A conversation with Deepak Lal, for Man and the Economy

Lal  Deepak Lal is the James S. Coleman Professor Emeritus of International Development Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles, professor emeritus of political economy at University College London, and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. He was a member of the Indian Foreign Service (1963-66) and has served as a consultant to the Indian Planning Commission, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, various UN agencies, South Korea, and Sri Lanka. From 1984 to 1987 he was research administrator at the World Bank.

  Lal is the author of a number of books, including The Poverty of Development Economics; The Hindu Equilibrium; Against Dirigisme; The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity and Growth; Unintended Consequences: The Impact of Factor Endowments, Culture, and Politics on Long-Run Economic Performance; and Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the 21st Century.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: From Gandhi’s point of view, in substance, Varanashram (caste system) is inherent in human nature and it was solely given a scientific expression through Hinduism. Similarly, can one contend that utility maximization and rational calculus are innate human traits that capitalism turned into a science?

  Deepak Lal: As I have shown in The Hindu Equilibrium, the caste system, far from being timeless and “inherent in human nature,” most likely arose as the Aryan response to the problem of securing a stable labor supply for the relatively labor-intensive agriculture they came to practice in the Indo-Gangetic plan. Given the ecological circumstances of this large plain (once the primeval forests had been cleared during the Aryan advance), and the primitive forms of transport then available, a major constraint on achieving a political solution for the provision of a stable labor supply, was the endemic political instability among the numerous feuding monarchies.

  This endemic political instability meant that various alternatives methods of tying down the scarce labor (relative to land) needed for the labor-intensive form of plow agriculture on the plains were not available, such as slavery, poll taxation, indenture, or limitations on migration. For these required the power of a centralized state and its attendant bureaucracy for enforcement. The caste system provided a more subtle and enduring answer to the Aryans’ problem of maintaining their rural labor supply. It established a decentralized system of control that did not require any overall (and larger) political community to exist for its survival, and it ensured that any attempt to start new settlements outside its framework would be difficult if not impossible. The division of labor by caste and its enforcement by local social ostracism were central to the schema.

  As for capitalism, understood as the natural “propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another,” it is hardly a new thing and must date back to the hunter-gatherer stage of our development in the Pleistocene. Given the time scale of Darwinian processes of “inclusive fitness”—it takes about ten thousand years to produce a new species—much of our current biological nature must have been determined in this distant past. Though, I should mention it was the creation of the whole legal cum administrative structure for enforcing property rights through the Church-State established by Gregory VII over Western Christendom which established capitalism as an institution, thus leading to the dynamic which began the Great Divergence in the economic fortunes of the West and the Rest.

  One essential component of the instincts that were determined thought evolutionary processes—during the millennia when we were hunter-gatherers—was to truck and barter. Another one was to behave morally. However, both appear to be underlying trade and “reciprocal altruism,” as our moral instincts were arguably fixed by repeated social interactions with one’s fellows on a “face to face” basis in the hunter-gatherer band. Indeed, the rise of settled agriculture and urban civilization seems to have enlarged the scope for opportunistic behavior, because of the relatively larger number of more anonymous social transactions entailed in civilized ways of living. Then, an internalized moral code must have been needed, as individuals came to deal with a host of anonymous “strangers” on an occasional basis.

  The cooperative gains that result from the increasing division of labor in a more complex civilization would not have been available without some mechanism (either inborn or cultural) for dealing with the increased potential for defection when social interactions became anonymous and sporadic. Thus, our moral instincts must have emerged as fruitful strategies to curb, detect, and punish defection in the strategic non-zero sum game of genetic competition with one’s fellows, with whom cooperation in various tasks of fields direct benefits; but even greater benefits accrue if one can cheat and be a free rider. The cosmologies of the ancient civilizations also created internalized moral codes to prevent such defection (through, for example, moral prohibitions against our basic instincts to lie and cheat).

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You have extensively written in praise of empires. How do you sum up the own assets and handicaps of the former British Empire—and of the present Commonwealth—to unfetter trade, to enforce order, and to sustain intensive and robust growth over a large economic space?

  Deepak Lal: Empires—which for our purposes can be simply defined as multiethnic conglomerates held together by transnational organizational and cultural ties—have historically both maintained peace and promoted prosperity. This is because the imperial pax or order has been associated with globalization—which is not a new phenomenon—and the prosperity it breeds. In the language of institutional economics, transaction costs were reduced by these transnational organizations through their extension of metropolitan property rights to other countries. And in integrating previously loosely linked or even autarkic countries and regions—through free flows of goods, capital, and people—into a common economic space, they promote those gains from trade and specialization emphasized by Adam Smith.

