"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?"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Agnotology, Left and Right

To go along with my discovery of the wonderful word "agnotology" (the study of ignorance) in Naomi Orekes' publication record, Deltoid points to a very well written and well organized article on Slate about it, called The Paranoid Style In American Science.

Author Daniel Engber advises moderation in skepticism.

You will see that people tend to deploy vast amounts of skepticism selectively toward things they wish were untrue. Engber sees this in the "Precautionary Principle" every bit as much as in, say, Global Warming do-nothingism. I think he has a very good point.

In the other hand, at least the precautionary types, though muddled, are sincere. Some of the "no such thing as global warming" crowd have jumped over to unstoppablism without pausing to consider the possibility of responsible behavior. At this point I exercise my skepticism that such people ever meant a word of what they said.

I'm just meandering here. Read the article.

No comments: