TCS Daily


Adaptation and the Economy

By Arnold Kling - June 19, 2007 12:00 AM

"It is adaptive rather than allocative efficiency which is the key to long run growth. Successful political/economic systems have evolved flexible institutional structures that can survive the shocks and changes that are a part of successful evolution. But these systems have been a product of long gestation. We do not know how to create adaptive efficiency in the short run."
-- Douglass C. North, Economic Performance Through Time, the 1993 Economics Nobel Prize lecture

In textbooks, economics is often defined as the study of the allocation of scarce resources among competing ends. Douglass North says that adaptation is more important than allocation.

Textbook economics looks at how policies affect the allocation of resources. For example, taking a country that was closed to other nations and opening it up to trade can improve the allocation of resources by allowing the country's work force to specialize in those industries where it is comparatively productive, relying on imports for those goods and services where other countries are relatively more productive. A policy is something that seemingly can be changed simply and apart from other considerations.

In contrast, Douglass North's economics looks at the formal rules and informal norms that affect economic behavior. As I pointed out in the previous essay, North refers to these rules and norms as institutions. (This use of the term "institutions" differs somewhat from ordinary language, where we tend to use institutions to refer to tangible enterprises, such as universities or hospitals.) Institutions change slowly. They are conditioned on the past and on other institutions. Therefore, when better outcomes depend on institutional improvement, the challenge is much more difficult than is assumed in standard economics.

The Lessons of History

Douglass North's primary field is economic history, and his primary interest is in economic change. In fact, the word "change" appears in the title of many of his works. For North's purposes, the study of allocation mechanisms is inadequate.

[textbook] economics applied to economic development or economic history may account well for the performance of an economy at a moment of time or...contrasts in the performance of an economy over time; but it does not and cannot explain the dynamics of change. The major source of changes in an economy over time is structural change in the parameters held constant by the economist -- technology, population, property rights, and government control over resources.

-- Structure and Change in Economic History, p. 57

According to North, the two most significant changes in economic history were the adoption of settled agriculture around 10,000 BC and the marriage of science and business starting in the 19th century.

The First Economic Revolution created agriculture and "civilization"; the Second created an elastic supply curve of new knowledge which built economic growth into the system. Both entailed substantial institutional reorganization.

-- Structure and Change in Economic History, p. 171

Both revolutions overthrew the law of diminishing returns. Hunter-gatherers encountered diminishing returns, because there was nothing to stop over-hunting over over-foraging a heavily populated area. Agriculture could feed much larger populations. Labor and capital (such as farm implements) also were subject to diminishing returns, but scientific advances broke those constraints.

Both revolutions solved problems of dealing with the physical environment but created new problems for dealing with the social environment. For agriculture to work well, property rights must be defined. To reach the stage that we call modern economic development, rules need to cover trading rather than basic sharing. North, in Understanding the Process of Economic Change (p. 100) quotes a paper by Anita Abraham and Jean-Phillipe Platteau.

In short, what is required is a shift from a status-based and coercive society that relies on mutual control, respect of ranks, and strictly enforced codes of generosity, to an open society where free entry and exit, democratic governance (including acceptance of dissent), competence criteria, and socioeconomic differentiation are used as guiding principles or expressly allowed to operate.

The second revolution required institutions for dealing with knowledge, which has become highly specialized over the last two hundred years. While market prices are necessary to enable an economy to process this information (a point stressed by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek), they are not sufficient, according to Douglass North.

The integration of this specialized knowledge with low costs of transacting requires more than an effective price system. Institutions and organizations were necessary to supplement the price system where externalities, information asymmetries, and free rider problems had to be overcome. The increasingly dispersed knowledge of modern societies requires a complex structure of institutions and organizations to integrate and apply knowledge...The growth of knowledge is dependent on complementary institutions which will facilitate and encourage such growth and there is nothing automatic about such development.

--Understanding the Process of Economic Change, p. 99

To most economists, the agricultural revolution and the late Industrial Revolution are technological events. That is, the technology "arrived" and spread, leading to social change.

Douglass North instead suggests that these revolutions were institutional in nature. The technological capacity existed and went unused prior to the major economic revolutions. What was missing was the impetus to develop the rules and norms of behavior needed to incorporate the technology.

North speculates that an increase in population put pressure on hunter-gatherer societies to adopt agriculture. As areas became over-hunted and over-foraged, the advantage of planting crops and raising livestock presented itself.

