Karadan on December 31, 2010, 12:51:43 am
So, just to clear up the most recent page, Ed got fired from his job as a physics professor because he didn't believe in global warming?  I won't ask more (though guessing he was teaching students against it or something) as I feel there is some likelihood that it'll be the subject of the next page or two, but just wanted to make sure I got the jist of that properly.  Especially since I had to look up cashired :)

jamesd on December 31, 2010, 12:55:23 pm
So, just to clear up the most recent page, Ed got fired from his job as a physics professor because he didn't believe in global warming?  I won't ask more (though guessing he was teaching students against it or something) as I feel there is some likelihood that it'll be the subject of the next page or two, but just wanted to make sure I got the jist of that properly.  Especially since I had to look up cashired :)

At present, in the US, you will not be fired for heterodox opinions on global warming unless it is arguably relevant to your job.  You may, however, be fired for doubting that women are just as capable of being firemen as men are, and expressing that opinion in your own time while on holidays a thousand miles from your job, because a company that knowingly employs such people will get in trouble with the government  It is a reasonable extrapolation that before long, the same will apply to global warming.

One of the numerous end runs around the constitution is that corporations have no rights - which in practice means that employees of corporations have no rights.


terry_freeman on December 31, 2010, 01:02:26 pm
Yup, that seems to be the story. It seems credible enough; even today, universities place a high value on "being a team player" - as the UW becomes more and more powerful, I expect that penalties for noncompliance will become more and more onerous. Physicists are likely to have opinions about "global warming", especially if they are interested in the physics of the sun itself.

Not long ago, a top physicist resigned from the American Physics Society, citing the global warming fraud as his motivation.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100058265/us-physics-professor-global-warming-is-the-greatest-and-most-successful-pseudoscientific-fraud-i-have-seen-in-my-long-life/

I am getting more and more curious about the "coal mine canaries" moniker. Usually, a coal mine canary is brought to the mine by the miners themselves, to warn of problems with the air. These four people are imported from elsewhere, not at the behest of the local rockjacks, and may have a hostile agenda.

"cashier" is an interesting case of parallel etymology:

cashier (n.)
"person in charge of money," 1590s, from M.Fr. caissier "treasurer," from caisse "money box" (see cash).

cashier (v.)
"dismiss," 1590s, from M.Du. casseren, kaseeren "to cast off, discharge," from Fr. casser "to discharge, annul," from L.L. cassare "annul," from L. cassus "void, empty" (see quash).
 
The use of "cashier" as a verb seems to be more common in military circles than not; in the military, it is clearly a punitive, degrading action - one loses not merely a job, but one's rank/status.

ZeissIkon on December 31, 2010, 01:48:29 pm
I'll second the above opinions that it's more than possible to be sacked for expressing opinions contrary to those of your employer (even if that employer is a fictional "person" such as a corporation, educational institution, or especially a government).  I was once warned, years ago when I worked for a major bank, that I could be turned out for expressing a negative opinion of the bank I worked for, even "anonymously" and to people who had no idea I worked there.  The US military has done this with general officers (that's bird colonels up to two-stars -- three-star and higher is a "staff officer") as recently as a couple years ago.  I don't think it's at all far fetched for a college professor to lose tenure and employment over what amounts to a difference of sciento-political opinion, in a sufficiently global-authoritarian society to make Texas a mere sector...

Aelar on December 31, 2010, 03:36:36 pm
Now, assuming that Ed's being entirely honest, obviously he shouldn't have been fired simply for holding a contrary opinion.

However, the question this raises is... do you believe his point of view is right?

What if global warming were real, and anthropic?

What would the anarcho-capitalist solution to anthropic global warming be?

SandySandfort on December 31, 2010, 03:56:59 pm
What if global warming were real, and anthropic?

What would the anarcho-capitalist solution to anthropic global warming be?

Been there, done that. Read the previous forum posts before for you ask us to chew our cabbage twice. Anyway, here's a better question:

What if global warming weren't real, or anthropic?

What would the statist solution be?

Answer: Cook the books and hide the decline! ;D

J Thomas on December 31, 2010, 05:03:21 pm

What if global warming were real, and anthropic?

I don't know when this story is set. I think I vaguely remember seeing a date in the 2300's somewhere but I didn't find it with a quick look. Call it 200 to 500 years from now.

If it's real or not ought to be pretty well decided by then.

