Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Environmentalist Discovers That Economists Are Callous, Is Shocked And Appalled

On the one hand, George Monbiot's complaint re. the expansion of London's Heathrow airport, and its justification in terms of The Stern Review, gives a good quickie outline of the thinking that went into that report. On the other hand, his apparent surprise at the fact that an economist should "put a price on human life" makes it sound like he fell off the back of a turnip truck driven by hippies:

What I cannot accept is that it should be scrambled up with the price of eggs and prefixed with a dollar sign. Human life is not a commodity. It cannot be traded against profits or exchanged for convenience. We have no right to decide that others should die to make us richer.

Welcome to planet Earth, George. Human lives are traded commodities, and such decisions are made every day. Furthermore, the notion of pricing a life is hardly unique to Dr. Stern. It is hardly his montrous invention, as Monbiot implies. And it is a common argument against Stern's review that he values future lives too highly ; his report only comes out in favor of acting against climate change now because he isn't callous enough in regards to the worth of unborn human beings.

Not that some of Monbiot's arguments aren't makeable. The difference economists concerned with AGW have often placed on 1st vs. 3rd world lives in well-known (see the wiki link above) and often criticized.

Its Monbiot's naivety, false or real, that weakens his case.

32 comments:

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william g. king said...

What's with the obsession over AGW, BCL?

Good guy, acting in good faith, who genuinely cares about his fellow man and making the world a better place?

Is that what you would have your reader believe? Because it's really implausible.

A more rigorous analysis suggests strongly that you use AGW (and virtually ever other "cause" you ostensibly fight for) selfishly (I'd say cynically, but that's insulting to the great tradition of cynics who *opposed* the machine, rather than provide propaganda copy for it) as a club with which to bash your opponents.

In light of this, why do you even speak words? I'm genuinely curious, reasonably civil, and would appreciate a non-facetious response.

Ti-Guy said...

A more rigorous analysis suggests strongly that you use AGW (and virtually ever other "cause" you ostensibly fight for) selfishly (I'd say cynically, but that's insulting to the great tradition of cynics who *opposed* the machine, rather than provide propaganda copy for it) as a club with which to bash your opponents.

A better, question, William G., is why types like you avoid the actual argument being brought up and go right to insisting that the topic itself is evidence of some sort of character flaw or moral degeneracy.

It's not so much that it's necessarily moronic; it's more that it's become a Pavlovian response among the Right. Don't you guys ever get tired of it? Or is it the fact that you, for obvious reasons, don't have anything else to contribute to a discussion of how all kinds of intangibles, such as happiness and well-being can or cannot be valuated in monetary terms, both for present and future purposes, in a cost/benefit analysis of economic development?

I know I don't have much more to add, because I don't really have much faith in any predictions based on future value. The analysis tends to suffer from such an overwhelming lack of empirical evidence and cannot take into account unpredicted events to ever be all that useful or meaningful for most people, with the exception of economists and actuaries.

And please...the next time you invoke "rigorous analysis," could you favour us with some of the elements that actually demonstrate both "analysis" and "rigour?" You know...all that sciency stuff.

william g. king said...

Ti-Guy's verbosity is an exponential function of the efficacy of an argument, or v = E^2.

If you're just dicking around, he shouts insults.

If you apply any sort of pressure, however, such as pointing out that all he does is shout insults, or that the entire Liberal political model is based on the comically weak claim that they are good people with good intentions, he tells you his life story - while shouting insults.

I didn't ask for your opinion, Angus, I asked BCL a question. Hush.

Anonymous said...

It's simple, and it's the thing that the Left cannot understand. What is a human life worth - $100,000? $1,000,000? $10,000,000? Doesn't matter. What matters is how much of your finite resources - dollars - you are willing to spend to save lives. If you can use $1 million to save one life, or 50 lives, which should you do? The lefties argue that all lives are worth saving (well, except unborn children, but that's another argument) and some lives are worth saving even more (like convicted murderers or serial rapists). Regardless, you've just decided that that one life isn't worth $1,000,000. But lefties think our resources are infinite, that every cost should be spent to save every life. It doesn't matter how expensive or efficient a program is, "If it saves one life, it's worth it." Well that's the biggest lie going. Cold, hard decisions that need to be made by adults aren't being made. Instead we get emotional wimps who can't figure out anything, and waste precious resources on the most useless things, when they could be far better utilized elsewhere.

Should we spend money on a safe drug injection site, or use that money for clean drinking water for a rural community? This is a tough decision for lefties; an easy one for anybody with a brain.

Ti-Guy said...

If you're just dicking around, he shouts insults.

It's not just you...every Conservative is like that these days. It's like you're all quite skilled at the forms of argument, while caring not at all about the content. And you're all quite churlish about it.

I didn't ask for your opinion, Angus, I asked BCL a question. Hush.

