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February 25, 2014

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So, the link being behind a paywall, what in the world is a "J-shaped" recovery?

Not sure why it is behind a paywall, I was able to see it and I'm sure not going to pay for that, though sure enough, now, when I look at it, it's locked down. But the title of the piece is "J-curve recovery eludes Shinzo Abe as trade deficits balloon' and it is from the Financial Times Asia.

As for what a J shaped recovery is, I was hoping one of the econ literate commentators might be able to enlighten me.

A quick stroll thru wikipedia suggests that it should have been a 'J curve' rather than a 'J shaped recovery' (this is what happens when you are processing a lot of vocabulary that you don't know, I guess). That is described here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J-curve

Here's a link to the original article in the Financial Times. (No pay wall, although it did ask for a survey question in order to read it.)
www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a0015918-99dc-11e3-91cd-00144feab7de.html#axzz2uNnDzOA9

Ok, looking it up, I guess a "J shaped recovery" is one where the economy dips a little, and then takes off like a rocket. It's basically a mythical entity, like unicorns, it doesn't happen in the real world.

Though it does find it's way into official economic projections once in a while, in much the same way unicorns find their way into other varieties of fantasy.

Why would anybody not in a 3rd world country take China as an example of how to manage an economy? Sure, they have achieved some impressive numbers, some of which might even be true. But the cost in environmental damage and human rights has been horrific, and so far China has had it easy, in that all they've really had to do is follow where others have led. Soon they'll have to do new things, and that's not where command economies excel.

Neither, of course, would I advise anybody to emulate the modern US, with it's classic "L" shaped recoveries.

Perhaps Japan should look to the pre-handover Hong Kong. Or the US before the regulatory state went metastatic.

But neither China nor the modern US seem to me to provide good models for a healthy economy.

What I would like to know: Is the UK having a "pear-shaped" recovery?

But the cost in environmental damage and human rights has been horrific, and so far China has had it easy, in that all they've really had to do is follow where others have led.

In light of recent events, I want to take the opportunity to agree with Brett, at least on the first part. I'm not as sure about the second part, but, on the first part, I concur.

Or the US before the regulatory state went metastatic.

See - I would have said cheap labor in developing countries, like China, and technology have gutted industrial labor demand, which was the life's blood of the American economy. (But I would add that the regulatory state going metastatic, if taken to mean that the FIRE sector has been allowed to write its own rules, is a big problem recently, though I would imagine that wasn't the intended meaning.)


Or the US before the regulatory state went metastatic.

In your opinion, when did that happen?

We could be talking about the turn of the 20th C., or the 30's, or the early 60's, or the 70's. Or, maybe even some other time.

What are you thinking of when you say this?

A great deal of it happen during 2000-2008.

Charles is right, I think. It's been getting worse for decades, but the Bush administration really sucked. (The convenient thing about saying that, is that you don't have to say WHICH Bush administration, since they both did.)

There's a complex dynamic going on in the area of regulation, that you see in the financial as well as other sectors. Larger players like regulation, because the cost of compliance is not so great for them compared to the smaller players, so it keeps out the riff-raff.

While government can extort by threatening badly written regulations, and then allowing them to be rewritten to be less damaging, in return for some quid pro quo, such as compliance with rules the agency isn't technically entitled to impose. (This is why, IMO, so many stupid laws are proposed and then dropped in Congress: They're the visible part of extortion thra

So the line between regulatory capture and regulatory extortion can be hard to identify, without detailed examination of the merits of each particular case. From high altitude, they look the same!

But, generally, I think we've got too much of both sorts of regulatory abuse going on, because we've delegated too much of the legislative authority to quasi-independent Executive branch agencies, and si

In general, I think there's a recipe out there for good, sustainable economic growth. Like the "Eat less and exercise more" prescription, it is difficult to implement, because it tells people to do things they don't want to do: Compete in the marketplace instead of by getting regulators to shut down the competition, don't use regulatory legislative power for rent seeking.

No fun for anybody in a position to impliment it, IOW.

Whew, something really chewed up that comment!

Anyway, the point is, people are always searching for a "third way", for the same reason everybody's looking for a miracle diet. Because what works isn't any fun.

But the cost in environmental damage and human rights has been horrific..

The costs of the industrialization of the West are in many respects similar...it's just that we had the luxury of taking it on at a slower pace. Strip mining the Americas and the 3rd world (cf. Belgian Congo) also helped. The British fought wars to maintain the right to sell opium to the Chinese.

So asserting China "has had it easy" is pretty wide of the mark.

Lots of interesting points there Brett, and thanks for your reply.

What strikes me is that, in the absence of regulation, larger players also find lots of ways of crushing the riff-raff. And, I mean, other than by simply out-competing them.

Likewise, in the absence of regulation, larger players also find lots of ways to capture the functions of government for their own purposes.

I'm not seeing all of that as specifically a consequence of regulation, per se.

I'll try this again, in case the hash table problem with the anti-robot mechanism has cleared up.

By saying that, in the absence of regulation, larger players have lots of ways of crushing the riff-raff, are you conflating the absence of regulation with the absence of law enforcement?

Anyway, you might need a liver, but you don't need a cancerous liver. You might need regulation, but you need regulation that's promulgated for rational and publicly defensible reasons, not as a product of regulatory capture or regulatory extortion.

The problem I see is that the one known way of achieving sustained growth, a free market economy, is difficult to implement for the same reason diets fail: It might work, but it's no fun being a regulator if you can't indulge in a bit of extortion or bribe taking. It's very difficult to have a powerful regulatory state that isn't also corrupt, in a way which defeats much of the purpose of free market competition by replacing it with competition in buying off regulators.

Now, I'll see if this site is still broken...

are you conflating the absence of regulation with the absence of law enforcement?

No.

I'm noticing that unregulated markets in this country have historically yielded monopolies or near-monopolies in many industries.

So, for instance, the latter half of the 19th C.

I'm also noticing that "law enforcement" implies "law", and I'm not sure I see a very bright line between "laws about how businesses may operate" and "regulation".

My point is that the presence of government regulation, crappy as it often is, doesn't seem to be a sufficient explanation for market distortions. Because they show up in situations where there is not a whole lot of regulation.

You need a liver, but you don't need a cancerous liver. And by the same token, you need regulations, but not regulations that are the result of regulatory capture, etc.

So the question arises, for those of a staunch libertarian turn of mind: How do you get to that kind of regulation? Because the impression I get (possibly incorrectly) is that, as far as you all are concerned, all regulation is the bad mind. Or are we in the position of someone who has only the choice of a cancerous liver or no liver?

In history as it actually happened, how true has it been that "the one known way of achieving sustained growth [is] a free market economy"?

I'm not thinking of modern-day China particularly. How Free was The Market in Adam Smith's England? Bismark's Germany? Henry Ford's America?

I understand perfectly well that the USSR was a miserable failure at creating wealth because it had the very opposite of a Free Market Economy -- though I suspect its environmental, safety, and other do-good-type regulations were probably not terribly onerous.

But I sometimes get the impression that "free market economy" is more shibboleth than taxonomy.

--TP

Brett: Why would anybody not in a 3rd world country take China as an example of how to manage an economy?

Brett: so far China has had it easy

Not sure what date you're starting from. I certainly wouldn't recommend Mao as an example of how to manage an economy. What Mao left - I've thought a lot about how someone would turn China into a democratic, reasonably socialist, capitalist ... whatever ... economy. Obviously, the rampant corruption is a bad thing (which distorts the picture everywhere, including the U.S.)

To me, China is a horror/Cinderella story. I doubt that a lot of people (talking about a billion or so) could imagine the life that they have now, compared to the 1970's - when I became an adult. Everyone alive who knows a person in China who is about their age: just do a compare and contrast. If your mind is not blown away, you haven't been paying attention. China used to be North Korea. Now it's a place where Western people can live and have fun.

That isn't necessarily an argument that China is an example how to run an economy (I don't want the U.S. to be China), but how China should have run China? Not sure I have a lot of advice to offer.

Now it's a place where Western people can live and have fun.

Oh, sorry, re-read that. Can live and have fun not a la Dennis Rodman. Can live and have fun with Chinese people who are living and having fun in a way that westerners might find somewhat familiar.

wj:

Can't speak for anybody but myself. You asked a good question, and I have a very incomplete answer. Russell has called me on this before, but at the end of the day, the devil is in the details. I don't have any “bright lines” for you off the top of my head. If I was a philosopher and legal scholar I might be able to give you better answers. But here's my attempt, in part by extending your liver analogy.

You need a liver, but you don't need a cancerous liver.

Let's take a liver. One of the primary functions is to clear toxins from your body. And its quite adaptable. It will engage in compensatory hypertrophy in the case of a chronically increased toxic load. Take too much tylenol? Take it regularly? Your liver will enlarge to better handle it. It's actually quite impressive to the extent it can do this.

Ask to much of it, however, and hypertrophy isn't enough. Your hepatocytes (liver cells) will struggle to keep up. In order to respond to the toxic load they will do all sorts of things to keep functioning. A lot of these things are really similar to cancer: excess proliferation and survival. A little slip here or there leads to fibrosis and neoplasia. The liver is either on the way to failure, or metastasis. The body suffers and falls as a whole.

(Way, way simplified, btw)

Because the impression I get (possibly incorrectly) is that, as far as you all are concerned, all regulation is the bad mind.

Not in my case anyway. But let's take that tortured liver back to government. This is where my answer gets admittedly inadequate and I'm only going to try to express it in broad strokes. If that's insufficient for, fine, I'm not pegging high hopes on winning you over, but I think it would take me days or weeks to really give you something close to a complete answer.

For better or worse, we are governed by the voters. By ourselves. Every single law or regulation enacted is done so with the consent or complicity of the voters. As the number of regulations and laws increases, the chance that any one will float to the top of the public consciousness and debate asymptotically goes to zero. If it's not in the public eye (and sometimes if it is), it becomes trivial for an interest group to game the system.

Obviously, running a country like the US involves more detail than any single person can focus on. We have congress to focus our will, and the president to staff the executive departments, and civil servants to carry out the work. But we also have experts, and think tanks, and NGOs, and coalitions, and organizations feeding information to journalists who report to the public. And these are essential components of a democracy, and they serve to investigate and distill down complex topics to the public.

But they can only go so far. The more the government does, the more needs to be distilled, and the less likely even a blatantly obvious choice like 'should we fund corn-EtOH' gets public attention.

So, I would want regulation minimized and executed at the lowest form of government possible, to better enable any voter that wants to be informed to have the capacity to do so. Because the people ARE the government.

And...that's where I get vague, handwavy, and apologetic. Because that's not a bright line, its a rule of thumb. And like all rules of thumb, the application tends to vary. There's a few other points I wanted to make about how some methods of government action are less risky than others, but I think I've gone on long enough.

And to bring it back to your analogy:

Or are we in the position of someone who has only the choice of a cancerous liver or no liver?

You need a liver, but if you ask too much of it, you create an environment permissive to failure.

I suppose the question is, once we have gotten too many regulations (just for simplicity, say too many regulations in one area), what are your chances of clearing out the underbrush and getting back to a reasonable level? I suppose one place we can see is to watch someone try.

For example, nobody would argue that the tax code doesn't need a drastic simplification. We might argue about what specific bits ought to get changed, but I doubt anybody would argue that nothing ought to be cut. So, now we have Congressman Camp offering up a proposed revision to the tax code -- with specifics. Will we see it get condiseration? Even if it gets changed, does some kind of simplification move along? Or does it die before it ever gets anywhere near a floor vote?

wj:

what are your chances of clearing out the underbrush and getting back to a reasonable level?

Negligible, but I'm game to try. Part of the problem (in my mind) is that negotiations tend to fall along party lines and you generally need at least nominal bipartisan support. It's staggeringly difficult to accumulate the base of either party and recruit some of the other side.

It's one of the reasons I'd like to see more 3rd party support. Alliances between multiple parties are more fluid than "us v them."

Will we see it get condiseration?

I hope so, but I'm not too optimistic. It's a polarized environment. He can't offer anything to acceptable to democrats or his party will abandon him. And democrats can't accept anything anyway because it's coming from a republican.

As you noted, there is probably a lot of room for agreement. But a congressman making a bold stand for exemption X or tax rate Y makes for much better cable news coverage.

I don't think a third party approach is viable. From a couple of centuries experience, it looks like we get two parties. And the only way a third one gets in is if there is some massive issue (slavery in the type case) which galvanizes enough people to replace one of the existing parties with a new one. Not seeing an issue like that at the moment.

But we do have an indication that there may be another way. California has implemented two things which appear (so far) to have moved our legislature towards less polarization and more moderation and cooperation. 1) We forcably extracted redistricting from the legislature and gave it to a non-partisan citizens' commission. 2) we forced thru open primaries -- anyone can vote for any candidate, and the top two (regardless of party) get into the general election. Result, being radical and playing to the party base is no longer a safe route to nomination.

As a result, we get more moderate legislators (even in "safe" districts), and more cooperation once they are in office. See this article from the SF Chronicle
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/diaz/article/How-California-tamed-its-once-dysfunctional-5256895.php

Yeah, two parties is definitely the low energy state. I'm familiar with both those efforts by CA and think they are good things.

I like to think (way optimistically) that measures like that will break the lock of the two party system, or at the very least make the party lines less distinct.

California, in a lot of ways, is a bizarre place. There is extreme left, and extreme right, which seem to dominate the discussion. But overall, most people I know seem pretty center of the road.

I don't think the 3rd party approach is viable anymore. What California did is part of that, it was designed to kill off third parties, and is working.

And, that third parties aren't viable anymore is part of the problem. The duopoly has been running a scam for a long time: The Republicans say, "Maybe you don't like us, but we're not as bad as the Democrats!". And from the viewpoint of somebody on the right, that's true, the GOP is awful, but the Democratic party is worse.

Meanwhile, the Democratic party pulls off the same scam. "Obama might be blowing away wedding parties with drone attacks, but at least he's not George Bush." Too true, if you're a liberal; Obama is a somewhat liberalish wretched tyrant.

And, with each election cycle, they get worse, because that their side thinks the other is worse gives them room to get away with it.

The problem with this scam is that somebody might say, "Maybe you're not as bad as "X", but I'm going to vote for "Y", who's better than both of you!"

But not if you implement a top TWO primary system. (Why the hell not top THREE???) Or write ballot access laws so third parties spend all their money getting on the ballot, and have nothing left to campaign with. Or persuade media outlets to stop reporting on third party candidates. Or kick the League of Women Voters out of the debate game because they tried including a third party candidate...

I was a member of the Libertarian party almost from the day of it's creation, I joined within months. I watched, year after year, as the legal and informal barriers to third parties were erected. Till I finally gave up on the effort back in the 90's as hopeless.

Third parties aren't viable? The major parties put a lot of work into seeing to that. And, because they did, the possiblity of a third party doesn't act as a check on how bad they can get anymore, and they're both getting worse.

"I like to think (way optimistically) that measures like that will break the lock of the two party system, or at the very least make the party lines less distinct."

Oh, joy. You're going to replace a two party system with a One party system., and you imagine that's going to improve things?

I would want regulation minimized and executed at the lowest form of government possible

Can local governments effectively regulate things that are larger in scope than they are?

And I'll rephrase this:

My point is that the presence of government regulation, crappy as it often is, doesn't seem to be a sufficient explanation for market distortions.

More accurately, my point is that the absence of regulation doesn't result in free markets.

Regulation, as crappy as it is, is likely to be preferable to using the legal system (civil and criminal) to enforce standards of behavior for businesses.

Certainly this is true for individuals, where the cost/effort/time/%success barriers are crippling, but also even when governments or other businesses are bringing the cases.

I would think (but do not know for sure) that most businesses would prefer to deal with a regulator in advance of problems, than paying lots of legal bills and perhaps being socked with a huge award.

All of the above assumes honesty and good intentions by all concerned, which seems to be in short supply. When one political party seems to be devoted to both making regulation ineffective and also to block any remedies through the legal system, then it's pretty clear whose side they are on.

wj,

Bracket simplification does not necessarily equal tax reform. The devil is in the details (oh, crap. I'v a bad case of thompsonitis this am)

See Jared Bernstein here and Dean Baker here for example. I would give Rep. Camp a C+ for effort, however.

or, perhaps, the Libertarian Party simply has a very narrow and limited appeal*, and just couldn't get enough popular support to overcome the things the other parties will (quite naturally) do to block competition. perhaps the Libertarians should do what the Tea "Party" did: establish itself as a bloc within the GOP. they've been pretty effective at fncking-up the mainstream GOP (if little else).

* yes yes, from the inside all Parties look as if they should be the natural home to all smart people

With winner-take-all, the system of checks and balances, and absent a parliamentary system, the two party system was baked into the cake by the Founders. Much as they claimed to hate "faction", two of them formed almost immediately. The election of 1800 was one of unsurpassed nastiness. Maybe that's what they really wanted, eh? Food for thought.

If you reside in a comparatively competitive district and vote 3rd party, you are essentially throwing away your vote.

For all you libertarians out there:

Free markets? We don't need any stinking free markets!

A case of "regulation at the lowest level"?

"I would want regulation minimized and executed at the lowest form of government possible."

I submit that the depredations of regulation and other government interference in private decisions (ie: protection rackets which maintain entrenched and monopoly businesses at the cost of limiting competition) cited throughout this thread by the libertarian-minded are as great and collectively much worse the farther down the governing food chain you go.

"the lowest form of government" is in many cases exactly THAT the more local your corruption becomes.

One reason to like local control is to make sure your brother-in-law or a cousin is in place on the local governing boards (not so available the farther up the food chain you go from local to state to federal; in fact, I think that's one reason why Americans mistrust the larger gummint institutions -- because they are less likely to carve out corrupt individual exceptions for the connected, not that the American citizenry haven't increasingly tried to make state and federal governments as corrupt as their good ole boy networks back home) to enable crony capitalism.

I'm sure YMMV.

I give you the crypto-libertarian-religious, by their own standards, state of Texas, not because I like picking on them (some of my favorite people live there) but every time I google this stuff, Texas comes up first.

Or South Carolina. Or Georgia. Or Arizona. Or everywhere else, except that everywhere else rarely claim to be climates for pristine high standards of governance. Hell, New Jersey and Illinois brag about the very opposite.

Two examples:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/tesla-texas-us-now-054418312.html

http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2014/02/24/exxon-ceo-fighting-water-tower-near-his-house-out.html

Regarding that last cite, may the Keystone Pipeline pass through the Exxon CEO's and Dick Armey's basements, or right down the middle of their marital beds, on it's way to the Gulf of Mexico, and may the shale structures underneath their estates be thoroughly fracked.

Fracking is here to stay, of course. Just ask the landowners in western PA who are against it and have no choice in the matter, by design of the governments closest to them, which are merely agents for forcing corporate control.

That is gradually changing.

Generally speaking, the private sector doesn't have much use for individual consumers (a word that reduces every individual to a behavioral vacuole to be manipulated) acting as independent, free agencies either:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/chunkamui/2011/10/17/five-dangerous-lessons-to-learn-from-steve-jobs/

"Let's take a liver." As Henny Youngman would frame it, that request should be followed by a "please".

Whoa, not so fast:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aclS1pGHp8o

I worry more about the folks (I'm not speaking of anyone here, since OBWI is home to relatively high coherence and intelligent discussion, despite our fundamental differences; if I thought about it for a second I could probably cite exceptions, including me, so I won't) who have a cancerous liver and want the government (the corrupt one, over there, that taxes) to keep it hands off Medicare so that all citizens have the choice of keeping their cancerous livers if they deem it their free constitutional choice to duly keep their cancerous livers without government meddling, especially if they can't afford a fresh liver and must resort to organ redistribution, which would be socialism.

Regarding energy and power sources, without arguing their relative merits, whatever choices are made are both private, governmental, and societal "collective" decisions, nearly always made without the weighing of individual, libertarian sentiment of either the right or the left.

If Keystone is approved, there will be some very angry Republican, libertarian ranchers and farmers whose land is encroached upon, despite their non-regulatory, free market, pro-corporate leanings (most of them lean so far that they fall over onto their own swords).

They will be FORCED.

If nuclear in its various forms is adopted widely, again without arguing its relative merits, if you live in a geographical area served by this source of power, you'll have little choice but to accept it.

You'll be forced. You'll have no choice, if you plan on staying put. Whether its government or the private sector forcing you makes little difference.

Like the Comanche, your opinions on the matter one way or the other will be wiped off the face of the Earth at the hands of private actors and if that doesn't work, the private hands will make up some sh*t like "manifest destiny" to justify bringing in the government cavalry (the Texas Rangers if your tastes run to local control) to achieve their ends.

You can stand your ground like the Comanche, but you will lose.

Brett, actually the Top Two open primary is something that makes it easier for a third party to get some traction. Granted, your candidate has to make her case in the primary, not the general election. But there are a lot more candidates running at that point, all of them with less funding than in the general election. Which means the barrier to entry is lower.

Granted, you do have to make a case that will convince a lot of primary voters. But you don't have to convince a majority of them -- and when we sometimes see two candidates from the same party make the general election ballot, clearly there is a shot at convincing enough. And once you do that, suddenly you are one of only two candidates that the voters are picking among come the general election.

So no, I don't see it as a further barrier to third party candidates winning election. I see it as easing the existing barriers.

If you want to end the two-party state, all you need is a transferrable voting system, so that voters can express their preferences for more marginal candidates ahead of the mainstream. The "mainstream" will very quickly evolve...

"Brett, actually the Top Two open primary is something that makes it easier for a third party to get some traction."

Strange, then, that all the actual third parties say the exact opposite.

"If you want to end the two-party state, all you need is a transferrable voting system, so that voters can express their preferences for more marginal candidates ahead of the mainstream."

I've proposed something like that: Let anybody get a legislative position, if they want it, but the vote they get in the legislature is proportional to the number of proxies other people authorize them to exercise. It would completely obsolete gerrymandering.

It's going nowhere, because the two major parties make the rules. And they make the rules to kill the competition.

Here's how you stymie the corrupt, illegal influences at the lowest levels of government possible:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/nra-rhode-island-pac

I hadn't realized that the new Top Two system had so drastically increased the number of signatures to get on the Primary ballot. That obviously isn't a necessary part of the system. And it is something that ought to get fixed. (Like most laws, initiatives frequently need tweaking once they are in place.)

It's going nowhere... Well is it not the case that 'going there' would require amending the various state constitutions?

Strange, then, that all the actual third parties say the exact opposite.

Ugh. Here's what I mean about voters not being able to focus on everything at once. Thanks for that Brett.

I still like the concept, but like wj says it needs to be fixed.

Again.

oh, crap. I'v a bad case of thompsonitis this am

Careful. If it progresses it can lead to liver atrophy.

russell:

Can local governments effectively regulate things that are larger in scope than they are?

Not effectively, no. But the things that can be handled locally, should be. Details, details, etc, etc, feel free to point out I didn't actually offer a concrete solution to a specific problem.

More accurately, my point is that the absence of regulation doesn't result in free markets.

Too true. And lots of regulation doesn't equal fair markets.

Regulation isn't inherently "good" or "bad". It's inherently burdensome, I suppose, because it needs to be paid for and complied with.

Often the conversation gets stuck between corporate vs. government sources of power and appeals to which side are you on.

Granting the government regulatory power is not synonymous with restricting corporate power.

Regulations and their potential effects should be weighed carefully by those ultimately responsible for the government: in a democracy, its the people.

And at some point you brought up bring externalities into the pricing structure? I have no specific objection to that in concept, depending on the implementation it may be subject to problems, and I personally don't view it as that effective of a solution to AGW.

Like the bulbs: think its probably not going to do much, not a huge issue (depending on how its implemented), don't really care.

The answer, in my mind, is investment in R&D, encouragement of fission, stop using coal.

"Ugh. Here's what I mean about voters not being able to focus on everything at once. Thanks for that Brett."

You're welcome. That's the difference between being a major party member, or perhaps independent, and having spent most of your political life in a third party. It's a lot easier to take these things as exercises in good faith, when you haven't been the covert target of them for decades.

Actual members of third parties are aware that changes to election and campaign finance laws almost always involve some kind of buried attack on third parties. It's a given.

You're meant to think third parties fail because that's just the way things are in a first past the post system. The truth is they've been under systematic attack for approaching 40 years now.

So, what we want is just enough regulation, and of the right kind.

I personally don't view it as that effective of a solution to AGW.

To me, the value of pricing externalities into fossil fuels (or any energy source, or anything else for that matter) is that it makes the price signal accurate.

Which, in turn, should help the market dynamics to yield an optimal result.

It's not a "solution to AGW", there isn't any one thing that's a solution to AGW. It's a simple way to decisions about power sources that much more rational.

What you need is 50 ways to love your liver.

/Portnoy

Brett:

The truth is they've been under systematic attack for approaching 40 years now.

The system wasn't built for more than 2 parties, and there is vested interest in keeping it that way. I recognize that.

Russell:

So, what we want is just enough regulation, and of the right kind.

Yep. Exactly. Which I imagine doesn't strike you as a bizarre concept. Regarding the details we probably disagree on some specific cases (and agree in some).

Which, in turn, should help the market dynamics to yield an optimal result.

Yeah, I'm all for it. That's the kind of government action that can engage and support the free market, which can be a powerful optimization tool.

What I meant by "not a solution" is that you can, say, tax a source and use the money to combat the externalities. And we can use that normalize the pricing between technologies that have externalities and those that don't (or have fewer).

Which is great and all, no objections from me (assuming its implemented well). I'm skeptical that this is the prime obstacle.

Ultimately, we need energy to run society. To some extent pricing in externalities can encourage people to decrease consumption of "dirty" energy and suppliers to increase production of "clean" energy.

At some point, if either of those are pushed too far, it will start have economic impacts. And there's problems with that (political, constriction on R&D, less likely people are willing to invest in new efficiencies, etc).

Ultimately, we need better technology and a shift in our grid. That takes time, and I think at this point the timeline is largely affected by R&D cycles, production capacity, etc.

I'm skeptical that we can use that sort of pricing in of externalities to really effect change much faster than the technology comes along. Happy to see an effective plan to do so work, and obviously the two things are tied together to some extent (As coal gets expensive due to externalities, it becomes more worth it to invest in new tech, which increases R&D, etc).

I'm not unsympathetic to the idea, pricing in externalities is "good" (assuming done well). I just think what's really going to change is better technologies come online. Many renewable techs hold promise to be *better* than fossil fuels even if you don't count in externalities.

It just takes time to develop and vet those technologies. Increasing funding for that (for example by pricing in externalities) can help up to a point, but ultimately it just takes time to advance science and engineering.

And all that is a "gut feeling". So if you have hard numbers showing that it'll be different, great. I don't hate this concept, I'm just focusing my (very limited) influence elsewhere at the moment.

.....ultimately it just takes time to advance science and engineering

I observe that one of the major conclusions of the current scientific consensus is that we have reached the point where time is rapidly running out.

Another one of those 'not yet fully priced' externalities I guess.

But time will tell, what? (oh, god, another attack of thompsonitis--my liver, my liver...need strong drink)

Which I imagine doesn't strike you as a bizarre concept.

You are correct, sir.

I'm skeptical that this is the prime obstacle.

I agree. IMO the prime obstacle is the lack of a competing technology(ies) that match fossil fuel's combination of energy density + portability + range of applications + existing infrastructure + general dialed-in-ness + fairly low cost.

The only thing that will be affected by pricing is the "fairly low cost" part.

I do note that we currently subsidize oil, gas, and coal in lots of ways, so it's not like we aren't already putting our thumb on the scale. Just stopping that would be a useful first step.

All of which assumes that we're on board with moving away from fossil stuff in the first place, which is an assumption that I don't think can be made universally.

But assuming that's what we want to do, making the price to the end user reflect the actual cost would be useful, for all of the reasons mentioned.

Just stopping that would be a useful first step.

No objection here.

I observe that one of the major conclusions of the current scientific consensus is that we have reached the point where time is rapidly running out.

A related but orthogonal point. That is "is there a problem and how bad?" My exchange with russell is "what do we do about it?"

I observe that one of the major conclusions of the current scientific consensus is that we have reached the point where time is rapidly running out.

So, in other words: we have reached a point where the slope is slippery?

I remember that one scientist or other warned that we could turn into Venus, which is dumbassery of the highest order. Venus if Venus because it has 100x the atmosphere that we do.

Oh, yes: that was James Hansen. The same guy that predicted back in the 1980s that some NYC highways would be submerged by right about now.

Back to the point: why is there a too-late point? I haven't seen a decent explanation for this claim.

I remember that one scientist or other warned that we could turn into Venus.

Oh, yes: that was James Hansen.

Hansen:

So Venus-like conditions in the sense of 90 bar surface pressure and surface temperature of several hundred degrees are only plausible on billion-year time scales

The relevance of Venus as a point of comparison likely derives from Hansen's early work, which focused on the atmosphere of Venus.

The "prediction" about NYC highways being underwater was in reply to a request to speculate about what New York would like in 40 years from 1988, if atmospheric CO2 doubled from pre-industrial levels to about 560 ppm.

I can't tell you if Hansen was predicting 560 ppm by 2028 or not. It seems unlikely, but I could be wrong about that.

My understanding from general reading is that the actual increases in atmospheric CO2, and the effects we'd expect to see from them, track Hansen's models fairly well. So, there's that.

The basic problem with this whole "point of no return" concept, is that it relies on a high level of positive feedback to achieve it. Basically it postulates that the climate system is right on the verge of runaway heating, just in time for us to give it a nudge.

Maybe that's true, but if it were, it would be remarkable that a large volcanic eruption hadn't pushed us over the edge some time in the last half billion years or so.

Back to the point: why is there a too-late point? I haven't seen a decent explanation for this claim.

One could start here and noodle about a bit in the links. I could understand concerns that my particular alarmism is misplaced, but nonetheless, I believe the feedback effects could well be dire, Brett's looking forward to a better tan notwithstanding.

What can we do short of massive WW2 type mobilization? Several things:
1. End subsidies to petroleum, coal, gas, etc.
2. A hefty carbon tax to encourage energy use substitution and start capturing the cost externalities not captured by 'the market'.
3. End the subsidies promoting the single family home suburban life style.
4. Land use regulations promoting greater land use and population density.
5. A program to insulate buildings.
6. Build mass transit. Subsidize more mass transit to enable competition with single user autos driving on subsidized roads using subsidized gasoline.
7. Promotion of conservation of natural resources such as water, wetlands, etc.

None of these public measures require any significant technological breakthrough, so "we have to wait" is no excuse. Some of them are not terribly expensive. Some of them create jobs that the private sector has failed miserably to create.

Win-win I say.

For you doubters out there, here is a "program". Enough detail for you?

Maybe that's true, but if it were, it would be remarkable that a large volcanic eruption hadn't pushed us over the edge some time in the last half billion years or so.

Nothing at all remarkable about it.


Read up on Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. See the part about volcanoes. Interesting stuff.

Luckily, the women escaped from Venus, the male scientists of the time having warned them, but then the men staying put themselves either because they had to see if their theories were correct, or because of self-doubt, low self-esteem, and harassment by male denialists and the inevitable arm wrestling match to decide things as the last spaceship launched for Earth.

So, let's say on the one hand, the global warming consensus enthusiasts turn out to be wrong? What are we out, some money? But along the way, we've developed some cool technologies, which in and of their cleaner selves might be worth the freight.

Maybe they dump iron filings in the ocean in desperation and ocean life bellies up, not like it's doing so well anyway underneath the human footprint.

Maybe we fine them. Subject them to frequent tongue lashings. Taunt them at Starbucks.

But, let's say the global warming denialists turn out to be wrong to some very noticeable extent, and I'm not talking anyone here, I'm talking the celebrity types, Limbaugh, Imhofe. various Exxon CEOs, the Kochs, Erickson and his vermin gay-hate mongers, you know the crowd.

I'm thinking they had better be hiding themselves and their families on the higher ground they purchased as a hedge while the rest of us were wasting our time arguing pros and cons as our basements filled with salt water, IF we are anywhere near right.

I'm thinking they are Comanche and I'm the Texas Rangers and I'm thinking the adoption of the scalping techniques they perfected against the scientific community will be my new hobby to be practiced on them.

Frankly, I'm rooting for manmade global warming and its attendant catastrophes being a myth, but there is something so full of sh*t about the conservative Bible thumpers and their libertarian brethren according Man complete control over the natural world and simultaneously denying any effects stemming from that control.


