Rss Feed
Linkedin button

Posts Tagged ‘global warming’

The Birth of Plenty: Predictions

This book, The Birth of Plenty Predictions: How the Prosperity of the Modern World was Created, purports to explain the conditions necessary for a nation to escape the Malthusian Trap.  The author, William Bernstein, states that four conditions are necessary: 1) property rights (including intellectual property rights), 2) the scientific method, 3) efficient capital markets, and 4) transportation and communication infrastructure.  The first part of the book explains why each component is necessary.  The second part of the book applies this structure to the historical evidence associated with various countries to show that all four components are necessary.  The third part of the book attempts to make predictions based on the thesis.  This is an excellent book.  It is easy to read, full of interesting historical facts, and is well reasoned for the most part.

Unfortunately, the author attempts to defend the welfare state as created by Roosevelt in the USand the mixed economy of Great Britain.  This clearly departs from his thesis.  First of all, the welfare state under FDR was an attack against property rights.  Despite the author’s claim that regulation of capital markets is necessary for them to be efficient, all econometric studies show that they are at best ineffective and most likely damaging.  This means that the regulations FDR created to regulate the financial markets caused the capital markets in the USto be less efficient.  Sarbanes Oxley is present-day example of the damage caused by absurd regulation of capital markets.  The New Deal was not based on scientific method, it was based on emotion and the desire for political power.  (For more information see FDR’s Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression).   So at least three of the four criteria were undermined by FDR and the “New Deal”, (AKA the bend over and take it deal).  The author’s defense of the New Deal is based on sociological studies that show income disparity between the wealthy and the poor causes social unrest.  These studies are clearly flawed.  Income disparity can occur because of political favoritism (crony capitalism) or because of the opportunities created in a free economy.  These studies do not differentiate between these two very different situations.  As a result the studies cited by the author are contradictory and therefore do not support his thesis.

How do the four factors apply to the UStoday?  Property rights have been under assault in the US., see Kelo v. City of New London .  Patent rights have been weakened since 2000, see Intellectual Property Socialism.  The scientific method has been under attack by both the political right and left, see creationism and global warming – climate gate.  Our capital markets have been significantly compromised by Sarbanes Oxley and now the Frank Dodd financial reform act.  For more information see Sarbanes Oxley the Medicine is Worse than the Disease.   The US transportation and communication infrastructure is slowly deteriorating because funds are appropriated in larger percentages to social welfare programs. The US is regressing in all of the four categories that Bernstein defines as necessary for sustained economic growth.  It is no wonder that the US is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Atlas Shrugged –Movie Review

I just saw the movie Atlas Shrugged, based on Ayn Rand’s book with the same title.  The movie has divided the book into three parts and this was the first of the three parts.  I thought the movie did a very good job and stayed true to the book.  I purposely did not re-read the book before I saw the movie.  Like almost any movie, the book is better than movie.  The way the characters looked in the readers’ mind are never the way they look in the movie.  My wife thought the acting was just okay, but it did not detract from value of the movie.  The theater I saw the movie in was about 75% full (mid day) and there was a hearty round of applause at the end.  As you would expect, some of the speeches and characters will immediately strike you as being based on people in today’s news.  For instance, Wesley Mouch looks like and talks like a Barney Frank.  The speeches about “shared sacrifice” sound like our communist president’s (Obama) speech on the budget, April, 14, 2011. Rand’s rational selfishness and the absurdity of altruism are as clearly delineated,  as in the book.  The movie ends with a very dramatic scene, providing a good ending point, and whetting the appetite for Part II.

One thing that struck me was how the State Science Institute’s propaganda against Rearden Metal is almost exactly like the Global Warming debate today.  While the Luddite attitude toward genetically modified food might seem like a better analogy, it does not have the same political dynamics – at least not yet.  The scientist, Dr. Robert Stadler, justifies his unscientific position (lying) because it is necessary in order for the State Science Institute to continue to receive government funding.  I remember that when I read this passage in the book 25 or so years ago, I was reluctant to accept that science could be perverted by politics.  However, the last 25 years have provided me with numerous examples where so called “science” is really propaganda- funding from the federal government to ensure that the organization continues to receive funding from their political masters.  For instance, the manipulation of data by Climate Change advocates to ignore the medieval ice age (little ice age) among numerous other lies.  This is just one of many examples where these so called scientists ignore or manipulate the data to fit their conclusions.  This is not science, it is propaganda.  Note both sides of the political spectrum behave in this moral depraved activity – see Creationism.  Not surprisingly, the religious right was no more a fan of Ayn Rand than the religious left.

If you approach this movie as a separate artistic piece from the book you will find it highly entertaining and enlightening.  I hope that people in their 20s and 30s can transcend the focus on industrial technologies opposed to  the information age.

You will love this movie if you understand the value of freedom and reason.  If you are an intellectual or economic leech, you will hate this movie.