Would people fake it for 200 years? Not usually. The Catholic church didn't, when they were opposing science with dogma. The russian lysenkoists didn't. Very often it takes about one generation. The old guys die off and the next generation gets to make their reputation refuting old ideas, instead of being just the flunkeys who continue the same old things.

This might be an exception. Maybe the UW would enforce a global warming orthodoxy for hundreds of years. But could they do that, while still allowing the sort of technological advance that would give us cheap space flight and large-scale emigration to the moon, Mars, and the Belt? Perhaps Mars got colonised first before the society clamped down tight enough to stop new technology, and then things spread from Mars? But the UW has almost-SOTA warships.

I dunno. The Catholic Church did vigorously oppose heresies for 1300 years. The heresies changed more than the opposition did. Maybe global warming would become some sort of doctrine that all good people had to agree to like a catechism. And with unlimited power that didn't come from fossil fuels etc, the belief wouldn't have to get in anybody's way. They could do various things that they said were supposed to cancel out global warming -- put tiny shiny metal globes in the upper atmosphere, create artificial clouds, whatever -- which actually had no effect. If it wasn't very expensive, maybe most people wouldn't care at all. Just memorize the catechism and repeat it on demand, and pay no further attention.

Well, but climate science would be important. Not just for Terra but in a very different way for Mars. The more people, the more heat pollution etc. How could there help but be anthropogenic effects on climate? And if they were holding onto a false set of beliefs about that, it would interfere with their finding out the truth. They would be unable to fix the problems they created. So there's strong reason for them to ditch global warming ideas that did not work, and replace them with global climate technology which did work.

Quote
What would the anarcho-capitalist solution to anthropic global warming be?

If the problem is human-caused climate change which makes the environment bad for humans, one possibility would be that most people would come to understand the problem and individually take actions that tend to improve things rather than make them worse. It could happen. They could also join together into altruistic groups and work in teams. If their actions cost them and benefitted the people who went ahead profiting while making things worse, still the system might survive.

This sort of question looks like a worst case for AnCap thinking. Maybe AnCap will not be appropriate for some particular circumstances. If it is appropriate for some times and places, we can hope to live in the places where it works.

Some problems don't have solutions. Here is an example -- imagine we got a technology which let anybody blow up the whole world. Say it requires a few grains of silicate sand, a drop of human or animal blood, and a few things like that, and they get total conversion of mass to energy. And imagine that a whole lot of people know how. What could we do? On any given day at least one person in a billion will be ready to die and take the whole world with him. My wife is like that several days each month. If they know how, and we can't physically stop them, how would we keep the world existing? Develop a self-supporting culture in space as quick as possible.... I see no way to keep the world in existence in that hypothetical situation. How would an AnCap society survive? How would any society survive? Try to censor the information and keep most people from getting access to sand grains, and you'll bug people enough one of them will set it off. I see no way any society could regulate billions of people so tightly that none of them would destroy the world. Somehow kill most of them before they get the chance? Probably not.

So if you can invent a circumstance where AnCap fails, so what? It's easy to do. "Imagine there's a bunch of plant diseases that kill all the crops on earth and in fact all the green plants. How does an AnCap society survive that?" "A couple of statist societies get in a war and nuke each other enough to kill everybody on the planet. How does an AnCap society keep that from happening?" We don't have to decide ahead of time how to solve every possible problem that might ever happen.

quadibloc on December 31, 2010, 06:41:35 pm
What if global warming were real, and anthropic?

What would the anarcho-capitalist solution to anthropic global warming be?

Been there, done that. Read the previous forum posts before for you ask us to chew our cabbage twice.
The thread "Law and Order Where There Is Neither" did contain an extensive discussion of the climate change issue.

I don't seem to be able to find where it said how an AnCap society would cope, in an effective manner, with something like global warming if it turned out to be a real problem. After all, a central authority, which forbids everyone from doing something that is otherwise economically rational, but creates an externality, is precisely what an AnCap society lacks.

Because most cases of pollution don't meet the "citizen's arrest" or "shoot the terrorist to stop him" test.

However, I don't think our current political system is going to do much to cope with global warming either.

After all, the first concern of governments is staying in power, and cutting industrial activity weakens the military, opening up the country to foreign conquest.

Creating economic problems causes unrest.

And while global warming might eventually lead to New York being flooded, long before that happens, the expected results are things like the extinction of the polar bear, the loss of the Great Barrier Reef, starvation in Southeast Asia. Stuff that hardly anyone in the industrialized world really cares about.

