Flourish commerce, and let the country live

UPDATE: 1 Jan 2010. I found the “flourish commerce” phrase used by Pears Soap, certainly a more salubrious context than the one I knew it from, but this is the only image I could locate. It’s not legible, but it is there (the evidence is overwhelming; 48,000 national science associations can’t be wrong).

Pears Soap -

The inside of my grandparents’ white porcelain toilet bowl had the inscription, for the regular edification of we young boys controlling our aim: “Flourish commerce, and let the country live”, enlivened by the stirring sight of New Zealand’s and Great Britain’s crossed flags, in colour.

Written probably in about the 1940s, such frank promotion of commerce was non-controversial in the days before so-called “social welfare” had smuggled its obfuscating tenets into every area of life, until nobody knows where wealth comes from.

These days, forgetting what wealth is and how it’s made, we consider even schools and universities to be centres of production, in the same category as pig farms and steel mills, and we burden their transactions with a Goods and Services and every other sort of tax.

We failed to destroy our own productive capacity

It is fiscal misbehaviour bordering on the criminal to thus reduce funds needed for education, but nobody seems even to notice, much less to complain.

In the Christmas Eve edition of the Herald, Brian Fallow, Economics Editor, pontificates sadly over the failure at Copenhagen of developed nations to destroy their own productive capacity.

It’s a strange attitude from a man called the Economics Editor, that he seems either not to support a flourishing commerce or to understand where our carbon dioxide emissions come from. For the rest of us know both that a flourishing commerce benefits everybody and that carbon dioxide is the product of hard work of men and machine alike; you cannot reduce the gas without reducing the amount of work done. At least, not until different technology comes along.

With global warming it’s different — we’re killing ourselves

So there is an element of unreality in Fallow’s attitude towards mitigating global warming, as he laments that our ETS favours big-emitter “bludgers”, which are of course our biggest and best productive enterprises. The bludging, as he calls it, refers to sheltering those companies, such as Fonterra, from being decimated by their overseas competitors, who don’t face crippling “carbon” taxes imposed by their own governments. He does at least acknowledge the “great expense” of reducing emissions, but that is the closest he gets to admitting it is equivalent to reducing output. Perhaps he truly imagines that emissions can be reduced without affecting production.

If a foreign government imposed a protectionist tariff on our exports and similarly crippled one of these “bludgers”, our government would rush to their rescue, lobbying the World Trade Organisation or the United Nations to help change things. In the matter of global warming the government sees things differently, but the companies will be crippled nonetheless. It’s horrendous. We’re killing ourselves.

Why can’t intelligent people like Brian Farrow see that? He ought to know that there is a direct correlation between emissions of carbon dioxide and the production of wealth, and that therefore we cannot reduce the one without reducing the other. What does he think will follow from reducing our output? A wage increase?

Why else does he imagine that China and India show considerable reluctance to reduce their emissions? Do they not see the correlation? And why ever does he criticise us in the developed West for not being eager to reduce ours? Do we not see the correlation?

Overwhelming need to re-examine the science

Does he believe so strongly in the need to save the planet from destruction by our intransigent greed that no cost is too high for the country to bear? Or does he believe in the glittering promise that “carbon” trading will make lots of money? It’s hard to tell, although he’s very keen to see carbon trading rather than a carbon tax.

But Mr Fallow ignores what should not be ignored: the overwhelming need to re-examine the science of global warming.

Because, first of all, the common predictions of the anthropogenic global warming theory are not being met: there has been no statistically significant rise in temperature for 15 years, the heat content of the ocean is falling, sea level rise is normal and not accelerating, there is no increase in hurricane frequency or strength, northern sea ice is increasing from a low point of a couple of years ago, southern sea ice is normal, droughts are not increasing, forest fires are not increasing, floods are not increasing and the lies told about the inundation of Tuvalu and the Maldives by rising seas are the same today as they were twenty years ago and still nobody has been evacuated.

To press for expensive reductions now is unwise

Second, the whistle-blower at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, in releasing emails and computer code, revealed collusion and deception among leading climate scientists that severely biased the scientific conclusions which were the basis of political decisions over the past twenty years. An inquiry into that science and those decisions is desperately needed and it looks at though events are moving in that direction.

Either of those reasons—the science or the politics of that science—is sufficient grounds to stop and re-examine, so to continue pressing for expensive emissions reductions in this atmosphere is most unwise.

Still time to rehabilitate Farrow’s credibility?

About a year ago the ACT Party suggested that the select committee examining the proposed Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) hear competing views on the science. Brian Fallow said that was “ludicrous”.

I asked him to explain why a senior journalist would call it ludicrous to check the facts. He never did answer me.

Now he presses eagerly forward on the basis that still the facts are adequate. I call on him to have another look at the global warming situation before it’s too late to rehabilitate his credibility.

2 Thoughts on “Flourish commerce, and let the country live

  1. Rodney Hide on December 28, 2009 at 5:56 pm said:

    We had two problems: the first was that examining the science was dropped from the terms of reference — apart from ACT, all political parties agreed the “science was settled” (yeah right!); and the second was that the committee resolutely refused to consider any policy option other than the wealth-sapping ETS.

    There has been no testable science; no proper policy development — just an endless mantra and denigration of anyone with a question.

    Rodney Hide

  2. Wealth-sapping, what a good word for it. There’s surely no conspiracy behind the global warming fiasco, so it is a mystery just how thousands of people tolerated the list of defects you outline — and that’s just in New Zealand. The AGW theory cannot survive a real examination so we’re grateful that you and your party had the courage to challenge the science. It gave the sceptical questions a vital prominence.

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