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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. 551
    Nemesis says:

    @Mike Roberts, #535, #536:

    ” The RMA doesn’t have sustainability as its goal, it has something called “sustainable management of resources”. It uses a definition similar to “sustainable development”. If the RMA had a goal of sustainability, no new mining operations would be allowed under the act, since none are sustainable and all degrade the environment.”

    ” “The only way to do this is capitalism but with better environmental controls” “

    Exactly. I call it plain and simple:

    Greenwashing. Capitalist Greenwashing at it’s best. Just BAU

    Thanks for putting that straight!

  2. 552
    Hank Roberts says:

    A suggestion :

    Could RC publish a thread written at the grade-school reading level, titled

    “How does all that water get into the air to make rain?”

    Picture steam rising off warm water.
    Picture a storm spinning over the warm Gulf of Mexico
    Picture the notion of the storm moving offshore and “recharging” as the news keeps talking about
    Picture the humidity trend expected over time.


    So how does Jupiter’s Great Red Spot persist? Is there a warm area under the clouds keeping it energized?

  3. 553
    Hank Roberts says:

    NPR just now:

    More than three days after Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, the storm’s center is back out over the Gulf of Mexico, south of Galveston. The storm is moving east-northeast at near 3 mph. It’s expected to remain offshore tonight and to return inland on Wednesday.

    How much energy and water gets gained by this?
    Yeah, it’s weather. It’s also climate change.

  4. 554
    Hank Roberts says:

    And, yeah, this is familiar: they’re off the charts and have to extend the scale:

    The colors the National Weather Service uses to show rainfall on its weather map couldn’t represent the deluge in southeastern Texas, so the NWS added two more purple shades to its map. The old scale topped out at more than 15 inches; the new limit tops 30 inches.

  5. 555
    Hank Roberts says:

    Stronger rainfalls hitting with more frequency are leading to more flooding.

    “If the air is warmer, more of the water evaporates out of the oceans and lakes and rivers,” she explained. “When a storm comes along, as it always does naturally, there’s more water vapor available for that storm to pick up and dump on us.”

    “We’re also seeing that hurricanes are getting not more frequent but stronger because they get all their energy from warm ocean water,” she noted.

    And in the future, Hayhoe sees trouble coming for hundreds of millions more people — for instance, those on coastlines.

    See also:

  6. 556
    Hank Roberts says:“climate+resilient”

    There is no longer a federal standard requiring that rebuilding Houston be done anticipating climate change.

  7. 557
    Hank Roberts says:

    Scientists remain leery of attributing any individual storm to climate change. But the dominant scientific consensus is that climate change is increasing the odds that storms will be more powerful and destructive.
    “There is no doubt that climate change increases the severity of disasters such as Hurricane Harvey,” Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under former President Obama told me in an email exchange Monday. “Warmer ocean waters are more conducive to more intense hurricanes (heat = energy). Warmer air holds more moisture. Climate change is warming both the ocean and the air. In addition, higher sea levels mean greater storm surge. As we’re seeing with Harvey, the combination is devastating: powerful winds, incessant downpours, significant flooding. ”
    This is Houston. Then and now.
    This is Houston. Then and now.
    In another email exchange on Monday, John W. Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State climatologist and a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M, was quick to argue that it was premature to directly link Harvey specifically to changes in the climate. “The climate change impact on the strength of Harvey is unknown; climate change is expected to increase the intensity of the strongest storms, but it’s not clear whether Harvey was in that category,” he wrote me.
    But Nielsen-Gammon added that the overall trajectory of extreme weather in Texas is unmistakable-and strongly linked to climate change. “Extreme rainfall, however, is getting heavier: The south-central United States has seen an increase in the frequency and intensity of one-day and two-day extreme rainfall events,” he wrote. “My own analysis of Texas data shows an increase of about 30% in the likelihood of passing a given threshold [of total rain amount] in a given year, which corresponds to about a 5% increase in the intensity of the strongest rainfall over the past century.”
    That shift, he continued, “is a direct consequence of climate change and is expected to continue.” Like Lubchenco and other climate scientists, Nielsen-Gammon said the increasing incidence of heavy storms is “driven by rising atmospheric temperatures and rising sea surface temperatures, which affect the capacity of the atmosphere to hold moisture and increases the total amount of water that can rain out when the air is saturated.”

