Off air

I’ve been on holidays over Easter, and am now going completely offgrid for the rest of the week. So, no posting. Commenters, please observe extra courtesy while I’m away.

90 thoughts on “Off air

  1. @Jim Rose

    Jim, please don’t refer me to Wikipedia where I have been a mildly active editor for some years. I note that, as with so many of your links, the referenced article does not actually support your claims.

  2. Jim, you can take your batman suit off, it is save to do so now. And if you can, please explain to me how capitalism is sustainable. Thank you.

  3. Ootz, it depends on your definition of capitalism ,maybee depends on how narrowly you want to define it ? – Im not sure there is one that would be sustainable in the long run . I think a big part of the problem is that the long run seems to be normally only about 5 -10 years . I like Ikons quick overview @#18 above . For me Im not really sure how much of my outlook is evidence based and how much of it comes from my personality( disposition) . There is lots of evidence – but there are also seemingly intelligent forces everywhere telling us not to worry . Obviously though, barring some mirical scientific fix, infinite growth is a problem .

  4. over at Catallaxy Files, I have justed been accused of being a labor voter.

    I have come back here for moral support.

  5. @Jim Rose

    over at Catallaxy Files, I have justed been accused of being a labor voter.

    That’ll happen when you hang out with fools and fundies.

    I have come back here for moral support.

    Oh I regard you as entirely beyond the point where support would be helpful. You are a dogmatic reactionary. Is that what you were after?

  6. Gosh, Jim. You’ve posted twice on the same thread on the same day. You told us you were banned from doing that.

    Why you lie? Hmmm?

  7. @Ootz The Earth’s carrying capacity is a central issue in ecological economics.

    Herman Dally and others put forward the idea of birth credits as the solution to the population bomb. this idea dates back to kenneth boulding in the 1960s.

    A “choice-based, marketable, birth license plan” or “birth credits” for population control.
    • These birth credits would allow woman to have as many children as she wants as long as she buys a license for any child beyond an average allotment that would result in zero population growth. this is 1.1 birth credits for each adult. these can be sold in units of 1/10th of a credit.

    • If the allotment was determined to be one child, then the first child would be free; the market trading the credits would determine the cost of the license for each additional child.

    Being nice members of the educated middle class, the penalty proposed for having an illegal baby would be community service.

    I am sure most parents would welcome a break, some time outdoors, and the free child care. Obviously, none of the proponents of birth credits seem to know of the length to which some will go to have children.

    Dally and his followers were smug enough to think they could see the future and were most concerned about the population bomb, but plainly they got the sign of the demographic crisis wrong. Sub-replacement fertility is now the demographic crisis.

    The price of those birth credits would be now lower than a EU carbon credit.

    p.s. If you really believe what you say about sustainability, invest your retirement savings in resource sector shares and futures contracts – oil in particular – prices must be about to soar because of peak oil?!

    In the early1980s, Julian Simon had Paul Ehrlich (and John Holdren) choose five commodity metals and sign a ten-year futures contract. Simon bet that these prices would decrease while Ehrlich and co. bet they would increase. Who lost on the futures contract?

  8. Jim, how do birth credits and a thirty year old bet substantiate that capitalism is sustainable? Sorry this looks more like another one of your snipe hunting escapades I have got used to. Surely you can do better, how about a short but concise case for the affirmative?

    Re your “If you really believe what you say about sustainability, ..” I did not say anything about sustainability, I just asked a question about it. You are projecting.

  9. Because the Simon Ehrlich bet was limited to by time the bet was lost. Had time be not so short term the results would have been as Ehrlich predicted.

  10. Better to look at a commodity index over a longer time period which evens out the lumps and bumps caused by one off events. When adjusted for inflation the overall trend is down. Technology is having an enormous impact.

  11. What is unsustainability? Resources will not keep up with future demand?

    Or is unsustainability just a moving feast shifting from the population bomb to peak oil to whatever is next as environmental alarmists bob and weave as their previous predictions of woe and doom are quickly falsified?

    I discussed two specific examples – population pressures and imminent resource depletion – to show that concept of unsustainability is regularly refuted by capitalist innovation. The facts are on my side. Whatever happened to peak coal? Peak lead?

    Amending the Simon’s bet to longer periods or different time periods does not pass muster.

    Remember well that the Simon’s wager was for ten years because Ehrlich was predicting imminent food riots in America and rapid resource depletion. He was very specific on time lines. Martial law was predicted to cope with the civil disorder in the 1980s.

    The point of the wager was to put their money where their mouths were over a demographic crisis with demand outstripping the supply of food and resources in a few years time.

    Ehrlich called the Simon’s bet an “astonishing offer”. He could choose any five metals for the futures contract with a free hand over the end date as long as it was more than one year away. Ehrlich accepted the bet “before other greedy people jump in”.

    Most of all, Ehrlich predicted that India could not possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980. He did not anticipate capitalism coming to India.

    Population growth is a benefit because there are more people to work on inventing new things and larger markets to make more inventions commercially worthwhile.

    A green portfolio should be made up of shares in green rent seeking companies and futures contracts in the resources sector. Get in now before other greedy people jump in.

    Ehrlich is still at it in 2013 at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/human-population-growth-has-become-unsustainable-by-paul-r–ehrlich-and-anne-h–ehrlich

    But our guess is that the most serious threat to global sustainability in the next few decades will be one on which there is widespread agreement: the growing difficulty of avoiding large-scale famines….

    Can humanity avoid a starvation-driven collapse? Yes, we can – though we currently put the odds at just 10%. As dismal as that sounds, we believe that, for the benefit of future generations, it is worth struggling to make it 11%.

    The first part of his solution is bizarre:

    ‘stop increasing land for agriculture (to preserve natural ecosystem services)…’

  12. Jim Rose :
    The first part of his solution is bizarre:

    ‘stop increasing land for agriculture (to preserve natural ecosystem services)…’

    Yes bizarre… well, providing you’re not a local inhabitant of a jungle somewhere who simply just wants to live within your means, not encroach on anyone else or start wars or force your ideologies down others throats or decimate your environment and ecosystems.

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