The rise of industrial society on the 17th and 18th centuries was stimulated by pressure on rulers to devise ways to raise revenue to fund armies. Rulers ceded property rights, including patents, in order to create reliable sources of funds. Prior to this revolution, it is almost as if scientific knowledge sat around on a shelf, unused. North writes,

Historically, there has always been a gap between pure scientific knowledge and the techniques that man has utilized; indeed, until very modern times the systematic development of new knowledge was not necessary for man to make enormous progress. It is only in the last one hundred years that advances in basic knowledge are necessary to continued technological change...

throughout man's past he has continually developed new techniques, but the pace has been slow and intermittent. The primary reason has been that the incentives for developing new techniques have occurred only sporadically...The failure to develop systematic property rights in innovation up until fairly modern times was a major source of the slow pace of technological change.

It is only with the Statute of Monopolies in 1624 that Britain developed a patent law...a systematic set of incentives to encourage technological change...was established only with the patent system...More important than patent law per se is the development and enforcement of a body of impersonal law protecting and enforcing contracts in which property rights are specified.

--Structure and Change in Economic History, p. 164-165

The Determinants of Adaptive Efficiency

Douglass North calls attention to the relationship between the private rate of return on innovation and the social rate of return. The social rate of return from innovation is always high, but the private rate of return can easily be low. Innovation takes place when the private rate of return is sufficiently high. Institutional arrangements determine the private rate of return from innovation, and hence they determine a society's adaptive efficiency.

Two important institutional factors are property rights and capital markets. We have just seen how North views the development of the patent mechanism for protecting intellectual property as a cornerstone for modern economic development. On capital markets, he writes,

economic change will require continual alteration in the institutional structure in order to maintain efficiency. This is particularly critical for capital markets...The history of Japan in the 1990's is a classic instance of a capital market that initially fueled extraordinary development--that of post-World War II--only to develop the sclerosis that followed.

--Understanding the Process of Economic Change, p. 123-124

Barry Eichengreen's book on post-war Europe tells a similar story of institutions suited to recovery from the war but not for innovation in the Internet age. Unlike the United States, where diverse forms of financing are available, particularly for new companies, other industrialized nations tend to rely on a handful of large banks. Such highly concentrated capital markets are not adaptively efficient.

The Frustrating Pace of Progress

Economists have been surprised and disappointed by economic performance in the former Communist countries and in the underdeveloped world. Douglass North's explanation for the slow pace of progress is that economic performance depends on institutions, which cannot be improved rapidly.

It is the combination of the constitutional rules with the associated moral and ethical codes of behavior that underlies the stability of institutions and makes them slow to change. The combination produces ingrown patterns of behavior which...tend to be changed only incrementally.

--Structure and Change in Economic History, p. 205

One reason that institutions evolve slowly is that organizations have developed with a vested interest in existing practices. Another reason is that institutions reflect the beliefs shared by a culture. North places a heavy emphasis on the role of beliefs in shaping institutions, which in turn determine economic outcomes. Accordingly, the topic of shared beliefs will be the focus of the last essay in this series.

Arnold Kling is author of Learning Economics.

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77 Comments

Cultural Norms is a better term than Institutions
in explaining economic behavior, as in explaining other behavior.

As an Italian proverb I read recently on FORBES.COM says, "It is not enough to aim. You must also shoot".

There are lot of cultures that aim, but wait too long to shoot.

May be they are afraid of living with and/or managing the resulting change.

How can such behavior be changed is the challenge.

Workplace flexibility
Congress Votes to Outsource Presidency

May 24th, 2007: Washington, DC (AP) -- Congress today announced that the
office of President of the United States of America will be outsourced
to India as of July 1, 2007. The move is being made in order to save
the President's $500,000 yearly salary, and also a record $521 Billion
in deficit expenditures and related overhead that the office has
incurred during the last 5 years. "We believe this is a wise financial
move. The cost savings are huge. " stated Congressman Thomas Reynolds
(R-WA). "We cannot remain competitive on the world stage with the
current level of cash outlay." Reynolds noted.

Mr. Bush was informed by e-mail this morning of his termination.
Preparations for the job move have been underway for some time.