    That’s from:

  8. 558
    Nemesis says:

    @Thomas, #547

    Oops, I didn’t know, that Katharine Hayhoe was on the Exxon boat too. Interesting questions you ask, interesting questions indeed^^…

  9. 559
    Steven Emmerson says:

    #547 Thomas,

    My understanding is that Exxon’s climatologists published peer-reviewed papers and attended scientific conferences, where some of them presented their findings — most, if not all, of which, agreed with the scientific consensus on AGW.

    Few not in the field would know this, however.

    The problem with Exxon isn’t their climatologists, it’s Exxon’s alleged funding of FUD groups and alleged misrepresentations to their stockholders.

    Don’t blame the scientists, blame the suits.

  10. 560
    Nemesis says:

    @Thomas, #547

    I found out, that the consortium I was talking about regarding to international organized, criminal (yes, Mal Adapted, I call it criminal) climate change denial, has a name:

    Global Climate Coalition (GCC).

    On their trademark it is written:

    Global Climate Coalition (GCC)- Growth in a Global Environment

    Hell yeah, “Growth” sounds somewhat familiar :-)…

    ” The Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was an outspoken industry group based in the United States opposing policies that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the coalition disbanded in 2002, some members including the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute continue to lobby against emissions reductions.

    The GCC was formed in 1989, shortly after the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and was operated until 1997 out of the offices of the National Association of Manufacturers. Early members included Amoco, the American Forest & Paper Association, American Petroleum Institute (API), Chevron, Chrysler, Cyprus AMAX Minerals, Exxon, Ford, General Motors, Shell Oil, Texaco, the United States Chamber of Commerce and more than 40 other corporations and trade associations…

    Boom- more than 40 corporations and trade associations 8-) You know what?! To me, this is even more desastrous, than manmade climate change itself:

    It is a crime against facts, a crime against reason, a crime against enlightenment, a crime against science, a crime against democracy, a crime against the planet, a crime against Nature. And they will never ever get away with it. The Laws of Nature are my witness.

  11. 561

    Th 429: Isn’t everyone a Buddhist? Would be a much better world if they were

    BPL: Until you recall how many Buddhists took part in the rape of Nanking, or consider how Thailand can be the child prostitution capital of the world, or reflect on what they did to the Boat People when Viet Nam fell. Don’t kid yourself. Nobody has clean hands.

  12. 562

    KIA 537: That’s one of the main reasons many in the USA oppose AGW beliefs – we want freedom – not state control.

    BPL: This classic logical fallacy is known as “argumentum ad consequentiam,” the argument from consequences. If global warming is true, liberals might raise taxes. Therefore global warming isn’t true. Yes, KIA, I have to agree, many deniers seem to think that way. If you can call it thinking.

  13. 563

    K 546: Economics is voodoo,

    BPL: No matter how many times you say this, it still won’t be true.

  14. 564
    Killian says:

    #548 Nigwil said You say: ‘You think it’s all just fun and games because you have already given up. A comfortable and lazy position, but it certainly would be a luxury. It’s a luxury I do not have.’

    …there is an increasing chance that the inflow will overwhelm the pumps, and she will founder… You are clearly of the opinion that the ship can be saved from the present committed 2C global average warming, and so you continue to man the pumps as your strength lasts… For both you and me – and others I am sure – our beliefs and actions are not luxuries. They are born of our inbuilt imperative to survive. You are as entitled to your belief… as I am to mine… or each of us views the situation through a different lens.

    Wellll…. You may be under the misapprehension I think fixing all this is likely. I do not; the problem with solving climate/resources is that it requires people.


    However, yes, I am certain we *can* with the caveat: Tipping Points. Passed or not passed makes all else moot if passed. I consider it a fairly small chance we will act collectively quickly enough to prevent mass die off. As I have a son and consider it immoral and unethical to not do everything I can to save his life, I do not have the luxury of sanguinity. It is a luxury, for it is a choice to ignore facts, to assume what cannot be known (that it is too late or can’t be done.) Like scientists,we should be thinking in terms of probability, not certainty. As long as there is a chance, it is basically a crime against Nature and humanity not to do all we can.

    And, no, not all opinions on what we can or should do are equal. Some harmonize facts and info over a wide range of concepts, some do not.

  15. 565
    Killian says:

    #504 nigelj Part II Please tell me at least some of the elements, obviously I don’t expect the full picture on a blog site.

