Sunday, 28 July 2013

Will you take a punt?

I was conversing with a climate change sceptic today. His thesis was that the whole global warming thing is just another attempt to make money.

I can understand his cynicism. Unless we verify scientific research ourselves, how can we ever absolutely know to what extent it is purely objective, and how much of it arises from the fact that scientists have to eat and to eat the have to make money.

Yes - the oil companies may be on board with the climate change consensus to make money, but making money is what our current system idolises. It makes it very diffiicult to judge whether someone is being objective, given the temptation.

If man made climate change is really happening, and if it is catastrophic, and it is not too late to do something, then, logically, we have no choice but to act if we want to save humanity and the consquences of inaction are dire.

The consequences of action are not dire, At best we will be wasting time/effort in a misguided attempt save ourselves for something that it is not in fact a threat.

In a simple truth  table it looks like this:

DON'T ACT !!!!!! OK

Four possibilities. We cannot change whether man made climate change is true or false. We can only change whether we act on it or not. If we act on it, we save ourseles from it. If we don't, we gamble on whther it is true or not.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Manfred Max Neef

There's a playlist of videos of progressive economist Max Neef here:

It is worthy of your time. I found a transcript here

from which I want to extract a nugget:

"The principles ,... of an economics which should be[,] are based in five postulates and one fundamental value principle.

One, the economy is to serve the people and not the people to serve the economy [sic]
Two, development is about people and not about objects.

Three, growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth.

Four, no economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services.

Five, the economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system, the biosphere, hence permanent growth is impossible.

And the fundamental value to sustain a new economy should be that no economic interest, under no circumstance, can be above the reverence of life"

and in the interview, Max Neef clarifies / expands on two terms used:

"Nothing can be more important than life. And I say life, not human beings, because, for me, the center is the miracle of life in all its manifestations."

"Growth is a quantitative accumulation. Development is the liberation of creative possibilities. Every living system in nature grows up to a certain point and stops growing. You are not growing anymore, nor he nor me. But we continue developing ourselves. Otherwise we wouldn’t be dialoguing here now. So development has no limits. Growth has limits."

Monday, 15 July 2013

BBC compliant in "economic growth" lie

The BBC just broadcast a TV news item on the reducing rate of economic growth -  a widely deployed euphemism for increase in GDP - in China. The preamble stated as fact that getting economic growth is a worldwide problem. Thus the whole item was based on the false premise that an increase in GDP is entirely desirable.

The New Scientist reported on the Genuine Progress Indicator -  a measurement that removes negative elemts from GDP. As the article puts it:

"[GDP as a] measure of prosperity fails to account for social factors and environmental costs. Oil spills and crime, for example, increase GDP because money must be spent on clean-up and replacement of lost goods, yet few would claim that they increase the general well-being of a state."

Housing ladder

A BBC news item I just saw on TV lamented the lack of  affordable housing, particularly in London & the Southeast, but it still used the term "housing ladder". According to our crackpot system, housing has to be lower in price so that people can afford it, but once you've nought somewhere, the price is expected to go up - the housing ladder - as your "investment" pays off.

It's so self contradictory as to be laughable. Apart from anything else, your house is falling down - entropy - so how can it be increasing in value over time. OK you can improve an maintain it, to help it hold its true value, or lose it less quickly, but most house price rise is simply inflationary.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Smoking kills but let's not abolish it

I heard a BBC Radio 4 news item along similar lines. The quote that stands out:

"plain packaging legislation could cost jobs in manufacturing and in retail".

Yes - if people stop smoking fewer cigarettes will be sold and fewer cigarettes sold and smoked means fewer jobs in the related industries. Also, fewer cigarettes sold means less GDP.

Thus jobs and GDP are placed above health and human life in the  "ecomoronic" system we operate in.