1 Nov 2010

The Rational Optimist

Here's a podcast with Matt Ridley, author of that book.

His thesis is that we are doing quite well in terms of life expectancy and quality of life, worldwide. I agree with that but left the following comment:
  1. Environment is, at best, indirectly improving with the expansion in our living standards. Without a price on clean air, etc., there is little reason to assign positive value to it [and it gets overused].

  2. Adaption to climate change will be easier for rich countries, but what about LDCs? They will not be able to save themselves with an iPad app.
Oh, and yes, the industrial revolution/current living standards were driven by our use of coal and other fossil fuels. The problem is not that these fuels will run out, but that their use will poison us and our environment.

Bottom Line: Things are getting better, but we have to make sure that we take all costs of growth into account.