103: Geoffrey West, part 2: theoretical physics and the environment

November 24, 2018 by Joshua
in Podcast

In our second conversation, Geoffrey and I continue to pursue his unique approach to viewing the environment. I find it fascinating because he approaches the environment from a different direction, but he arrives to the same conclusion—the need for leadership to change cultural norms.

Talking here gave him the chance to explore ideas he raised in his book but didn’t pursue. He wanted to do so, as I understand him. His book went in that direction, but he kept conservative.

We also considered the role of a scientist in our world’s situation, then spoke about science, culture, the environment, and the role of scientists. It seems to me that we have to change the goals of our system, which doesn’t mean stopping capitalism.

On the contrary, rules like bankruptcy and antitrust legislation fix inherent problems in capitalism of monopoly and debt turning into slavery. Markets also overproduce. We’ve accepted laws fixing such problems. Why not things like pollution taxes and externality taxes?

We also regulate accounting. We don’t allow companies to lie about their finances. What’s wrong with accurate accounting, not allowing companies to unload their costs on me?

Geoffrey was light on specifics on what to do. Leadership isn’t just about a vision but how to implement—not just we should do X, but how to motivate people to do it. I’m a fan of basic research, science, and education, but I think we know enough. We aren’t acting.

Read the transcript.

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