so much for junk science, now for junk economics

"I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market system."
- George W. Bush on crisis bailouts


by jason brown, editor, avaiki nius agency

As a global species, we’ve dumped junk science when it comes to climate change – but remain curiously addicted to junk economics causing planetary overheating in the first place.

In the closing weeks of the George W. Bush administration, previously well-funded coalition of climate change sceptics have all but melted away.

An Inconvenient Truth released as a documentary by Al Gore in 2006 has been joined by a grinding glacier of facts and figures confirming an utterly alarming rise in feedback indicators, worse than any alarmist predictions.

According to whom you listen to, planet Earth has between five years to roughly a decade to reverse two hundred years of carbon based industrialisation – and even then it may be too late.

Rather than promoting old warnings about being better-safe-than-sorry, mainstream media has until recently carefully balanced every report with unbalanced attacks on what global warming sceptics decried as “junk science.”

These ‘sceptics’ actively colluded with the world’s worst wasters, accepting millions in funding to rubbish real, evidence-based science agreed to by consensus of a majority of world scientists.

No more.

Where directors of obscurely funded “institutions” could once attack climate change fears as fear of fear itself, it’s a brave boffin who stands up today to deny mankind is largely to blame for an upswing in carbon emissions, temperatures and, yes, sea levels.

So much for junk science.

Now, what about the ‘junk economics’ that caused global warming in the first place?

For a start, contrast the level of mainstream media attention given to junk science with more than 6,000 hits on Google News, for example, versus just 45 for junk economics.

Global warming sceptics got a free ride from mainstream media for years, but it seems that a profit-driven press is staying right away from debate about junk economics, articles like this one from the Guardian being a rare exception.

In fact, use of the term still seems limited mostly to right-wing commentators, frequently masquerading as mainstream media, fighting a rear guard action against polluter-pays emission trading schemes as, yep, ‘junk economics.’

Part of that sees right wing academics responding with junk science of their own – including a notion that the only thing stopping the world from snapping into a periodic ice age is, yep, global warming. Perhaps true, although a screeching 180 degree turn around from arguing against global warming being real at all.

Not so much a step in the right direction perhaps as a step away from the wrong direction.

Similar sentiments might be expressed about what must surely be a catchphrase for junk economics, just made by outgoing US president, George W. Bush. In an exclusive interview with CNN today, Bush made the astonishing claim that he had “abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”

Uh, hullo?

Anything wrong with this picture?

CNN itself did not pick the quote out for highlighting in its accompanying story, probably for the simple reason that the Bushism raises too many big picture questions for a mainstream media focused almost exclusively on extracting maximum profit from small screens – still mostly television but increasingly internet computers.

Even global economic crisis has seen authorities focus mainly on fixing problems within the global economy, rather than overhauling junk economic systems.

Like global warming, the economic crisis is a symptom of junk economics – not the problem itself.

Any system that needs saving from itself, a la Bush, does not deserve to survive – least of all under the winner-takes-all strictures of free market capitalism.

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