Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth
March 11, 2007
I watched Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth this weekend and — it’s good! The film had some splendid information describing the global warming phenomenon, but it was perhaps most interesting to see Al Gore himself. Gore has apparently been crisscrossing the globe for the last several years, giving thousands of presentations about the environmental situation. He could have just taken a vacation after the stolen election in 2000. A politician above the municipal level who is not concerned first, last and foremost with either self-enrichment at the expense of the taxpayer/poor people/foreigners sitting on Our Oil, or participating in the New World Order, is as rare as a unicorn.
In my understanding, Global Warming is actually a concept promoted by the Powers That Be to provide a diversion for geophysical anomalies of all sorts. While it is true that Global Warming can be used as an excuse for odd weather or the disappearance of icefields everywhere, it doesn’t do much to explain the equally dramatic rise in volcanic and earthquake activity, especially “deep quakes,” the splitting apart of whole continental plates, as is now happening in the African Rift Valley, the mid-Atlantic ridge, and along the Eastern Seaboard of the US, the hyperactive sun, and strange weather on other planets. I hear that much of the melting in the colder climes is actually taking place from the bottom-up — in other words, the extra heat is coming from the Earth, not the sun. Thus, Gore’s crusade is not all that contrary to TPTB’s goals, which is why he was able to win an Academy Award for his film. (As a member of the former MJ12, Gore is well aware of the other geophysical anomalies.) TPTB actually has something of a green streak, illustrated by the Club of Rome and the Limits to Growth studies of the early 1970s, which indicated that the world’s economy would start to hit the limits of the global Petri dish right about — now. There have been some experiments in depopulation since then, mostly conducted in Africa. Unlike the sheeple they control, the NWO crowd does think long-term, and though they are not tree-huggers in particular they would like to be overlords of something better than a burnt-out cinder.
Nevertheless, I think Gore’s environmental interests are noble, and I would place myself a few notches further out on the scale of environmental concern than Gore. Gore brings up the supposed conflict between economic growth and the planet: you can’t have an economy without a planet, so what’s the conflict? Now we are getting closer to what I really want to talk about today, which is the concept of “economic growth” within an environment-friendly context. We began to talk about this somewhat last week as well, more in reference to Peak Oil.
Our usual beat around here is describing the functioning of economies, which we boiled down to the extreme simplicity of low taxes, stable money. This produces a healthy economy, which is to say, one in which people are able to cooperate productively. Historically, this has tended to produce what we know as economic growth. This growth has tended to have the characteristics of population growth (though perhaps less so today as most developed economies have low birth rates) and a materialist element, which involves resource consumption. At the most basic level, I would say that “economic growth” tends to have these characteristics because, apparently, longer lives and more stuff is what people want, so when they get the ability to create what they want through greater economic productivity, this is what they make.
Thus “growth” has historically meant more people * more productivity = more stuff + greater environmental burden. Today, on the one hand we have the economist who is concerned with “more growth,” and on the other the environmentalist who says that certainly we must, by now, have more than enough people and stuff, and besides is this modern lifestyle all that fabulous really? Typically the thinking process doesn’t go much beyond that, but I would say that the economist is not really arguing that houses need to be 10% larger than they are today, or that driving a gas-guzzler is some sort of absolute moral good, but rather that if the economy is not “growing” then there’s typically a problem of some sort, with many unpleasant consequences although unemployment tends to top the list. If a mother takes her 15-year-old son to the doctor and asks: “Why did he stop growing? He’s only 5’6″ tall,” the problem is not necessarily that 5’6″ is too short, but rather that the child might be dead.
If “economic growth” has any purpose whatsoever, it must be Getting What You Want. I expanded the concept of “growth” to mean positive economic evolution. “Evolution” means change, “economic” defines our scope of inquiry, and “positive” means good, not bad. “Good” means Getting What You Want. So positive economic evolution means that “things are getting better.” Certainly it would be better to have an economy that heals the environment rather than one that destroys it?
Even within the rather limited scope of thinking of typical economists, it is recognized that working all hours of the day on the consumer treadmill is not necessarily the ideal end-state of an economy. In the 1960s, it was thought that greater productivity would eventually lead to a 25-hour workweek. Instead of getting more stuff with the same amount of work, we might opt for the same amount of stuff with less work. This was not such a bizarre thought in the 1960s, because workweeks had been getting shorter for thirty years. In the 1920s, workers typically worked ten hours a day, six days a week. The forty-hour week came about in the 1930s, so maybe the Great Depression had a few positive aspects. The hard-working Asians have been taking more time off, with Korea going to a two-day weekend in the 1990s. Even Japan had an effective six-day week in the 1980s, and kids went to school on Saturday until the mid-1990s. (Recessions helped this process in both cases.)
There is no natural conflict between the economy and the environment. An economy is simply people working together. If people work together in a way that enhances the environment, and people are happy with this outcome, then the economy is successful. On a more practical note, I would suggest that this environment-friendly economy would not necessarily be one of less, but rather of different. There would be more non-resource value, whether the example I used of an opera singer, or really fabulous schools, or perhaps a four-day workweek, and less of resource value, such as today’s insane dependence on automobiles, roadways, Big Box development and laughably large houses. Wouldn’t that be a positive economic evolution?