2086. Cut or  invest? Two approaches to climate. 

Pro 227 cut or  invest?Two approaches to climate.

Economics would be really interesting if it took the health of society as its task. We might avoid embarrassing conflicts like proposing growth when we know that growth leads to more co2. No good management team would get caught in this dilemma. Indeed economics opts out so as not to even feel it. This is a problem across all sciences. Here from a conversation “ Climate is not an economic problem, but the way society deals with climate could interfere with economics, whose task is growth.” Mazing how economics, trying to be a science, does not align with the science we have that deal with limits to growth  in its understanding of biological systems where excess growth is an attractor to predators an, if not growth is not staunched, is cancerous. No concept of cancer in economics?

I was a student at Caltech and all science courses were taught in the form of “Here are the equations which describes the phenomenon. Learn how to calculate with them.” There was never a sense that there was a mystery to explore nor  people who did the exploration, and a fascinating story all around. It was pure mechanics. Feynman was unique  held out that the process was aesthetic and emotionally moving, awesome and fabulous.

Dealing with climate is not just a technical nor policy problem. Climate, needs system wide – earth – management.  economics could play a role but chose to avoid the whole system and concentrate on the part system of sucking resources from nature and nations. 

Because economics has not been much a part of the climate discussion we get things like the NYT  still talking  of solutions, when there are no “solutions” . 


“Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal asked Ashoka Mody, professor of international economic policy at Princeton, what he thought of Thunberg’s speech. “I think she is cutting out a political path on which economists must now travel,” Mody told Ryssdal. However, said Mody, economic growth itself is not the issue.

“We need to change the way we do things,” he said. “It requires a much more intrusive environmental regulation on the premise that that regulation will create a new avenue for innovation and investment.”

Note how he slides back into growth as primary. 

 Growth  usually for economists implies competition without realizing that competition means winners    and losers. Schmachtenberger argues that Hunans are intelligent and competitive. The combination is suicidal  “One obvious thing we notice is that all the earlier civilizations have disappeared.” The answer has to be less competition since we won’t give up on intelligence.. Do watch Schmachtenberger

Ashoka Mody, professor of international economic policy at Princeton,  ”Think tanks like the Economic Policy Institute…the Roosevelt Institute, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, and especially the Washington Center for Equitable Growth put inequality and broadly shared growth at the core of their work”

Economics could make a huge contribution by modeling how this might be catastrophic. 

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