Science or Religion: Environmental Doomsday Theories

A fundamental difference between religion and science is that a scientific theory is testable, while a religion is not.  Religion ignores facts and believes in faith.  All environmental doomsday theories are religions, not science.  This is true no matter how much they disguise their religion with scientific jargon or call what they are doing a science.

Before I examine some of these environmental doomsday theories, let’s look at another pseudo science.  Creationists say creationism is a science and they attempt to include scientific jargon, including their attempt to show probabilistically human life is impossible.  One version of this idea is that given the number of base pairs in the human genome and that even if one of them were wrong humans would not exist, it is therefore impossible that their was not a Devine hand.  Of course, it turned out that much of the genetic material is irrelevant and that there are redundancies in the encoding of the human genome.  Did the Creationist admit defeat?  No, because it’s a religion not a science.  The same is true of Global Warming (Climate Change), Global Cooling, Malthus, Club of Rome Limits of Growth, Population Bomb, Nuclear Winter, etc.  None of these hypothesis are testable.  The proponents cannot name a single test that would prove their hypothesis incorrect.

Limits of Growth

In this post, I will only discuss the ideas related to some limit to human prosperity.  The idea that humans are doomed to starve to death was first proposed by Thomas Malthus in 1798.  Human population was about 1 billion when Malthus wrote this and today we have a population of about 7 billion.  In 1800 a much larger percentage of people were at risk of starving to death than today.  Nevertheless this did not stop Paul Ehrlich from writing The Population Bomb in 1968 warning of mass starvation in 1970s and 1980s.  When Erhlich wrote The Population Bomb the world had population of about 3.5 billion.  Of course, Ehrlich turned out to be wrong, just as Malthus had.  Note that Mr. Ehrlich also believed we faced imminent Global Cooling at the time, now he is apostle for Global Warming.  How many times can a person be wrong?  Has Ehrlich admitted that his earlier hypothesizes were clearly incorrect?  No.  Have the mass starvation proponents admitted their ideas are incorrect?  No, because their theories are not science they are a religion.  No facts will convince them to give up their irrational argument that we are about to run out of food.  See Earth Economist: The food bubble is about to burst.  The argument in this article is that we are about to run out of water for agriculture.  This is nonsense.  The amount of water on the Earth is essentially the same as it was a billion years ago.  Water has never been where we want it or necessarily in the form we want it.  This is not a resource problem, this is an infrastructure/invention problem.

Club of Rome

This was a book commissioned by the Club of Rome.  The Club of Rome is a think tank and the book “Limits of Growth” was published in 1972 and based its predictions on a computer model.  This model did not include the Internet, Personal Computers, email, genetic engineering, heart transplants, etc.  The model did not include the single way that humans increase wealth – inventions (new technologies).  The book was widely criticized by people such as Robert Solow, Nobel Prize economist, as having a weak base of data.  The book has recently been updated.  I bet it still does not take inventions into account.  The Club of Rome’s prophecies have been no better than Paul Ehrlich.  Is there any fact that if true would prove this hypothesis wrong?  No, because this is a religion not science

All these doomsday prophecies are religions.


Limiting Freedom

All these proposals demand that human freedom be limited to deal with these doomsday religious theories.  This makes them somewhat self-fulfilling prophecies.  The way human’s create wealth is by the use of their mind and the ability to act on their thoughts.  Or as Ayn Rand said in Capitalism” The Unknown Ideal, “reason is man’s means of survival.  Limiting freedom, limits the ability of people to create wealth.  For more information see Sustainability isn’t Sustainable.


While Ronald Reagan pandered to the religious right, he still nailed this issue.

Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic policies and benefiting from their success — only then can societies remain economically alive, dynamic, progressive, and free. Trust the people.



President Obama travels to the climate conference at Copenhagen this week.  How would limiting CO2 emissions effect innovation?  The president has promised that:

U.S. emissions in 2050 will be 83 percent below 2005 levels. If so, 2050 emissions will equal those in 1910, when there were 92 million Americans. But there will be 420 million Americans in 2050, so Obama’s promise means that per capita emissions then will be about what they were in 1875.[1].

In order to achieve this goal will require significant advances in technology or significant restrictions on the activities of U.S. residents.  The argument that limiting CO2 emission will increase innovation are based on the idea that government mandates stimulate innovation by businesses to meet the directive.  The problem with this argument is that it ignores the innovation that businesses did not undertake because they had to spend their research and development budgets to meet a government directive.  Since it is unlikely that the U.S can achieve these goals without also limiting the activities of its residents, the CO2 emission goals set by the President will limit economic activity.  According the Rate Law of Innovation, any limitation on the goals or means of innovation reduces the rate of innovation.  A weaker economy is also likely to reduce the number of innovators slowing the rate of innovation. 


Subscriber Count


Advertise Here

Your Ad

could be right


find out how


Coming Soon