    I have repeatedly, for years. One can lead a horse to water…

    1. Natural systems have principles just as engineering does. Does by those. Read on permaculture (Pc).

    2. Design with a process that accounts for Nature, limits, available resources, needs. Needs vs. wants because needs define sufficiency, wants define over-consumption. Meet wants out of abundance from healthy, maximized systems while treating them as an unexpected gift rather than a goal. Use abundance wisely. Sharing is good. See: Pc.

    3. What is needed? (Let’s frame this in terms of a relatively healthy person for simplicity and acknowledge we will likely want to put some resources into maintaining healthcare systems during transition while hoping healthier lifestyles will minimize these systems, and their drain on resources over time.)

    Food, water, stable body temp. That’s it. Remember: the key is simplicity, and that starts with our goals. If the goal is to maintain modern aka OECD lifestyles, it’s already game over. Impossible. However, if all we choose to meet are the needs for water, food and stable body temps, does that not massively simplify what we must do? It is one thing to think we must figure out how to make America as it sits today sustainable, and another to think one must only feed, clothe, shelter and water the population. It’s easy to see the resources easily exist to do this, and with far less resources than used today.

    This seems radical to many, yet societies have done similar throughout history. Today’s Pueblos are yesterday’s Chaco Canyon residents. More to the point, some around the planet *never stopped living this way*, thus, it is possible to simplify and thrive. One cannot say it is human nature to “develop” nor to have constant growth. Again, the fact some humans chose to never do either, and yet are more developed in many ways with far more wisdom in terms of living well *with* the planet, proves the lie. It has become the habit to have stuff, to continually increase technology > complexity. It is not human nature.

    So, just imagine…. stopping. Imagine people work to work, to be active, to provide for the community. Imagine nobody owns anything, but everybody owns everything. Why should a farmer stop farming? His work feeds. (Food, water, body temps.) Imagine many former paper pushers help, replacing the combines and tractors. Because it needs to be done so all can eat. The only thing preventing this, and much more if you extend the example society-wide, is people’s shock at the simplicity of it, and the loss of the familiar creating fear.

    All essential work continues, all former non-essential workers start learning to do the essential work. Everybody has lots more free time. Ooh! Arts!

    4. How to start? Food, water, temps: Grow a garden, capture water, secure shelter. Start with the water and the garden. No person is an island, so start working with neighbors/family. Start learning egalitarian ways and Commonses. Create a community group. Assume you will be your own governance eventually, make it so when you can/must.

    5. Learn Pc and the other sub-forms of regenerative systems: Agroforestry, food forests, silviculture, regenerative farming, holistic grazing, natural building, etc.

    Such a system will have one big issue. It is essentially freezing expansion at a certain point and material quality of life. It could stagnate and end up going backwards.

    This qualitative perspective is nonsense. Simplicity is a necessity, and an *improvement* in quality of life, tough objectively likely less physically comfortable for today’s OECD citizens. Billions live simply already. Living simply and richly within community is not “backwards,” it is going back(wards?) to the future.

    At the very least I want to see an end to dire global poverty so we need some growth to achieve this before transitioning to a new system and essentially freezing the system.

    Let me paraphrase: We must first consume enough for ten Earths before we simplify to needing only one.

    Poverty is partly perspective. Are aboriginal, egalitarian, Commonsing, healthy, happy people living in poverty? (Rhetorical question.) If all are living simply, there is no such thing as poverty.

    These are tough issues. If Killian can literally design such a society that would be useful, but its a tough one.

    Meh… took me about six years if one includes the concepts I learned serendipitously that allowed me to eventually have the insight , but about three hours from the flash of insight to having the concept sketched out. A bit like doing a 50-piece puzzle with a simple picture.

    This is why I promote just put more environmental laws in place as this is politically at least possible

    Politics is the opposite of what we need to do, so why put your focus there? Garden, water, temps.

    to give capitalism big push, and see what happens.

    If you throw it hard enough you can make a rock take flight, eh?

    Trial and error.

    That’s the last 800 or so years. Well, the last 10k or so.

    Treat it more as an evolutionary thing than trying to come up with a grand plan or model.

    Grand? Come up with? Really, nobody came up with anything; Nature and First Nations have been doing these things all along. Some of us are paying attention, is all.