  Thus the Graeco-Roman empires linked the areas around the Mediterranean, the Abbasid empire of the Arabs linked the worlds of the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean, and the Mongol empire linked China with the Near East. Similarly, the various Indian empires created a common economic space in the sub-continent, while the expanding Chinese empire linked the economic spaces of the Yellow River with those of the Yangtze. It was the British who for the first time knit the whole world through their empire. But most of these empires have ultimately declined. Given the existing technology and the inevitable predatoriness of the state, most of them overextended themselves.

  As for the colonial impact on Indian polity and society the Mutiny of 1857 provides a convenient dividing line for two distinct phases. These phases in turn can be identified with two distinct lines of thought which emerged at the turn of the nineteenth century. These concerned the means for promoting the welfare of the Indian people which had explicitly been made the Company’s charge by the English Parliament in the late eighteenth century. The Mutiny also roughly marks the transition of the British in India from “nabobs” to “sahibs.” The nabobs sought to assimilate and to become a traditional Indian power; the sahibs set themselves apart and above their subjects.

  The notions of racial exclusiveness and the “White Man’s Burden,” so characteristic of the late imperial phase, were alien to India’s early British rulers, who exhibited a more robust delight in both the country’s mores and its women. Like the Moghuls and other past imperial rulers of India, they would have been satisfied to maintain law and order in the countryside in return for the land revenue which had so for long been the loadstone of imperial ambitions. When it comes to evaluating retrospectively the record of the British empire I think the glass is, like for most empires, either half-full or half-empty. One of the best things the rulers did was to implement a series of social reforms which substantially modernized the Indian society. The most important was the suppression of suttee or burning of widows on their husband’s funeral pyre. This was made illegal in 1828.

  In the previous fifteen years, recorded suttees alone had varied annually from 500 to 820. The second major measure was the suppression of infanticide, particularly of female children, whilst the most dramatic was the suppression of “thuggee,” which had involved ritual murder and robbery in the name of the goddess Kali. The reform of education is also worth mentioning. From 1835, an elitist system of providing secondary and higher education in English to the Indian upper classes was implemented. And three non-teaching universities (which were primarily examining bodies for the affiliated colleges) were established in 1857 at Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras. Given their need for Indians to man the intermediate and lower levels of the bureaucracy, the British encouraged literary and philosophical studies in the new schools and colleges. By contrast, both primary and technical education languished.

  However, another positive thing that the British empire achieved was the institution of property rights in the major asset of Indians—land—and that of the rule of law to enforce these rights. By separating the judiciary from the executive, anglicizing the British administration, and separating the commercial from the political interests of the British in India, it sought to erect an impersonal government. The task of enshrining this rule of law in a fully-fledged codification of Indian public law was not completed until 1861. As British law came to cover the most important areas of Indian lives, it was inevitable that there was a vast growth of indigenous lawyers, trained and skilled in operating in the new-style Western courts. They were to provide the backbone of the middle-classes, which were to emerge as a significant factor in India’s nationalist movement and post-Independence politics.

  The worst thing that the British empire did was to implement labor laws and protectionist measures in the late nineteenth century. Instead of promoting infant industries much of this protection shielded established ones against technical changes elsewhere (cotton textiles against Japanese imports) or fostered industries (such as sugar) in which India had no long-run comparative advantage. The ensuing waste of resources imposed lower growth in both employment and industrial output than was feasible. The Indian textile industry, which under laissez-faire and free trade had so triumphantly turned the tables against Lancashire in the second half of the nineteenth century, started declining with the introduction in 1881—soon after similar rights had been granted to workers in Britain—of legislation to protect industrial labor from perceived abuses.

  The British empire’s abandonment of the twin policies of free trade and laissez faire which had led India to be a pioneer of Third World industrialization, based on domestic capital and entrepreneurship and imported technology, led to a near century of creeping and after Independence galloping dirigisme, which damaged India’s growth prospects and the hopes of alleviating its ancient scourge of mass poverty. The breakdown of the global economy for the half-century from the First World War further eroded the incipient integration of India in the world economy, which had occurred during the British Raj. Beginning with the economic reforms of 1991 India, at last, seems to have turned its back on these near century of “inward looking” policies, so that on a long view it seems to back at where it left off at the end of the nineteenth century.

