Comments

  • In praise of science.
    G7 to agree tough measures on burning coal to tackle climate change
    By Dulcie Lee & Joseph Lee
    BBC News
    Published 1 hour ago
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-57456641

    Again with the same green commie fallacy that sustainability requires sacrifice - imposed by authoritarian government. Malthusians to a man!

    Malthus was wrong. Just as we invented tractors and fertilizers, and food production far outpaced population growth, by applying the right energy technology we can transcend the limits to growth equation.

    Harnessing (effectively) limitless clean energy from magma, we can defeat climate change; not merely mitigate it, but overcome it - and allow for a favourable balance between environmental sustainability and human welfare, going forward from where we are.

    There's no need for authoritarian governments imposing energy poverty to reduce demand if economic activity were based on plentiful clean energy. It's there, the big ball of molten rock beneath our feet contains limitless high grade clean energy, surely not impossible to harness in face of this global existential threat.

    Burn less coal - and make us pay more for energy for the sake of that sacrifice! That's the height of their ideologically limited ambitions!
  • In praise of science.


    Yes, science is the source of climate change and pollution, int the sense that, without it they would not have existed. Science is the source of technology, which is the source of consumerism, pollution, global warming, environmental degradation, soil destruction tion, aquifer destruction, over-fishing of the oceans etc, etc. Science is also the source of increasingly effective technologies that can be used to diminish personal liberty.Janus

    You haven't got to the root of the problem. Science is not just a tool that can be used for good or ill. Science is also an understanding of reality.

    Science as an understanding of reality was suppressed - even while science as a tool was used to drive the industrial revolution. That - ideological mis-application of technology is the cause of climate change and pollution, and the proof of this is that, scientifically and technologically, climate change and pollution are not necessary!

    We used the tools without reading the instructions. That's the problem. If we put the science out front, we can follow along very profitably, but if profit leads the way, we cannot secure the future.
  • In praise of science.
    The scheme of the Enlightenment philosophers was roughly this: if they could persuade the rulers to leave them alone to pursue their studies “of the things under the earth and in the heavens” as they wished, free of persecution, the philosophers promised them that their discoveries—those of the nascent “Scientific Revolution”, as Fooloso4 has mentioned—would benefit mankind by offering protection against disease, famine, death from violence, etc, and “ease their estate” generally through the application of the results of that science.Todd Martin

    Not a bad deal, is it?Wayfarer

    Insofar as that occurred, it is a bad deal.

    I don't suppose I can induce you to understand, but there's a difference between an ideological understanding of reality, and a scientific understanding of reality.

    A scientific understanding of reality was supressed by accusations of heresy, even while science as a tool, was used to drive the industrial revolution.

    That's the mistake we're still making today.

    The G7 are meeting now, to discuss climate change - and seem to think that, having admitted the bare fact of climate change, they can and should then act on that bare fact - as their ideological interests dictate!

    The consequence is sub optimal technologies, that won't meet our energy needs; that imply authoritarian government imposing green poverty as a matter of policy, and so set a course for economic, political and environmental failure.

    Looking at the problem in terms of a scientific understanding of reality, this is completely unnecessary. There's limitless amounts of clean energy available from the massive heat energy of the earth itself, that might be used to extract and sequester atmospheric carbon, produce hydrogen fuel, desalinate sea-water to irrigate land, recycle, and so on.

    Using science as a tool, while supressing science as an understanding of reality to maintain religious, political and economic ideology - unreformed in relation to truth, is a very bad deal indeed. Monkeys with machine guns, bad!
  • In praise of science.
    You’re kind of fundamentalist in your own way, you know. It’s a very black v white, good guys v bad guys script you’re running. Stay with it, I will trouble you no more.Wayfarer

    Your comprehension is poor!
  • In praise of science.
    I think it one of those situations where if you have to explain the point, it’s not worth making. I’m sure someone will come along soon with another point, let’s wait for that.Wayfarer

    I recognise that religion is important to people - but it's not true in the way that science is true. Science has more claim to be the word of God than the politics of primitive people. Science establishes true knowledge of reality. If reality is Created, then it's true knowledge of Creation i.e. the word of God. The Church could have adopted that position. It was provided for by St Thomas Aquinas view that rational and spiritual knowledge cannot be in conflict. But that's not what happened. The Church made a mistake in making a heresy of science. As a direct consequence the human species is faced with extinction. And you're telling me your feewings is hurty? And you demand I defend the conduct and arguments of rabid atheists - who to my mind, are every bit as faithful as you are! I accept what can be known, first, and keep an open mind as to other things like the existence of God. So why are you putting this on me?
  • In praise of science.
    Does the expression ‘biblical literalism’ mean anything to you? Do you know why it is criticised? What the alternatives are to it?Wayfarer

    Yes, yes, and erm, not really!

    Is there a point coming along soon?
  • In praise of science.
    Not for a minute.Wayfarer

    Helpful!
  • In praise of science.
    You know it cuts both ways. The vocal atheists of popular culture all weaponise evolutionary theory to ‘prove’ or ‘show’ that God doesn’t exist. So how are the religious supposed to react to that? ‘Oh, I guess you’re right. I guess what I’ve seen up until now as the whole foundation of my life is really just a delusion, a by-product of my evolved simian brain.’Wayfarer

    How does it cut both ways? Galileo proved the earth orbits the sun. The bishops in charge of the trial would not even look through a telescope. Are you suggesting they were right not to do so?
  • Board Game Racism
    I'm sure it is. However, I think it is rather difficult to imagine politics without finance. Indeed, one of political leaders' primary concern is how to finance their political programs and how to persuade the leaders of finance and industry to support their projects. And this is where politics and finance necessarily intersect or converge. But I agree that not everyone finds this a topic of interest.Apollodorus

    One can only do so much. If I have shown that it's possible to secure a prosperous sustainable future by sustaining capitalism with limitless amounts of clean energy; accounting for its externalities - not by internalising them to the economy, but by internalising them within a bubble of clean energy from magma as large as our ambitions can make it, I trust people will make the right decisions. The only alternatives are horrendous. I do think this is the right move for our species - and that employing and sustaining the infrastructure of capitalism is the only realistic means of applying the necessary technology in short order, with minimal disruption.
  • Board Game Racism
    I can see your point. However, personally, I would tend to be less sure.Apollodorus

    I'm being less sure on purpose. I don't want to get tangled up in illuminati type conspiracy theories about the operations of capital, I don't even pretend to understand. Political philosophy is a very different branch of knowledge from high finance. I have no idea who's got all the dough IRL!

    My principle concern is the viability of a sustainable future, and in my view, the only way it works out is with limitless amounts of clean energy from magma, to power carbon capture and storage, desalination and irrigation, and recycling - using hydrogen as a fuel and storage medium, and on that basis positively building a sustainable relationship with the natural world going forward.

    Sustainability is not viable as increasingly authoritarian government imposing ever greater fuel poverty, to protect natural resources from the starving masses. That's the power mad, anti-capitalist future the left seem to want - and the window to avoid this terrible fate is closing fast, as Biden et al commit $6trn or something like that, to windmill building, (surely believing entirely that's the right thing to do, advised by a field dominated by left wing anti capitalist thought for decades.)

    But if we create a sub-optimal technological infrastructure we will be locked into a sub-optimal future, and the politics and economics then unfolds toward economic, political and environmental catastrophe. It won't work! See Energy and Entropy - on page one of your physics textbooks! We need massively more energy to strike that balance between human welfare and environmental sustainability. Not less! Less energy is a disaster! By comparison, I don't care in the least who's got all the dough IRL!
  • The Shoutbox
    Got me a root canal today. I no longer have to hear that screaming sound when I drink a cold drink.Hanover

    Got me a cold drink today, for much the same reason! Cheers!
  • Board Game Racism
    The question is whether the anti-capitalist, anti-western and anti-white left acts on its own or with the collaboration and support of rogue elements within the capitalist camp who share the left's agenda to monopolize financial, economic, and political power and abolish democracy.Apollodorus

    Difficult post to respond to. With most people, I usually have much to disagree with!

    The reason sustainability is such an important issue - politically, is that if the left were correct, capitalism must inevitably fail. And because the left have dominated the green agenda for decades, they wrote the book - convincing everyone of a limits to growth approach, that relates in turn to Malthusian pessimism.

    Malthus wrote his Essay on Population in 1798. It was enormously influential, even while fundamentally mistaken. His premise was that because population growth is geometric: 2,4,8,16,32, etc - while agricultural land can only be created arithmetically: 1,2,3,4,5,6 etc, population must inevitably outstrip food supply and there will be mass starvation. He was proven utterly and outrageously wrong. We invented tractors and fertilizers, and food production easily outpaced population growth, even doing so with less agricultural labour.

    Malthus didn't take account of the fact that human beings are inventive and productive problem solvers, less yet the role of science and technology. Nonetheless, we see this same conceptual framework in the seminal 1972 Limits To Growth (Club of Rome discussion paper) by Meadows, Meadows, Randers and Behrens.

    "The Limits to Growth (LTG) is a 1972 report on the exponential economic and population growth with a finite supply of resources, studied by computer simulation."

    This same idea of sustainability within finite means is the entire justification for the pay more/have less, carbon tax this/stop that, wind/solar approach to a battery powered future, accepted by left and right. Yet it's utterly and outrageously false.

    The left have dominated the field so long, the right seem completely unaware of how false this limits to growth idea is, and are mired in climate change denial - and perhaps therefore, unable to examine the question of whether capitalism is sustainable. And as it turns out, capitalism is sustainable, so why allow the left to park the tanks on the lawn?

    Scientifically and technologically, it's possible to sustain capitalism because - as a matter of physical fact, resources are a consequence of the energy available to create them, and the energy is available: right beneath our feet, a virtually limitless source of high grade, constant clean energy. Are there reasons some capitalists would not want to exploit this free energy resource?

    No, because that would imply the operation of an illegitimate cartel! So clearly not! They just don't know any better than commit to wind and solar - which will cost an absolute fortune, barely take the edge of carbon emissions, last 25 years then cost an absolute fortune to replace, and always require a parallel fossil fuel generating capacity as back up!
  • In praise of science.
    I think science and religion are natural enemies. The recognition that there is a natural order discoverable by reason, and the authority of text revealed to man by god must necessarily collide, which was always the source of the persecutions of philosophers by the civil/religious authorities.Todd Martin

    A conflict between faith and reason as means to authoritative truth was the basis upon which the Church took offence to science, but that doesn't show that it was necessary. From as early as 1274, St Thomas Aquinas was talking about how faith and reason cannot ultimately be in conflict. I'm not a theologian, but it seems to me the philosophical groundwork was there in the cannon of Catholic doctrine - that could have bridged the apparent divide.


    As the two [religion and science] diverge, the one claiming to be the source of all things spiritual, moral, aesthetic - appears falsified by contrast to the demonstrable truths of science.
    — counterpunch

    The fault lies with science, not religion; and I mean by “science” what used to be meant by “philosophy”, ie, the pursuit of the truth about nature according to reason—including the nature of man, of his soul. That bold innovation of Machiavelli and his numerous disciples, the Enlightenment—was really just a power-grab: an attempt to wrest authority away from the pontiffs and prelates and rulers who bowed to them and place it in the hands of philosophers, that they no longer suffer persecution, and this was successfully accomplished by focusing man’s attention on his material as opposed to spiritual prosperity. It was this goal of philosophy that conduced to the division in philosophy b/w it and science in the modern sense, ie, “hard” science, the sort that is demonstrable and easily adaptable to material prosperity.Todd Martin

    I have read this six times and still don't know what it means. I completely reject the idea of Machiavelli as a figurehead of the Enlightenment. His major work, the Prince - was advice to monarchy on how to retain power. While diabolically clever, there's nothing particularly enlightened about it.

    The modern scientist casts an ambiguous shadow: does he really only want to understand rerum naturam as the disinterested theoretician, or is he the benefactor of mankind, the technician discovering things that can be used to increase our material prosperity? Everything lies in the motive, for it is not obvious that everything he discovers has practical application—especially in the realm of the soul. Aristotle’s lover of “beautiful and useless things” is not to the modern taste.Todd Martin

    I presume, if I understood the previous paragraph, I'd understand this one, but again, your meaning is slipping by me. Let me get this straight - Machivelli masterminded a power grab against the Church by advising monarchy on how to retain power, that somehow distracted people from spiritual matters, and this led the Church to put Galileo on trial for heresy, and that's why science sucks? No. I'm still not getting it!
  • Board Game Racism
    I tend to agree that it doesn't make sense to single out Westerners for criticism. Slavery, for example, existed for many centuries in Ancient Egypt, and other parts of Africa, Asia and the Americas before it became widespread in the Roman Empire and its European successors. If we condemn something we should condemn all perpetrators not just Europeans. So, it does look like there is a political and potentially racist agenda here.Apollodorus

    BigPantsDropper needs to realise that slavery is what happens in absence of the philosophies, politics and economics of capitalism. It's the market mechanism that allows for the production and distribution of goods and services without overarching political control - thus allowing for personal and political freedom. Relative to slavery, the invisible hand is a miracle - and there's almost no-one pointing this out in face of an increasingly screechy - anti western, anti capitalist, politically correct, neo-marxist agenda.

