"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Power of Words

Two articles appearing in the NY Times recently talk about the power of words, coming to strikingly different conclusions. Andrew Revkin has a somewhat morose article about coming to grips with the crisis entitled "Are Words Worthless in the Climate Fight?" (The commentary there, which I haven't read as I write this, promises to be quite interesting.)

Yet, there appears in the health section an article about making healthier foods more attractive merely by renaming them. Apparently, for instance, "when regular peas were renamed 'power peas,' the number of children who ate them doubled."

Perhaps the problem is only that the truth has inferior marketing to the fiction.

1 comment:

bigcitylib said...

On the down side, when you name them "light cigarettes", twice as many people smoke them.