My youngest son would be the family scientist. He's into space, into the computer, he's into watching the Sci-Fi channel, he likes creating volcanic eruptions with soda pop, and, of course, he loves Popular Science magazine. Suffice it to say, Ryan has more to offer his old man, in terms of paradigm expansion, than I do him. But every now and again he presents me with an opportunity to disabuse him of someone's, well-intended I suppose, attempt to influence his thinking about the present and future state of this big blue marble upon which we tread our ever-too-dirty feet. Last evening presented one of those opportunities.
"Hey Dad, what do you think of this?" was all it took to set off one of my family lectures on free markets (always works to clear the room of pesky youngens) and, ulimately, send me to my iPad to compose the next blog post:
In the July 2012 issue of PS, Mara Grunbaum offers an enlightening, if not frightening, view, of our "four potential futures". In her article, Four Futures, How the choices we make today will change the world, she offers up statistics, illustrated (convincingly) in numbers and charts, to support the notion that the key to creating income equality, curing world hunger, preserving water supplies, stemming population growth and preserving the environment for eons to come is to embark upon what she terms the Great Transition, or number 4, below.
"Possible Scenarios" (and, parenthetically, my sarcasm)
1. Market Forces: Business as usual - the economy grows, technology advances. Poorer regions build up industries, and environmental problems become more serious. (Damn those capitalists!)
2. Policy Reform: Governments take rapid action to meet U.N. climate targets and other sustainability goals, but economic growth remains the strongest factor in developing new policies. (Damn those capitalists and those crony politicians [I sympathize re; politicians]!)
3. Fortress World: Environmental, economic and social problems overwhelm current systems, and governments become authoritarian. The wealthy retreat to protected enclaves, leaving poor masses in a degraded wasteland. (She definitely watches the Sci-Fi channel)
4. Great Transition: Society's values change radically to prioritize environmental preservation, social equality and cooperation. (And of course we'd all agree on what "environmental preservation" truly means. And it'd be no sweat coming up with acceptable standards determining "social equality". And being that we humans are not naturally a competitive bunch, we'd all cooperate and create social and environmental harmony).
Here's an excerpt from Cafehayek.com's Don Boudreaux's piece on how much man has gained by (perhaps) warming things up a bit:
"Being no physical scientist myself, I accept Mr. Muller