Gurvinder Sing h of Indus Teleservices, Mumbai, India will assume the
office of President as of July 1, 2007. Mr. Singh was born in the United
States while his Indian parents were vacationing at Niagara Falls, NY,
thus making him eligible for the position. He will receive a salary of
$320 (USD) a month but no health coverage or other benefits.

It is believed that Mr. Singh will be able to handle his job
responsibilities without a support staff. Due to the time difference
between the US and India, he will be working primarily at night, when
few offices of the US Government will be open. "Working nights will
allow me to keep my day job at the Dell Computer call center," stated
Mr. Singh in an exclusive interview. "I am excited about this position.
I always hoped I would be President." A Congressional spokesperson noted
that while Mr. Singh may not be fully aware of all the issues involved
in the office of President, this should not be a problem as President
Bush had never been familiar with the issues either.

Mr. Singh will rely upon a script tree that will enable him to respond
effectively to most topics of concern. Using these canned responses, he
can address common concerns without having to understand the underlying
issue at all. "We know these scripting tools work," stated the
spokesperson. "President Bush has used them successfully for years,
with the result that some people actually thought he knew what he was
talking about."

Bush will receive health coverage, expenses, and salary until his final
day of employment. Following a two week waiting period, he will be
eligible for $140 a week unemployment for 13 weeks. Unfortunately he
will not be eligible for Medicaid, as his unemployment benefits will
exceed the allowed limit. Mr. Bush has been provided with the
outplacement services of Manpower, Inc. to help him write a resume and
prepare for his upcoming job transition. According to Manpower, Mr. Bush
may have difficulties in securing a new position due to a lack of any
successful work experience during his lifetime. A Greeter position at
Wal-Mart was suggested due to Bush's extensive experience at shaking
hands, as well as his special smile.

(many sources-- all over the web)

Survival of the fittest
"Improvise, adapt, overcome."

"Necessity is the mother of invention."

As long as whoever is in charge is able to stifle improvisation, that society won't change unless forced to.

It's the same with corportations. If they won't listen to their customers or their workers, they won't adapt to chagning markets or better ways of doing things.

The US Senate and the president are learning this lesson with the immigration bill. Blogs and talk radio are rallying the masses in opposition. Politicians who won't adapt won't survive politically either.

The Chinese invented many useful items but failed to exploit them. I guess they were 'satisfied' to remain under the control of the empire.

Climate changes
Changing climates are great motivators to inspire innovation and change as long as there is no central authority pushing only one plan.

Free markets can best decide how to adapt to changing climates and conditions, not some UN panel.

Especially when
the UN panel has been covering up some truly huge data manipulation and deletion. Climate Audit has been documenting some of it over the past few weeks.

Concrete laws and metaphores
Being a lawyer, I often look at the world through the lens of the law. Doing so has taught me that laws must rest on normative foundations laid first. If laws don't, they become burdensome to those they bind, which leads to their eventual undermining. I offer Roe v. Wade as an example. Besides taxation, can anyone name a hotter crucible for politics?

If the normative foundation is concrete, e.g. "do not kill", then three simple metaphors explaining how the laws work also arise: Cost-shifting, standards & measures, and rights v. obligations. These simple metaphors then become the stuff of memes, finding their way into the very backbone of natural human thought. I offer "that's your problem", "that ain't the same thing" and "I got my rights" as examples.

But if the normative foundation is a metaphor, e.g. "might makes right" or "The Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules", then the normative foundation supports no laws other than those of the jungle. In this state, the folks will undermine laws at every unenforceable margin, and the black market will reign supreme because it is far more adaptable and spontaneous than any other kind.

Herein lies the flaw in North's theory: The volatility inhering to black markets makes them several times more adaptable than white markets given white markets' access to power on cost-effective terms.

Not useful data
Your "truly huge data manipulation and deletion" amounts to Briffa et al dismissing their own data post-1960 because it disagrees with observed temps, i.e. it shows temps getting colder according to the tree rings when the thermometer shows it getting warmer.

A more sensible course would just be to dismiss his entire data set, as the team can offer no good explanation for the discrepancy. To me, the data are useless until the mismatch can be explained.

Besides, please be so good as to point to where the UN panel has been "covering up". I don't note that anyone has been hiding the issue. Here it is right here:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/briffa.html

I guess the point is this. Does this topple everything? Are we not getting warmer?

as usual roy, you are way, way behind the curve
There's more to the data manipulation than just Biffra.

