Politics of Poverty

Yadda Yaddaing Catastrophe

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Matthew Yglesias gets to the heart of the flaw in many economic models of climate change in his riff on David Robert’s portrait of the alarmism gap between climate scientists and climate economists: “The larger error is the economists’ tendency to make the reverse error, seeing a steady upswing in economic growth and doing a […]

Matthew Yglesias gets to the heart of the flaw in many economic models of climate change in his riff on David Robert’s portrait of the alarmism gap between climate scientists and climate economists:

“The larger error is the economists’ tendency to make the reverse error, seeing a steady upswing in economic growth and doing a “yadda yadda yadda” past the intervening devastation…As far as global economic output is concerned, even hundreds of millions of dead subsistence farmers is no big deal. As long as it’s generally possible for rich people to buy the “unlikely to lead to death” land, production will continue apace.”

I think if you asked most people whether it would be an acceptable outcome to yadda yadda our way through the catastrophic death of hundreds of millions of poor farmers you’d get a resounding NO! I’m not sure it’s quite that cut and dry, but seeing it in these stark terms sure makes providing international climate finance to help vulnerable people build resilience to the climate threats that they largely did not create feel like a comparatively wholesome alternative.

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