The End of Doom

Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century

Ronald Bailey, 363.7 B35E 2015, St. Martin's Press, PCC Library

The revolution will not be televised, because the nuances of ecological success cannot be reduced to soundbites.

Ronald Bailey is "libertarian spectrum", as am I, though that is a big spectrum of independent thinkers. I found a lot to like in the book, some of it was preaching to the choir, and some set off alarms. I hope to find time to check out both. We are both 1953 boomers, and both techno-optimists (whom techno-pessimists castigate and mischaracterize in email, websites, word-processed books, and tweets sent from their smart phones).

Bailey describes his initial enthusiasm for ideological environmentalism, and his subsequent observation-driven (we are still here, and doing better than ever) rejection of that. Perhaps an overreaction; "End of Doom" is techno-optimistic, but accepts climate change as real.

Like those who oppose him, Bailey attributes opposition to protection of income. Even if this is accurate, it is not verifiable, being an external speculation about internal mental state. My observation is that people who do not express strong views on controversial topics are more financially successful than ideologues - fewer offended customers, more attention to business operation.

Bailey cites the Yale Cultural Cognition Project - most people derive their attitudes about science from their cultural values. He describes Individualists vs. Communitarians, Hierarchicalists vs. Egalitarians. Bailey might be a I./H., I am closer to an I./E. A third axis might involve means and mobility - what Virginia Postrel calls "Dynamism" vs "Stasism" - seeking change rather than seeking stability. I'm getting old, and feel the attaction of hanging on to what I have, but believe that more is possible for me and others. So, ideologically, I am I./E./D., an explosive combination. I want to do better, and want others to do better as well. I hope the poor do better faster, because small steps towards the mean are easier than big steps above it, but recognize that those with concentrated resources are the most capable of creating more.

Wealth concentrates because physically redistributing concentrated resources is inpractical. 0.1% of a factory useless - unless (somehow) I help create the tools to facilitate high-performance distributed productivity. That can be done with information, but information flows through integrated circuits, and (in 2016) integrated circuits can only be made in enormous, expensive factories by vast teams of skilled people.

Bailey's Bozos

Paul Ehrlich, Garrett Hardin, Lester Brown, Alan Weisman, Rachel Carson, Jeremy Rifkin. Gilles-Eric Seralini, Vandana Shiva, Naomi Kline, Bill McKibben, Union of Concerned Scientists, Greenpeace, Worldwatch Institute

Book notes

EndOfDoom (last edited 2016-02-22 07:54:48 by KeithLofstrom)