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A conversation with Jared Taylor, for Counter-Currents Publishing

3-12-18-4-768x965  Samuel Jared Taylor is a Japan-born American white advocate. He is the founder and editor of the online magazine American Renaissance. Taylor is also the president of American Renaissance’s parent organization, New Century Foundation.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: With the benefit of hindsight, what was the Golden Age of race relations in the USA? May it have been segregation?

  Jared Taylor: There has never been a Golden Age of race relations. I think it’s impossible to have a Golden Age of race relations because race relations are inherently conflictual.

  Segregation was better in the sense that when Blacks and Whites do not come into contact, there is less conflict. It was also better in some respects for Blacks because, today, an intelligent, hardworking black person can get out of a black neighborhood and live in a white neighborhood. During segregation, competent, intelligent Black people lived in Black neighborhoods, and they could be role models. For that reason, there are many Blacks who say that segregation was better for Blacks because they had a full range of rich people/poor people, working people/non-working people, married people/single people, whereas, now, the black neighborhoods often have only the worst of the Blacks. Many have become areas of great degeneracy, which are very bad for Blacks and very bad for the country.

Many readers will not believe this, but at least in the South, when there was a clear hierarchy with Whites above and Blacks below, it was easier to have genuine, affectionate relationships. No one dares talk about it now, but there was often a sentiment that can only be described as love between whites and the blacks who worked for them. I believe this was possible only because the hierarchy was clear—people of both races knew what to expect of each other. The depiction of Huck and Jim in Huckleberry Finn captures something of this kind of affection. It is much more difficult to have genuine friendship that crosses racial lines in our current era of equality by fiat despite biological inequality and in a time ofuckHucHu strident Black identity politics.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Thomas Jefferson spoke in favor of freeing and deporting Afro-American slaves. As such, do you think he would welcome the re-emigration of Congoid and Arab colonizers out of Europe?

  Jared Taylor: Certainly. He would very much support that. Thomas Jefferson was not at all unique in wanting to repatriate black Africans. Many distinguished Americans wanted the same thing. President James Monroe was very closely involved in establishing the country of Liberia. The capital Monrovia is named for James Monroe because he helped establish Liberia. Even Abraham Lincoln—although he is revered in the United States as the Great Emancipator—wanted to send freed blacks away outside of the United States. He did not want the United States to be composed of free Blacks and free Whites living together. He wanted all the Blacks to leave the United States.

  These people could never have imagined a Europe in which there were many Blacks, many Arabs, many Asians. They would have considered this a terrible form of national, racial, and cultural suicide.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Compared with that of Founding Fathers, does race consciousness mean a significant political issue for President Trump?

  Jared Taylor: I don’t think Donald Trump thinks seriously about race. He is always accused of being racist, but, although he understands that, for example, Muslims do not integrate very well in the United States and he does not like illegal immigrants coming into the United States and going on welfare, I don’t think Donald Trump understands that for the United States to continue to be part of Western civilization, it must have a white majority. He may understand this but simply be afraid to say so out loud, but I think it more likely that he just doesn’t understand.

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A conversation with Daniel Conversano, for American Renaissance

daniel-2  Daniel Conversano, co-founder of the Suavelos association, is a Franco-Italian thinker and novelist who defines himself as a white advocate and Westernist. He is the author of Désolé Jean-Pierre, and publishes twice a month long filmed interviews with figures of nationalism, cultural and political interviews that he has been conducting since April 2016. The program is called “Vive l’Europe” and is very successful on the French-speaking net.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: How do you move from fighting for the nation to fighting for the white race?

  Daniel Conversano: In my opinion, there is no nation without a people. This is why I have long defined myself as a nationalist and not as a patriot, the difference between the two being that the nationalist takes into consideration the people in its racial dimension—the blood. France is a white country, like all European countries. The population of a white nation may change ethnically from one European group to another, it will remain a white country, and therefore a European nation.

  As for clarifying what the “white race” is, there are many scientific definitions from anthropology to population genetics. At minimum, I think we can agree on an almost geographical approach to the notion—namely, that the whites are “the locals” of Europe. The French people are made up of Celtic Whites, Germanic Whites, Franks, Latins, Basques, and Bretons. These are the main ethnic groups that forged the history of France.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: You like to describe the civilization of the white race, or Western civilization, as superior. Please explain.

  Daniel Conversano: I consider culture as the product of blood. Peoples achieve at levels that correspond to their aptitudes. They develop the value systems that express their mentality. It is, admittedly, not politically correct to point this out, but it is possible to establish hierarchies between nations according to results—whether from the point of view of technology, standard of living, arts, or individual.

