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The poor are getting richer

Tim Worstall wrote, “The economic policies of the last 30, 40, years have led to the greatest reduction in absolute poverty in the history of our species.” This sounds about right, but on its own the assertion will not convince the types of people I might want to persuade towards my way of looking at the world, the people who accept the litany that inequality is increasing and that must mean that the rich are making the poor poorer. A lot of these people are not Marxist true believers, they just imbibe the world-view of the BBC by default. To them, a claim such as “poor people are richer than ever before” sounds like a strong claim that needs strong evidence.

I often point people to Human Progress. Its headline evidence is often a bit specific, though. Today’s headlines are about malaria, seafood consumption, China’s environment, primary school attendance and teenage pregnancy in Africa. These are all good wealth indicators but I could be accused of cherry-picking.

Then I found a graph showing absolute numbers of people living in extreme poverty since 1820. Extreme poverty means living on less than $1.90 per day, adjusted for price differences and inflation. The graph is made by combining a 2002 (peer-reviewed!) study and numbers from the World Bank. It does leave the question of how many people are living on other, similarly low incomes. Another chart has a green line showing “poverty” being $25 per day of income. The trend is in the right direction. There are many more charts along these lines put together by Max Roser.

Mr. Worstall also recommends Branko Milanovic’s blog, and an article by him presenting data about who is getting richer and who is not.

The real surprise is that those in the bottom third of the global income distribution have also made significant gains, with real incomes rising between more than 40% and almost 70% [between 1988 and 2008]. (The only exception is the poorest 5% of the population, whose real incomes have remained about the same.)

Those 5% must live in some truly awful places.

I have ideas for future study. I want to correlate increased economic freedom with poor people getting richer in a way convincing to people with the default BBC world-view. And I heard somewhere that fewer people than ever are less than one failed harvest away from starvation. That is a compelling image; it would be useful to be able to back it up.

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47 comments to The poor are getting richer

  • Mal Reynolds

    Let me know when you find something that seems to work. I have struggled with this same issue. People seem to generally do three things wrong:
    1. Assume an increase in inequality in the UK as also occurring globally (it is not)
    2. Lump of money fallacy: fixed pot of money. Assume that if the rich are getting richer they must be taking more money from the poor.
    3. Conflating income inequality with poverty. All incomes can be trending upwards (or remain flat), as they are, but if the wealth of the rich is growing faster than that of the poor then inequality increases, even though fewer people than ever are starving or generally struggling to survive.

    I recently had a conversation/debate about this at lunch with some work colleagues. They had a very Western view of poverty: people’s happiness depends on where they stand relative to their peers (in terms of income/wealth in this context), rather than their absolute wealth. I suggested that in the context of a man who struggles to even feed his own family in some hellhole in Africa, absolute wealth would matter far far more and it is only when people have reached a certain standard of living when their relative wealth could possibly become more important for their happiness/ wellbeing

  • NickM

    I think it is much deeper than a “BBC Worldview”. Much deeper – almost primordial.

    It is a belief in “Fair Shares” and that there is only so much to go around. Aspects of it are everywhere. It is not just wealth but we see it over immigration, the environment… Loads of stuff. Immigrants always take the fixed number of jobs from the jobs pot, wealth is always built on killing the planet or wasting finite resources totally ignoring immigration that creates jobs or wealth that begets technology which radically changes what resources are needed and how they can be obtained.

    The fixed-x fallacy runs very deep so good luck with your project Rob.

    Having said that I think Mal might be going along the right track. Try explaining it’s “unfair” not to have a dishwasher to an African with no plumbing at all.

  • RRS

    It’s always tricky to tangle with Timmy; particularly his articulations.

    Still, consider: Policies

    What are “policies?” Are they not (in this articulation) the directions from some as to how others (or all) should act or interact?

    So perhaps some consideration might be given to the effects of what people did to “adjust” to attempts at Policies – at least as much as the presumed effects of the policies themselves.

    There is now “dynamic scoring” for Tax Policy. Is it not possible those dynamics extend to all policy?

    Years (about 70) ago, David McCord Wright, a student and close disciple of Schumpeter, enunciated The Economics of Disturbance (from legislation); Policies are Disturbances.