    My particular interest is sustainability - which may seem like a bit of a digression, but isn't. The left have dominated discussion of the climate and ecological crisis for decades, and have very successfully fed anti-capitalist assumptions into the collective consciousness via the green agenda - even while political correctness constructs authoritarian politics. The woke are sleep walking into a trap.
  • Board Game Racism
    Good grief, there's no need to be so bloody rude.BigThoughtDropper

    So it's not rude to point a giant spotlight at the origins of western civilisation, and criticise particularly and relentlessly in terms of modern day moral values - values that Western civilisation only latterly developed, and then when challenged on this, melt down and start listing real world colonial atrocities - like the rabid commie dog you are? I think that is rude - to all who have struggled to create civilisation from the brutality of a state of nature, and false to the far greater good that has been achieved.
  • Board Game Racism


    If you have an argument to make, I have no objection to you quoting wikipedia, and posting a link, but you have to explain what your argument is - and quote a relevant passage. This one liner and a link is unacceptable, and I won't be responding further. Thanks for your lack of effort!
  • Board Game Racism
    The legacy of the 19th century is with us today. Our wealth is built upon the backs of the world's poor.BigThoughtDropper

    At last, your values become clear. And the problem with your values is that they're poised between a truism, and being utterly false. They're false because by far the larger part of the wealth created by western civilisation is a consequence of the scientific revolution, than it is slave labour. Yet at the same time, what wealth isn't built upon exploitation of some kind? Even planting crops requires disturbing the natural order, and exploiting the fertility of the soil for "our greedy, selfish ends!" I don't condone the excesses of Empire, but the world is dynamic, and people have been moving about, conquering and exploiting each other for the entirety of human history. We wiped the Neanderthals out altogether. In terms of historic injustices - I'd start there!
  • Board Game Racism
    In terms of (2) the specific game in question is not thematically anti-colonialism as I pointed out with the "unrest rule"- unless you think that it is pro-colonialism in the present day ... ?BigThoughtDropper

    I haven't played it, but I read a little about it, and just the choice of era is polemic. It speaks to a wider anti-western left wing agenda, to single out the West as conquerors and slavers - which is not entirely untrue, but wasn't everybody until Western civilisation developed more enlightened ideals? It's bizarre that values developed by the West toward the end of the period, 1492 to 1797, are used against the West, to criticise its pre-history!
  • In praise of science.
    So, to keep an open mind, we have to allow that science is not always a good thing, especially when it crushes the spirit each of us has in us by denying its very existence.Hanover

    I don't know of any science that directly refutes the existence of 'the spirit each of us has in us.' I do know of a 400 year old religious and philosophical tradition of anti-science scare stories; that continue even unto this day as assumptions like yours.

    I am aware that many scientists are atheist, but then the Church declared science heresy from 1635 onward - and so set the condition of that relationship, and the subsequent philosophical environment within which science developed - robbed of moral authority as valid knowledge of "Creation."

    An impartial observer, I propose - might reasonably expect science, as the means to establish valid knowledge of Creation - to be recognised as spiritually significant and morally integrated into society on an ongoing basis. But instead, science was deprived of the moral worth that follows normatively and naturally from its truth value.

    It's a position philosophy has done its very best to justify, and it's that anti-science philosophical abuse that crushes the spirit - for it accords science only cold, clinical, mechanistic implications, reserving "the spirit" to ideological definition, not allowing spirit to evolve in true relation to reality.

    The consequent misapplication of technology, you seem to assume is rightful - as a basis for claiming that:

    we have to allow that science is not always a good thing,Hanover

    ..sure, not in the hands of ideologues who have no regard for the understanding of reality science describes, even as they employ its tools toward their own ends, science is at the very least as dangerous as it is helpful, but developed and applied in regard to a scientific understanding of reality/Creation, recognised as spiritually significant and morally integrated into society, I think science would have been a good thing.
  • Essay Number One: ‘Perceptions of Experience and Experiences of Perception’
    What is to be taken from this essay?I like sushi

    Any reference to Heidegger, apparently!

    The circularity is that ‘hammer’ is not ‘physical’. When it comes to cognitive thought (or rather, worded thought) the ‘hammer’ I can hold in my hand is no more physical than the thought of holding the ‘hammer’ in my handI like sushi

    Bang in a nail with the thought of holding a hammer, and I'll eat my literal hat!
  • Board Game Racism
    So, I think you are saying this board game is (1), but I think it is (3).BigThoughtDropper

    No. I think it's 3 with a hidden 2 - entertainment with a polemic agenda you seem blissfully unaware of!
  • Board Game Racism
    I agree. To a certain extent, I think it's disrespectful to pretend that European colonization was cleaner than it really was.T Clark

    I don't think we agree at all.

    "A balance must be found between expansionism and humanism, between commercial goals and respect for local values..."

