Friday, June 09, 2006

Algore's previous stupid crusade

I'm glad to see that Robert Musil is posting on his blog again. He has this:
When pondering Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" it is perhaps worth remembering that this is not the first time the former vice president has waged a campaign to impose gigantic costs in the service of correcting a problem of dubious reality (that in fact turned out not to exist nearly to the extent he insisted) and was not substantially ameliorated by anything he proposed.

The reader will recall that Mr. Gore headed the Clinton administration's campaign against the "Y2K Bug," sometimes known as the "millennium bug." There are striking parallels between Mr. Gore's two crusades. As with potential major human-caused global warming, the larger number of Y2K Bug "experts" were predicting that the bug was a huge problem that would have cataclysmic consequences if not aggressively and expensively corrected.

The Y2K Bug was not a "scam" - and the possibility of serious adverse consequences of global warming is not a "scam." There were some glitches: A few satellites went out, Al Gore had problems on his campaign web site computer because it wasn't DeBugged properly, that kind of thing. But the world of economic decisions does not consist of binary decisions between "scams" and the need to spend trillions of dollars! Was it worth spending a Trillion Dollars to ward off the Y2K Bug - even though countries that did not make systematic efforts suffered few consequences, and no serious consequences at all? I very much doubt it. It is not hard to think of very good uses of One Trillion Dollars, far better uses than remorsely chasing a software bug that did little damage even where nothing was done to fix it. Of course, a Trillion Dollars would be a small down payment (peanuts, really) in comparision with the costs that An Inconvenient Truth implicitly or explicitily demands be born by the world's economy ... much of it by the world's poorest people.


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