“The Experiment–Capitalism vs Socialism”


The following posting by an acquaintance of mine,  David Legates, is  really quite good. This posting appeared in the blog WattsUpWithThat  (https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/23/the-experiment-capitalism-versus-socialism/ .)
David was the Delaware State Climatalogist but because he is a skeptic he was essentially pushed out of the job by the Democrat Governor.   The U of D, Legates’ employer,  has not been supportive either. I attended the conference  last year in DC where Legates was awarded a prize for the skeptic that has faced the most opposition by his employer.
I like the final disclaimer that says “His views do not represent those of the University of Delaware.”
While this posting may seem off message as it is not about catastrophic global warming,  it is a cautionary tale about big brother government.  The current administration views global warming as the greatest threat to civilization.  They are trying to close down all comment by people skeptical of that position.
cbdakota

The Experiment:  Capitalism versus Socialism

What if we could have an experiment to compare the two systems? Wait – we already did.

David R. Legates

Experimentation is a major tool in the scientist’s arsenal. We can put the same strain of bacteria into two Petri dishes, for example, and compare the relative effects of two different antibiotics.

What if we could do the same with economic systems? We could take a country and destroy its political and economic fabric through, say, a natural disaster or widespread pestilence – or a war. War is the ultimate political and economic cleansing agent. Its full devastation can send a country back almost to the beginning of civilization.

We could then take this war-torn country and divide it into two parts. It would have similar people, similar climate, similar potential trading partners, similar geography – but one part is rebuilt using capitalism as its base, while the other rebuilds using socialism and its principles. We’d let the virtues of each system play out and see where these two new countries would be after, say, fifty years.

Don’t you wonder what the outcome might be? Well, as it turns out, we have already performed The Experiment. It’s post-war Germany.

Following the devastation of World War II, Germany was split into two parts. The German Federal Republic, or West Germany, was rebuilt in the image of the western allies and a capitalist legal-political-economic system.  By contrast, the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, was reconstructed using the socialist/communist principles championed by the Soviet Union. The Experiment pitted the market economy of the West against the command economy of the East.

On the western side, considering what’s being taught in our schools, one might expect that “greedy capitalism” would create a state where a few people became the rich elite, while the vast majority were left as deprived masses. Socialism, by contrast, promised East Germany the best that life had to offer, through rights guaranteed by the state, including “human rights” to employment and living wages, time for rest and leisure, health care and elder care, and guaranteed housing, education and cultural programs.

So the Petri dishes were set, and The Experiment began. In 1990, after just 45 years,The Experiment abruptly and surprisingly ended – with reunification back into a single country. How did it work out?

In West Germany, capitalism rebuilt the devastated country into a political and economic power in Europe, rivaled only by its former enemy, Great Britain. Instead of creating a rich 1% and a poor 99%, West Germans thrived: average West Germans were considerably wealthier than their Eastern counterparts. The country developed economically, and its people enjoyed lives with all the pleasures that wealth, modern technologies and quality free time could provide.

By contrast, East Germany’s socialist policies created a state that fell woefully behind. Its people were much poorer; property ownership was virtually non-existent amid a collectivist regime; food and material goods were scarce and expensive, available mostly to Communist Party elites; spies were everywhere, and people were summarily arrested and jailed; the state pretended to pay its workers, and they pretended to work. A wall of concrete, barbed wire and guard towers was built to separate the two halves of Berlin – and keep disgruntled Eastern citizens from defecting to the West. Many who tried to leave were shot.

By the time of reunification, productivity in East Germany was barely 70% of that in West Germany. The West boasted large, vibrant industries and other highly productive sectors, while dirty antiquated factories and outmoded farming methods dominated the East. Even staples like butter, eggs and chicken – abundant and affordable in West Germany – were twice as expensive in the eastern “workers’ paradise.”

Coffee was seven times more expensive, while gasoline and laundry detergent were more than 2½ times more expensive. Luxury items, like automobiles and men’s suits were twice as expensive, color televisions five times more costly. About the only staple that was cheaper in East Germany were potatoes, which could be distilled into vodka, so that lower caste East Germans could commiserate better with their abundant Russian comrades.

