Labor, capital, climate change, and The Gap

Commenting on a surprisingly utilitarian post by Eddie, a517d0gg writes

It seems to me that a lot of people (you, Soob, TDAXP) are contrarian on climate change for the sake of being contrarian.

I can’t speak for Eddie or Soob, but Adrian’s assessment of my motives is incorrect.

Essentially, the controversy on climate change boils down to one line:

Certain capital-producing activities are altering the nature of certain stocks of capital.

Hmm. A potential problem. What is then needed is a judgement of the productivity benefits of the capital-producing activities (very large, as they compound over time) and a judgement of the alteration of capital-stocks. For instance,

  • sea levels will rise (bad)
  • the cost of the rising sea levels is trivially low (good)
  • rainfall in certain parts of Africa will lessen (bad)
  • rainfall in Africa overall will increase (good)
  • there will be more deaths from heat (bad)
  • there will be many times less deaths from cold (good)


Climate change is thus a “problem” we are near the optimal solution for already. While certain technological adjustments can doubtless be made, there are more pressing matters.

One such more important issue is shrinking the Gap. Essentially, the problemof the Non-Integrating Gap is:

The opportunity cost of not shrinking the Gap is an alteration in the quality of the labor supply.

Another potential problem. IT can be analyzed by examining the opportunity cost of not shrinking the Gap and the nature of the alteration conducted on the labor supply.

A problem worth thinking about

Compared to shrinking the gap, labor loss in the present environment is very high. Apart from the “bottom billion” being almost completely unmonetized, biological plays a role, too. Unhygenic and primitive living conditiosn leads to an increase in exports of diseases from the Gap, while the co-evolution of genes and culture by natural selection continually optimizes the population of the Gap for a world less and less like the one everyone else lives in.

However, shrinking the Gap has its own opportunity costs. Certian things, which we may otherwise not want to spend:

  • billions, if not trillions, on defense (Leviathan and Systems Administration)
  • subversion of the constitutional order (“Ethan Allen” is right on this one)

and more

While climate change is a trivial problem with a trivial solution, the Gap is a complex problem with a complex solution. It’s both more worthy of attention and more interesting to think about.

And that isn’t “contrarian” at all.