governs them with market techniques and practices.

    Above all, it casts people as human capital who must constantly tend to their own present and future value.” To be saved, democracy again needs to become not only the object of theoretical rethinking but also of political struggle.

    Neoliberalism is Capitalism on Steroids without constraint.

    Peer-reviewed Papers, References, and some Books by experts in the field can be found here https://scholar.google.com

  41. 391
    Thomas says:

    @RAY

    The Handbook of Alternative Theories of Economic Development explores the theories and approaches which, over a prolonged period of time, have existed as viable alternatives to today’s mainstream and neo-classical tenets. With a total of more than 40 specially commissioned chapters, written by the foremost authorities in their respective fields, this volume represents a landmark in the field of economic development. It elucidates the richness of the alternative and sometimes misunderstood ideas which, in different historical contexts, have proved to be vital to the improvement of the human condition.
    Edited by Professor Erik S. Reinert, Professor Jayati Ghosh,Professor Rainer Kattel.
    http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/handbook-of-alternative-theories-of-economic-development

    This Development studies Seminar titled “Demolishing Neoliberal Development Myths” was given by Professor Jayati Ghosh, Professor Erik S. Reinert, Professor Rainer Kattel at SOAS University of London on 17 January 2017

    ALT sources via – https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=alternative+theories+of+economic+development&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=&oq=alternative+theories+of+economic+dev

    Climate scientists point to the causes and problems caused by AGW/CC. They are not expected to nor required to present the DETAILED PRACTICAL PLAN for SOLUTIONS.

    I and others have pointed out several causes and problems with the entrenched prevailing Paradigms of Economic Beliefs, Semantics, Framing, Marketing and Practices. One being the unconscious unexamined CULTural beliefs about Economic Growth.

    Neither I nor others should be expected here to have at hand a nice simplistic Solution all wrapped up in a Gift Box tied up with pretty ribbon because someone on “social media” demands it and who then ridicules others simply because they can’t do what the Climate Scientists cannot do either.

    That’s irrational – if you don’t lay such emotional clap trap upon climate scientists then why do you do it to commenters here and by default all those experts in the field who actually know more than “you or I” do and actually have been talking about “solutions” as much as those concerned about AGW/CC have been for decades?

    And apparently on the sole basis that “you” can’t find anything that suits your BIAS to your SATISFACTION and are therefore ignorant of the complex work, and holistic ideas, and evidence based facts found in expert research, and the alternative solutions already out there in the “real world”? Well? Any ideas?

    That’s what the Victors & the KIAs and the Lamar Smiths and the Trumps do regarding Climate Science – Isn’t it? :-)

  42. 392
    Thomas says:

    oops missing Video Lecture URL for
    This Development studies Seminar titled “Demolishing Neoliberal Development Myths” was given by Professor Jayati Ghosh, Professor Erik S. Reinert, Professor Rainer Kattel at SOAS University of London on 17 January 2017

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBXRWh2US84

  43. 393
    Thomas says:

    Dr. Jack Rasmus – Free Trade as Centerpiece of Neoliberal Policy, Treaties, Capital Flows – People (Labour) Flows and Corporate Government/Legislation system and Multinationals and therefore Inaction on AGW/CC issues and Climate Science Denial Marketing worldwide being Exported as if it’s a “freedom of speech” commodity (when it ain’t) from America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRns8maZc0Q

  44. 394
    Killian says:

    You people are largely delusional, if not outright nuts. Good god… Reading this drivel over and over for months and years… the same people repeating the same impossibilities… just stop.

    Growth? What makes it possible? Robotics? GDP? What is Capitalism? Blah, blah, blah…

    One metric matters: Sustainable or not. Period. End of discussion. If it isn’t sustainable, why are you talking about it? Nothing you are discussing is sustainable. Bad enough, but Kevin asked you about the transition, but you all responded with your visions of the future.

    Egad…

    Let’s look at a few of your nutty points.

    There is one, and only one, definition of capitalism: Private ownership of capital. Period. You are confusing this with the system that exists around capitalism, which is largely shaped BY capitalism. But those things are not, themselves, capitalism. Capitalism is the cause of rents (here I use the economics term, not only payment to occupy space.) It is the cause of jobs vs. work because ownership for one is a deprivation for another, which is made up for by working for the guy who took your portion of stuff in the first place. In a nutshell, capitalism creates the poor. There are no poor in sustainable communities because either everyone is hungry or everyone is fed. Poor is a term of relative comparison and only applies where selfishness exists.

    Capitalism cannot be made sustainable because it is not driven by “economic forces” or any other drivel, but by selfishness, greed, megalomania, sadism, etc.

    Capitalism is either a Dead Man Walking or the end of everything, one or the other. It dies, or the planet dies. Pick one.

    Robotics? Really? You already know there are severe limits to resources. You already know no modern manufacturing is currently sustainable. It is nuts to speak as if the planet can be robotified. It cannot. Not will not, cannot. So, stop talking about it. You are failing to note you are among the global top 1 – 5%. The other 95%? Robot job stealers isn’t their reality, and never will be for most. Automation will have an extremely limited lifespan because of resources. And economics.

