Saturday, November 12, 2011

What if ...?

"What if Rest of World Had as Many Cars as U.S.?"  "What if..." questions like this pop up all the time. The implication is that the result would "unsustainable."  Another is that growth is a problem.  These are Luddite conversations.  They are also misleading for the simple reason that if all of those people could afford all those cars, they would have to be much more productive than they are now.  The world would be a very different place and the intended implication of the question does not follow.

Julian Simon was right and all of the doomsday foreacasts have been wrong.  These observations are not a basis for smugness, but they are a good counter to the "what if?" questions.  The Doomsday Myth recounts 10,000 years of these.  The book is a few years old, but it has held up and probably will for a while.