    Submitted: What people do and how they do it to contend with disturbances is what has produced and will produce observed results.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Leftists always address Immigration and Inequality. The problem is, if you accept large numbers of people from poorer areas of the world then you’ll mathematically increase inequality. The left encourage immigration and then blame the rest of us for the inequality it causes and expect us to pay more to counter it, their lovely “refugees welcome” signs should be suffixed “… to take your money”.

  • Snorri Godhi

    I want to correlate increased economic freedom with poor people getting richer in a way convincing to people with the default BBC world-view.

    Not sure what would be convincing to BBC types, but something like that has been done.

    Incidentally, i remarked some time ago on this site that the US is the only country where i lived and studied/worked, that has not become more economically free in the last 40 years. The problem, according to the same source, is that all the gains up to 2000 have been squandered under GW Bush and especially Obama. Could that have something to do with rising inequality in the US?

  • lucklucky

    Today a poor person can get technology that 10 years before the most rich person in the world could not even get.

    That never happened before in History.

  • QET

    One important thing you will (re)discover is that these BBC world-view people, who are most likely people who esteem themselves as persons influenced only by evidence, the facts, science, will immediately and reflexively dismiss these data as “misleading,” or “out of context,” or “bad methodology” or “false equivalence”–anything to preserve their world-view and metaphysics in face of the truth.

  • john malpas

    If you want to feel poverty become an old age pensioner and watch the young whine as they live it up.

    Another car – no
    Protein – getting costly
    Good medical care – no
    holidays -no
    hope -no.
    warmth -maybe
    cost / benefit of staying alive – don’t know.

  • Paul Marks

    Good post.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Agreed. However, to compare against others is a fact of the human condition. When libertarians insist that relative poverty is less important than absolute poverty, most people would not agree.

    We could blame it on the education system, on the media etc, but I suspect the tendency towards egalitarianism is hardwired into our DNA. We may not be ants or bees with the associated hivemind, but there is something within us that predisposes people towards such views.

    How else to explain the attraction of the left and Marxist thought?

  • Valoperton

    Sure the poor in the 3rd world are doing better (but there are alot more of them), but what about native people in Western countries?
    In the 1970’s, people could have a regular job, pension, health care, afford a house and a family, how about now?

  • Mal Reynolds

    Personally I cannot imagine anything less appealing than eliminating relative inequality. Where could one possibly get a zest for life if there were not people more successful to aspire towards (and beyond)?

    Get people out of absolute poverty? Sure. And free-markets have been doing a great job of that. Get people out of relative poverty? That’s something they need to do themselves. And free-markets are a great mechanism for that.

  • Tim Worstall

    I did have some fun on a radio program with someone or other talking about poverty in the UK. They weren’t Oxfam or Trussell Trust but in that sort of orbit. They were going on about absolute poverty existing in the UK and I was insisting that it simply didn’t exist. Sure, we have inequality, some have more than others, some have less than most. But there’s absolutely no one trying to get along on $1.90 per day as total consumption possibility.

    He wasn’t really sure how to handle that because no one ever does make this point. And as a way to hit home on this I recommend it.

    The World Bank defines absolute poverty as less than that $1.90 per day. Call it £1.20. That is per person. It’s also at modern prices in rich countries – it’s actually fixed to US prices. So there’s no way to say ah, but lentils cost 2 cents a tonne in India. We’ve already taken care of that. It’s also not the food bill, it’s *everything*. Including the value of what is grown on the veg patch, everything.

    So, we do actually mean walking into Tesco with £1.20 per member of the family, per day, and buying the housing, heating, clothing, health care (oh yes, this is the value of what is consumed, so state paid for stuff is included), education, food, cooking fuel, leisure and even the savings for the pension that you will not live to get, for that day for that family.

    There’s a charity thing every year, live for 5 days on £1 a day for food. When I was at the Register they promoted it and I wrote for them about it. People were very surprised indeed to hear that this absolute poverty level is not the food budget, it’s the total life budget.

    There’s a similar American one. Live on the average food stamp budget (that is, the average amount that someone receiving food stamps gets) of $29 per week. But that’s just for food of course. And people whine and moan about how difficult that is. And yet that $29 a week on food for a person is higher than the gross income (again, the gross consumption possibility, not just cash income) of fully 50% of all humanity.