    If you were able to replace 7.5 billion people with robots, how do they live? No jobs. This is capitalism, so everyone starves. Stupid. So, no, you can’t have robotics without… UBI. UBI does exactly what robots are supposed to prevent: It raises incomes. No UBI, you will have insurrection, globally. Period. Forget robots. Not happening. Of course, the fact they are utterly unsustainable is all you needed to know, but, hey, someone is reading you, so you must write your drivel!

    What else…? Ah, growth. First, what are you measuring? Constructs. You are measuring constructs. GDP! Happiness! Jobs! Profits! Whatever. Sustainable people sit around their fire and sing or tell stories and make musing and know nothing of your GDP or Happiness Index. These are absurd things measuring phantoms. They will sleep in the home the built, in the morning eat the food the grew, gathered, or killed. They will do the work that *needs* doing. Children will watch and learn the things that *need* be learned.

    If growth were a necessary condition of life, every sustainable (for simplicity, let’s admit they are virtually all aboriginal) community on the planet would have long overshot their carrying capacity. But economic growth is a construct driven by greed, desire for power and, frankly, stupidity. The supposedly uneducated aboriginals know not to exceed carrying capacity. More embarrassing, they actually know their carrying capacity. We have no real clue how the other 7.4 billion are supposed to do figure that out. Well, we do, but all but a couple of you here do not. The idea scares you into fits of twisting reality till it fits in your latte cup.

    Growth that cycles through death and back around within that margin where it becomes unsustainable is the only growth that matters. The pre-industrial carbon cycle, e.g. All these other measures of growth are nonsense moving forward.

    Population? Yes, it would be good if it dropped, but it is not necessary to attain sustainability. There is some future size of population that will be too large for the planet, period, but that number is likely somewhere between 10 and 12 billion. But, yes, the smaller the population, the greater the resources per capita. But even at low levels of population, sustainability matters. Things still wear out and still need replacement, and if they are unsustainable things, someday they will cease to exist. God help us if the things we need to move to Mars or divert a planet-killing asteroid or to mine the heavens (which might get us to a point of **relatively** sustainable high tech) got used up making a latte.

    Short version: If your conversation ignores sustainability/resource limits, you are fitting the definition of crazy. This has been the state of Unforced Variations in recent months.

  45. 395
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @381, well we agree things generally aren’t a simple as people would like them to be.

    Economics is made complex by human psychology mucking up rational behavior, and difficult questions of inequality.

    Climate is made complex by feedbacks, and climate denialists throwing as much mud as they can.

    Climate theory relies on a weight of evidence argument which is complex, making it an easy target for multiple attacks. Like your example.

    GDP growth is a simplification that just adds up everything. Even digging holes and filling them in again counts as growth. The numbers also don’t include environmental costs. But growth gives us an idea of roughly where the economy is going.

    I’m not dismissing zero growth. It could work. I just think we should worry more about environmental policy, and the issue will sort itself out.

    But I think 1% growth would be more realistic, at least for a defined period if we can. Zero growth may tend to slip into negative growth, and that can become a downwards spiral.

    Do we need more state control and planning? Wouldn’t it be funny if the communists were right all along.

  46. 396
    Mr. Know It All says:

    371 – Mal Adapted

    It’s amazing looking at the sheer volume of verbiage Thomas has typed. Perhaps the blog name should be changed. Perhaps “Thomas Spouts Off”, or “I am no Doubting Thomas”, or “I’m a Believer”, or “Thomas Impersonates Trump and Insults Everyone” or…….???

    Let’s have a contest to come up with a new name for the blog.

    :)

  47. 397
    zebra says:

    Kevin, Mal, nigel,

    All good replies but comments keep leapfrogging each other so I have to take a beat and organize my thoughts.

    For the moment, I’m still not clear on the metric for “growth”, also whether y’all are thinking in terms of “domestic product” or “global product”.

    As others have pointed out, there are economic transactions that essentially use no resources and have no externalities. Should we count those equally, if at all, with those that do? (Nigel, this is why I segregate real property from wealth in the form of accumulated labor.)

    I would also suggest, and this is a key point, that changes in economic conditions or “quality of life” involve relative measurements– there really is no absolute standard that we can apply. For a good part of the world population, in their context, having indoor plumbing would be a .1% luxury. So, how do we measure “inequality”? (Mal, this relates to your “globally stratified” concept– I’m not sure it works, because science tells us that “all status is local”.)

    Anyway, I will wait to see if more replies result from 370 before further comment.

  48. 398
    Dan H. says:

    Mal@378,
    First off, very nice synopsis. To answer your hypothetical, I think yes, it is possible. After all, all the other wealth decouplings occurred. Will it, is yet to be seen. Based on history, I see no reason to think it cannot be accomplished. The only thing stopping it is mankind’s desire to control. Yet, I think you only be a delaying tactic, as advancement always seems to occur, no matter how many obstacles are placed in its path. Even past wars, pestilences, and disasters did not inhibit growth.

  49. 399

    Th 390: Russia, China and Nth Korea are not real threats to America or Americans

    BPL: Maybe China isn’t. Russia manipulated our election, and they are steadily conquering countries around them. North Korea has been threatening us for a long time.

  50. 400

    Re today’s eclipse – two pieces of underpublicized advice from a two-time totaltity viewer:

    Be dead in the middle of the centerline– every kilometer counts .

    Don’t forget to look at the rest of the sky.

    Here’s why :
    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-eclipse-of-reason.html