Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Davos and the Club of Rome

As many people are aware, a group of "prominent" business people, scientists and politicians are meeting in Davos, Switzerland to discuss the pending end of the world as we know it. Dire predictions of global warming catastrophes, economic collapse and massive starvation.

For anyone over 50 this is reminiscent of the great prognostications of the Club of Rome meetings from 1972 from which the book Limits to Growth came out. The Club of Rome was composed of " prominent business people, leading scientists and politicians". Limits to Growth made predictions of shortages of every raw material and resource, populations explosions which would cause massive starvation, economic collapse and other great predictions, all of which proved to be completely wrong.

Likewise, the nonsense that is spewing out of Davos will one day be viewed in the same manner. Even though we are in the midst of the Greatest Economy ever, the Davos experts only see economic collapse. Business people have bought into Global Warming, but only due to their self-interest.

Those with a negative outlook will always be with us due to their scarcity thinking. And for the press the only news worth printing is bad news. Yet, mankind is always moving onward and upward.

Ronald Baily writes of his Club of Rome experience:

"What are the lessons to be learned from this record of badly exaggerated predictions of environmental disaster? First, scientists, even well meaning ones, don't know as much as they think they do. They generally go wrong because they ignore or misunderstand how human beings interact with the natural world and with other people, that is, they are largely ignorant of economics. This ignorance constantly leads them astray because as biologists and ecologists, they tend to think that human beings are merely more clever herds of deer. When deer run out of their sustenance, they die. When human beings begin to run out, they turn their brains and their social institutions to producing more. Science can tell us what may be problems, but it can't tell us what to do about them. Solutions depend on a deep understanding of human values, politics, and economics. Scientists are no more qualified to pronounce on those topics than their non-scientific confreres and fellow citizens."

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