    So, if you’ve got the time and the inclination what I recommend to get this home to people. Stand them in a supermarket with $2 or £1.50 dependent upon geography. Actually give them the money, it’s a pittance. Then tell them to go buy a life for one day in that place at those prices. The whole of a life for one day for one person.

    Remind them that 700 million (more than the entire population of the European Union, twice the population of the US) still live worse than this out there. And then ask them about the difference between absolute and relative poverty.

    When they find out that absolute poverty means buying a loaf of bread and nothing else for that day attitudes do rather change.

    And if I ever get rich enough to do the Lady Bountiful stuff this is exactly what I’ll do. Organise Absolute Poverty Days at the supermarkets. Just so that people can experience the above.

  • Mal Reynolds

    Excellent point Tim. I’d forgotten about the charity event of living 5 days on £1 a day for food. I’ve actually done it myself before (rice and lentils were the way). Really snaps people out of thinking relative poverty is the most important measure.

    Hopefully you get some sort of windfall in rare metals trades to run those days…

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    RRS: can’t you have a policy to leave people alone? Is that not still a policy?

    QET: “misleading,” or “out of context,” or “bad methodology” or “false equivalence” are the sorts of arguments made against CAGW. I’m not sure what it means other than changing one’s mind is difficult.

    Tim: that does sound like a powerful tactic. It does something that quoting raw figures can never do, and is a way out of endless arguments along the lines of the ones mentioned by QET. I am left wondering just how people in absolute poverty live at all. Especially if that value includes housing costs. What is the American price for a tin shack? But even concentrating on the food argument is enough. It’s actually a bit depressing that we still have so far to go.

  • In the 1970’s, people could have a regular job, pension, health care, afford a house and a family, how about now?

    WTF? Well speaking as someone who lived in 1970s Britain, the country was circling the drain economically, politically and culturally. You will have your work cut out convincing me that most people in the Western World are not vastly better off in 2016 than most people in, say 1976.

  • Today a poor person can get technology that 10 years before the most rich person in the world could not even get.

    That never happened before in History.

    Indeed, and as I’ve said myself in a post about the stupidity of attacking supermarkets:

    For the first time in human history we as a species are able to produce and distribute enough food so that real hunger in properly-run countries is something only our grandparents knew about. We do this so effectively we can feed ourselves and our families without any more inconvenience than a quick trip to a nearby supermarket. Furthermore, we can obtain our food without worrying if it’s going to kill us if we eat it. This in itself is one of the most astonishingly, staggeringly, brilliant outcome that humankind has managed in its existence. We have solved the millenia-old problem of constant hunger. So what do we do? We moan like fuck and attempt to sanction those who have brought it about. Like the attempts to dismantle our reliable energy supply and replace it with one that doesn’t work, historians are going to look back on this era and think we went collectively insane.

  • Mal Reynolds

    @Tim Newman: indeed. We have been so enormously successful that many are able to now worry more about people eating too much rather than too little. We have lifted entire populations out of at least the first two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

  • Also, I saw one stat on some poverty campaigner’s site that 1 in 7 Americans are going hungry. Having just come back from the USA and looked around, I assume it’s because an awful lot of people are stealing their meals and eating for two or three.

  • Runcie Balspune, September 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm, makes a good point about the left loving immigration in part because it generates other useful statistics. If you want the headline “Hispanics in US getting poorer (must be caused by prejudice)”, then just track some average of income of all Hispanics in the US during a time of high immigration. If instead you want the headline “Hispanics in US prospering” track a cohort of Hispanics from their their date of immigration.

    This point is easy to ignore. “Well of course they’re poorer on average now a huge number have just arrived from very poor countries. Those who’ve been here a while show a much better average. Why do you think the recent arrivals won’t?” might seem kind of obvious, but many who boast of their compassion never care enough to think.

    Not thinking of this is helped by the fixed-pot-of-wealth fallacy. Reflecting on how wealthy we all were in the stone age versus now might seem to make that fallacy hard to hold, but the trick is to hold it without thinking about it. After the crash, some people talked as if taxing Bankers’ bonuses would raise the money needed to fix everything. Put it to them like that and they would instantly recognise the absurdity but they themselves had not.