I think that we could stop global warming, but only because we could, at a politically acceptable cost, convert a lot of our energy to fission power. It just means ignoring certain political pressure groups that only represent a noisy minority - as opposed to the big majority that would react if anything were done that threatened jobs.

On this one point, though, AnCap would do better than our existing system. Under AnCap, nuclear power probably would be cheaper than power from coal-fired plants. Because it takes government to make people poor enough to accept coal mining as a job, and it takes government to tie up power plants in red tape.

Aelar on December 31, 2010, 07:01:52 pm
What if global warming were real, and anthropic?

What would the anarcho-capitalist solution to anthropic global warming be?

Been there, done that. Read the previous forum posts before for you ask us to chew our cabbage twice. Anyway, here's a better question:

What if global warming weren't real, or anthropic?

What would the statist solution be?

Answer: Cook the books and hide the decline! ;D

It would have been helpful to at least link to previous discussions in this relatively large forum. As it is you have not answered my question. I suppose you have given me new information that global warming has been discussed here before. The expectation that every new member read every post before posting anything is absurd however.

If global warming were neither real nor anthropic, the scientific community's solution would be for Scientists to write papers showing this, approve of them, and change the consensus. Statism really has little to do with it.

The scientific consensus is that global warming is happening not because thousands of scientists are dishonest jerks, but because all the evidence available indicates that temperatures have been rising rapidly for the last century.

The scientific consensus is that global warming is probably anthropic because the level of CO2 in the atmosphere today is orders of magnitude greater than it should be under the correlation provided by the ice core record.

If today's CO2 level was 'following' global temperature rise, then in the early part of the second millenium, global temperature would have had to rise many many degrees. Which it didn't. The current CO2 level is off the charts.

Normal ice ages and warm periods are not believed to be caused by CO2, so it makes sense for them to instead cause CO2 buildup to fit the warmer periods. (They are believed to be caused by variations in the earth's orbit).

Some problems don't have solutions. Here is an example -- imagine we got a technology which let anybody blow up the whole world. Say it requires a few grains of silicate sand, a drop of human or animal blood, and a few things like that, and they get total conversion of mass to energy. And imagine that a whole lot of people know how. What could we do? On any given day at least one person in a billion will be ready to die and take the whole world with him. My wife is like that several days each month. If they know how, and we can't physically stop them, how would we keep the world existing? Develop a self-supporting culture in space as quick as possible.... I see no way to keep the world in existence in that hypothetical situation. How would an AnCap society survive? How would any society survive? Try to censor the information and keep most people from getting access to sand grains, and you'll bug people enough one of them will set it off. I see no way any society could regulate billions of people so tightly that none of them would destroy the world. Somehow kill most of them before they get the chance? Probably not.

In that nonrealistic scenario, one would truly need to emigrade as quickly as possible. The energy to actually destroy a planet is astronomical, and the energy to devastate the whole planet is quite large. I think that even an Ancap society might be able to notice a plot to construct thousands of nuclear weapons or similar and deploy them worldwide.

So if you can invent a circumstance where AnCap fails, so what? It's easy to do. "Imagine there's a bunch of plant diseases that kill all the crops on earth and in fact all the green plants. How does an AnCap society survive that?" "A couple of statist societies get in a war and nuke each other enough to kill everybody on the planet. How does an AnCap society keep that from happening?" We don't have to decide ahead of time how to solve every possible problem that might ever happen.

The last problem however is quite realistic.

As a pragmatist, I judge social arrangements by the practical and realistic outcomes.

SandySandfort on December 31, 2010, 09:46:51 pm
I don't know when this story is set. I think I vaguely remember seeing a date in the 2300's somewhere but I didn't find it with a quick look. Call it 200 to 500 years from now.

About a century hence.

SandySandfort on December 31, 2010, 09:57:01 pm
It would have been helpful to at least link to previous discussions in this relatively large forum.

Great idea! When you have finished your link project, please post it. I assume you plan to update it on a regular basis, yes?

As it is you have not answered my question.

Nor do I intend to. Playing "what if" with baseless hypotheticals and endless, recursive. "yeah, buts" services no useful purpose and is a waste of my time. If you have some untainted evidence that supports your supposition, great, then we can talk. Otherwise, it's just a variation of "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"

jamesd on January 01, 2011, 01:08:37 am
However, the question this raises is... do you believe his point of view is right?

