Thursday, April 30, 2009
Global Warming and Rational Irrationality
I have been thinking about some of the things that we have been talking about in class, such as rational irrationality, rational ignorance, and global warming. One thing that struck me today was how these subjects are related and how because of our irrationality and ignorance, we all end up kind of confused and it results in bad policy. The main aspect of it all that hit me the most was not how we end up with bad economic outcomes, or whether of not the science is valid, but how some people get so focused on some potential costs, that they ignore the rest. For instance, even if it could be assumed that all of the worst global warming hypothesi were correct, and the desired outcome was to help the people who would be affected, then this does not necessarially equate to a policy directed at stopping the warming. I dont doubt that if the temperatures raise like some project they will that it could potentially result in harmful outcomes, but mostly for the developing world. Say, for instance, that we (U.S. alone, or world cooperation) enacted policies that cut back on our carbon emission, and suppose that it did prevent some of the harmful effects of global warming. But in contrast to that policy, it seems that we could use that same amount of money and resources to go towards much more effective and wide spread aid to those who would be effected. I suppose that this is similar to compensating them for the global warming, and the resources could be used to aid them to prevent and even benefit them beyond abatement of carbon emissions.
I guess that sometimes people get so caught up in pursuing one goal, either because of rational ignorance or irrationality, and this causes them to not even consider another possibile choice that they might not even be against.