There are lies, damned lies, statistics and then there's ...
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Link: BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Running the rule over Stern's numbers.
When even the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation's servile
Government toadies journalists start to question New Labour's Holy Writ, we must surely wonder what is going on. Consider this report from BBC Online's Science pages;
Richard Tol is a professor at both Hamburg and Carnegie Mellon Universities, and is one of the world's leading environmental economists.Call me a cynic. Call me a conspiracy theorist. Call me what you like but I will still pose the following questions.
The Stern Review cites his work 63 times; but that does not mean he agrees with it.
"If a student of mine were to hand in this report as a Masters thesis, perhaps if I were in a good mood I would give him a 'D' for diligence; but more likely I would give him an 'F' for fail.
"There is a whole range of very basic economics mistakes that somebody who claims to be a Professor of Economics simply should not make," he told The Investigation on BBC Radio 4.
Let's suppose you are a government so cash-strapped that you are closing hospitals, firing nurses and asking judges not to send criminals to jail for lack of space. Let's suppose you have already taxed your people so hard that (despite economic growth) their disposable incomes are down in real terms and they are sinking deeper into personal debt. Let's say you have already increased your official National Debt to above £500 billion for the first time. Let's say that you know (although you don't publish it) that the real debt is nearer £2 trillion including off-balance sheet PFI debt, or perhaps as much as £9 trillion including unfunded public sector pensions. Might you perhaps be tempted to encourage a tame academic on your payroll to massage his numbers? Might you want him, perhaps, consistently to pick (according to Professor Tol);
the most pessimistic for every choice that one can makeMight you be happy when your highly-paid and knighted employee (perhaps even in line for a peerage when the present unpleasantness dies down)
double counts, particularly the risks and ... underestimates what development and adaptation will do to impactsMight you possibly be happy to use his "F" grade analysis to justify draconian "green taxes," Orwellian schemes for monitoring the vehicle movements of every citizen or vicious attacks on the lifestyles of your class enemies?
Heavens no. That would be ridiculous. Why, based on your record of 10 years of honest, "whiter than white" government, would any reasonable citizen possibly possibly ask such questions?
They have absolutely no idea how to go about government. Policy on the run. They're not even interested, in my book. they're more intent on the dracopnian stuff their masters are telling them to hurry up and bring in.
Posted by: james higham | Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 08:52 PM