  • QET

    QET: “misleading,” or “out of context,” or “bad methodology” or “false equivalence” are the sorts of arguments made against CAGW. I’m not sure what it means other than changing one’s mind is difficult.

    Not sure I understand. CAGW is a theory. The reduction in poverty isn’t. Questioning the science behind the theory–science that involves not only mere data but models, assumptions and inference–is hardly a case of simply not “changing one’s mind.” Deciding to ignore the fairly simple measurement data on the issue of absolute poverty, on the other hand, is nothing to do with the difficulty of changing one’s mind, as that presupposes a good faith willingness to change one’s mind, which, it is my contention, the people of the “BBC world-view,” no less than the “true Marxist believers,” do not have.

  • bob sykes

    Most of the reduction in poverty occurred in China and is a result of China’s conversation to capitalism.

  • NickM

    bob sykes,
    Give Bullseye a treat from me!

    More generally (as was stated above by Niall) one of the flaws of authoritarians (of every colour of the polical spectrum) is the idea that issues can be legislated away. “We made this illegal” so job done! Er… No… So making guns illegal (or near as dammit – I live in the UK) means nobody is ever shot? Nobody had a drink in prohibition America, nobody takes cocaine.

    It is approximately 30 years since FGM was made specifically illegal in the UK. One prosecution, failed. Does anyone think it doesn’t happen?

    Can anyone please remind the ideologues that the word “Utopia” literally means “Noplace”.

  • RRS

    Rob Fisher:

    RRS: can’t you have a policy to leave people alone? Is that not still a policy?

    That’s an interesting wording.

    If it is policy as defined:

    the directions from some as to how others (or all) should act or interact

    That can, of course be the “directions;” but, it may be within the control of the “some.”

    If leaving people alone
    is a social norm, developed from the experience of human interactions, then, it is not policy; it is a norm of social behavior and relationships.

  • can’t you have a policy to leave people alone? Is that not still a policy?

    Probably the closest to that is a famous legal phrase stating “Congress shall make no law…”

  • john

    Too bad it didn’t just stop right there… full stop. 😉

  • Thailover

    The result of economic inequality in a capitalist economy, or even semi-capitalist “mixed economy”, or worse a “Planned economy” as long as that planned economy isn’t completely totalitarian, is that the poor do become richer, because the rich are getting rich by creating and providing goods and services to those who need and want them, all for a mutually agreeable price.

    Each gain from the exchange or there would be no voluntary exchange. Win-win means that even the poor are winning too, directly and indirectly.

    One way for a company, Samsung for example, to remain profitable, is to retain market share via constant innovation. That leaves yesterday’s technology to be sold for a lower price. Refrigerators, electric stoves,/ovens, microwave ovens, cell phones, even ball point pens were first marketed towards the well-to-do. Now virtually every poor household in America has these items.

    The average poor family in America lives a better quality of life than 2/3 of everyone else on earth. They have more amenities than Italy’s middle class. The western leftists look at the low percentage of Europeans who own and drive their own cars (compared to the west) as some sort of ‘green’ virtue, when in fact many Europeans simply cannot afford any sort of privately owned automobile.

    (I’ve met a few cam-girls whose dream is to “one day own a car”).

    Teaching the lesson that the creation and use of wealth IS NOT zero sum is one that is nearly impossible to teach to the general public. (Ayn Rand tried her entire life).

    It seems ingrained into us to think in zero-sum, tribal, “flat-land” terms. Terms where inequality means that the wealthy are getting rich by taking wealth from the poor. Terms in which it’s sanctioned to “hate the wealthy”. (Go online and see what “common people” say about the rich and beautiful, like Ivanka Trump. Most seem to hate her BECAUSE she’s beautiful, rich, intelligent, polished, accomplished and a happy mother).

    Ironically perhaps, a nation in which economic inequality is allowed is a nation where everyone thrives via the process touched on above.

  • Thailover

    The Wobbly Guy wrote,

    “We could blame it on the education system, on the media etc, but I suspect the tendency towards egalitarianism is hardwired into our DNA. We may not be ants or bees with the associated hivemind, but there is something within us that predisposes people towards such views. How else to explain the attraction of the left and Marxist thought?”