Moreover, state-guaranteed health care in the East did not translate into a healthier society. In 1990, life expectancy in the West was about 3½ years longer than in the East for men, and more than 2½ years longer for women. Studies found that unfavorable working conditions, psychological reactions to political suppression, differences in cardiovascular risk factors and lifestyles, and lower standards of medical technology in East Germany were largely responsible for their lower health standards.

The socialist mentality of full employment for everyone led to more women working in the East than in the West. This pressure resulted in better childcare facilities in East Germany, as mothers there returned to work sooner after giving birth and were more inclined to work full-time – or more compelled to work, to put food on the table, which meant they had to work full-time and run the household. This also meant East German children had far less contact with their parents and families, even as West Germans became convinced that children fared better under their mothers’ loving care than growing up in nurseries.

As the education system in East Germany was deeply rooted in socialism, the state ran an extensive network of schools that indoctrinated children into the socialist system from just after their birth to the university level. While it’s true that today East Germans perform better at STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) studies than their Western counterparts, that may be explained in part by the influx of numerous poorly educated immigrants to former West German areas, and the extensive money invested in the eastern region since reunification.

However, schools of the East were not intended to establish creative thinking, which results in creativity and innovation. Rather, they were authoritarian and rigid, encouraging collective group-think and consensus ideas, rather than fostering outside-the-box thinking, novel philosophies and enhanced productivity. Thus, East German technology was slow to develop and students were often overqualified for available jobs.

Did the East gain any advantage? Nudism was more prevalent in the East, if that was your thing.  Personal interaction was higher too, because telephones and other technologies were lacking. But even though East Germany was much better off than other Soviet satellite countries (a tribute to innate German resourcefulness), East German socialism offered few advantages over its capitalist western counterpart.  In fact, in the years since reunification, homogenization of Germany has been slow, due largely to the legacy of years lived under socialist domination, where any work ethic was unrewarded, even repressed.

Freedom was the single most important ingredient that caused West Germany to succeed. Freedom is the elixir that fuels innovation, supports a diversity of thought, and allows people to become who they want to be, not what the state demands they must be. When the government guarantees equality of outcomes, it also stifles the creativity, diversity, ingenuity and reward systems that allow people and countries to grow, develop and prosper. The Experiment has proven this.

These days in the United States, however, forgetful, unobservant and ideological politicians are again touting the supposed benefits of socialism. Government-provided health and elder care, free tuition, paid day care and pre-school education, guaranteed jobs and wages are all peddled by candidates who feel government can and should care for us from cradle to grave. They apparently think East German socialism is preferable to West German capitalism. Have they learned nothing from The Experiment?

A friend of mine believes capitalism is greedy and evil – and socialism, if “properly implemented,” will take us forward to realizing a better future. I counter that The Experiment proves society is doomed to mediocrity at best under autocratic socialism. Indeed, those who turn toward the Siren call of socialism always crash upon its rocks. But my friend assures me: “Trust me, this time it will be different.”

That’s what they always say. Perhaps Venezuela and Cuba are finally making socialism work?


David R. Legates, PhD, CCM, is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. His views do not represent those of the University of Delaware.

Sales Of EV’s Are Not Impressive.


cartoonevforseptblogSales of electric vehicles (EV) jumped in the second quarter of this year. This was enough to convince Real Clear Energy to post “Surge in EV Sales Bucks Cheap Gasoline, Broader Auto Industry Trends”. The posting says that while President Obama’s goal of 1 million EV’s on US roads by 2015 was not met, it was only about half that number in 2015, the surge “gives reason for fresh optimism about the future…..” EV Sales in the first half of 2015 were 70,296 versus 2016 first half sales of 99,634—a 42% change. That looks pretty impressive in the abstract.

However,  EV sales need to be evaluated versus all US automobile sales

Detailed Data for sales in August are readily available but June 2016 detailed data are behind a pay wall.  In reality the exact numbers are not significantly going to change the fact that EV sales were about 1..2% of total sales.  YCharts forecast annual sales based upon  auto sales by using the current month’s actual sales.  In June , half of the year, the Y chart number for total sales was 17.09 million automobiles.  This number counts cars and light truck and it includes EV sales in this number.  The 2016 auto sales  for the year based upon August July sales was18.15 million. Because the biggest sales months are in the fall of the year,  the official forecast for 2016 sales is 18.75 million.

