2018-05-13

Engine Summer

MI0001719482 This would naturally be a comment over at CIP's blog, but sadly his comments are broken at the moment1, so it's a post here. CIP's ire, in a post entitled Economics of Climate Policy is raised by my Why Liberal Media Need Conservative Columnists, which confuses me as that post isn't really about economics; though it does link to my On getting out more, which is, sort of. CIP also complains that "when backed into a corner [WMC] tends to disavow relevant [economic] expertise" which I think unfair, because I think I'm usually upfront about it, but to be clear I'll say it upfront here: I have no relevant economic expertise. Other than the ability to think.

And indeed - as I've said before - I'm not trying to teach economics - certainly not in the way I'd try to teach climatology. Picking holes in other people's proposals is far easier than trying to construct a theory of your own; picking holes is what I'm trying to do with "the Left's" economics.

After this, I wrote some words trying to pick apart the ways in which CIP has misunderstood what I wrote, but I fear it is all too much effort, and I gave up; the knot is too tight. I'm reminded of Engine Summer by John Crowley; wiki has a charming summary; you should read it, if you haven't already.

Since it strays into politics, I'll comment on CIP's idea that Ricardo's comparative advantage can be traced back to Plato, in the sense that "if each person does what he does best, more stuff will be produced". I think that's a misreading. Plato (in the Republic) was keen on the idea that people do what they are "best fitted for", but only because he wanted a stable society, with no possibility of the oiks at the bottom troubling the right to rule of the philosophers at the top. This is the complete opposite of the idea that people should be free to choose their own metier.

Notes


1. Aha! And now I know why: his comment scripts are regarded as insecure. See screenshot.

Refs

* NEW CLIMATE WARS ATROCITY : HOCKEY STICK WIELDING WARMIST  WHACKS SKEPTIC'S  SEEING EYE CYBERDOG.

11 comments:

andthentheresphysics said...

I have no relevant economic expertise. Other than the ability to think.

And indeed - as I've said before - I'm not trying to teach economics - certainly not in the way I'd try to teach climatology. Picking holes in other people's proposals is far easier than trying to construct a theory of your own; picking holes is what I'm trying to do with "the Left's" economics.


Something I've certainly seen from those who dispute AGW, is that they don't need to be an expert in order to pick holes in mainstream climate science.

andthentheresphysics said...

Actually, that may have come across more seriously than I intended, so image a virtual smiley face at the end of the above comment.

William Connolley said...

You may consider the smiley to have been imagined. And I confess that in the past I have berated the denialists for only being against; and not having their own coherent view to put forward. The difference, of course, is that I do have my own coherent theory; or rather, it isn't mine, I'm not that original.

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

I don't recall Ricardo saying anything about this "free to choose stuff." Aristotle thought each of us, and society could only be happy when we were doing what we were best suited for.

andthentheresphysics said...

WMC,
That wasn't quite what I was implying, but I have a feeling that this isn't something worth pursuing.

William Connolley said...

> free

The classical-liberal tradition that R is embedded in certainly implies it; I've not read enough of his work to know if he says it explicitly. You, however, invoked Plato, who very definitely says the exact opposite; you should probably skim The Republic, or Popper on it.

I'm not familiar with A; wiki claims that "He criticizes income based upon trade". It looks to me as though he, like others of his ilk, weren't interested in trade. They were interested in discussing political constitutions and so on. What's the source for your quote?

Phil Hays said...


Some of the denialists are not that original, but follow what they think is a coherent theory.

Of course, your economics is different.

Phil Hays said...


"You can't manage what you don't measure."

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/trump-white-house-quietly-cancels-nasa-research-verifying-greenhouse-gas-cuts

William Connolley said...

I was going to avoid commenting on that. The answer is that it's probably a decent piece of research, but it isn't necessary: we'll still know US carbon emissions without it. But some of the things said in it's defence are weird: The move jeopardizes plans to verify the national emission cuts agreed to in the Paris climate accords. (a) no, it doesn't really; and (b) errm, you've pulled out of Paris, no?

CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Re Aristotle: while he doesn't say exactly what I said, I think that both Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics and Book I of Politics emphasize natural roles and their necessity.

Plato's Republic: I have read, and perhaps even studied it, to my sorrow.

Marco said...

" errm, you've pulled out of Paris, no?"

They can't formally pull out until November 2020 and are bound to the commitments until then.