If you are likely to be punished for doubting X, X is unlikely to be true.


jamesd on January 01, 2011, 03:03:02 am
What if global warming were real, and anthropic?

What would the anarcho-capitalist solution to anthropic global warming be?

OK, let us assume that Global Warming is real and anthropic.  Trouble is that giving power to governments does not actually solve the problem, since it is in the interests of any one government to use more carbon, since it gets the benefit, and most of the cost is external.  So you need a one world "Climate Treaty Organization" with authority over all acts that might emit carbon - in other words, a socialist one world government for the entire world.

The boys from Harvard had this clever plan:  The socialist world economy would be run by the boys from Harvard, but they would generously run it in the interests of non white folk, and make the white folk suffer for their past sins, because the boys from Harvard care so deeply about other people, care so deeply about people far away from them, care so deeply about people of different skin colors to their own, care so deeply about people of cultures very different to their own, and care so deeply about people with languages different to their own.

The Chinese were not impressed.

I predict that if this proposal is actually applied, it will solve the Carbon problem by reducing world population to sustainable levels - sustainable at a hunter gatherer level, about ten thousand people world wide.

jamesd on January 01, 2011, 03:23:27 am
I don't seem to be able to find where it said how an AnCap society would cope, in an effective manner, with something like global warming if it turned out to be a real problem. After all, a central authority, which forbids everyone from doing something that is otherwise economically rational, but creates an externality, is precisely what an AnCap society lacks.

Because most cases of pollution don't meet the “citizen's arrest” or “shoot the terrorist to stop him” test.

But large point sources of pollution do meet the “shoot the bastard to stop him test”, though diffuse sources, composed of many small point sources, do not.

Now let us look at existent and recently existent socialist countries.  They were horribly polluted, and the pollution came from large point sources - because, without property rights, no one had authority to say "Hey, you cannot dump high level nuclear waste on my land."

So even though private property rights cannot handle diffuse and mobile forms of pollution, reality is that violating and disregarding property rights makes things worse, because private property is, in practice, the only thing that successfully handles pollution – and if it fails to handle all forms of pollution, nothing really does.

Socialist countries supposedly internalized all externalities, but in practice, everything went to hell.


quadibloc on January 01, 2011, 07:13:35 am
Socialist countries supposedly internalized all externalities, but in practice, everything went to hell.
But that's what you would expect of countries run by power-mad tyrants bent on world conquest.

Countries with democratic governments and a free press have a chance of doing better. Not much of a chance, I suppose, because military might is an overriding concern for them too, and jobs are a big concern of the voting public. That's why I see the fact we have nuclear power as an option as the only way that "doing something" about global warming in time could be politically acceptable.

We don't know what the effects of the increase in CO2 levels caused by our fossil fuel use will be. Will it be severe warming, mild warming... or will we trigger the natural processes that ensured past eras of warming didn't go on forever? Effects of warmer temperatures on ocean salinity could redirect the Gulf Stream, possibly triggering an ice age - this possibility was discussed some time back in an article in the Atlantic Monthly. On the other hand, an article in Scientific American claimed that we were using more fossil fuels than would be needed to prevent an ice age - and so we should save our fossil fuel resources for a later time when we would need them. That paints a different picture than one of triggering an ice age we would be helpless to stop.

The trouble is, too, that the ecology movement has a well-earned reputation for crying wolf. Somehow, of all of these new chemicals that keep being invented, some of which are sprayed on farms even, none resulted, after they finished killing the insects they were supposed to, in, say, mutating the earthworms so that they would be the size of buses - like in Dune. But to hear them talk, that's what should be happening when people tamper with nature. (Philip Wylie's The End of the Dream illustrates this sort of thinking.)

I don't think the world scientific community has suddenly put politics before science, and I'm not impressed with the evidence brought forward by opponents of the AGW hypothesis. But as long as the cure consists of wind farms instead of reactors, yes, it's worse than the disease.

Of course, our wise political leaders may realize this, but the anti-nuclear lobby is too strong for them to provide wise leadership at the moment. So, when very limited measures to reduce energy use produce economic disaster, and at the same time global warming begins to produce ecological catastrophe, maybe then this sensible solution can be spoken of out loud. If it wasn't for the fact that the worst consequences of global warming are likely to bother other people thousands of miles away, I would be pessimistic in an agitated way, instead of merely mildly disappointed in humanity's apparent lack of good sense.