The latest news is regarding the 1990 Jones' study that claimed to find a UHI increase of only 0.05C/Century.

Jones claimed that they used only quality sites with few, if any moves.

An independant audit has found that for many of the sites, no metadata is available at all, and for many of the others, large moves, up to 45Km.

So Jones' claim to use only quality sites is clearly and utterly disproven.

There are other threads showing just how bad the surface temperature measuring system is.

Roy, this is just wrong
The data editing casts doubt on the entire use of tree rings as proxy for temperature. If tree rings don't work post 1960, then they don't work for earlier times. What Briffa should have done is release the full series and then explain the data gap. But he didn't. He covered it up. So, this makes him different from John Ehrlichman how?

Second, if we're getting warmer, based on what evidence? Jones claims of limited heat island effects have already been thoroughly debunked. His 1990 paper fails its claims of quality control because a disproportionate amount of the data comes from Cultural Revolution Communist China (???????) for which the records are now unavailable. Now we know why Jones refused to disclose his data all these years. He made a claim that he knew was wrong.

"To me, the data are useless until the mismatch can be explained."

By this logic then, all climate projections using tree rings must be rejected. Good, because we've already pointed out that Mann is a fraud. So too is his good buddy and fellow reviewer Keith Briffa.

Second point on this, observation always trumps theory. It's called a posteriori reasoning, also known as science. Your statement constitutes belief trumping observation, hence a religious statement.

Slightly off topic
but I presume you've seen this.

http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/religion.htm

Truth doesn't matter, facts don't matter. Only the theocratic doctrine matters.

tree rings are only part of the data
Here's the conclusion from the NRC report analyzing Mann's temperaturre reconstructions and his bottom line:

Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium. The substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice Age cooling and 20th century warming. Even less confidence can be placed in the original conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, in at least a millennium” because the uncertainties inherent in temperature reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short timescales.

{emphasis added)
SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTIONS FOR PERIODS PRIOR TO THE INDUSTRIAL ERA ARE ONLY ONE OF MULTIPLE LINES OF EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE CONCLUSION THAT CLIMATIC WARMING IS OCCURRING IN RESPONSE TO HUMAN ACTIVITIES, AND THEY ARE NOT THE PRIMARY EVIDENCE.

But they were touted
as primary evidence in TAR. Given Kevin Trenberth's recent statement regarding the utility of climate modeling, the question remains as to what is left to hold up the theory of AGW. Given that the last few decades of the 20th C also correspond to a peak in sunspot activity, and that IPCC claims to have little certainty in this area, the AGW hypothesis would now appear to be rather weak.

LOL, that's a vast understatement
Besides this mess, new studies and data released over the past year were already making the believers in the AGW religion throw major tantrums. 2006-07 has been a very bad year for the AGW crowd, now this information pretty much blows the whole theory to pieces.

"An inconvienent truth" should now be re-labeled a comedy and Bush should be crowned an " enviromental genius" for ignoring Kyoto.

A few considerations
"Doing so has taught me that laws must rest on normative foundations laid first." This is certainly true and is one of the defining characteristics of the rule of law.

However, when you say "But if the normative foundation is a metaphor ... then the normative foundation supports no laws other than those of the jungle." it must be acknowledged that this problem was recognized a good few centuries ago, in a little document called the Magna Carta. Subsequent legal history might be likened to simply expanding the definintion of who was included under its provisions.

With respect to black markets, it may well be that they are more adaptable than white markets, but given their actual ability to distribute goods and services, they are much less efficient than white markets with much higher structural costs. They are the fallback in the event that the system of law has failed its normative principles or that those principles are not, nor no longer, shared by those ruled by them. Hence, black markets are a default condition not a preferred or advantageous one. So it is not clear to me that North's thesis is necessarily wrong.

I've read it.
several others have made the same point regarding the new theocrats.

and when they are removed, the hockey stick shape disappears
the NAS shredded the hockey stick both data and methods.

Maybe the language of the NRC report was unclear
First, the tree rings were only one proxy for historical climate reconstruction: there were many others. Second, the whole business of proxy climate reconstruction is only a small part of the scientific evidence.
to repeat:

SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTIONS FOR PERIODS PRIOR TO THE INDUSTRIAL ERA ARE ONLY ONE OF MULTIPLE LINES OF EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE CONCLUSION THAT CLIMATIC WARMING IS OCCURRING IN RESPONSE TO HUMAN ACTIVITIES, AND THEY ARE NOT THE PRIMARY EVIDENCE.

