Posts Tagged ‘progress

Videos of note

In: Uncategorized

23 May 2010

“The Kitchen Debate” on food policy,, Corby Kummer (The Atlantic) versus Robert Paarlberg (author of Food Politics). A cooling trend, Boston Globe, Kerry Emanuel versus Richard Lindzen. Is it OK to be optimistic?  WNYC, radio interview with Matt Ridley. Other articles by Ridley this week include Cheer up: life only gets better in the Sunday […]

Raymond Tallis, writing in yesterday’s Times (London), sounds a cautionary note over last Thursday’s claims of the creation of artificial life in the laboratory: “The challenge of creating genuinely artificial life is much greater than that of getting new DNA to hitch a ride in existing cells. The enormous complexity of living cells — with […]

An important article in the New York Times magazine on the debate about GDP as a measure of progress and well-being. The rise and fall of GDP by Jon Gertner is based on interviews with many of the key players in the debate including several members of the recent Sarkozy commission on the issue: Joseph […]

The Economist has run the first review I have seen of The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley’s important new book on human prosperity. According to the review Ridley: “challenges those nabobs of negativity who argue that the world cannot possibly feed 9 billion mouths, that Africa is destined to fail and that the planet is heading […]

A sweet pill

In: Uncategorized

6 May 2010

I was puzzled to come across numerous articles, including a cover story in Time magazine, about the 50th anniversary of the contraceptive pill as I thought it had already happened several years ago. It turns out that 50 years ago this month America’s Food and Drug Administration did approve the pill. However, the 50th anniversary […]

Several times in the last few weeks, most recently on 17 April, I have attacked the pretensions of the self-proclaimed “new economics”. To me it is remarkable that the elite of economic policy making and academic economists should see itself as an embattled minority fighting a battle against the conventional economic wisdom. It is true […]

I was saddened to read of the death of Angus Maddison in this week’s Economist.  He was hardly a household name but his work was of particular interest to economic historians and macroeconomists interested in long-term trends. Maddison’s life work was to calculate economic indicators going back into the distant past. For example, if someone […]

A recent post on the Political Climate blog reminded me of the immense influence of Ulrich Beck, a German sociologist of risk, on the discussion of the relationship about humanity and the environment. The article accurately sums up Beck’s central argument as follows: “modern industry solves the old problem of scarcity, but in doing so […]

The always interesting Indur Goklany takes on neo-Malthusians and environmentalists in this post on the masterresource website. He gives useful statistical examples of how human well-being has improved hugely since 1750 while outlining his environmental transition thesis. The post is the second of a four part series by him. I interviewed Goklany for spiked back […]

Returning to watch the start of the 1973 BBC series on the Ascent of Man on DVD I was struck my how much the intellectual climate has changed since then.  Green ideas have  marginalised the broadly humanistic assumptions which were then prevalent. Even the idea of the “ascent of man” would be seen by many […]