Wednesday, September 29, 2010

classical economics is not a science


This contains a great critique of classical economics.

"The classical theorists gradually adopted the math and some of the terminology of science. Unfortunately, however, they were unable to incorporate into economics the basic self-correcting methodology that is science’s defining characteristic. Economic theory required no falsifiable hypotheses and demanded no repeatable controlled experiments. Economists began to think of themselves as scientists, while in fact their discipline remained a branch of moral philosophy—as it largely does to this day."

Fortunately, there are people out there prepared to criticise the absurd assumptions of classical economics and keen to develop their own theories through the application of scientific principles.

Another couple of great quotes from this interview:

"More troubling still is the assumption free-market economics makes about nature: that we don't need it. Because everything is theoretically substitutable for everything else, when we run out of nature, we'll just substitute technology. That, says [Joshua] Farley, is a religious belief, not a scientific one."

"In ecology, if your theory is not supported by real life, you change your theory. In economics, if your theory is not supported by real life, you try to come up with policy measures that change real life to make it a closer fit to your theory."

Friday, September 24, 2010

incredible interview with "the most hated man in Israel"


This comes across as the most honest description of Israel I've read yet. There are so many painful insights into Israeli society.

"The facts are clear. Israel has no real intention of quitting the territories or allowing the Palestinian people to exercise their rights. No change will come to pass in the complacent, belligerent, and condescending Israel of today. This is the time to come up with a rehabilitation program for Israel."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

epic blogging FAIL & the reform of Green Party science policy


So, I started a rant against this post on Liberal Conspiracy in which I repeated my oft stated criticisms of the antiscientific policies of the Green Party. There was then an extensive interval in which I had dinner and drank some beer and some more of last year's sloe gin. During this period several posts appeared in response to my initial rant lead by one from Sunny Hundal in which he linked to a LibCon post from back in February that completely contradicted all my rants. Back then Jim Jepps- the author of the post that initially grabbed my attention- posted on his own blog and then at LibCon how the Green Party conference had voted to abandon pretty much all of the fluffy, antiscientific crap that was clogging up the MFSS. This included the broad opposal to vivisection, the endorsement of alternative medicine and the absurd pledge it proposed be required of all scientists and technologists to "respect the earth and life upon it".

That was back in February. I seriously have to apologise to all Green Party members for failing to report this in detail and crow about being a member of what is now unequivocally the most awesome political party in the country. I am a tiny, tiny little prick.

Interestingly the reform occurred in the days immediately following the Sarah Goldsmith debacle. Could it be that the glare of publicity surrounding that episode convinced the attendees at the Green Party conference that reform was the only option to maintain the party's integrity. All I can say is that if it did it seems to have worked. More of the same! (More evidence-based policy, that is. Not more epic blogging fails from yrs trly).

Once again, apologies to Jim Jepps for posting bullshit criticisms on his LibCon post and to all Green Party members. Thanks to Sunny Hundal for putting me right.


awesome figure


The National Grid reported recently that Britain received 10% of its electrcity [sic] from wind over one 24 hour period.

Now we just have to install a government that will exploit the true potential of renewable generation revealed by this figure.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

steady-state economics 101


This excellent summary of SSE describes how it inherently generates equality and sustainability. There's also this wonderful soundbite:

Nature draws no distinction between ideologies, and the world doesn’t fit into our political constructs. Something is either sustainable or it isn’t, and neither capitalism nor socialism is ‘the answer’.

Go and read it!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Caroline on the Labour leadership contest


"The leadership campaign thus reflects all that is worst in our politics: blandness, a lack of honesty, and a choice between slight variations on the same product, namely weak social democracy overshadowed by subservience to the market and international commercial interests. It is not a formula to restore faith in politics, help realign the left, or build a foundation for an assault on the coalition, let alone choose a future PM."
Quite, Caroline. Quite.