Whether or not they were 'touted' by this or that body is irrelevant to the science.

You should notify the ERC so they can change their wording
SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTIONS FOR PERIODS PRIOR TO THE INDUSTRIAL ERA ARE ONLY ONE OF MULTIPLE LINES OF EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE CONCLUSION THAT CLIMATIC WARMING IS OCCURRING IN RESPONSE TO HUMAN ACTIVITIES, AND THEY ARE NOT THE PRIMARY EVIDENCE.

That is an utter and compete lie
they found some inconsistencis, but confirmed Mann's conclusions. Moreover, and more important, the hockey stick is not the only or the principle piece of evidence:

SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECONSTRUCTIONS FOR PERIODS PRIOR TO THE INDUSTRIAL ERA ARE ONLY ONE OF MULTIPLE LINES OF EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE CONCLUSION THAT CLIMATIC WARMING IS OCCURRING IN RESPONSE TO HUMAN ACTIVITIES, AND THEY ARE NOT THE PRIMARY EVIDENCE.

Is there anytthing confusing about this statement?

It all has a simpler explanation
in power politics. For many, AGW is a way to leverage power which was not available to them through antinuclear movements, whaling bans or other areas of environmental activity. Forget for a moment anything about anything scientific. Simply look at AGW as a political struggle and it makes enormous sense. People now get elected or appointed to office who would have been regarded as kooks 30 years ago.

The principle of Ockham's Razor may apply here. What's the simpler explanation: that this is truly about the future of our planet through a complex and imcomplete scientific analysis; or that it's about the attempt to gain political control by a group or groups whose world view was crushed in 1989?

Someone who puts it all together is here:
http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/religion.htm

And then reflect to yourself after reading this: what was Albert Gore's post secondary education?

Everything is evasive
about this statement. As such, it leaves silent what are the other "multiple lines of evidence" which are the primary evidence. They must be very strong, no? After all, TAR didn't highlight them, it highlighted Mann. Must be very tough stuff indeed.

"they found some inconsistencis, but confirmed Mann's conclusions" Not quite. They rejected Mann's methodology and accepted the overall premise as noted in the quoted passage above. Since the methodology was flawed, it can hardly be said to be Mann's conclusion, as he had no basis for stating it. Someone else's maybe, but not his.

Conspiracy!!! conspiracy!!! Round up the elites
So the idea is all these scientists saying there's a problem is irrelevant?

>And then reflect to yourself after reading this: what was Albert Gore's post secondary education?

If Al Gore were the one who did all the researech, you'd have a point. He just did journalism on the subject. If you think his journalism is inaccurate, you can point out how, but saying he's not a scientists is really not relevant: neither are (for example) you.

So are you suggesting
that tree rings were fine when they showed up in Mann's initial work but are now unacceptable because of the divergence problem? That's data dredging.

As to touting, when a responsible body uses incorrect science to defend a debatable policy position, the motives of that body, the IPCC in this case, are open to serious doubt.

Nothing is at all evasive
The language is from a summary of the conclusions of the NRC group who looked into the Mann and other evidence, a 2006 report entitled "Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years"

Here's a more detailed conclusion:

The main external climate forcings experienced over the last 2,000 years are volcanic eruptions, changes in solar radiation reaching the Earth, and increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases and aerosols due to human activities

Proxy records are available for reconstructing climate forcings over the last 2,000 years, but these climate forcing reconstructions are associated with as much uncertainty as surface temperature reconstructions.

Greenhouse gases and tropospheric aerosols varied little from A.D. 1 to around 1850. Volcanic eruptions and solar fluctuations were likely the most strongly varying external forcings during this period, but it is currently estimated that the temperature variations caused by these forcings were much less pronounced than the warming due to greenhouse gas forcing since the mid-19th century.

Climate model simulations indicate that solar and volcanic forcings together could have produced periods of relative warmth and cold during the preindustrial portion of the last 1,000 years. HOWEVER, ANTHROPOGENIC GREENHOUSE GAS INCREASES ARE NEEDED TO SIMULATE LATE 20TH CENTURY WARMTH. [emphasis added]

By all means write the ERC if you see mistakes in the report

Just read the language of the report
If the conclusions about warming were mainly based on tree trunk evidence, sure, there'd be issue.s They aren't.