    "Hunters herded the bison and drove them over the cliff, breaking their legs and rendering them immobile. Tribe members waiting below closed in with spears and bows to finish the kills. The Blackfoot People called the buffalo jumps "pishkun", which loosely translates as "deep blood kettle". This type of hunting was a communal event that occurred as early as 12,000 years ago and lasted until at least 1500, around the time of the introduction of horses."

    What do you mean by cleaner?
  • Board Game Racism
    Obviously, I couldn't play this game in good conscience the way that it is.BigThoughtDropper

    It's a mistake to impose one's modern day values on the past. This game does that by relating fictional game mechanics to real world history:

    "Each player portrays an explorer and his team commissioned by a European nation to discover, colonize, and exploit islands."

    Can't I be a refugee from centuries of European religious conflict - fleeing across the oceans to unknown lands, with a dream that men should be free to worship, or not, as they choose, and be free to think and speak as they see fit?

    To be clear this theme is not meant to be educationalBigThoughtDropper

    You're wrong about that.

    "A balance must be found between expansionism and humanism, between commercial goals and respect for local values, between knowledge sharing and unbridled industrialization."

    These dichotomies are heavily value laden; and anachronistically so, and far from being incidental, are typically slanted toward criticism of western civilisation. This is a criticism you seek to emphasise with your confected moral qualms.
  • The Shoutbox
    Amusing repartee is the point here, is it not?Bitter Crank

    No obviously so, no!
  • In praise of science.
    This wasteland of the soul is what I fear we have received in exchange for a prosperous bodily existence. I know all the counter-arguments...Todd Martin

    Apparently, you'd don't know the counter argument that science is the word of God - decoded by man; yet denied and decried as heresy by the Church, and so misused and abused by government and industry... including the philosophy industry.

    The "wasteland of the soul" you describe is a consequence of the fact religion chose an antithetical relationship to science, and yet science is true. As the two diverge, the one claiming to be the source of all things spiritual, moral, aesthetic - appears falsified by contrast to the demonstrable truths of science.

    Philosophy has failed to come to terms with this. Even here, you build upon the same religious dichotomy between the spiritual and the mundane; rather than seeking to reconcile subject and object, fact and value, truth and beauty, you construe science as some Faustian bargain. But if your deal was with the devil, he was wearing vestments and a mitre - not a lab coat!
  • The Shoutbox
    Ever thought that it was the animals; thrown upon the shore by the waves, could get back to the water, that ultimately learnt to walk on land?
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    Piketty argues that seeing it merely as "people voting against their interests" is mistaken. Every system is propped up by ideology as well. The ideas of the meritocracy, of the primacy of the market and perhaps above all the idea that there is simply no alternative to massive inequality are very pervasive.Echarmion

    All I see here is an appeal to authority and abuse. You offer me no reason to continue an argument I consider, conclusively proven. Thanks for the chat.
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    It's a testament to the power of the current orthodoxy that we are unable to even properly talk about alternatives. It's like 1615, only our God is "the invisible hand of the market" and our doctrine is Neoliberalism.Echarmion

    The invisible hand is a miracle. It's not a God, but it is a miracle. Imagine you are in command, over a command economy, and you want to make socks. First, you need to organise labour to plough the field, and the labour available gets paid whether the field is ploughed or not. Do you get where I'm coming from? The invisible hand distributes that decision making - by making it profitable to the individual, to foresee the need and plough the field, and plant the cotton - to sell to the sockmaker, who buys elastic from South America or something, brought here by a ships captain who thought, I know someone who would probably want to buy that. All these self interested economic decisions knit together miraculously, to produce and distribute what is needed and wanted. If you truly understand it, I think you have to recognise that's miraculous, particularly in relation to the alternative. The alternative is you will plough the field or I'll have you shot! I'd much rather get paid! Then I can go buy something from someone else, anticipating my needs!
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    I call it 'revolutionary change' only because the installed Uber-wealthy class might not be dislodged by a gradual, evolutionary process. They have everything to lose and nothing to gain from major change.Bitter Crank

    I'm thinking about selling up and moving to Portland. What do you think? Buy a house there, start a business. Send my kids to school. I was hoping to get your advice.

    Major industry develops that way. Someone has a working undeveloped technology with major potential. Investors give a group the money to start production, whether that be a cast-iron steam engine works, new steel plant, a transistor factory, or a large-scale battery storage farm--whatever it is. There is generally risk involved--that the investment might not pay off well, or worse, might not pay off at all. The Uber-wealthy are not risk takers. There is no need for them to take risks--they already have such a large share of the wealth. They can afford to be indifferent.Bitter Crank

    The wealthy cannot afford to be indifferent to climate change. And indeed, they're not. I read the communique from the G7 virtual summit on 20/21 May. Things are happening; they're moving on climate change. The only question is if they're making the right moves, and I'm arguing that their approach is sub optimal.