Anyway,  if the annual forecast at the end of June was 17.09  roughly the year to date sales for the first six months sales would have been about 8.5 million.

The math:        0.1 million EVsales /8.5 million total sales = 1.2% of the total sales were EVs.

Real Clear Energy really has to be reaching to say that this gives them “fresh optimism.”

A hat tip to David Middleton for this story line based upon his posting in WUWT titled “Green math must be a Common Core product“.  I have modified it because I believe his calculation was erroneous. He arrived at number of 0.6% rather than what I believe is the correct number. Middleton’s conclusion however  is unchanged by my calculation of 1.2%.

cbdakota

 

 

 

 

Back In The Saddle Again. (Thanks Gene Autry)


typing-clipart-1886_picture_of_a_happy_disabled_man_in_a_wheelchair_typing_at_his_deskMy postings since May are nearly zero.  I have been catching up on things that needed doing more than any need to be writing about the faulty catastrophic global warming theories.  The family has to come first.  In addition, to many honey dos weren’t getting done.

I suppose you are wondering what so difficult about writing a blog, if anything.  Mainly the issue is trying not to make mistakes.  Blovating is pretty easy.  But checking out what is being blovated needs to be reasonably well supported.  —A for instance.—-  I just finished a posting on how small the sales of EVs really are.  I had planed to use as one of my references a posting by a man for whom I have a great deal of respect.  When I tried to confirm his numbers I could not do it.   In this case, I think he made some mistakes, or at least I can’t confirm his numbers.  So I used mine.

I like doing this so, I hope that I am back in the saddle again, —time will tell.

cbdakota

 

Make The Climate Change Radicals Walk The Walk, Not Just Talk The Talk


Glenn Reynolds, a Tennessee University Law Professor posted in USAToday, where he frequently contributes opinion columns, “ Ban AC for DC “ with the subtitle being “If our rulers think global warming is a crisis, let them be a good example for the rest of us”

goreandhairdryer

 

 

 

Reynolds says:

“In this, I’m inspired by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Tex., who noticed something peculiar recently. It seems that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who spends a lot of time telling Americans that they need to drive less, fly less, and in general reduce their consumption of fossil fuels, also flies home to see her family in Boston “almost every weekend“; the head of the Clean Air Division, Janet McCabe, does the same, but she heads to Indianapolis. In air mileage alone, the Daily Caller News Foundation estimates that McCarthy surpasses the carbon footprint of an ordinary American.

Smith has introduced a bill that wouldn’t target the EPA honchos’ personal travel, though: It provides, simply, that “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to pay the cost of any officer or employee of the Environmental Protection Agency for official travel by airplane.”

This makes sense to me. We’re constantly told by the administration that “climate change” is a bigger threat than terrorism.  And as even President Obama has noted, there’s a great power in setting an example: “We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”

Reynolds thinks expanding Representative Smith’s proposed legislation would useful as he notes in the following:

  1. Extend Smith’s bill to cover the entire federal government. We have Skype now, and Facetime. There’s no reason to fly to meetings. I’d let the President keep Air Force One for official travel, but subject to a requirement that absolutely no campaign activity or fundraisers take place on any trips in which the president travels officially.
  2. Obama makes a great point about setting the thermostat at 72 degrees. We should ban air conditioning in federal buildings. We won two world wars without air conditioning our federal employees. Nothing in their performance over the last 50 or 60 years suggests that A/C has improved things. Besides, The Washington Post informs us that A/C is sexist, and that Europeans think it’s stupid.
  3. In fact, we should probably ban air conditioning in the entire District of Columbia, to ensure that members of Congress, etc. won’t congregate in lobbyists’ air-conditioned offices.
  4. Speaking of which, members of Congress shouldn’t be allowed to fly home on the weekends. Not only does this produce halfhearted attention to their jobs — the so-called “Tuesday to Thursday Club” — but, again, it produces too much of a carbon footprint. Even if they pay for the travel out of campaign funds, instead of their own budgets, they need to set an example for the rest of us — and for those skeptical foreigners that Obama mentioned.