>As to touting, when a responsible body uses incorrect science to defend a debatable policy position, the motives of that body, the IPCC in this case, are open to serious doubt.

The science is a) nowhere near established as 'incorrect,' and even if incorrect is only a part of the evidence for the conclusion the IPCC reached. But you're sure they're wrong? Why?

No, it's politics as usual
pursued by any marginalized and discredited group. Just another attempt to apply social controls by other means.

As to Al Gore, of course he's not a scientist, he's touting what he claims to be science, and hence responsible for its content. Please read my post again. At no point did I call him a scientist; that was your false inference. He's a political propagandist.

It's opinion, not science
particularly this bit

"Greenhouse gases and tropospheric aerosols varied little from A.D. 1 to around 1850. Volcanic eruptions and solar fluctuations were likely the most strongly varying external forcings during this period, but it is currently estimated that the temperature variations caused by these forcings were much less pronounced than the warming due to greenhouse gas forcing since the mid-19th century."

This isn't evidence, this is opinion. Or is there anything you feel to be definitive about "likely" and "estimated"?

By all means, write the ERC and provide them with your definitive proof for the elucidation of all the rest of us.

As for the 'marginal and discredited group"
It includes the governments of most advanced industrial democracies, including now reluctantly and slowly the US. the scientific backup includes all the national science academies and the main scienfitic societies in the subjects in question - the AGU, for example. And you call this a 'marginal and discredited group."

>As to Al Gore, of course he's not a scientist, he's touting what he claims to be science, and hence responsible for its content
Sure. And the scientists say that basically he has it right, though they nibble with some of the detials.

> At no point did I call him a scientist; that was your false inference.
Yiou didn't call him a scientist, you called him dumb and disqualified.

>He's a political propagandist.
whereas you're a totaly objective observer who has perfect perspect on everyting when yo ucall people 'marignal and discredited."


More obfuscation
Governments are no more immune to skilled propaganda than the voters. "The purpose of power is power." If they want to stay in power, they have to get in front of the parade, irrespective of how demented it may be. Marginal and discredited? The Marxists certainly were, but now that they've morphed into the Greens they've got a new image through reversion to an earlier and conservative view. As I said, standard tactics for any group on the outs through political failure.

"Yiou didn't call him a scientist, you called him dumb and disqualified."

Changing your tune a bit here compared to what you wrote in your previous post. Glad to see you agree with me on this one. "...though they nibble with some of the detials".

Glad to see you agree with me on this one too:
"whereas you're a totaly objective observer who has perfect perspect on everyting when yo ucall people 'marignal and discredited."

It's a scientific opinion, with much more credibility than yours
It's a report by the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Science, based on the best available information as evaluated by the NAS's best experts. It's science.

You say it's opinion, which it is in a way - but what does that make what you say???

>Or is there anything you feel to be definitive about "likely" and "estimated"?

You mean, 'less than 100 percent certain?" Duh. Do you think that makes these conclusions 'unscientific?" Are you serious???

>By all means, write the ERC and provide them with your definitive proof for the elucidation of all the rest of us.

I have no issues with their report: I'm not an expert. You're the one who says they don't know what they're talking about, even though you haven't trouble to actually read the full report.

And you're sure
their right. Why? Try to remember that it is the requirement of the one offering the hypothesis to prove the point, not require others to disprove it.

More conspiracy theory, and really, really thin
look, you said, 'marginal and discredited." You can say all kinds of things about the opinion but when they're in the majority and backed by the major scientific organizatons, they are neither marginal nor discredited.

> As I said, standard tactics for any group on the outs through political failure.
What 'political group on the outs' Concern about global warming is now a majority across a wide gamut of people who disagree about other things.

>Changing your tune a bit here compared to what you wrote in your previous post.
I have not changed my tune at all. I have simply corrected your gross mischaracterization of what I wrote.

>Glad to see you agree with me on this one too:
"whereas you're a totaly objective observer who has perfect perspect on everyting when yo ucall people 'marignal and discredited."
Now you're going from the silly to the pathetic.

I'm not an expert so I tend to go to the experts. Unlke you: you know you're right
But you're not an expert, but you're sure they're wrong. Why? How?

>Try to remember that it is the requirement of the one offering the hypothesis to prove the point, not require others to disprove it.

