Saturday, June 5, 2010
6.6.2010 This Just In...
All comments in red are made by me, Marsha Harris.
NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Spillonomics: Underestimating Risk
By DAVID LEONHARDT
What the oil spill and the financial crisis have in common.
The following is one person's comment to this very long article; I believe he is correct.
steven east hampton, new york
June 1st, 2010 6:39 pm
What the oil spill and the financial crisis have in common is so obvious that it boggles the mind: the American people and our political system are blind to any problem or reality that isn't instantaneous. The future? What's that? We are also blind to anything that doesn't effect the "I, I, me, me mentality."
We have known since the 1970s that our oil supply could be disrupted at any time due to geo-political events. And we have certainly known that our addiction to oil has funded terrorists for decades now. Furthermore we have known since the Santa Barbara and Exxon Valdez spills that a contnued reliance on oil might wreak havoc on our land and our people. Just ask Alaskan fisherman and Louisiana shrimpers about that.
And we certainly knew that the housing explosion and absurdly valued stock and commodity prices were a crisis in the making, but did we do something about them? Nah, why spoil the party with some responsible restraints?
While we're at it, let's add Social Security and Medicare to the list. Since the 1960s it was obvious to anyone with a calendar that a tremendous amount of money would be necessary to fund the aging baby boomer generation. And what was done about it? Oh, some temporary fixes here and there, but no real solution.
So, on it goes. We refuse to give up certain lifestyles, and refuse to reasonably limit certain benefits, while ignoring that these lifestyles and benefits are ultimately unsustainable.
We live in a fantasy world of demand, with no responsibility or accountabilty attached. So, we get what we deserve--a bankrupt country, a dysfunctional political system, empty headed "leaders" and academic studies that are exercises in futility and uselessness--whether in the energy area, the financial area or the entitlement area.
This is me speaking again:
1st: We all know BP's pitiful history with violations. We all also know that ONE man on that rig made a disasterous mistake. The decider. The person who thought everything would be OK. We are not talking about BP in this post.
We are discussing the disorder of our civilization.
Women of the world must push agressively for passive energy sources like solar and wind. It doesn't matter how expensive they are to develop or operate when we consider the consequences of the same old, same old.
The technologies are available to us. The corporate energy giants need to get on board with people like T. Boone Pickins, a Texas tycoon who has spent $millions of his own money to try and make us see how wind energy will work in the future.
Our country, our world, and our children are at stake here.
While we continue to rape Mother Earth, gashing her up for coal and oil, we have just seen a giant sink hole in S. America swallow up a 3-story building, we see volcanos erupting, earthquakes, tsunami's, hurricanes as her response.
Only women can make this happen. There will be terrorists until the mothers educate their children and the children see the light. Women have always been responsible for the giant changewaves of history. Look back and learn the lessons of history. Then move forward with a united vision to make a positive change. Even if it is just through blogging.
Sorry for the rant. I am just truly amazed at our unrelenting apathy.
*NOTE: Black Swan Event
A black swan, a member of the species Cygnus atratus, which remained undocumented until the eighteenth century, The Black Swan Theory or "Theory of Black Swan Events" was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain
1) the disproportionate role of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, and technology, and
2) the psychological biases that make people individually and collectively blind to uncertainty and unaware of the role of the rare event. Unlike the earlier philosophical "black swan problem," the "Black Swan Theory" refers only to unexpected events of large magnitude and consequence and their dominant role in history.
Such events, considered extreme outliers, collectively play vastly larger roles than regular occurrences.
Black Swan Events were described by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his 2007 book, The Black Swan.
Taleb regards almost all major scientific discoveries, historical events, and artistic accomplishments as "black swans" — undirected and unpredicted.
He gives the rise of the Internet, the personal computer, World War I, and the September 11, 2001 attacks as examples of Black Swan Events.
There is much more information about Mr. Taleb and his theory, which you can look up if you wish to know more...however, the underlying one is that we humans always need to rationalize everything...even that which is impossible to predict. Being married to TWO brilliant engineering types has made it impossible for me to remain uninformed...and sometimes, like now, I wish that was not the case.
xx's to anyone who has read this far...