Sunday, July 25, 2010

Greed and cowardice

Paul Krugman's column on the failure of a climate bill includes these lines.
It wasn’t the science, the scientists, or the economics that killed action on climate change. What was it?

The answer is, the usual suspects: greed and cowardice. …

The economy as a whole wouldn’t be significantly hurt if we put a price on carbon, but certain industries — above all, the coal and oil industries — would. And those industries have mounted a huge disinformation campaign to protect their bottom lines. …

By itself, however, greed wouldn’t have triumphed. It needed the aid of cowardice — above all, the cowardice of politicians who know how big a threat global warming poses, who supported action in the past, but who deserted their posts at the crucial moment. …

Greed, aided by cowardice, has triumphed. And the whole world will pay the price.

Greed I understand. It will always be with us. Our economic system depends on it in some very important ways. Cowardice seems to be newer. It's not that there weren't cowards before. But these days, very few people seem to have the courage to stand up and tell the truth. Not the politicians, not the public media. It's only people like Krugman who have the guts to tell it like it is. Of course one reason he has the guts is that the has the independence. Financially he is very secure.

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