by Jacob Arfwedson
In the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt asked his administration to undertake a vast exploratory study of future technologies. A group of researchers eventually produced a voluminous report with fascinating insights. There was only one little glitch: the document did not foresee television, plastics, jet planes, organ transplants, laser technology, or even ballpoint pens.
As Ludwig von Mises stated, petrol is good for many things, but not for slaking your thirst. Similarly, government may be useful in some instances but not in others. The precautionary principle is good, provided it is used appropriately. We should first apply it to politics: our elected leaders should be required to produce impact studies, showing, ex ante, that their planned interventions will have a positive effect. Thus the scope of government would spontaneously be reduced to its congruent portion.
Here is a formidable source of data on climate change, courtesy of prof. Lindzen (MIT) from a CEI presentation a couple of weeks ago. Once more, he reminds us that many statements bandied about and accepted as gospel truths are in fact serious distortions and sometimes outright contrary even to authorities such as the IPCC.