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J. Drew

Ok. So if we need to build an industry the size of the coal industry, to counteract the climate issues associated with that industry, and moreover this new industry generates exactly zero conventional economic returns... wouldn't it be easier to just shut down the coal industry? The net economic effect would be about the same.


But J. Drew...just think of the jobs that would be "created" with this new "industry". We might even see a 0.2% bump in GDP, which would in turn inspire consumer confidence, which would in turn inspire spending, which would make our debt vanish into thin air.

John D

JohnWDB- I laughed at your comment until I realized that the majority of the typical voters out there would not understand the sarcasm of your post.

J. Drew

Somebody should call Krugman. Who needs world war three when dumping rocks into the ocean can give us the same economic benefits?


@John D--Humor is my chosen defense mechanism. Denial seems to work for most.

On a more serious note, I'm pretty sure this will actually happen for that same reasoning. Scientists are good at saying "look, this is inefficient," but then there is the rock-smashing lobby and the confederation of mineral-dust-ship-builders who have more dollars and charismatic spokesmen. Somehow, we started shunting 6 billion bushels of corn, grown with fossil fuel-intensive processes into ethanol so we could burn cleaner fossil fuels. This was never a remotely good idea at any point, and it was even worse in hindsight (food shocks), but we have no intention to stop. No, the law mandates doing even more of it in the future. We live in a Keynesian world, in which fiat money is equated with wealth. Things that make money move around are thought to create wealth even though they actually destroy it. I don't see why we aren't building massive government-subsidized coal fires, charging admission, and then making reality TV shows about gawkers who pay to see massive coal fires. Imagine the economic benefits.


Actually, Lewis Black, God love him, seems to think we should do just that...


Dave Cohen

@John WDB

Yes, I've seen that video. Hilarious. Big Fucking Thing!

A longer version is now the Bonus Video for this post.

-- Dave

Alexander Ač

The bigger question is: "Why should every problem have simple a solution?"

Since by "solving" one problem we create at least another problem(s), more difficult to solve...


Aboc Zed

the essence of democracy is "ignorance voting ignorance in office"

as such it is not only far from "best" type of government it it cannot be called _government_ at all

democracy is just parlaying of warm blooded pecking order of our evolutionary past (animal kingdom) into the world of human culture and institutions - there is nothing "best" about it or "intelligent" or anything else

the whole will continue on automatic pilot for as long as planetary system can bear - that is for as long as the feedbacks have not come home to roost and killed off the majority of humans

this process cannot be stopped and those who understand it, in my opinion, should simply observe it and document it so that posterity has good account of how their circumstances materialized

we now know it will not be easy for them in the future because they will not have as nearly "clean" and "productive" planet and the climate will keep them on their toes

it is clear to insightful people like dave and commentators here that the best humanity could do would stop any economic activity and stand still for centuries letting the planet to take care of the consequences of humans operating out of ignorance

as we know this will not happen the question of whether homo sapiens sapiens would give rise to homo cogitans cannot be answered now

on an individual level we all find our own mechanisms to cope with knowing that the only progression is from bad to worse but on societal level nothing is happening because there is not a single group of people that can operate a double life of surviving under democracy and capitalism and simultanuously working on analysis of what (if anything) may come after the total and complete breakdown of governments and governance everywhere

we live in interesting times because we can only know general trend but whether the main show is going to be during our lifetime or lifetime of our children or grandchildren remains open for speculation because there are too many parameters to all the interconnections of the system humanity<->planet<->humanity

i am glad dave is doing the noble work of documentting the road into the future

i wish i had money to spare to make his life easier


"Systems of problem solving develop greater complexity and higher costs over long periods. In time such systems either require increasing energy subsidies or they collapse. Diminishing returns to complexity in problem solving limited the abilities of earlier societies to respond sustainably to challenges, and will shape contemporary responses to global change." - Joseph Tainter


Geo-engineering, environmentalism, doom-saying, sociopathic capitalism, corrupt government, state terror/persecution/torture, pharmaceutical poisoning, nuclear power, nuclear weapons, gun ownership, domestic violence, Alpha male Darwinism, pure and simple greed ... they all boil down to one thing. And this departed genius said it all, years ago:


I can never get enough of George.


Well, perhaps we can put the increasing number of unemployed, impoverished and displaced to work mining, grinding, transporting and dumping this stuff. This looks like an opportunity for Full Employment! ;-)

Frank Furcsa

Yeah this next


I bet the Easter Islanders used the last tree to build a planter for tree seeds that they didn't have any more of. ^_^


They used the last tree to build a big fecking club to beat up the islanders who had the last of the food.

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