Well, yes….

A rise in global temperatures of less than 2C (3.6F) could begin a meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic sea ice, causing sea levels to rise by several metres and threatening tens of millions of people, according to a study by WWF, the conservation group. “Responsible politicians cannot dare to waste another second on delaying tactics in the face of these urgent warnings from nature,” said Kim Carstensen, a WWF spokesman. (AFP)

Now for the important question.

When?

The IPCC tells us that Greenland is scheduled to melt somewhere between 2,500 and 2,700 AD. Not really something we should be worrying about now.

After all, if we keep up this liberal capitalism thing then people in 2,500 will be 19,000 (yes, nineteen thousand times) times richer than we are. Surely they can deal with it?

6 comments on “Well, yes….

  1. “After all, if we keep up this liberal capitalism thing then people in 2,500 will be 19,000 (yes, nineteen thousand times) times richer than we are. Surely they can deal with it?”

    Compounded growth rates will not save the world. All sums like this do is make it blindingly obvious that we can’t go on growing endlessly at rates enjoyed for the past two centuries. It just shows the inherent contradiction on which liberal capitalism is based: growth without end, Amen.

  2. “It just shows the inherent contradiction on which liberal capitalism is based: growth without end, Amen.”

    Contradiction? Is the universe finite? Did I miss something in Astrophysics?

    Whiners up to the Club of Rome and beyond have been predicting Malthusian collapse for ever and have been wrong every time.

    Perhaps a small wager on commodity prices in 10 years? Any suckers, I mean betters?

  3. Liberal capitalism isn’t based on growth without end, it’s based on people (that is the market) deciding themselves what they want to buy/sell and from/to who they want to buy/sell it. That’s it, it’s as simple as that. The growth that liberal capitalism has unleashed might not be able to go on forever but as long as it makes people’s lives better and there’s no other, more efficient way to do this, then that must be a good thing, no?

  4. In theory, that’s right. Capitalism does not require growth. But servicing debt does, and debt is so bound up with the fabric of capitalism that it’s hard to separate the two. Look at the panic ensuing from a mild dose of the world repaying debt: everyone is now imploring us to start borrowing again.

  5. “Look at the panic ensuing from a mild dose of the world repaying debt: everyone is now imploring us to start borrowing again.”

    Kind of simplistic view, isn’t it? Let’s not forget that sub-prime lending was largely fuelled by government interventions through FreddieMac and FannieMae.

    “But servicing debt does, and debt is so bound up with the fabric of capitalism that it’s hard to separate the two.”

    Well, there are lots and lots of non-capitalism countries out there with huge debts aren’t there (think Cuba, Venezuela). Debt doesn’t seem to be exclusive to capitalism, now does it? Alas, you may be right that there is a problem with excessive debt, you may also be right that it may be difficult to continue borrowing as much in the future as in the recent past. But that does certainly not mean that liberal capitalism is not sustainable

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