Reynolds takes a swipe at Leonardo DiCapprio as well. And what about Michelle Obama’s vacations!!!

The full posting is a good read, ( somewhat tongue-in-cheek in some parts.)

Do you think the warmers really believe in this catastrophic global warming stuff? Does not look like it. I think it demonstrates that they are using this to increase the size of the government through regulations (and thus their power.) That was the motivation of the founders of this movement.

cbdakota

Barbers In Danger Of Being Replaced By Computerization


I am  preparing a blog on some interesting speculation and study on the effect that  robots and computers will have on employment.  A study by Frey and Osborne titled “The future of employment : How susceptible are jobs to computerization”  evaluates some 700+ job categories as to  the  likelihood they will be replaced  by computers and or robots.  The autors have a table that ranks occupations according to their probability of being eliminate by computerization.  For example, in the no. 4 spot as one of the least likely to be computerized is Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers with a probability of 0.0031.  Chemical Engineers are ranked 77 with a probability of 0.017.  Jobs that are most certain to be replaced by computerization are those at the end of the Author’s ranking.  For example,  Tax Preparers are ranked 695 with a probability of 0.99 which is as close to certain as one can get.

What caught my eye were Barbers, ranked 439  with a probability of 0.8  that are considered a near certainty. So I thought I would look into this a little further because my local barber is a friends.  I found the following research underway that most certainly will be worked out and replace him.

cbdakota

Hysteria and DDT


The Pacific Research Institute has released a video entitled “Hysteria’s History: Why is Alarmism so Dangerous?-Part 4“. The video’s purpose is to expose people to the historical progression of environmental alarmism that has often resulted in poor and contradictory policy proposals” This video discusses the ban on DDT. DDT had been very successful in nearly eradicating malaria around the world. Following the ban, malaria deaths skyrocketed.

DDT sprayed indoors, where it can keep  mosquitos in check and have no effect on the local wild life is a responsible action.   But it took skeptics to point this out over and over again before the green movement reeled in their efforts to keep DDT banned.

Hopefully, we skeptics,  showing that the catastrophic global warming movement is more hysteria than facts, will eventually cause the greens to concede in this case as well.

cbdakota

 

 

 

 

UK Scientist Doubts Decarbonization by 2050 Is Possible. Thinks Other Unfunded Threats Are More Compelling.


M J Kelly, Electrical Engineering Division Department of Engineering, Universtiy of Cambridge has written “Lessons from Technology Development for Energy and Sustainability” and posted on the  Cambridge Journals on Line.

The following is the Abstract from his posting where he sets up the quandary that faces the organizations wishing to decarbonize the planet by 2050.

There are lessons from recent history of technology introductions which should not be forgotten when considering alternative energy technologies for carbon dioxide emission reductions.

The growth of the ecological footprint of a human population about to increase from 7B now to 9B in 2050 raises serious concerns about how to live both more efficiently and with less permanent impacts on the finite world. One present focus is the future of our climate, where the level of concern has prompted actions across the world in mitigation of the emissions of CO2. An examination of successful and failed introductions of technology over the last 200 years generates several lessons that should be kept in mind as we proceed to 80% decarbonize the world economy by 2050. I will argue that all the actions taken together until now to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide will not achieve a serious reduction, and in some cases, they will actually make matters worse. In practice, the scale and the different specific engineering challenges of the decarbonization project are without precedent in human history. This means that any new technology introductions need to be able to meet the huge implied capabilities. An altogether more sophisticated public debate is urgently needed on appropriate actions that (i) considers the full range of threats to humanity, and (ii) weighs more carefully both the upsides and downsides of taking any action, and of not taking that action.

