Spodek’s Law of environmental debate

September 23, 2021 by Joshua
in Nature

You know Godwin’s Law, right? It says:

As an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope), the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches 1.

It has a corollary that

Whoever makes the comparison loses the debate.

Well, I’m stating a similar law about discussions on the environment, Spodek’s Law:

In a discussion on the environment, anyone who bases their point on an economist is wrong.

First things first: I’m not comparing economists to Hitler. That should appear obvious since it is, but I’m clarifying it anyway. I also concede that exceptions will exist, as in all laws, but fewer than you’d think. Also, I’m partly joking.

The more I read and learn about economists’ views on the environment, the more I see they don’t know what they’re talking about. They give counterproductive advice based on shoddy analysis based on fallacious assumptions. Some of the most basic, obvious points they miss:

  • They miss that growing the population or increasing immigration to improve the economy is a Ponzi scheme
  • They miss that you can’t decouple growth from pollution
  • They value a tree more cut down than growing
  • They compare costs to conserve the environment not to the alternative of collapse, but to a fantasy world where pollution doesn’t kill billions of people
  • They will analyze, plan, and debate forever while watching the Earth lose its capacity to sustain life instead of doing something to help
  • They propose abstract solutions with no practical way to implement them
  • When a physicist predicts a result but experiment doesn’t go as predicted, we say nature is right, the theory is wrong. When experiment differs from an economist’s prediction, the economist says nature is wrong and the theory is right.

I’ll include more when I come up with them. In the meantime, when evaluating an economist’s plan to get us out of this mess, ask yourself if you think that economist could get him- or herself out of a practical problem, like being lost in the woods or living sustainably at home.

Do you know any economist who is living sustainably or even polluting less than the average? I suggest that anyone not trying to live sustainably doesn’t know what they’re talking about on the topic.

On a personal note, I know some economists. I mean nothing personal about them. I just rarely find they know what they’re talking about when talking about the environment, with rare exception.

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