Envir100Lect9W10

Envir100Lect9W10 - Goals for today Appreciate...

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Goals for today Appreciate interdisciplinary perspectives. Introduce a third metaphor (the bus heading towards the cliff) to join the tragedy of the commons and the invisible hand. Consider the debate between pessimists (Malthusians) and optimists (Cornucopians). Bring Selfishness Week to a close by thinking about selfishness and sustainability.
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The author of “Plenty of Gloom” was… 62% 3% 11% 24% 1. An optimist about the fate of the world 2. A pessimist 3. Neither 4. Hard to say, the article was too subtle and nuanced.
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Who won the Simon/Ehrlich bet? 14% 86% 1. Simon (the economist / optimist) 2. Ehrlich (the ecologist / pessimist)
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“Plenty of gloom” said that which environmental problem wasn’t exaggerated? 13% 58% 6% 14% 8% 1. Global warming. 2. DDT and pesticides. 3. CFCs and the ozone hole. 4. Overpopulation. 5. Deforestation.
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What question is at the heart of Solow’s “sustainability paradox”? 52% 7% 41% 1. How can self- interest lead to sustainability? 2. What about poor people today? 3. Won’t people in the future be much wealthier?
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“What would a society motivated by individual greed and controlled by a very large number of different agents look like? There would be chaos.” 12% 48% 3% 20% 17% 1. Strongly Agree 2. Agree 3. Neutral 4. Disagree 5. Strongly Disagree
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Economists strongly disagree. Arrow and Hahn (1971): “There is by now a long and fairly imposing line of economists from Adam Smith to the present who have sought to show that a decentralized economy motivated by self-interest and guided by price signals… could be regarded, in a well- defined sense, as superior to a large class of possible alternative[s]…” “What would a society motivated by individual greed and controlled by a very large number of different agents look like? There would be chaos.”
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“Individualism and shortsightedness are the greatest problems of the current social system… and the deepest cause of unsustainability.” 19% 41% 3% 19% 18% 1. Strongly Agree 2. Agree 3. Neutral 4. Disagree 5. Strongly Disagree
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Over this century, quality of life for the average person on Earth is going to 8% 32% 9% 35% 17% 1. Increase by a lot 2. Increase by a little 3. Stay about the same 4. Decrease by a little 5. Decrease by a lot
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“Human civilization is like a group of people on a bus barreling towards the edge of a cliff… and nobody is driving the bus.” 7% 24% 15% 39% 15% 1. Strongly Agree 2. Agree 3. Neutral 4. Disagree 5. Strongly Disagree
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Some economists on the bus are having a great time, drinking whiskey and telling jokes. Others ask: “Aren’t you worried about going over the cliff?” The reply: “Don’t worry. .. [punch line here?]” “There’s an invisible hand driving the bus!” Two central class metaphor: the invisible hand and the tragedy of the commons. “Human civilization is like a group of people on a
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This note was uploaded on 02/13/2010 for the course ENG 189 taught by Professor Welbeck during the Spring '10 term at Eastern Oregon.

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Envir100Lect9W10 - Goals for today Appreciate...

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