    I think so too. This is one area I disagree with Ayn Rand, who insisted that humans are born tabula rasa (clean slate). I think one aspect of being a social species is the tendency towards tribalism and tribalist thinking. Which of course includes notions of “equality” of all sorts, involves an equal distribution of what was hunted and gathered (which is zero sum), but not suitable in a post neolithic world where wealth is created (positive-sum). No matter how much or how often we address false notions like “economic equality is good” or “the duty of the successful is to ‘give back”; that seed never seems to find purchase in which to germinate. But at least some extreme (and extremely stupid) social marxist views are falling by the wayside, like the notion that everyone under the skin and genitals are “the same” i.e. identical. Today, when those outside universities and outside of SJW snowflake circles, hear talk of gender being 100% a social construct, it elicits laughter, and rightfully so.

  • Thailover

    Rob Fisher,
    Take note that it’s the ‘job’ of nannies in a nanny state to remain relevant and remain “in need”. Even if it’s made well known that the poor are getting wealthier, they’ll simply trumpet out that the “wealth gap is increasing”, which means nothing in itself of course.

    After all if someone who makes 200k/yr gains a cost of living raise of 5K, and someone who previously earned 20k/yr changes jobs and now is earning 24k/yr, the Nannies will portray the “increased gap” as something bad rather than something wonderful.

    Why? Because the poor fella gained 4k rather than 5k. ‘Never mind that this 4k/yr represents a 20% increase in annual income.

    People have diseases due to malnutrition = need for the nanny state to dictate to us what to eat.
    People have diseases due to obesity, because the nation is very economically successful = need for the nanny state to dictate to us what to eat.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    they’ll simply trumpet out that the “wealth gap is increasing”, which means nothing in itself of course.

    Why do you say that the wealth gap means nothing in and of itself? Personally I think it’s a pretty big issue and not a matter that one should dismiss so cavalierly.

  • Thailover

    Runcie Balspune wrote,

    “Leftists always address Immigration and Inequality. The problem is, if you accept large numbers of people from poorer areas of the world then you’ll mathematically increase inequality.”

    Thailover’s Law: 😉
    Leftists views are contradictory, often self-contradictory, and also often contradict reality.

  • Thailover

    “Why do you say that the wealth gap means nothing in and of itself?”

    Because ‘the rest of post’, obviously.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Because ‘the rest of post’, obviously.

    So the wealth gap means nothing because of a hypothetical you made up? Got it.

    Meanwhile, in reality, the evidence suggests that humans derive happiness from having more wealth than others. In fact, some studies suggest that having more relative wealth does more for human happiness than greater absolute wealth.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/3315638/Relative-wealth-makes-you-happier.html
    “A brain scan study has shown that no matter how wealthy you are, money is most rewarding if you have relatively poor friends, peers and colleagues.”

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11205-007-9217-0
    “quantitatively, changes in relative income have much larger effects on happiness than do changes in absolute income”

    Then again, human happiness probably plays no role in Thailover’s cute theory.

    Anyway, Bernie Sanders got over 7 million individual contributions for his presidential campaign – more contributions than Obama got in his entire 2008 campaign. I’m sure Thailover who believes that “the wealth gap means nothing” can explain why.

  • Thailover

    The wealth gap means nothing in and of itself because Steve Jobs making a billion dollars from selling Pixar to Disney neither picked my pocket nor breaks my legs. Not only did he not make the company worth more than a billion dollars at my, or our expense, rather his making it worth more than a billion dollars was to my profit.

    There is a reason movie viewers exchanged ticket price for ticket and left the theaters happy, and that reason is that they gained from Job’s success rather than suffered from it.

    If you think irrational jealously trumps objective facts, then I can’t help you. I seriously doubt that the irrationally unhappy understand what happiness is anyway.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    The wealth gap means nothing in and of itself because Steve Jobs making a billion dollars from selling Pixar to Disney neither picked my pocket nor breaks my legs.

