Friday, June 24, 2011

Information Nexus

1. The New Bipartisanship
2. Tyler Cowen Answers Your Questions
3. This Truly is an Amazing Idea
4. This is a Really Popular Class at Harvard
5. Al Gore's Getting Frustrated

1 comment :

  1. Re: Al Gore's Getting Frustrated

    While the vilification of science in our culture by private interest group is indefensible, I can't help but feel that this article, as well as Al Gore's approach, is ultimately flawed. The Al Gore approach is to rally people on a grassroots level, treating climate change almost like a social problem. This is absurd for a variety of reasons, which is why Al Gore is so easily mocked by all sides.

    Ask yourself; what is the most sure predictor of whether a household causes greenhouse emissions? As far as I know, it is wealth. Al Gore himself probably uses 100x the emissions of the most poor, but fervently right-wing household simply by having air conditioning, owning a washer and dryer, and not using public transportation. This isn't necessarily indicative of any hypocrisy on his part; rather, it identifies that climate change is fundamentally an economic problem and is at the mercy of what is affordable and available rather than what anybody "wants" to happen.

    Further, ask yourself what the best possible solution to climate change is. No matter what you've just thought of, it's not as good a solution as contraception. No matter how efficient our technologies become the human race will always outgrow them given that we have but one planet to live on, and given humans like to have lots of kids. We need to overcome humanity's innate sexual drives and our thoughts on expansionist economies before Al Gore's thinking could even potentially become relevant, and while Gore has attempted to broach that issue in the past, guess what the public response was?

    We aren't ready for this discussion. A whole lot of tragedy and death has to happen before we can even think of having this discussion. Because this isn't a problem of "culture", it's a problem of "nature", and as far as I know nothing short of a crushing dictatorship or religious revelation has ever even temporarily modified human nature. And given that, is it surprising Al Gore has been satirized as a hysteric, a prophet of doom, a wild optimist? This is a worldwide problem requiring a worldwide solution, and no amount of grass-rooting and Western post-imperial guilt can change that. But maybe someday we'll be ready.