Too bad. You floated your inanity in public, you got a response from the public.

Admit it; you have nothing of substance to add here. Don't get all fascist...er, authoritarian...about it just because someone points that out.

lenny said...

"Good guy, acting in good faith, who genuinely cares about his fellow man and making the world a better place?
Is that what you would have your reader believe? Because it's really implausible."

Of course, it would seem implausible - to a sociopath.

"Should we spend money on a safe drug injection site..."

Great example, anony.
Should we spend money on harm reduction, or should we spend even more on health care, and a "war on drugs" which is totally ineffective?
This apparently isn't a hard decision for righties - spend wads of cash being "tough" regardless of the outcomes, they screech.

Ti-Guy said...

Should we spend money on harm reduction, or should we spend even more on health care, and a "war on drugs" which is totally ineffective?

I was hoping a dollar-addled Conservative would address the cost/benefit issues in Perfesser Anonymous's impassioned presentation of what looks to be an issue involving well...dollars.

I've been waiting in hope for many years, it seems.

One thing I know about righties...four billion in military expenditure is really an issue of petty cash...but 100 million to help addicts will plunge Canada into 3rd-world penury.

No wonder Conservatives rack up debts to the extent they do when they finally get a hold of the financial levers. For all the rhetoric, I don't think most of them actually do understand cost/benefit.

william g. king said...

"but 100 million to help addicts will plunge Canada into 3rd-world penury"

Idiot. Ever read Sections 91 & 92 of The Constitution Act? They don't comprise a list of suggestions, but rather organic law. Briefly, your genius proposal is unconstitutional, not to mention stupid and inherently oppressive.

The federal entity has no place infringing on provincial jurisdiction, as history and our current half trillion dollar federal debt attest to.

There is, however, no law whatsoever preventing provinces or municipalities from setting up all the crackpipe programs or 12 step programs they want - on their own friggin' dime.

Ti-Guy said...

The federal entity has no place infringing on provincial jurisdiction, as history and our current half trillion dollar federal debt attest to.

Not entirely accurate, Mr. Dyspepsia. Unlike the US, residual powers in Canada revert to the Federal Government (not to the provinces or the people), so anything not originally accounted for at the time of Confederation comes, by default, under the jurisdiction of the central government.

In any case, the division of responsibilities wasn't my point; I was arguing cost/benefit.

You really should try avoid letting your hatred get the better of your critical thinking.

william g. king said...

"Unlike the US, residual powers in Canada revert to the Federal Government"

You're stunningly ignorant, and let me explain why. Rehab is a health issue, delivered by provincial health ministries and occasionally covered by private health insurers.

The concept of health did, in fact, exist in the 19th century.

We do not create separate brand new ministries for rehab.

Rehab is not a discrete concept but rather a subset of health which is of course exclusively provincial jurisdiction as per the Constitution Act, notwithstanding the Health Act or the ol' trick of creating an "ABC" (agencies, boards, and commissions) to sneakily sidestep the constitution like your constitutional hero George Bush does.

Now that I have fisked you for making stupid comments twice, please don't consider it an invitation to make a third consecutive stupid argument, such as quoting Peter Hogg in any context, for example.

We've established that you don't even know the constitution, we've established that thoroughly, so there is no reason for you to bother the adults anymore.

lenny said...

"The federal entity has no place infringing on provincial jurisdiction, as history and our current half trillion dollar federal debt attest to.
There is, however, no law whatsoever preventing provinces or municipalities from setting up all the crackpipe programs or 12 step programs they want - on their own friggin' dime."

That'll come as news to the Harperettes. Will you be writing letters to the "stunningly ignorant," "opressive," and "stupid" Prime Minister and the Health Minister warning them "they have no jurisdiction over Vancouver's safe injection site?

"The safe-injection site decision is the Health Minister's decision," Mr. Harper said

Ti-Guy said...

Now that I have fisked you for making stupid comments twice, please don't consider it an invitation to make a third consecutive stupid argument, such as quoting Peter Hogg in any context, for example.

Oh, you don't mean that. How else will you get the opportunity to shift focus and bring up something no one's asserting and is not arguing in order to prove you're Miss Smarty-Pants?

By being focused and staying on topic?

Don't get me wrong; there's nothing wrong with a rambling discussion, but you're just a little too cunty to make that enjoyable.

You're not "The Rat" by any chance, are you? I'm sensing a familiar personality disorder...er...style.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing preventing the federal government from spending money on health care initiatives which are not specifically prohibited by valid provincial law. The spending power is not confined by the division of powers.

However, if the federal government were to pass a law which affected only the delivery of health care and had no federal aspect, such a law would be ultra vires.

william g. king said...

"There is nothing preventing the federal government from spending money on health care initiatives which are not specifically prohibited by valid provincial law."

Wrong.