    1. Just because your legs were not broken does not mean that the wealth gap does not matter.
    2. Just because Steve Jobs’ acquisition of wealth does not directly appear to impact you does not mean that it does not impact others (do others count in your cute theory?). Money is finite (at least at any given moment). Therefore, money that goes to one person cannot go to another person. Disney paying $200 for Pixar instead of $250 means that $50 more can be allocated to compensation of employees, dividends to shareholders, research and development, etc.
    3. I can’t cure you of religious belief in the free market, but I can tell you that plenty of people are paid far more than their work merits in our “capitalist” economy. One example is that CEOs of publicly traded companies are compensated at such absurdly high rates often to attract top talent to fill managerial roles at the company in the future – not because the CEO is actually delivering $10 million worth of value each year by wearing a suit every day.
    4. A significant portion of the wealth gap is due to inheritance. Old money that is passed on from generation to generation, so if you are justifying massive wealth gap on the few innovators like Jobs who changed the world, well, you are going to have a tough sell because for every Steve Jobs there are hundreds of trust fund babies. Believe me, I know some of ’em.

    I seriously doubt that the irrationally unhappy understand what happiness is anyway.

    I seriously doubt that you have any idea how stupid it is to say something like that. First of all happiness is fundamentally ephemeral, relative, even subjective. Second of all nobody can be rationally unhappy or rationally happy because happiness is not math or truism; it is intimate, personal, and subjective.

    If you think irrational jealously trumps objective facts, then I can’t help you.

    You are talking about how Steve Jobs didn’t break your leg. I cited scientific studies about human happiness which featured things like facts and evidence. And yes, for most people irrational jealousy is what drives them to form opinions, which is why Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Presidential campaign raised more individual contributors than all libertarian candidates in their campaigns for high office have in the past few decades put together.

  • I am somewhat shocked that Shlomo subscribes to the preposterous fixed quantity of wealth fallacy.

  • Slartibartfarst

    I think one could describe “Wealth” as a hypothetical concept, and one definition of wealth would be:
    ___________________
    wealth
    · n.
    1 an abundance of valuable possessions or money. Ø the state of being rich.
    2 an abundance or profusion of something desirable: a wealth of information.
    3 archaic well-being.
    – ORIGIN ME welthe, from well1 or weal2, on the pattern of health.
    ___________________
    – Concise Oxford Dictionary (10th Ed.)

    As such, it might be hard to establish the veracity of whether it is finite, or not, so, if someone wishes to believe that wealth is infinite, then that’s fine, and similarly if someone wishes to believe that wealth is finite.

    I wouldn’t recommend that one wastes the energy on being shocked or outraged at anything that people might believe, because people will generally tend to believe in whatever their minds prefer to believe and objective truth is likely to be a second-place runner at best. This seems to be part of the human condition.

    What would seem to be required is a rational proof of a definition that shows wealth as being either finite or infinite (but not both). In the absence of such, the issue would seem to be debatable.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    @Shlomo,

    Hmmm… the implications of those studies you cited are quite significant. So if a lot of people are richer than you, you are less happy. But if something happens to reduce their wealth (and transfer some of it to you), you will become relatively happier because the gap decreases.

    It boils down to crab mentality.

    I would also add that this view is completely congruent with the basis behind free markets. People will find themselves benefiting from voluntary trades, but some will, obviously, always get more than others, and benefit more. It’s the human condition to want to pull them down. The minority could reason their way past it, but a lot of people cannot.

    That said, here’s another piece of research that may be interesting.
    Revenge of the Freeloaders

    As much as we all have the crab mentality, culture and ethnicity does affect how much of it we have. As rational beings, we are also capable of reasoning our way through the crab mentality (or at least be persuaded to do so).

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I am somewhat shocked that Shlomo subscribes to the preposterous fixed quantity of wealth fallacy.

    I don’t.

    I think that free market capitalism generates wealth and that generally wealth is over the long run produced for everyone more efficiently/quickly insofar as the markets are free of government interference.

    I think when innovators invent new technologies or implement new services and become massively wealthy off of doing so that this enriches everyone and is a good thing.

    I think that cutting edge products are made cheaper over time via free market capitalism; brand new and highly expensive health care treatments can be afforded only by the super rich, for example, but overtime the price is lowered as service providers find ways to make it cheaper and then the merely rich can afford it and then eventually everyone can. Cars, computers, etc are the same way.

    None of this is incompatible with what I said before.

    I am not surprised that you don’t want to confront what I said earlier – because you, like Laird, don’t have a good response to it, so instead you resort to strawman argument.

    Better luck next time.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    because you, like Laird, don’t have a good response to it, so instead you resort to strawman argument.

    No! Should read Thailover, not Laird. Thailover not Laird…

    Oy vey.

