"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?"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

reBlog from Manuelg: Manuel "Moe" G.

I found this fascinating quote today:

There is no evidence that humanity likes science or the burden of responsibilities that pay out decades in the future. Humanity does not mind playing with some the end products of both, like consumer electronics or the body of modern medical knowledge, but humanity really doesn't like either science or the responsibility of the very long view.Manuelg, Manuel "Moe" G., Mar 2010

Also trying the Zemanta "reblog" widget on Moe's site for size. It auto-reposts a single paragraph of your choice. Go read the rest of the article; it's germane.


manuelg said...

From RPJr's strange book review in Nature - he is reviewing 4 books, none less than 300 pages, and his review could fit comfortably on 2 sheets of college ruled paper, even though the books are competing for space with RPJr's opinions.


It is a perfect example of concern trolling. Quoting:

> Incremental approaches to climate mitigation that can be modified by experience offer a chance that realistic and democratically grounded actions might rise to a challenge that will be with us for decades to come.

In other words, don't yell "Fire" in a burning theater, _especially_ if the theater is actually on fire. Eventually, enough of the seats will catch on fire to allow a rough consensus to take hold.

The piece is self-refuting, but the issue is that it was allowed to be published. We should hold the editors of Nature up to ridicule. If those editors wish that the issue is taken away from the facts of science and into the realm of political science and economics (as they must plainly feel), then print articles from publishing political scientists and economists. Instead of concern trolls without any stake in substantive argumentation.

thingsbreak said...

Instead of concern trolls without any stake in substantive argumentation.

Why engage in such, when you can offer a mystical "third way" that pays lips service to the problem while ensuring that the special interests most opposed to resolving it aren't inconvenienced?

Delay, delay, delay. Why? Some mythical technological/energy breakthrough that will be immaculately conceived in time to save the day, obviating the need to implement aggressive emissions abatement.

Perhaps I should have said spoiler alert.


thingsbreak said...


Where have I seen that Newspeak re: "advocacy" and "policy" before?

Aaron said...

Howard Higman at the University of Colorado attempted to measure traits related to long term trust of science back in the 60's. What surprised him was that he found similar percentages in freshmen, grad students, and post doc fellows. His number for percentage that distrust science was 63% to 72%, but this was for the university community, and not people in general. His conclusion was along the lines of a genetic basis for some personality traits.

Michael Tobis said...

Aaron, reference, please?

David B. Benson said...

I recently read James K. Galbraith's In Defense of Deficits in the 2010 Mar 22 issue of The Nation. Interesting.

The relevence here is to ask if economics is a social science (I suppose it is) and whether the distrust of science includes or excludes the social sciences.

If included I'm mistrustful. If excluded, largely trusting.

Hank Roberts said...



"I was ... labeled as an advocate because I ... measured something.
The decline in big fish.... The dark side has labeled information as advocacy, and it's your job as citizens to understand that."

-- Jeremy Jackson, Woods Hole

Hank Roberts said...

Excerpt from a transcript of a similar presentation by Dr. Jackson and relevant links, posted here:


Why didn't I know about this? It's powerfully presented and very blunt, and entirely on point.

And it's from 2004.

Michael Tobis said...

+1 qotw