 

M J Kelly discusses this issue at length in his posting and I suggest you read it in its entirety . This posting will look at conclusions and some suggestions Kelly derives when he examined the current  programs to reduce CO2. He’s not optimistic that decarbonization has much of a chance of accomplishing what the greens want. In fact he thinks the money could be spend better on addressing more immediate threats than those posed by the so-call catastrophic global warming. Here he summarizes his thoughts:

It is surely time to review the current direction of the decarbonization project which can be assumed to start in about 1990, the reference point from which carbon dioxide emission reductions are measured. No serious inroads have been made into the lion’s share of energy that is fossil fuel based. Some moves represent total madness. The closure of all but one of the aluminium smelters that used gas-fired electricity in the UK (because of rising electricity costs from the green tariffs that are over and above any global background fossil fuel energy costs) reduces our nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. 62 However, the aluminium is now imported from China where it is made with more primitive coal-based sources of energy, making the global problem of emissions worse! While the UK prides itself in reducing indigenous carbon dioxide emissions by 20% since 1990, the attribution of carbon emissions by end use shows a 20% increase over the same period.

Interestingly, he talks about the UK exporting manufacturing to other nations in order to reduce CO2 emissions.  Then the goods from these nations come back to the UK made in less efficient factories and the attributed CO2 result in an increase in the UK net emissions.     

It is also clear that we must de-risk all energy infrastructure projects over the  next two decades. While the level of uncertainty remains high, the ‘insurance policy’ justification of urgent large-scale intervention is untenable, and we do not pay premiums if we would go bankrupt as a consequence. Certain things we do not insure against, such as a potential future mega-tsunami, 64 or a supervolcano, 65 or indeed a meteor strike, even though there have been over 20 of these since 2000 with the local power of the Hiroshima bomb! 66 Using a significant fraction of the global GDP to possibly capture the benefits of a possibly less troublesome future climate leaves more urgent actions not undertaken.

Two important points remain. The first is that there is no alternative to business as usual carrying on, with one caveat expressed in the following paragraph. Since energy use has a cost, it is normal business practice to minimize energy use, by increasing energy efficiency (see especially the recent improvement in automobile performance), 67 using less resource material and more effective recycling. These drivers have become more intense in recent years, but they were always there for a business trying to remain competitive.

The second is that, over the next two decades, the single place where the greatest impact on carbon dioxide emissions can be achieved is in the area of personal behaviour. Its potential dwarfs that of new technology interventions. Within the EU over the last 40 years there has been a notable change in public attitudes and behaviour in such diverse arenas as drinking and driving, smoking in public confined spaces, and driving without a seatbelt. If society’s attitude to the profligate consumption of any materials and resources including any forms of fuel and electricity was to regard this as deeply antisocial, it has been estimated we could live something like our present standard of living on half the energy consumption we use today in the developed world. 68 This would mean fewer miles travelled, fewer material possessions, shorter supply chains, and less use of the internet. While there is no public appetite to follow this path, the short term technology fix path is no panacea.

Over the last 200 years, fossil fuels have provided the route out of grinding poverty for many people in the world (but still less than half of all people) and Fig. 1 shows that this trend is certain to continue for at least the next 20 years based on the technologies of scale that are available today. A rapid decarbonization is simply impossible over the next 20 years unless the trend of a growing number who succeed to improve their lot is stalled by rich and middle class people downgrading their own standard of living. The current backlash against subsidies for renewable energy systems in the UK, EU and USA is a sign that all is not well with current renewable energy systems in meeting the aspirations of humanity.

Figure 1. (a) The 40% growth of global energy consumption since 1995 and the projected 40% growth until 2035, with most of the growth between 1995 and 2035 being provided by fossil fuels, 21and (b) the cause of this growth is the rise in the number of people living in the middle class as described in the text. 22

 

Finally, humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality. Have the engineers been supine and lacking in courage to challenge the orthodoxy? Or have their warnings been too gentle and dismissed or not heard? Science and politicians can take too much comfort from undoubted engineering successes over the last 200 years. When the sums at stake are on the scale of 1–10% of the world’s GDP, this is a serious business.

cbdakota

*M.J. Kelly (2016). Lessons from technology development for energy and sustainability. MRS Energy & Sustainability, 3, E3 doi:10.1557/mre.2016.3.