Ok, here's my 'hypotheiss" - the world's best experts know more about this than me. does that seem dubious. Here's another of my working views: just because ColinH says something, that doesn't mean he's right. Is this really out in the ozone??

It's opinion
and without supporting evidence it has no more weight than mine or yours.

So you are saying
that Marxism is not discredited and marginalized? Really?

As for gross mischaracterizations of statements, you've been doing that liberally in your initial responses. If you're going to mischaracterize my statements, why should I respect the integrity of yours?

Glad to see
that you're such a trusting soul. But, since the "experts" haven't presented any credible evidence, and some that has been badly tainted, then why should I, or any other thinking human being accept their views?

So you find it wrong, do you, that I try to think for myself rather than parrot the orthodoxy? A typical perspective of ritual and faith to defer unthinking to higher authority when it has failed to demonstrate the basis upon which its prescriptions lie.

Except you're refusing to even look at the supporting evidence
Are you deranged?? The words I quote are just part of a heavily footnoted report by the National Research Counci. they are in the conclusions.

The review of the evidence the conclusions are based on is in the report. Which you haven't even bothered to look at before dismissing it as a mere 'opinion.'

I'd call this silly but it would give silly a bad name.

thinking for yourself?? that's a pathetic joke
you're not thinking for yourslef, you're accepting the conclusions of a group of propagandists and phoney op-ed writers and calling it idnependent though. You don't remotely have the credentials to actually sift throught the evidence - so you substitute your political paranoia for thinking and decision making. You're a dittohead, not a thinker.

>But, since the "experts" haven't presented any credible evidence, and some that has been badly tainted, then why should I, or any other thinking human being accept their views?

They've presented thousands of peer reviewed articles that you haven't read, that remain unrefuted by anyone with any expertise in the field. Against this are op-eds by political hacks -and those are the experts you're trusting.

No, I man not saying anything of the kind.
Where are you coming up with this drivel?

>that Marxism is not discredited and marginalized? Really?
we weren't talking about Marxism, we were talking about the belief that humans were inlencing climate and people who accepted this and were working to try to change it. If you think this group is Marxist you're insane (though I guess some Marxists may be aboard for it, along iwth conservtives, liberals, monarchists and others))

>As for gross mischaracterizations of statements, you've been doing that liberally in your initial responses. If you're going to mischaracterize my statements, why should I respect the integrity of yours?

You're nuts. I have mischaracterized nothing. You've been dancing and trashmouting because you don't have a case.

Glad to see
you're conceding this debate. When crude insult is all you've got, you're gone. Peddle your left wing theology to someone else, not me.

Conceding yet again
Since all you can do is disparage, you have no debate.

Absolutely
I agree fully with your post. But I've been among the many who said this was undecided a couple of years ago and I always sided for the wait and see approach. Those who wouldn't "wait and see" were, for the most part, politically motivated. This is especially true of the AGW alarmists.

Been there
done that, read it. Case not proven. As to silliness, you've demonstrated nothing but silliness on the topic of AGW over the past months.

You're the one without evidence, big guy, but don't let the door hit your butt on the way out.
What's the crude insult? That you're relying on shady experts while claiming to be thnking for yourself? that you're a dittohead?

I said you're not trained in these specialties. Is this inaccurate. You nevertheless think your opinion is better than that of the recognized expdert in the field. This is a crude insult.

Oh really?? Can't say or show how, but you say 'case not proven' you're joking right?
i mean, what specifically was wrong with the argument? Were the measurements wrong? Problem in the modeling? Bad reference?

Cat got your tongue?? That's ok. Tune into Rush, you'll feel better.

Yes, I think it is a good idea you run away
It's getting embarassing for you

a particularly transparent mistatement
this is just crap

> At no point did I call him a scientist; that was your false inference. He's a political propagandist.

What you said was to look up what he had studied in school. I replied, no he wasn't a scientist. That is not saying you were calling him a scientist. Why can't you just speak to the issues instead of dealing in this deliberate garble?

Adaptability v. efficiency
"However, when you say "But if the normative foundation is a metaphor ... then the normative foundation supports no laws other than those of the jungle." it must be acknowledged that this problem was recognized a good few centuries ago, in a little document called the Magna Carta. Subsequent legal history might be likened to simply expanding the definintion of who was included under its provisions."

Something learned can be unlearned. I direct your attention to Congress, whose spending and fund-raising practices would make Al Capone blush.

