Yet another weird SF fan


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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Economic Consensus and Climate Consensus

According to Arnold Kling, the current global-warming debate sounds familiar:

My concern is with how "scientific consensus" is reached. In economics in the 1960's, there was a "scientific consensus," embedded in sophisticated macro-econometric models, that inflation reflected a competition over income shares, and that government policies to interfere with wage- and price-setting were the solution. Milton Friedman's contrary views were outside the "scientific consensus."

………

I wish that climate-change models did not remind me so much of macro-econometric models. I wish that the contempt that the Left expresses for dissenting views in climate science did not remind me of the contempt that the Left expressed for Milton Friedman. And I wish that the debate over climate change were being waged over substance, rather than with type M arguments and on film. Movies are a propaganda medium, not an information medium.

I thought of a similar analogy. Denying the possible global warming emergency is not analogous to backing “fine tuning” and price controls but rather denying the seriousness of unemployment. In the 1970s, the Left wing of the time frequently accused conservatives of denying that unemployment was a problem. (One common argument was that conservatives should back the welfare state on the grounds that their policies made it necessary.) The Right wing of the time would claim that anybody who wanted a job could get one. Looking at the stagflation controversy in hindsight, we can see that unemployment was indeed a problem (even if was exaggerated by Leftists) but that it was alleviated by following policies exactly opposed to those recommended by the people who claimed to be most concerned about unemployment. Similarly, if global warming is a problem, the most obvious solution is to have anti-nuclear activists tarred and feathered and then increase the use of nuclear fission.

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