Indeed. From the wikki:

It's worth reading the paper that line is based on [ref 7].

http://www.chriscunnings.com/uploads/2/0/7/7/20773630/runaway_greenhouse_venus.pdf

It's a fun little model, I'd have to think about what it actually means in terms of Earth, but I'm thinking not too much. It's really looking at how much solar flux you'd need to generate runaway. Solar flux is roughly constant, and will be for the foreseeable future.

I am, however, amused that the paper that has as one of its major conclusions:

"However, CO2 increases alone are not able to trigger a runaway greenhouse."

Which was probably not the point bobbyp was trying to make. Anyway, like I said, the model likely has limited application to Earth.

Personally, I'm not sure who among us here at ObWi actually has the chops to make a professional assessment of Hansen's hypotheses. Maybe some of your folks do, I sure as hell don't.

So I will decline to argue about whether volcanoes should have pushed us over the brink, or whether Earth could ever achieve and atmosphere like Venus.

None of that is the point. The question on the table is whether human activity is contributing to climate changes that will be, net/net, harmful to us or the world in general.

We don't need a 90 bar atmosphere, simply having the western half of North America become significantly more arid would be enough to make trouble with a capital T.

Or, having 100 year storms occur every 20 years. Or, having ocean acidification destroy important fish stocks.

Or, any of 1,000 other things that are short of turning Earth into Venus, but are still very very sucky.

What I see, personally, is that it appears to me that what's actually happening tracks the models that guys like Hansen have produced. And I see that folks who have a huge amount of skin in the game, and who are responsible for assessing risks like this, are taking it seriously.

So, I figure I should probably do so as well.

I doubt there is going to be a point on this side of "too late" where we can consider the anthropogenic climate change theory "proved". Climate is too complex a system.

So we either have to take action based on a more or less "if it walks like a duck" level of confidence. I.e., the stuff in the models is either showing up, or it's not.

Or, we can ignore it and hope for the best.

Frankly, it's kind of academic to me, because I'll probably be dead before really bad effects kick in. But I feel an obligation to all of the folks who will be stuck with whatever we leave behind.

It's a nice world, and it is for damned sure the only one we're going to get. The rocket ships are not going to spirit us off to Planet B, it's here or nowhere.

It would be a waste to just piss it away.

Bobbyp: It is interesting stuff. Notice that the Earth didn't go Venus, even then. (Starting from a much higher CO2 level, before the excursion.) So I think we can rule that out, today.

I think I'll return to a fundamental point, and then drop this:

More people die of cold each year, than of excess heat.

More energy is spent each year for heating, than for air conditioning.

Warmer weather, especially in winter, would help agriculture.

I think there's a shortage of serious thought about what the ideal temperature for the Earth actually is. As opposed to just assuming the ideal is whatever it was when you were born...

But, I'm willing to wait a few years for the current "pause" to either end, or not.

"I think there's a shortage of serious thought about what the ideal temperature for the Earth actually is. As opposed to just assuming the ideal is whatever it was when you were born..."

Actually, it was a sweet Spring night in 1974 in central Ohio and I had stepped out of the college library's all night study room for a breath of honeysuckle-laced air just warm enough for short-sleeves and she followed me out after we had been making googly-eyes at each other across a crowded room for a period of several weeks, my shyness keeping me at bay, and she smiled and said "Hi".

No matter what has been going on during the rest of my life since then, even the very best parts, there is not a day that goes by that I don't give that moment very serious thought.

Next question?

Actually, agriculture-wise, since we are disparaging weather modeling but seem to lend complete credence to guessing wholesale about net positive effects, are we talking wheat farmers in Saskatchewan or lettuce farmers in California's Central Valley?

Livestock herders on the edge of ever-advancing desertification in Saharan Africa or vineyards in France and Italy?

Subsistence fisherman off the coast of Belize or shellfish harvesters on the coast of Oregon as ocean temperatures and currents shift?

Natural gas frackers in North America who run out of injectable water for their wells or wind turbines in the North Sea swamped by higher seas?

"But, I'm willing to wait a few years for the current "pause" to either end, or not."

That's exactly where we were at the beginning of the thread and regardless of all of our passion on either end of the debate, that's where will we will all meet because there will be little shift in the ideological weather front contantly bearing down on us to move attitudes either way.

I expect the Kansas, South Carolina, and Arizona state legislatures will attempt to allow the merchant class and cake makers to refuse service to gay global warming scientists, but not much else in this addled, bullsh*t political culture, but little else.

Then what?

Is someone going to run out and real quick fashion origami-wise a clean energy source after some emergency overnight meetings at the U.N. as newly converted believers (the worst kind, like ex-drinkers and smokers) fan out among us with bullhorns to guide us to higher ground, while Rush Limbaugh has already migrated inland secretly beforehand from his coastal estate in Florida to a penthouse apartment with armed doormen in scuba suits?

You'll let us know, won't you?

Maybe lj can arrange a guess post for you here at OBWI on this day in the future when you make your final decision and lay out the plan for us.

I'll have probably lost interest altogether by then and threadjack the thing back to gun control, but some things never change.

Have you folks seen the movie "Melancholia" from a couple of years ago. The plight depicted in that movie (which is metaphorical; the approaching planet, Melancholia, about to collide with Earth, is more about our inner weather than anything else)?

I recommend it. It's slow, but creepy and gripping.



"where will we will ..."

I'd like to hear Barbara Wa Wa read that sentence.

More people die of cold each year, than of excess heat.

In North America, probably so. Lots of people don't live in North America.

More energy is spent each year for heating, than for air conditioning.

Currently, in the US.

Heat and AC together are about half of household consumption, appliances and heating water are more or less the other half.

If warming up just adjusts the mix of heat vs AC, will we be ahead or behind?

Warmer weather, especially in winter, would help agriculture.

Which would be balanced by loss of other things. Will we be ahead or behind?

I'm betting on the folks who are actually running the numbers, rather than folks opining on blogs based on whatever crosses their mind.

It's getting way too hot for me here. So, the next time Hobby Lobby comes up (and it will no doubt), bookmark the LGM page below and check out the links to Marty Lederman on Balkinazation.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2014/02/lederman-on-the-specious-religious-freedom-arguments-against-the-aca

Come prepared. There will be a quiz.

And Brett, as Russell points out, there is a world south of the Rio Grande.

Meanwhile, has anyone seen my Bitcoins?

Like Uncle Billy in "It's a Wonderful Life", I absentmindedly forgot to print them out as pieces of paper (hyunh, hyun, ha ha, haw), you know, like those worthless dollars, yet another little detail the libertarians forgot to tell us.