    Little wonder, given that the left have so monopolised thinking on environmental issues, you actually have people believing there's a dead end ahead when in fact that's you, using environmental issues as an anti-capitalist battering ram that excludes thinking about realistic solutions. There are better answers than taxing people into poverty to save the world. It requires looking beyond the world as described by ideology, to a scientific understanding of reality; and I seek to assure the wealthy that putting the science out front does not preclude acting for profit, and very great profit too!

    That is the distortion the disproportionate distribution of global wealth has. The few thousand people controlling 70% of world wealth starve innovation. Geo-thermal / H-power is just one more good idea languishing on the shelf.Bitter Crank

    The wealthy look at issues like climate change through an ideological lens first, and it's the art of the possible in those terms. That's why wind and solar are so obviously inadequate to the challenge, yet are popping up all over. They'll get kickbacks, and it won't hurt mining stocks, but that's just business. They'll create some skilled jobs, and take the edge off carbon emissions. It won't be enough, but the will is there.

    Looking at things through a different lens first, a scientific lens, there's enormous untapped potential in magma energy. I believe resources are a function of the energy available to create them, and given sufficient energy we could balance human welfare and environmental sustainability, very much in our favour. We can get there from here, as we are, without turning the world upside down. And surely, that's to everyone's benefit.
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    The problem is you're basing your views on your ignorance.Echarmion

    I'm declining to speak on subjects I don't know much about, precisely because I don't base my views in ignorance.

    A lot of things "seem" to you this way and that, which is a nice way of saying you don't really know, and you're just making stuff up to suit your existing narrative of evil lefties out to destroy the world.Echarmion

    It seems like you're talking about the debate, rather than the subject of the debate. Am I wrong?

    Because in your mind I'm a leftist, so I must be an unemployed guy living in his parent's basement with a Che Guevara T-Shirt, right?Echarmion

    No. I imagine you're a Russian chained up in a server farm somewhere - stirring shit in the west through divisive propaganda. Or worse, a well to do left wing academic!

    For my part I'm content that I've brought my enormous knowledge to bear on this, and because you're talking about the debate, rather than the subject, it seems I've given you something to think about. Just generally though, one of the principal considerations in forming the magma energy plan for a sustainable future, has been discovering the least disruptive ways to achieve the goal. Because when things change rapidly and drastically, people suffer.
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    BC, my dear old friend, long time no see! It's always good to chat with you however briefly.

    It is desirable to have wealth vigorously percolate up the economy (rather than a glacially slow trickle-down), but getting the wealth to the base so it can percolate up requires a revolutionary change in the way wealth is controlled. I don't see that on the horizon.Bitter Crank

    That's my point though, I don't think it does require revolutionary change. UBI is revolutionary, but governments already have the tools in the form of minimum wage legislation and business taxes, and no-one could look askance upon government setting those to achieve a trickle up effect. How vigorous a percolation that could be would depend on things like inflationary pressures - and would that be such a bad thing with interest rates close to zero? I don't know. My concern is that the subsequent economic growth would be sustainable - and because I think it could be, an anti-capitalist, neo communist approach to sustainability is not necessary, and indeed, would be counter productive in a sustainable future.

    Your geo-thermal/hydrogen idea will probably remain undeveloped for lack of capital.Bitter Crank

    Echmarion is a handful, but note how the competition has driven me to surpass myself! Imagine I succeeded; I think this is unlikely, but imagine I was given the money to develop this technology myself, and hired people and scoped locations, and built facilities, and started delivering boat loads of sustainability, would you resent me my success? Because I wouldn't resent someone else developing these ideas, (and I think that more likely), nor resent them the rewards of having risked their capital and applied their minds. I'm a philosopher, not a politician or a businessman. I'd still be a philosopher if I had to live in a clay pot in the market square!
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    It's genuinely baffling to see someone so confidently make an argument from ignorance.Echarmion

    You've questioned the veracity of scope of my knowledge base and I've admitted my limitations. Now you're baffled? Surely not!

    It's bad because it damages social cohesion, in ways that are already quite obvious. You cannot expect people to not notice that their real income doesn't go up, while the stock market breaks record after record and managers in large companies get millions of dollars in bonuses even if they fail.Echarmion

    If there's anyone here putting a strain on social cohesion, I'd argue - that's you. Indeed, it seems to me that the left's standard strategy is to point out things that strain social cohesion and exploit the resulting discontent. Thing is it doesn't matter to me that large concentrations of capital stand as surety for insurance and pensions and goodness knows what? What matters to me is that I've something to do I'm capable of doing, that justifies my existence, and keeps the wolf from the door. But then I don't suppose you'd understand the pride there is in coming home, covered in dirt, having performed heroic labours, and slapping an envelope down on the kitchen table.

