Friday, March 5, 2010

Prefer deferring the solvable problems over the unsolvable ones.

In the news:

Financial Times: IPCC's AR4 actually understates effects of climate change.
China Daily: Oxygen levels declining.

While those in right-wing land are busy excoriating British climate scientists for perceived sins of 15 years ago that are completely irrelevant to modern issues of climate change and biosphere destruction, those of us in the reality-based community are presented with a building mountain of highly disturbing realizations.

Stories like this explain why I'm not terribly concerned about intergenerational fiscal and political threats. A balanced budget and strict adherence to the Constitution aren't of much use when you're suffocating or can't find food because most of the edible plant and animal species are now extinct.

I feel like humans can solve human-scale problems such as deficits or political chaos given enough time. But creating a runaway feedback loop in the climate or destroying the systems that create oxygen for us to breathe will be a far bigger and maybe even unsolvable problem.

Therefore, I'm thinking that you might as well universalize health care and target tons of government dollars developing sustainable forms of energy, even if you have to do it by running the printing presses nonstop. Yeah, sure, you might destroy the currency, but if you succeed, you will have a wealth basis to reboot the system and also have the luxury of debating what that replacement system might look like.

I don't think my grandchildren (or more to the point, the grandchildren of those I love, since I will never have biological children of my own) will be very fond of us if we give them a balanced budget but no breathable oxygen. And, conversely, if we wrecked the economy making sure they had air to breathe and food to eat and medicine to heal them, they might forgive us for our fiscal and constitutional sins.

1 comment:

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