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Economists not being scientists
post # 2613
Why can't economics be scientific? The idea that the economy cant expand forever, therefor it must have a leveling out followed rapidly by decline at some point, and the evidence is that that time is now or very near - these are conclusions not drawn by most economists .We cannot continue extractions that can’t be replaced.
We cannot grow the economy and cut CO2 at the same time. While it is not logically impossible to do so, the tech is not there, or soon available, to do it at scale.
We must cut co2
Any new activity must use energy.
At the present time the only way to produce that energy is an add-on to current energy production using fossil fuel.
Therefore we must have at least some parts for the economy, meaning people and institutions, that are moving to less energy and the amount of this is has got to be huge and fast. And nobody wants it to be their musical chair.
The most common approach is that we can replace the current energy system (all uses and sources) with new sources of energy and the economy can just keep going as it has . This does not stand up to analysis.
The Bidin bill proposes to spread lots of money in ways that will solve the problem, create jobs and create new ways taxes to pay for it. Basically Keynesian: use federal money to buy the solution by incentivizing with money. No analysis of can the tech nor the organizations be scaled. Looks like a feeding frenzy a kind of a football hail mary, (I am receiving invitations from groups that are organizing to get some of that money. They talk of opportunity and not the problem to be solved ). This will be a high increase in economic cavity producing more CO2.
I think this argument is solid. Worse of course is that they way it plays out is looking to be very unequal, with winners and losers pre determined, and it is in the context of geo-political threats of conflict and national political violence.
If economists accepted the logic they could move on to critical questions such as, how fast could we electrify every energy use using only clean energy - no natural gas nor renewable fossil fuel use)? Bottle necks would be found - and thoroughly analyzed without wishful thinking. Always avoiding Jevon’s paradox*
Just maybe we could do it - but the economists, still holding the curtain over the wizard, so far are in the way.
*that increased efficiency leads to savings that will be spent, so we dom’t get less economic activity we get more.