I should have mentioned "Melancholia" on Doc Science's depression thread some time back.

It's the perfect metaphor for the inexorable, inescapable oppression of clinical depression.

Balmy day in Denver today. So far, so good.

I guess it's a question of whether you'd prefer to die from heat or cold. Is moving some number of people from one type of death to another one of the proposed benefits of warming? Ditto for whether we're using energy to suck heat out or make heat within our homes and other habitable structures. (At least you can make heat directly. You can't really make cold, per se. Even cooling a house produces heat, on the whole.)

Large swaths of Eurasia might do better agriculturally on a warmer earth. I'm not sure about the good, ol' U.S. of A.

Perhaps the planetary climate system has a number of negative-feedback mechanisms that will prevent runaway warming. I just wonder whether those mechanisms give a sh1t about humans (or all their stuff) as they undertake the stabilization of global temperature. The planet can save itself, in some sense (Why should it care how warm the atmosphere is? It's not going to melt. Even if it did, it would just be a gooey-er spheroid than it is now. That might be fun.), without saving us.

Come to think about it, what do I care about the future of the human race? Or life in general? I'm going to die either way. I mean, it probably won't get really bad in my kids' lifetimes. Maybe I should just have them sterilized so I don't have to worry about my grandchildren or great grandchildren.

What did a bunch of people who won't be born until I'm dead ever do for me?

Maybe I'll just root for the water bears from now on.

[...]
The chief benefits of global warming include: fewer winter deaths; lower energy costs; better agricultural yields; probably fewer droughts; maybe richer biodiversity. It is a little-known fact that winter deaths exceed summer deaths — not just in countries like Britain but also those with very warm summers, including Greece. Both Britain and Greece see mortality rates rise by 18 per cent each winter. Especially cold winters cause a rise in heart failures far greater than the rise in deaths during heatwaves.

Cold, not the heat, is the biggest killer. For the last decade, Brits have been dying from the cold at the average rate of 29,000 excess deaths each winter. Compare this to the heatwave ten years ago, which claimed 15,000 lives in France and just 2,000 in Britain. In the ten years since, there has been no summer death spike at all. Excess winter deaths hit the poor harder than the rich for the obvious reason: they cannot afford heating. And it is not just those at risk who benefit from moderate warming. Global warming has so far cut heating bills more than it has raised cooling bills. If it resumes after its current 17-year hiatus, and if the energy efficiency of our homes improves, then at some point the cost of cooling probably will exceed the cost of heating — probably from about 2035, Prof Tol estimates.

The greatest benefit from climate change comes not from temperature change but from carbon dioxide itself. It is not pollution, but the raw material from which plants make carbohydrates and thence proteins and fats. As it is an extremely rare trace gas in the air — less than 0.04 per cent of the air on average — plants struggle to absorb enough of it...

The increase in average carbon dioxide levels over the past century, from 0.03 per cent to 0.04 per cent of the air, has had a measurable impact on plant growth rates. It is responsible for a startling change in the amount of greenery on the planet. As Dr Ranga Myneni of Boston University has documented, using three decades of satellite data, 31 per cent of the global vegetated area of the planet has become greener and just 3 per cent has become less green. This translates into a 14 per cent increase in productivity of ecosystems and has been observed in all vegetation types.
[...]

The Net Benefits of Climate Change Till 2080

Lederman does a dandy job of demonstrating that Hobby Lobby is going to lose if the Court decides every question against them, as he does in his series. I'm not so sure he does a good job of demonstrating they're likely to.

And, I'm well aware there's a world south of the Rio Grande. I'm also aware we evolved in a temperature range considerable warmer than most of the world's population currently lives in. I can walk around in a South Carolina summer, 100F in the shade and humidity so high there's dew on the ground in that shade at noon, but I'd die in under an hour in a Michigan winter without protective gear.

"Perhaps the planetary climate system has a number of negative-feedback mechanisms that will prevent runaway warming."

All it requires is that it not have the positive feedback mechanisms that have to be posited to get the warming up to dangerous levels.

"Indeed. From the wikki: It is speculated that the atmosphere of Venus up to around 4 billion years ago was more like that of the Earth with liquid water on the surface. A runaway greenhouse effect may have been caused by the evaporation of the surface water and subsequent rise of the levels of other greenhouse gases.[7][8]

What's not to like about global warming, eh?"

The word "speculated" deserves some attention here. It is rather lower on the ladder of certainty than is "there is limited evidence for".

"One could start here and noodle about a bit in the links"

One could. Maybe one already has, and found a great deal of hand-waving that is greatly at odds with any reasonable notion of a defensible point.

YMMV, of course.

Charles' link is from Matt Ridley. Mr. Ridley says:

There are many likely effects of climate change: positive and negative, economic and ecological, humanitarian and financial. And if you aggregate them all, the overall effect is positive today — and likely to stay positive until around 2080

And, after 2080, who gives a crap?

I'm also aware we evolved in a temperature range considerable warmer than most of the world's population currently lives in.

And, what conclusions can we draw from that?

We will not all immediately keel over and die if ambient global temperatures approach those of Holocene climatic optimum.

Excellent news!

What did the world look like during the Holocene climatic optimum?

What would things look like if we were to reproduce that world now? How would we be affected?

Humans have lived on the planet during a very wide range of overall climatic conditions.

7 billion humans, dependent on a ubiquitous industrial culture for the means of their survival and well-being, have not lived on the planet during a wide range of overall climatic conditions.

The fact that the human race has survived both a very warm period 10,000 years ago, and very cold period more recently, doesn't tell us all that much about what the experience will be of that level of climate change *now*.

Where, for 'now', read 'over the next 100 or 200 years'.

It's nice that there are upsides to warming. More tomatoes, and we save on our heating bills.

There are also downsides.

I have a question for all those who think the net benefits will outweigh the downsides: We know from their geography that at least a coulpe of island nations will be disappearing under water as the sea level rises. Are you fine with inviting all of their residents to move to your country (and your town)?

Admittedly, those nations are small and have relatively small populations. So don't forget to add in the fairly huge population of that other very low-lying nation, Bangladesh. (But we can spread them out across your whole state, since they won't fit in your city.)

nope, no downsides to global warming. any consequences will be good.

getting people to reduce fossil fuel usage: a disruption our economy could hardly bear.

All it requires is that it not have the positive feedback mechanisms that have to be posited to get the warming up to dangerous levels.

Or at least runaway warming, which I used and probably shouldn't have. But it's not simply a matter of warming being dangerous in and of itself. It might not be too hot for people to survive, noting your Carolina summers. But the tornadoiness, droughtiness, hurricanieness, floodiness of it all might make things a bit uncomfortable. (It might even affect - gasp! - GDP....)

