The December issue Scientific American is out and it covers some world changing ideas among many other issues. As one leafs through the issue, a reader could easily skip From the Editor, but this month’s column is interesting. Two items that Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina brings up are what are we doing about global warming and what role does science have in solving our problems.
First, what if we stopped feeling frozen by uncertainties associated with climate change and—at least for starters—simply began applying good resources management within existing human experience?
I’d like to see us, in the near future, facing our problems by saying: “We’ll have to science that.”
What I found interesting about this two basic ideas is that these questions are a good response to free market’s frequent failures, because when capitalism fails, it fails spectacularly. I won’t go into particulars, but when capitalism manages our environment, things go pear-shaped — people tend to get hurt or irreparably harmed, and some even die. So why not manage our land, air, water and energy better? Why this constant fight? Capitalism has shown that it is for short-term (3 to 5 years) goals only and we need to think long-term (10 to 100 to 1,00o years). It’s time to take capitalism out of managing our resources.
And, lastly, the free market shows its true colors by only embracing science when it sees a profit. Anytime science leads us to discover problems on a grand scale, capitalism retreats to the board rooms and country clubs of short-term thinking. I’d love to see the Republican Party incorporate scientific ideas into their platform as easily as they embrace the Bible.