"With respect to black markets, it may well be that they are more adaptable than white markets, but given their actual ability to distribute goods and services, they are much less efficient than white markets with much higher structural costs. They are the fallback in the event that the system of law has failed its normative principles or that those principles are not, nor no longer, shared by those ruled by them. Hence, black markets are a default condition not a preferred or advantageous one. So it is not clear to me that North's thesis is necessarily wrong."

I didn't argue that black markets were more efficient, just more adaptable. And when you get right down to it, we'll always have black markets, but we won't always have the same institutions.

Institutions, while necessary to efficiency, become less adaptable as they evolve because they form the pillars of a social group's worldview, which I like to think of as a comfortable, safe and certain narrative that reifies itself in reflection to the world. Then, rather than chucking the institutions once it's clear they're rotten through and through, societies hang on to them long past the point they've become dangerous, applying putty and string to brace them up where only new pillars will do.

In contrast, the black marketeer can't afford to be lulled to sleep by such comfort, safety and certainty because his lot is the law of the jungle. So he sticks to his guns. His like will be around long after the US constitution has redacted Congress.

You need to put in some work in this area
"The data editing casts doubt on the entire use of tree rings as proxy for temperature. If tree rings don't work post 1960, then they don't work for earlier times."

I agree. I've never thought tree rings were a viable data set for temperature. I'm surprised anyone ever thought to use them that way in the first place. What they measure best is rainfall. Trees grow faster in wet climates, not hot climates or cold climates.

When they found the data disagreed with the measured temperature records, that should have tipped them off that tree rings were a useless proxy. I don't know why they've included them. Disregard them.

Look at this, for instance:

"A 1,400-year tree ring study in 1990 led by Britain’s Keith Briffa showed little evidence of the Medieval Warming or Little Ice Age."

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/st/st279/st279h.html

You go on to comment:

"What Briffa should have done is release the full series and then explain the data gap. But he didn't. He covered it up. So, this makes him different from John Ehrlichman how?"

Oh, but Briffa et al have indeed called attention to the lacunae in the record. You don't think they just erased it and put no comment, do you?

"The authors were able to compare (or calibrate) their density records directly against instrumental data; note that the tree-ring density records become de-coupled from temperature after 1950, possibly due to some large-scale human influence that caused wood densities to decline. Thus, the reconstructed temperature record after 1960 is considered unreliable."

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/briffa.html

That kind of thing is the big problem with just reading the scoffers, and not going to the original source to check them for honesty. You end up uncritically believing stuff that people you trust for some reason are telling you. It's a bad habit, and one you should shed.

"Second, if we're getting warmer, based on what evidence?"

I'm thinking you couldn't detect warming if you were sitting in a pot of hot water. You're committing the error of latching onto tiny discrepancies and making a big deal about them, while ignoring the gross evidence. Nealry every land glacier on earth, at any latitude, is receding. Both the Greenland ice cap and the Antarctic Ice cap are lossing mass balance. The permafrost in Siberia and in Alaska is melting. The ocean waters are warming and acidifying, which can be checked by noting the large amounts of atmospheric CO2 they are taking up.

There are gross changes occuring everywhere on earth now, and the question of *whether* we are warming is now rarely contested even by the professional scoffers. They have retrenched, and now admit the obvious, that the planet is rapidly warming, but say that changes in atmospheric GHGs have little or nothing to do with it.

I would suggest studying some climatology first, without regard to the issues of man-made GHGs, tree ring or other data proxies, etc. Find out what it is these people do for a living first, then you can evaluate any problems you think you are seeing in their data. Don't just ignorantly repeat any statements you may read to the effect that Mann and Briffa are frauds. You're too unfamiliar with what's going on in the field to be able to offer an intelligent opinion based on your own personal observations.

Here's a good entry point for your studies. The US Army likes to get things right. I don't think you will find them to be, in your words, "frauds".

http://www.crrel.usace.army.mil/sid/IMB/

to Coin re; Reds turned Greens
Isn't it funny that that clown Lemuel tries to act like he's never heard the phenomenon of former reds, since Marxism has been discredited, have turned instead to enviro=facism instead? It's been mentioned many times by you, me and others all around here, and he acts surprised. This shows how guys like him have to try to hide their true agendas; their hatred of freedom, capitalism, and particularly the US.

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