Saturday, May 15, 2010

Australia's "Most Influential Public Intellectual" is shown to be a shallow "onanist"

Andrew McIntyre has little trouble in declaring the winner in a debate on economics between Henry Ergas and Robert Manne, voted by his peers the Most Influential Public Intellectual. Damaging quotations are produced.

I won’t give away the answer here, but I think you may well guess it from this elegant response to the accusation that “neo liberal” think tanks in the pay of Big Oil are arguing against the “99 per cent of qualified climate scientists” who believe in apocalyptic man-made warming. (You’ll guess it not just from the quality of this response, but from the invented statistic and absurdly undergraduate conspiracy theorising behind the accusation which prompted it.)
Economic liberals are not good at group think. It is consequently unsurprising that (to the best of my knowledge) there is no such thing as a party line on climate science.

I expect, however, that economic liberals would share two convictions. The first is that scepticism is a virtue, not a vice. The second is that we live in a world where desirable ends invariably outstrip available means. It is therefore quite proper to question whether the case for action has been made out; and even if one believes it has, to demand that the specific actions that are proposed yield benefits that exceed their costs: for example, that we would do better to allocate resources to reducing emissions than to improving the life chances of many millions of people worldwide who suffer desperate poverty.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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