  I would not say that Western civilization is absolutely superior to Chinese or Japanese civilization, for example. As for the Arabs, it must be understood that their culture has been destroyed by Islam, and that their current backwardness seems essentially linked to religious rather than ethnic reasons. Black Africans have never created civilizations, in the generally understood sense.

  Clearly, Western civilization—and by that I mean Europe, North America, Australia, or even Western Russia—seems to me to be superior to everything that could be produced on the African continent and in much of the Islamic East. It is in the West that one lives the best, and immigration from the Third World reflects this.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: It is sometimes argued, in the field of historical sociology, that the foundation of Western civilization lies in heroism—in praising and encouraging exceptional individuals because they are exceptional. Do you agree?

  Daniel Conversano: Yes, heroism is at the heart of the story of the white man. The history of the West boils down to the slow and progressive understanding of the uniqueness of human life, and of the individual importance of exceptional men, whose scientific, political or artistic work stands the test of time. How have we been able to offer those men the life they deserve, so that their genius may flourish? That’s what fascinates me. In this respect, the West seems to me to be distinct from Asian cultures, which put the collective before the individual, social cohesion before self-fulfillment, and are therefore not favorable to the expression of human genius.

  There are men who have more individual worth than others—in any society. It is normal that those men be put forward. It is normal for them to be given a life that allows them to give their best and perform works that benefit the whole of society. I do not defend just free enterprise; I defend a mobile hierarchy, which rests on natural superiority, and which rewards genius, intelligence, work, honor, abnegation, and the capacity to bring good to society.

  To me, liberalism should be the means to establish a just hierarchy—as opposed to a rigid hierarchy that disdains the deserving and creative individual, and does not allow him to rise socially. Frédéric Delavier puts it well: France is essentially a country of castes that ignores the culture of heroism in favor of a culture of degrees and credentials. It goes without saying that I am not nostalgic for the Ancien Régime, although I readily admit that it was the royalists who made France. A person born a commoner had a predetermined fate, dark and off-putting; he could not hope for improvement. The castes of the past were not much more rigid than those of today.

  At the bottom line, I would say that we have to preserve heroism, which veritably stems from the Greek spirit, but to go forward rather than ignore the obsolete character of the inequalities of the Ancien Régime. We must defend the French people, which is a European people of the white race and a Christian culture, but I would say that we must promote liberalism—on the condition that it favors individual fulfillment, and that it allows a more equitable society, instead of enforcing a new caste system based on money, nepotism, and academic degree. For this reason, the synthesis of national-liberalism seems to me to be the politically desirable path.

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A conversation with Guillaume Faye, for American Renaissance

260px-Guillaume_Faye_par_Claude_Truong-Ngoc_février_2015  Guillaume Faye is a French philosopher, known for his judeophile right-wing paganism, his call for a Eurosiberian Federation of white ethno-states, or his concept of archeofuturism, which involves combining traditionalist spirituality and concepts of sovereignty with the latest advances in science and technology.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: In my opinion, the liberalism [libertarianism, free-markets] of tomorrow will be a liberalism at the crossroads of Julius Evola and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti—a reconciliation that Italian Fascism basically failed to achieve. In other words, the liberalism of the future will be an archeofuturist liberalism. Do you envision France as a fertile ground for this new liberalism?

  Guillaume Faye: If one considers France from the point of view of Frédéric Bastiat, it is basically a communist country. In fact, France is today more communist than the Soviet Union ever was. It is one of the last bastions of communism in a world that is now profoundly liberal. Not only does government spending represent more than 58 percent of GDP, and redistribution expenditure more than 50 percent of GDP, but with a population that represents less than 1 percent of the world’s population, France represents 15 percent of the world’s welfare state redistribution.

  I don’t think that France will ever be a liberal country, for liberalism is quite simply incompatible with the French mentality. On the other hand, the world is increasingly liberal, but it is a liberalism that makes serious mistakes—starting with free-trade agreements biased in favor of China. That said, the trade war launched by President Trump seems to me to be a very dangerous thing, likely to trigger a whole new economic crisis far worse than that of 2008.