    Communism / socialism did that with a s called plan and vision down to the details, and it turned out to be a failed model overall, as it was inflexible and contrary to human nature

    1. You forgot to add capitalism in there.
    2. Details. Exactly *not* that. The opposite. The principles, the borad patterns, yes. The details are up to you where you are. It is exactly the opposite of what the other systems have done.

    It probably needs more of an evolutionary and goal based vision.

    Why? You are indoctrinated fully into the tech/development/growth paradigm. Forget what you want to be true, look at what **must be** given constraints.

    Perhaps a combination of free markets, and some basic goals and planning from the state,(especially environmentally) but without becoming rigid and top heavy.

    Free markets… lol… Ironically, regenerative societies are fully free. There are no assignments and no coercion, People work or don’t work when and on what they wish to. No jobs. Commons? No markets needed. At all. Mine is yours, yours is mine.

    Government not rigid?! Not top-heavy?!

    But I’m also interested in a grand plan of a totally new alternative society and economic system if someone has such a thing, and I’m open minded about it. I would not attack it on principle or for the sake of it.

    Oh, realllllly? Search PermOccupy. That was early stages. Most elements are still the same. I now call the concept Regenerative Governance.


  16. 566
    Thomas says:

    559 Steven Emmerson says: “Don’t blame the scientists, blame the suits.”

    Steven it appears to me that you may be ‘misconstruing’ what I said, why, and the questions I was asking. I was not blaming anyone for anything. If that’s your take away message then it is off base, irrespective of the cause of that misunderstanding.

    To clarify I was inquiring why it is despite coal face contact my a myriad of climate scientists, general scientists and academics that none have been heard of saying what Katherine Hayhoe is saying today in 2017 – while she points to what I ‘assume’ are true facts going back to the 1970s plus her own first hand knowledge.

    It’s seems logical that she was not the only one with similar first hand knowledge about Exxon-Mobil over a 40+ year history. I am question why is that so? While explaining why I think these are important questions given what is now known, and was known about Exxon et al denialist funding of PR and propaganda for decades – or at least 15 extreme years of it.

  17. 567
    Thomas says:

    550 Nemesis, hear hear! :-)

  18. 568
    Thomas says:

    554 Hank Roberts, the BOM in Australia had to the very same thing regards daily temps last year to color their maps accurately in today’s ‘new normal’.

  19. 569
    Thomas says:

    556 Hank Roberts, listening to US NPR radio today, on that subject the sensible suggestion was made that due to Obama labeling his executive order with the term ‘climate change’ versus the more accurate less emotional trigger word of IMPROVING RISK MANAGEMENT (saves tax payers $) meant it was a certainty that Obama’s exec order for rebuilding damaged levees, dams, sewer system and so on would be a key target by the Re-pubs when they won the WH & the congress again.

    Red rag to a bull, kind of insight. Reason can take all kinds of forms imo. aka words matter.

  20. 570
    Thomas says:

    561 Barton Paul Levenson; Often I’m blunt, sometimes my philosophical aussie humour is quite subtle and sails over the heads of the less ‘GSOH’ endowed. :-)

    But what’s this you say? : “Nobody has clean hands.” What?

    Not even Israelis, Zionists, Americans or Economists and Capitalists?

    Nah, that can’t be right.

  21. 571
    Thomas says:

    560 Nemesis, I wouldn’t be surprised if a large portion of the GCC switched to being neocons in the late 1990s. Same bone different horse.

    This is the thing that has been well documented by academic research professor Mirowski in what he labels as the ‘Neoliberal Thought Collective’

    In that just because an IS terrorist refuses the label of being called a ‘terrorist’ doesn’t mean they ain’t one. :-)

    AGW/CC disinformation is but one arm of the NTC global octopus. It doesn’t even need to be formally administered or organized because “birds of a feather flock together.” The ancient Roman Globalists were successful for the very same reason that ‘birds flock together’ and those who have power can wield it more effectively than anyone else ever could.

  22. 572
    Thomas says:

    548 Nigwil, hear hear!

    545 Steven Emmerson, good comment, thx very much.

    ‘Feelings’ are important to be sure. They matter. I’m not interested in burning down anyone’s ‘ivory towers’ either. I’m all for building bridges to understanding.

    Even to a Victor, despite him looking like a Coyote character sitting on a barrel of ACME TNT trying to light his cigar. :-)

    That being said, my interest was more along the lines of the polar opposite perspective in your comment: “I’m well aware that the values and norms of that field are not, in general, regarded as highly outside it.”