    Certainly not while people fervently defend the right of Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates to be arbitrarily rich on the basis that any kind of redistribution is born from jealousy and leads to communism. It also doesn't help that very few people are aware of the economic history of the last century in their own country, let alone the world.Echarmion

    Building the magma energy infrastructure would require political agreement in the first instance, but also, backing with significant amounts of capital. Were it the fossil fuel industry's capital, for example, they would be in a position to help determine how magma energy were applied - and that might be sufficient to earn their cooperation in what would ultimately be a transition. The problem is disorderly divestment. Magma energy would give us time to transition.

    But the supply still does need to be build first, and then the question of who decides how the supply is handled needs to be answered. Not everyone will own their own geothermal plant. I imagine you don't want one giant profit-driven conglomerate to own all the new power plants, and for good reason.Echarmion

    Were it Jeff Bezos' money, or Bill Gates money I imagine an LNG tanker full of liquid hydrogen fuel emblazoned with their logo - pulling into harbour within ten years. That's an economic future I could live with; given an economic history I'm very well aware of from a political perspective, thank you, even if corporate taxation is a huge and complex specialty I'm not overly familiar with. My apologies if you're still baffled, but I don't consider it utopian, or even unlikely. It is out of the box thinking in a very real sense; but then the most probable course doesn't lead anywhere good, and so arguably, the answer would initially appear improbable. My concern is to show that it's possible.
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    I have pointed out elsewhere that inequality is not simply "different outcomes". But regardless, the problem isn't that some theoretical amount of inequality might perhaps be good. It's that the current amount of inequality is bad.Echarmion

    In what sense bad? If you're saying it's bad because the poorest don't have enough, then your argument has my sympathies. What can be done? How about increasing minimum wage? But if your argument is that inequality is bad because some people have pot-loads, I don't agree. Large concentrations of capital are necessary to an economy - in ways I don't pretend to understand.

    Just be careful not to forget actually involving the poor in your calculation of what's "enough", because they won't just sit around watching you build your utopia if they're fed only the scraps.Echarmion

    I'm trying to think of ways we can carry on much as we are, and suggest an approach I think means things would get better over time as wealth trickled up through the economy and magma energy opened up the way to a far more prosperous sustainable future. I think all legitimate interests can be reconciled - insofar as magma hydrogen would not need to compete with existing fossil fuel technologies right away, and so infrastructure costs could be divided from environmental benefits - gained by extracting carbon directly from the atmosphere. Tackling the problem from the supply side does not imply authoritarian government imposing poverty on people forever after. If not wanting equality of poverty is utopian; if wanting genuine sustainability is utopian, then I'm utopian, but not unrealistically so.
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    Metaphors are all fine and good, but it's too easy to just brush the question aside with a smirk. Rising inequality is a real problem, and one that directly impacts your stated aim of providing everyone with cheap and clean energy.Echarmion

    Metaphors are fantastic, aren't they? They're like similes in play form. I'm trying to think of one that demonstrates that inequality is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. There's always the brain surgeon/ road-sweeper analogy. Why disincentivise further, making the extraordinary effort necessary to become a brain surgeon? Don't we already have enough road-sweepers? I don't look down on roadsweepers. I was an industrial cleaner in the construction industry for the longest time. I'm very familiar with a brush and shovel, but I made the effort to become a philosopher. Bit of a mistake really. I'm a great cook too. I could have been a celebrity chef, but I went for the philosophy. Ho hum! But as we're here, I flatter myself I know a thing or too and can assure you nothing's been brushed aside with a smirk. I'm just witty!

    My view is that inequality isn't a problem if the poorest have enough, and effectively limitless clean energy from magma can do that sustainably. Capitalism can be sustained, which is fortunate because communism has failed quite badly quite often, only recently! Something you seem to brush aside easily!