Thanks for the link, Charles.

I'm going to read more Ridley.

So, we'll revisit this discussion in say, October of 2079, around World Series time?

I hope to be there to participate.

Ridley posits that ideas have sex, which should be a shock to cake makers in the hinterlands (their cake melting in the heat, along with MacArthur Park, it took so long to make it) but is better than I can hope for in 65 years.

Why do ideas get to have all the fun?

Someone adjust my dribble cup, will ya?


Mat Ridley. Anybody who takes him seriously is, well, not being serious.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/Matt_Ridley_blog.htm

YMMV, natch. All is good.

"Or at least runaway warming, which I used and probably shouldn't have. But it's not simply a matter of warming being dangerous in and of itself."

Positive feedback is required for the models to produce any degree of warming which would concern someone. The IR blocking effect of CO2 is largely saturated, it's incapable of producing much additional warming by itself, at any plausible level.

The story is like this: CO2 goes up, and raises the Earth's temperature a tiny bit. That slight increase in temperature causes more water to evaporate, raising relative humidity, and H2O acts as a greenhouse gas, producing more warming. This causes more water to evaporate, more warming, round and round. So that every degree of warming you might get from CO2 produces several degrees of warming in the end.

The models, in order to get their scary degree of warming, demand that the climate system exhibit a high degree of positive feedback, just short of runaway.

i thought Ridley's The Red Queen and The Origin Of Virtue were quite good, when i read them, decades ago. haven't read anything from him since, tho.

wj: "I have a question for all those who think the net benefits will outweigh the downsides: We know from their geography that at least a coulpe of island nations will be disappearing under water as the sea level rises. Are you fine with inviting all of their residents to move to your country (and your town)?"

Polynesians? Pretty much, yeah.

But we should absolutely seal the borders with walls and robot lasers to prevent a invasion of Floridians. They can just Stand Their Ground, or what's left of it.

The models, in order to get their scary degree of warming, demand that the climate system exhibit a high degree of positive feedback, just short of runaway.

Well, if we're going to quibble - a high degree of positive feedback can be prevented by some amount of negative feedback, via some negative-feedback mechanism(s). What is it that's going to keep H2O from evaporating more and more the warmer the atmosphere gets, in turn making the atmosphere warmer and warmer?

Well, maybe...

Study: Global Warming Will Cause 180,000 More Rapes by 2099: Controversial new research predicts that over the coming century, rising temperatures will result in more violent crime.

"rape, schmape."

And that was in Maine in the middle of winter, shooting down yet another theory.

Not that certain types won't use any change in the weather to justify rape. Placing rationalizations and justifications for rape on a certain political party's campaign platform is like a new set of all-weather tires -- you're good to go in all types of weather, like the Cossacks raping and pillaging and preventing abortions thereof in Eastern Europe.

A little frostbite never slows these people down. A few degrees to the warm side will only encourage them.

Look at this way, a global warming denialist and misogynist like Rush Limbaugh, his Ralph Cramden-sized boxer shorts down around his ankles, might hear this news about more rape as a result of global warming and stumble forth and add it to his do-nothing quiver as a part of the positive-feedback loop we can expect, like growing avocados ("Increased tropical fruit yields in Nova Scotia AND more rape; what's not to like, folks? I say we burn more high sulphur coal. The more the better!") in Manitoba and whatever else his mouth issues forth in a torrent.

Satire being one step behind these guys in this, the latter days of funny, he probably said precisely this on yesterday's show.

There will be scalping.

People who think higher temperatures lead to more rape should check out Cole Porter's take:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ49QvOzKW4

On the other hand, I'm a fan of global cooling when love is in the air:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckAXZwZ7LYE

On yet a third hand, whatever temperature causes "ants in the pants" should receive federal funding:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoJP4g9TB0Y

That last may be the only that uses the word "dyspeptic" in its lyrics.

Count, not a lot of songs that use "finis" (multiple times!) either.

Yes, only in divorce depositions is it used more.

"But we should absolutely seal the borders with walls and robot lasers to prevent a invasion of Floridians. They can just Stand Their Ground, or what's left of it."

Or maybe we'll just take yours, send directions.

There will be a new gilled age.
Conservatives should have an advantage there since gills in humans are an atavism uns should thus be more common among them. ;-)

uns = and in previous post

Imagine the Florida of the future: Instead of leaving, the people adapt. Homes are put up on stilts. Expressways, too. (If it happens, it's going to happen slow enough for this.)

People fishing off their front porch. Rowing over to the neighbor. It would be Venice, writ large!

Or, we could import some Dutch, to teach us how to build dikes. Maybe a few people from New Orleans, to tell us how to maintain them. (Very handy, just do the opposite of whatever they say!)

But what about the Keys? Difficult to dyke them in.
The main problem with stilts would be the occasional storm. At least on the coast it would require rather sturdy construction, not something American family homes are known for.
--
Not much disagreement about New Orleans on this topic from me. But I guess the same motives for the misguided measures there would also apply to Florida. But at least it would hit the rich folk that insists on beachfront property without coastal protection spoiling the view and not just the lowlives that have to live further inland.

Or, we could import some Dutch, to teach us how to build dikes.

I think this is already underway. Not necessarily in FL, but various places in the US.

Water management technology and engineering is shaping up to be a growth industry for the Dutch. They're a smart and enterprising group of folks, they will no doubt do well from it.

And, in case it doesn't go without saying, it costs a lot.

"The main problem with stilts would be the occasional storm."

The occasional storm is not an objection to homes on stilts, (Which are frequently built in coastal areas subject to storm surge, and would be more frequently built if not for insurance subsidies.) because homes on stilts are a response to occasional storms. You put the house high enough up that the storm surge passes under, and use the area subject to it for uses which can deal with occasional inundation.

Building a house that can take a storm is cheaper than building a house that has to be repeatedly rebuilt.

It always has to make assumptions about wave heights. And the foundations for the stilts have to go quite deep depending on the environment. If this was done the way the usual US family home gets built I would not trust it to last very long. Enough strength for the wind to get a hold of the superstructure but not enough to withstand it.

Better grow a deep mangrove forest in front of the house ;-)

Homes would be put up on stilts.

But then everybody would have a view of the water, and teh victory of communism would be complete.

Interesting article on fusion technology and the ITER project here.

Yeah, I expect that, if the ocean actually went up 10 feet, there'd be a lot of mangrove swamps in Florida. Do a dandy job of damping the waves. (Which can only get so high in water that would only be a few feet deep.)

People actually do build homes on stilts, in areas subject to storm surge, now. We don't have to speculate how to build them properly, we have experience with it.

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Whatnot


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