    There is the notion of “when in Rome …” contained in my comment before. If anyone wishes to discuss such matters …. I’m interested in ‘actions & words’ in the public sphere about agw/cc. eg why it is that the approach of Skeptical science, especially in the beginning, was the ‘polar opposite approach’ of what John Cook now teaches via SS and his youtube lectures? iow doing it wrong taught him to find a better understanding … and still little has improved/changed and become more effective at changing minds and votes.

    What’s the use of ‘science’ when few are listening and even less are acting on that knowledge? Maybe more useful as quiet reflection among the in-group as opposed to openly discussed on a forum. (probably more likely not useful on a public forum). cheers

  23. 573
    Thomas says:

    It’s possible that some may believe I hate/dislike Americans when I do not.

    In fact I admire quite a many of them, such as: “In religion and politics, peoples beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.” – Mark Twain

    It’s amazing that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was first published in 1876.

  24. 574
    Thomas says:

    Tragedy of The Commons?

    Nick Srnicek, a lecturer in digital economy at King’s College London, is the author of Platform Capitalism – Topics Technology Opinion

    Get that inta’ya. :-)

  25. 575
    Thomas says:


    The Cent­re for Di­gi­tal Cul­tu­res (CDC)/Leu­pha­na Uni­ver­si­ty Lüne­burg
    June 19, 2015, Philip Mirowski- The Terms of Media: Markets

    Prof Philip Mirowski: Should Economists be Experts in Markets or Experts in “Human Nature”?

    Philip Mirowski “The Global Restructuring of Science as a Marketplace of Ideas”

  26. 576
    nigelj says:

    Mike Roberts @535

    Fine whatever, the RMA is not perfect and I specifically stated it was not perfect.

    But its an awful lot more than the USA is doing, and a lot more concrete and workable than vague ideas scribbled on a blog like Killians, and a few others.

  27. 577
    Nemesis says:

    BPL, #561

    ” Th 429: Isn’t everyone a Buddhist? Would be a much better world if they were

    BPL: Until you recall how many Buddhists took part in the rape of Nanking, or consider how Thailand can be the child prostitution capital of the world, or reflect on what they did to the Boat People when Viet Nam fell. Don’t kid yourself. Nobody has clean hands.

    That’s complete bullshit and you know it. There are MILLIONS of Buddhists, who commited no crime whatsoever! And:

    Not everyone is a criminal climate denier, not everyone is a criminal politician, not everyone is a criminal CEO ect. But it’s a common tactic among a certain kind of people, to claim that “nobody has clean hands”^^ I’m sure, ExxonMobil et al would LOVE your claim. You know, if NOBODY has clean hands, then why are we wasting our precious time here at RC?! Just go and tell the children, who will suffer the most of climate heating in the near term future, that “nobody has clean hands”.

  28. 578
    nigelj says:

    Killian @546 and 565

    I can go along with identifying basic needs, but your version of sustainability sounds like a reversion to primitive societies, with poor quality of life. Not much different to a struggling subsistence farmer. Sorry to be a kill joy, and please appreciate I’m being devils advocate a bit.

    Remember there’s a difference between hunter gatherers who had quite a good life in some ways, and farming culture! Crack open an anthropology text.

    Your ideas are also like hippie communes, and they simply dont work. I’m not sure how many times you want to try things that haven’t worked or why you think people will suddenly have a change of mind.

    And theres nothing to suggest it all wont evolve back into capitalism.

    Low income communities also have high infant mortality so high population growth, defeating the whole purpose of reducing environmental problems. Don’t think you can just add on some modern health care as a sort of package, picking and choosing what bits of your hated modern society you want to keep.

    And I just don’t think people will want to give up private property, not in modern societies. Its been tried and failed. And the essence of capitalism is private ownership, so unless this changes you are stuck with capitalism.

    But I have no problem with private property combined with regenerative farming ideas, public ownership of some basic assets, etc.

  29. 579
    Mr. Know It All says:

    565 – K
    We may end up in your vision of utopia. Not by choice for most folks, but it could happen for economic reasons, war, etc. Anyone can get close to it, just by putting on a backpack and going hiking for a week in the wilderness. ;)

    Lots of hysteria over Hurricane Harvey. The left, of course, is using it to point to another data point indicating AGW. Unfortunately, those types of storms are not new for the Gulf coast. Many of the worst storms occurred long before the elevated CO2 levels of today.