  • Sonny Wayze

    “QET:
    Not sure I understand. CAGW is a theory.”

    I don’t think CAGW has passed the hypothesis stage yet. It needs a bunch of accurate predictions before it becomes theory. Sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine…

  • QET

    Sonny Wayze: an excellent point.

  • Rob Fisher

    Shlomo: “Disney paying $200 for Pixar instead of $250 means that $50 more can be allocated to compensation of employees, dividends to shareholders, research and development, etc”

    Yes, and the previous owners of Pixar would have $50 less to spend on those things. I’m confused.

  • Slartibartfarst

    I don’t think CAGW has passed the hypothesis stage yet. It needs a bunch of accurate predictions before it becomes theory. Sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine…

    Probably by now it would be obvious to many/most that CAGW does NOT fit the definition of even a theory, else why all the anger, outright propaganda and compulsion, and especially urgent stochastic corruption of the raw data (observations) when the latter awkwardly refuse to support the hypothesis? Oops.

    But of course one mustn’t say any of that, because it would seem that CAGW is much more than a mere hypothesis, having long passed the hypothesis stage until it has by now become a full-blown religio-political dogma where agreement to the dogma is a compulsory thought, because “97% of scientists agree” (or some such logical fallacy – appeal to the consensus), and “Are you a believer or a denier?” is become a terrifying dichotomy to enforce the compulsion – where recent history shows that “deniers” are variously to be threatened with excommunication from society, with having psychological reconditioning, with having their homes burned down, or being sent to gulags or being given the death penalty.
    The last few years have seen all of these (and more) foul punishments being threatened in all seriousness by various, seemingly intelligent, CAGW priests and acolytes and other proponents of the New Religion/New Order. Even the Royal Society mouthpiece has come out in similar vein and dissenting mouths there have been shut by some scientists being made an example of by having their professional lives wrecked because they were not “right-thinking”. Oh dear what a pity, never mind, but look what seems to happen to you if you don’t believe.

    One must believe in this New Truth, it seems, because global warming, climate change, carbon credits, energy taxation, artificial profits, research funding, IPCC, overpopulation, think-of-the-children, or something – never mind the lack of evidence and don’t pay any attention to that man behind the green curtain. Think Solyndra is Good. Yes, “Climate Change is Real” alright, and at the end of the day you’d better believe it asshole, or else.

    It seems to be merely a form of Green Fascism enacted by a population of people thinly disguised as concerned environmentalists, but who in reality seem to be more probably simply wolves (and apparently some unthinking idiots) in sheep’s clothing.

    In this New Religion, a fearsome and wrathful God is replaced by Nature exacting a fearful revenge for the multifold sins of people emitting carbon dioxide, consuming energy and demonstrating non-compliance with the dogma. The air we breathe and Life itself will be under taxation. Tithes will be in the form of forceful/compulsory exaction – the church (complicit Governments) must be paid, or there-will-be-trouble.
    The New Climate Church is effectively comprised of a complicit set of Governments, all being steered in witting or unwitting unison towards increasingly undemocratic processes and a Federal State where the Vatican is replaced by the UNIPCC – an organisation much like the European Commission, consisting of a parliament of unelected “representatives” and operating to the IPCCs original 1960’s Charter to “resolve the issue of Global Warming” (which was also nothing more than a hypothesis at the time).

    None of this is accidental. Mostly it seems to be about the re-distribution of wealth/money and power. Follow the money. This pot has been boiling for years, but the people stirring the pot probably knew then and know very well now what they were/are doing. The IPCC Charter is real and is a set of instructions being closely followed by an undemocratic and anti-democratic body. It probably beats having a proper job, at any rate. Keep investing in heavily subsidised windfarms and join the local Green Party. Protective colouration may be necessary.

  • Sonny Wayze

    Slartibartfarst:

    “religio-political dogma”

    Consider that stolen!

  • Slartibartfarst

    @Sonny Wayze:

    “religio-political dogma”
    Consider that stolen!

    Heh, you’re welcome.
    I have found it potentially a very useful term, the constructive application of which can sometimes help to shift paradigms so as to aid understanding of many things that might otherwise have seemed alien, impenetrable or incomprehensible because one’s own paradigms might have got in the way of a clearer view.