The Tortoise always wins


Given our recent discussions on Global Warming, I would like to add a random thought.  It appears to me that one of the most powerful implications of the second law of demand is that change is irrelevant if it happens slowly.  This is a simplification, but the second law of demand stipulates that our elasticity’s are flatter in the long run than in the short run.  Specifically the farther we are from any specific moment of change, the easier it is to find substitutes.

If the danger of Global Warming is that over the next hundred years, the temperature will rise a few degrees, then I am unmoved.  This will be a slow process and given this long period of time, it will be much easier for people to adapt to the change.

Unless Global Warming is apocalyptic, massive sudden change, there is little to be worried about.  The hard sell is the only sell as it is the only way to justify current Green policy.


3 Responses to “The Tortoise always wins”

  1. Jason Says:

    One important thing to consider is religion when talking about anything with apocalyptic undertones. One reason I belive that as a whole the world doesn’t worry about global warming to the point of doing anything significant about it is that the majority of the world doesn’t believe the end of the world is going to come about by global warming. As a Christian I have no fear that the end of the world and all humanity will come about in a sudden bought of craziness caused by global warming. When people approach me and say “don’t you know that you car is going to kill the world” I don’t pay attention to them because i don’t believe them at all. If people want others to take them seriously they have to appeal to a different side of people. A more reasonable likely effect will yield more action. I think the “if we keep using our fuel so fast without developing any alternatives we will have to pay 6 dollars a gallon soon” is likely to get people to care more. Apocalyptic world destruction arguements are ignored unless done in the way people religiously believe.

  2. Stewart Says:

    Our distinction is that you offer a more charitable view: they might actually want to change the world. I, however, see it as a ploy for political power. That being the case, to employ the power of the state, Global Warming must be apocalyptic. There is no other justification.

  3. Dave On Fire Says:

    Climate change (including global warming) is not presented as the end of the world – it’s a change in the climate. Nevertheless, even occuring as it does over several decades, it will make life on Earth much more difficult and as such is worthy of concern. Cities and farms that are now threatened took centuries to grow, and a span of decades is a very short time in which to save them.
    That this challenge has arisen at the same time that, as Jason points out, our oil starts running out makes it all the more urgent. This isn’t apocalyptic exaggeration – the Earth will certainly survive and so, probably, will at lest some of humanity – it’s just a sincere acknowledgement of the greatest threat humanity has ever faced.

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