    One example:

    Article above says:
    “The most extreme 24-hour rainfall total on record in the U.S. is 42.0 inches near Alvin, Texas, between 7 a.m. July 25 and 7 a.m. July 26, 1979. This absurd amount of rain was in conjunction with Tropical Storm Claudette.

    Surprisingly, that 42-inch amount may actually be a bit low, as the weather observer reported his rain gauge overflowing at the 1 a.m. reading.”

    Harvey may beat the total storm amount but I doubt it will beat the 24 hour record.

    One of the more laughable stats coming out of the media on Harvey is how many trillion gallons of rain have fallen. As if that means anything to anyone. Why not state the rainfall amount in inches? So it sounds HUUUGE, and gives more credence to AGW. Why not state the rainfall in raindrops? “We’ve had Googleplex raindrops in Houston!” :)

  30. 580
    Nemesis says:

    @Killian, #556

    You show real solutions, but obviously, the monkeys in chief aren’t interested in real solutions, the system is about making profit and maintaining the Status Quo, no matter the cost. The solutions are there for decades and centuries, but only BAU will keep the system alive, for a little more time. I got a quantum of solace:

    In the end, the Laws of Nature will win, one way or another.

    I learned the hard way, I do always trust in the incorruptible Laws of Nature. If the monkeys in chief don’t bow to the Laws of Nature, they will go down too.

  31. 581
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Two days to get to 600 comments! What’s the world record number of comments on an unforced variation article?

    I’m guessing if you want to view more data on old, wet storms it would be good to print them off now. I suspect the internet controllers will be deleting as much old data as possible to make more recent wet storms seem a lot more unusual than they really are. ;)

  32. 582
    Adam Lea says:

    537: “That’s one of the main reasons many in the USA oppose AGW beliefs – we want freedom – not state control.”

    Ah yes freedom, that will be the freedom of the wealthy elite to do what they want and dump any negative consequences on others. A complete mockery of what it means to be civilised. “We want freedom”, the battle cry of the sociopath, the entitlement to make victims of others and avoid being held to account. The entitlement to freedom without responsibility, which, like power without control, is a very dangerous instrument. Exactly the sort of dangerous psychotic mentality we should all be fighting against.

  33. 583
    Thomas says:

    Noam Chomsky speaking at Yale University on February 25, 1997
    just the ~4 mins from here to James Madison should be enough to grasp what was being said on the topic 20 years ago. Relevance to agw/cc science and the geopolitical economic implications as they have unfolded to today including the commercialization of science and academia?

  34. 584
    alan2102 says:

    335 Ray Ladbury: “The problem is that any system that eschews growth will: a) cement current inequality in place and get worse over time, b) try to force a redistribution of wealth, which will be resisted by those who currently hold wealth and power”

    Try thinking out of the box, in light of MMT — Modern Monetary Theory (or: post-Keynesian Modern Monetary Theory) and associated ideas, including guaranteed basic income and other programs to put money in the hands of people who need it. Rather than re-distribute wealth, you can PRE-distribute money, without inducing resistance; instead of taking away from the wealthy, give more to the non-wealthy. The wealthy will actually LIKE this, since it solves capitalism’s chronic problem of excess inventories of unsold goods (because people don’t make enough to buy the goods) and declining profits by giving everyone more money with which to buy.

    If we’re not going to take it from the rich, then where does all this money come from, you ask? That’s where the fundaments of the theory come in. We simply PRINT it. In a nutshell: according to MMT, money supply is without theoretical limit. It has some practical limits — e.g. we cannot give everyone on earth $1 million cash — but no one is suggesting such absurdities. Money can be created and distributed in reasonable amounts (a trillion here, a trillion there) with great benefits rippling through all of society. We are already doing this — think social security, supplemental security income, welfare, etc. — with great social benefits; MMT says: let’s do it MORE.

    But what about debt, you ask? We can’t keep piling up unpayable debts, right? True. But this is not about taking on debt. It is about printing money. No debt is incurred. We own the printing press. We’re not borrowing from anyone.

    (NB: I’m not talking about literal, physical printing of money. I’m talking about creating money in electronic form, which is the modern way of doing things. “Printing money” is just a convenient expression.)