    The people affected by UBI are not the same as the people affected by a minimum wage increase.Echarmion

    That's true. It would be people like me as an industrial cleaner, who would be able to afford to keep a roof above their head, and would pay the landlord rent, who would go out and buy a car. Call it the trickle up theory of economics. Note that at every juncture the right motives are promoted in accord with the rational self interest of the individual, and to the benefit of society. I think the left are better pushing on a living wage than trying to sneak communism in by the back door, by handing out a big bag full of someone else's cash!
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    it's hard to make conclusive statements on this without large scale experimentation. Which is to say we'd need a major economy - something the size of France, Germany or the UK at least - to actually implement an UBI to have any real chance of getting a good idea of the effects.Echarmion

    That sounds like ideologically motivated ignorance to me. Ha ha. I've offered my inexpert opinion Echarmion. I am more naturally inclined toward approaches that raise the floor, rather than pull down the ceiling. It's like some Far Side cartoon - two stalls, one says 'free money' and has an enormous queue, and the other says "a fair days pay for a fair days work" - and no-one's interested. Tempting offer... but if there are less drastic means to have much the same effect, then what's the real purpose of UBI? Is it in fact, primarily - a political statement?

    "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" is a principle of solidarity, not jealousy.Echarmion

    So too are all the people at the free money booth in solidarity, but they're not there because they love each other. I don't think solidarity moves people like rational self interest, and offering free money appeals to rational self interest even while being a footbridge to communism.
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    I'm not a tax expert. I attempted to google some information on the socio-economic distribution of wealth in support of the idea of a growing middle class, but the ONS data is labyrinthine and my internet is a trickle. I cannot imagine any more of a burdensome social program than UBI - but haven't got the demographic data to say conclusively that the middle class would be more burdened by it, than benefitting from it. I think it is in general terms a good idea to get money to the bottom of the economy, as I've said - but worry that UBI would undermine natural incentives, whereas, significantly increasing minimum wage could be revenue neutral for companies, and achieve much the same result - while retaining, indeed promoting socially useful incentives.

    I'm not a corporate tax expert. I am aware of the perception that large companies don't pay a fair share, but I don't know how true that is. I secretly suspect they can just as justifiably claim to be over taxed as the middle class; but that doesn't fit with a jealous left wing narrative. Philosophically, I always consider Bill Gates - and imagine him in his shed, or whatever, noodling away at his computer, trying to invent windows - about to unleash an enormous wave of value, and I cannot be jealous of his success - such that I demand he be taxed to death in every country, state and townsville that has wifi.
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI


    You construe people as pollution, but in fact no-one need have a carbon footprint. We don't have to use fossil fuels.

    No, I've been talking about universal income throughout. No doubt the word 'polluter' confused you.Bartricks

    I'm not confused. You are. We could harness limitless amounts of clean energy from magma; and live sustainably and well long into the future. Consequently, people are not pollution, and over-population is not the problem. The problem is the mis-application of technology. Given an application of technologies in relation to a scientific understanding of reality (assuming only that we wish to survive) the earth could easily support the 10-12bn people projected by 2100 - sustainably and profitably.

    It all goes back to Malthus - and his Essay on Population 1770 ish - that predicted population would outstrip food supply and there would be mass starvation. He was wrong; human beings invented tractors and fertilizers - and have out-produced need and population growth through technological innovation. We can continue to do so. Nonetheless, Malthus ideas continue to inform the "pay more-have less, tax this-stop that" left wing anti-capitalist green approach to sustainability. And it's in those terms you construe people as pollution. Your disincentivisation of reproduction through taxation would be hugely counter productive - re: aging populations, in a sustainable future based on magma energy. I felt forced to counter this attitude.
  • In praise of science.
    have a credible discussion about why black people commit a lot more crime.James Riley

    I think it's cultural. Celebration of the criminal in black culture - particularly music, relates in turn to history, and the need to retain pride in face of persecution. Criminality was one of the few ways out of the ghetto. I'd like to think that's changed for those with the ability, but for those without it continues to serve as an excuse for fecklessness, encouraging criminality in young black men. Referencing Grand Theft Auto - I remember them mocking the guy assigned a job on release slinging burgers; ripping him about his hairnet. The pride invested in the criminal identity is a disadvantage to black people in my view. But then this raises the question of belonging to the societies they find themselves in - and it's thus in general terms I support the values political correctness purports to aspire to, it's just that I don't believe political correctness is honest, and cite twitter banning for stating facts - in contradiction to a media narrative inciting black people to further self inflicted injury, as evidence.
  • What is your understanding of 'reality'?
    Do you see the problem?TheMadFool

    I see it but it doesn't exist! For the vast majority of time since the big bang, including the history of the earth, no-one has been here to perceive anything. We can nonetheless know that 'stuff' existed, and does exist independently of our perceptions. The fact that no-one saw it does not unmake it; the subjective observer is only brought into existence by dint of things that went unobserved for the vast majority of time.
  • Universal Basic Income - UBI
    You skip back and forth between UBI and environmental taxation. I talk about one, you talk about the other. Pick one, and stick with it.