"The spending power is not confined by the division of powers. "

Wrong, see the aforementioned "ABC" technique, which is necessary to sidestep the constitution; entire books have been written about it.

This all gets back to my original point; why do BCL, or TiGuy, or anonymous even speak? Everybody knows they are hideously immoral creatures with narrow selfish agendas, they revel in this and brag about it.

I'd cite instances where BCL brags how selfish he is, except I don't want to flatter him by suggesting I actually remember anything he's written more than a week ago.

TiGuy spends all day every day calling people "stupid" and "cunts", and expects people to take him seriously when he feigns shock and outrage over whichever PC bee is in his bonnet at the moment.

In this context, I must ask again: Why do you even speak?

If Clifford Olson starts a blog and argues that the age of consent should be abolished, do we assume he is a good man with good intentions arguing in good faith? Or do we do the smart thing and discount his self serving arguments due to his demonstrated lack of character?

Same thing applies to bloggers and commentors of all kinds: don't revel in the fact that you are a selfish and devious douchebag and expect people to take you at face value when you feign shock, outrage, or concern over some supposed injustice.

Ti-Guy said...

Same thing applies to bloggers and commentors of all kinds: don't revel in the fact that you are a selfish and devious douchebag and expect people to take you at face value when you feign shock, outrage, or concern over some supposed injustice.

That's nice, sweetie. Now take all four pills and go lie down.

lenny said...

Willy G. Sociopath,
Shouldn't you be busy with that letter to the "idiot(s)" of the "stunningly ignorant", "stupid" and "inherently oppressive" New Government of Canada, who are flaunting the Constitution?

Anonymous said...

A short read through c. 6.8 of Peter Hogg's Constitutional law of Canada should make the nature of the spending power clear. While often certain agencies may be created or employed to spend or distribute funds, they are not necessary. Nor are they by any means unconstitutional.

lenny said...

William G. King, Barrister-at-law, doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about?
That's a surprise.
I still think he's right about the New Government of Canada, though.

william g. king said...

Peter Hogg might as well get an RFID implant emitting his barcode, he's so bought and paid for by the Liberal Party of Canada, which is why I gave specific instructions not to cite him, on pain of mockery.

If the Liberal position on Canadian constitutional law is so "small" that they must consistently cite one, and only one, absurdly compromised whore\academic, even when challenged not to do so, then it's no wonder nobody takes them seriously these days.

lenny said...

So, are there sources other than the author of the book most frequently cited by the Supreme Court of Canada that can challenge the authority of William G. Laughingstock, Barrister-at-law?
http://www.blakes.com/english/people/lawyers2.asp?LAS=PWH

Hmmm...what's more credible..."Willy" or the book most cited by the Supreme Court...tough call.

Ti-Guy said...

which is why I gave specific instructions not to cite him, on pain of mockery.

You call your school-marm scolding mockery?

Oh, the pain...the pain.

william g. king said...

"...most frequently cited by the Supreme Court of Canada "

It's a recursive relationship; Liberal Rosie Abbela blurts out that she thinks it is the judge's role to play God, Liberal reporters from Liberal newspapers rush to get Liberal commentary and analysis from bought and paid for Liberal assets such as the ridiculous Hogg, who gets reciprocally fellated at rubber chicken fests, cited in SC judgements, obtains juicy federal contracts and appointments, and, eventually, a Senate seat.

That, and he's just silly at face value. It is lazy reporting by lazy reporters who'd never think to ask for a second opinion that explains the ubiquity of Hogg, not any demonstrated excellence on his part.

Ti-Guy said...

Shorter William G. King, Bore-ister: "If I can't have a career, why should they?"

william g. king said...

Shorter TiGuy: You a playa hata!

Intelligent. And your profession would be...?

Ti-Guy said...

I'm a plastic surgeon.

lenny said...

It's too bad, but in the real world the opinion of the Supreme Court (and apparently Hogg) is the interpretation that matters, and that of Willy G. Gluehuffer isn't worth one wizened rat shit.

william g. king said...

Not a bad internet profession, and doubly impressive that you manage it while shouting insults 24/7.

Which martial art have you internet mastered? How many internet(wo)men have you internet slept with? I'm just trying to calibrate your dishonesty.

lenny: you're first level. Need you at Graydon Carter's "Seventh Level", minimum.

Ti-Guy said...

I'm just trying to calibrate your dishonesty.

I think you mean gauge my dishonesty.

Anyway, you've become boring. Show us yer tits.

william g. king said...

"Show us yer tits."

Now you're talking like a conservative! My work has not been in vain.

Actually this is more common than one might think; when you push a Liberal hard enough they usually blurt out something more racist or sexist than the most hardcore conservative could conjure up.

Deep down, they're bigger bigots than we conservatives are; hell, they're even more bigoted than immigrants! And they don't care a whit about the environment or AGW, that's all just a front for their gruesomeness.