    But what about inflation, you ask? Well, MMT understands that inflation is a constraint on spending; MMT is not about unlimited free money. But money can be created in larger quantities than it is at present without inducing inflation, according to MMT; possibly MUCH larger quantities (to be empirically determined). Some have argued that technology-induced deflation is now so rampant that monetary expansion (money-printing) must proceed at a compounded rate of 16-24% per year or more to avert onrushing catastrophic technological hyper-deflation (see: )

    But what about climate and the environment, you ask? Well, the MMT crowd has some choice things to say there, too. A few leads:
    1. — Modern Monetary Theory and environmental sustainability
    2. — Randy Mandell: Modern Monetary Theory and Climate Change … “explains how [MMT] can be used to build a green economy and rapidly transform the world in time to save the planet from catastrophic climate change.”
    3. — MMT Economics Offers Key to Funding New Economy and Green, Progressive Agenda

    There are actually several related (and sometimes competing) concepts — not just MMT, but also sovereign money (or “positive money”), monetary reform, and public banking. Also, the jobs guarantee program and universal basic income (potential offshoots of MMT). Some of the issues are contentious and you will find furious arguments on the blog discussion sections, e.g. the pro-universal-income people versus the people who think universal income sucks and a jobs guarantee is vastly better. I am sorry that it is so complex and multi-faceted. I wish it were simple. I am still thrashing around, myself, trying to understand and come to terms with it all. I have not decided which side I am on.

    This is a big subject on which a great deal has been written by highly-intelligent people, and there are lively discussions ongoing. I urge everyone to look into it.

    Here’s starter material.

    Blogs and sites:

    Writeups: — What is Modern Monetary Theory, or “MMT”? — The Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy — Dispelling Common Folktales of Government Spending, Taxation and Deficits – How Modern Money Works — Modern Money Theory: The Basics — MMT Primer — MMT History and Overview — MMT Scholarship


    “MMT economists and their fiscal policies, even more so when combined with public banking alternatives, offer the potential to address all aspects of the progressive agenda – poverty, rebuilding of our transportation infrastructure, transitioning to 100% clean energy, investing in neighborhoods that have been neglected for decades, cleaning up brown field sites, transforming our industrial food system and implementing agro-ecological practices that support carbon sequestration and policies designed to revitalize local, organic, farms serving local cities and towns.” [Hey! Red meat there even for Scott Strough and Killian. What’s not to like?]

  35. 585
    Mal Adapted says:

    Mr. Ironically Anosognosic Typist:

    That’s one of the main reasons many in the USA oppose AGW beliefs – we want freedom – not state control.

    It’s no mystery why people such as Mr. IAT cherish their freedom to socialize their private marginal climate-change costs. As long as nobody makes them pay a few bucks more for a tank of gasoline at the pump, it’s OK with them if poor people in Tacloban or New Orleans pay with their lives.

    One suspects that for Mr. IAT himself, however, the US Constitution really is a suicide pact, and by dog he’ll have his freedom to externalize his private costs even if it kills everyone on Earth along with himself.

    Ironically, unlike IAT’s conspiracist delusion that AGW is a two centuries old hoax perpetrated by “radical, leftist AGW believers”, control of our nation-state by fossil fuel wealth is abundantly documented in the public record. There’s no need to keep it secret, because thanks to foresighted reinvestment of a fraction of fossil fuel profits to protect the rest, it’s perfectly legal in the US to flood the public sphere with AGW-denialism, and even to purchase elected office outright.

    Yet he thinks he voted for Trump because freedom.

  36. 586
    Killian says:

    #563 Barton Paul Levenson said K 546: Economics is voodoo,

    BPL: No matter how many times you say this, it still won’t be true.

    No matter how many times you deny it, it has already been proven to be true. I can’t make you read the links given. Then, again, I don’t really care. If you can’t see what the current “economics” has “created,” god help you.

  37. 587
    Thomas says:

    565 Killian, I really liked that summary reply. Especially: “Nature and First Nations have been doing these things all along. Some of us are paying attention, is all.” and “Free markets… lol…”

    7 generations ahead leadership, vision & responsibility
    Not rocket science not economics and not bs but very human and very sane & ethical

  38. 588
    Thomas says:

    562 Barton Paul Levenson says to KIA: “If you can call it thinking.” LOL, good one Barton! :-)

    KIA ” – we want freedom – “ What a crock! Who is this “we” that KIA speaks on behalf of? There is no freedom in death! More so, he cannot tell the difference between slavery and freedom. Between truth and lies. What a dick!

  39. 589
    nigelj says:

    Mike Roberts @535

    “The RMA doesn’t have sustainability as its goal, it has something called “sustainable management of resources”. It uses a definition similar to “sustainable development”. If the RMA had a goal of sustainability, no new mining operations would be allowed under the act, since none are sustainable and all degrade the environment.”

    No new mining?So how are you going to deal with lithium for electric cars given demand is set to explode?

    And what about materials for wind and solar power?

    You haven’t thought it through fully.

    I do agree the RMA is sustainable management. At least that is flexible enough so we dont get into the absurd position of no new mining at all!

    In fact I don’t have a problem with new mines, in most cases anyway. The metals are there to be used and then recycled. I cant see any point leaving them in the ground, with the exception of a few rare earths of critical importance that should be consciously conserved in a planned way.

    Mines can also be built so as to minimise environmental impacts with mandatory reinstatement of land. Those are really political issues, and of course hard to attain, but no new mining will be even less politically viable.

    Obviously we don’t want mining in natural parks etc. Our government tried to push this, and I was involved in a campaign against it.

    I suppose my views are heresy, and not too popular with either side of the environmental debate, at least with the fanatics. I’m just interested in practical solutions. I don’t care if I’m in a minority of one.

    Just some more on my version of “practical sustainablity”. So we conserve resources critical to humanity but use resources that can be recycled and where the extraction of them does not cause significant degradation or other problems. This can best defined with specifics as follows:

    I think the important priorities are to reduce carbon emissions and other forms of air pollution given the serious impacts. Reducing carbon emissions is costly but technically feasible, and more of a political problem. And clearly we have to consider the serious costs of doing nothing. Reducing coal particulate emissions is less costly, and really mainly a political problem.

    Another priority is to reduce water pollution from all forms and nitrates present a big challenge.

    Sustainable fisheries just means fishing quota (limits on catches etc). Some countries are doing this quite well. Some fishing should just stop, right now until fisheries recover. In fact quite a lot of fishing. But again its a political issue really.

    Do you notice the common theme? Political issues, lobby groups. Silly people who think fishing quota are red hot communism.

    Soil degradation is also serious. This is undermining something very fundamental to humanity. If nothings done we will end up eating food grown in laboratories, and I can say I’m not looking forward to that, and what an admission of failed resource management it would be.

  40. 590
    nigelj says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @563

    “K 546: Economics is voodoo,”

    “BPL: No matter how many times you say this, it still won’t be true.”

    I’m in agreement with BPL on this. There’s too much cheap, cynical rhetoric thrown at economics. There’s no voodoo about supply and demand curves etc.

    I’m as frustrated as anyone that macro economics has some limitations, but if you cannot add something of substance then the cheap rhetoric gets a bit boring.

    Modelling and predicting human economic behaviour is just really hard. Look at the lack of logic and emotion on these pages for a start, and this is with intelligent educated people!

    Having said that, Reagons and Trumps versions of economics do look a bit like voodoo.

  41. 591
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Someone should call 911. I think the thread moderator has died – no new comments for 2 days!

  42. 592
    MA Rodger says:

    Perhaps more a measure of how off-topic August’s Unforced Variations had became and less on-topic under (hopefully) a less un-climatey September thread, I suggested it would be useful @247 in the August Unforced Variations thread to provide August’s ‘UnVaried Forcation of Thomas’ figures.

    August’s Unforced Variations thread comprised 572 comments. This is up on July’s 397 comments and above the 519 comments of April 2016 which had previously held the record over the period of the ‘UVFT’ record. Of these 572 August comments, 152 comments were “Thomas says,” besting the previous record of 81 monthly “Thomas says” comments in March 2017 by a considerable margin and massively up on the 37 “Thomas says” comments in July). This yields a Thomas Comment Ratio (‘(ThCR’) of 27% of comments for August, again massively up on July’s ‘ThCR’ (which was just 9%) and putting August’s ‘ThCR’ into 2nd spot behind the record month of January 2017 (‘ThCR’=31%).
    The August thread contains 107,000 words (well up on the 72,000 words in the July thread) of which 34,000 were “Thomas says” giving a Thomas Word Ratio (‘(ThWR’) for August of 31% of the total thread word-count. This is well up on July’s ‘ThWR’ of 7% but still a little short of the record ‘ThWR’, the 34% of January 2017.