  As for Fascism, it was indeed a failure—were it only for its socialist economics and its warlike hubris. One can always imagine an alternative version of Fascism, the preeminent intellectual reference of which would have been Vilfredo Pareto, Julius Evola, or Filippo Tommaso Marinetti—instead of Giovanni Gentile. The fact still remains that it is impossible to change history, and that Fascism is for us only a socialist monster of the past. It is pointless to look in the rearview mirror; we need to focus on the future. And as I tried to show in my book Archeofuturism, when the historical period of the 19th and 20th centuries will have come to a close, and its egalitarian hallucinations—including a certain utopian version of liberalism—will have been sunk by catastrophe, humanity will revert to its archaic values, which are purely biological and human (i.e., anthropological).

  This will lead to the separation of sex roles; the transmission of ethnic and folk traditions, spirituality, and priestly organization; visible and structuring social hierarchies; the worship of ancestors; rites and tests of initiation; the re-establishment of organic communities—from the family to the folk. It will mean the de-individualization of marriage in that unions will be the concern of the whole community and not merely of the married couple; an end of the confusion between eroticism and conjugality; prestige of the warrior caste; inequality among social statuses—not implicit inequality, which is unjust and frustrating and is what we find today in egalitarian utopias, but explicit and ideologically legitimated inequality. It will mean duties that match rights, hence a rigorous justice that gives people a sense of responsibility; a definition of peoples—and of all established groups or bodies—as diachronic communities of destiny rather than synchronic masses of individual atoms.

  In brief, in the vast, oscillating movement of history which Nietzsche called “the eternal return of the identical,” future centuries will witness a return to these archaic values one way or another. The question for us Europeans is whether we will have these values imposed upon us, on account of our cowardliness, by Islam—as is already happening—or whether we are capable of asserting these values ourselves by drawing them from our historical memory. Alas, given the extent to which Arab-Muslim peoples have already colonized European soil, I am afraid that their re-emigration, and the liberation of France and Europe, can be set up only at the conclusion of an extremely bloody conflict.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: The Italian Renaissance is generally conceived of as a rebirth of Paganism in the formal context of Catholicism. Yet, far from being exclusively Pagan, the Renaissance was also nourished by a deep interested in Judaism. How do you explain this?

  Guillaume Faye: The Italian Renaissance was not a rebirth of paganism, but a return to the arts and techniques of ancient Rome. Not only has Italy never ceased to be pagan despite the strenuous efforts of Catholic prelates, but Graeco-Latin paganism has always found itself in osmosis with Judaism. Thus, in the pagan Roman tradition, there has never been any anti-Judaism; quite the contrary, the Jewish people was the only one authorized to practice its religion, for the good reason that Judaism was posing no political threat to Romans—unlike with the religion of the Gallic druids, who were therefore persecuted by Rome.

  Two years ago, an Italian historian published a book, Ponzio Pilato. Un enigma tra storia e memoria, [Pontius Pilate: An enigma between history and memory] in which it is shown that the Great Sanhedrin asked Romans to kill Christ because they recognized the Roman emperor as their “king,” not Jesus who let himself be called “King of the Jews.” In turn, Romans, who had no trouble with satisfying the request to kill Jesus, were absolutely delighted to hear how supportive Jews were of the emperor who had federated them. For this reason in particular, there has never been a tradition of anti-Judaism in Italy.

  Going back to the Renaissance, I subscribe to the thesis of decline developed by Bryan Ward-Perkins, an English historian living in Rome, who has shown in his book The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization that an immense setback in technology and artistic production happened in several parts of the Roman empire, following the German invasions in the West and the Arab invasions in the East. The Renaissance was not a religious rebirth of paganism; it was an artistic rediscovery of the painting and sculpting techniques of Antiquity, while Europe had basically returned to the bronze age with the fall of the Roman empire.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: From a neo-pagan point of view like yours, why do you have more respect for Judaism than for Christianity?

  Guillaume Faye: While Christianity carries within it and unleashes a certain moral masochism of the Jewish soul, there is no call for weakness and submission, no castrating message in Talmudic Judaism. This is basically the thesis of Friedrich Nietzsche, who fiercely denounced Christianity, but also was an ardent admirer of the Jewish diaspora and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism. “Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other too” has nothing to do with the Talmud. On the other hand, in preaching the socialist hatred of the rich, or the subservience of native white Europeans before North African, black African, and Asian colonizers, Pope Francis actually puts himself in harmony, and not in contradiction, with the Gospel’s teaching.

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A conversation with Richard Lindzen, for Association des Climato-réalistes

lindzen-cato_1  Richard Siegmund Lindzen is an American atmospheric physicist known for his work in the dynamics of the atmosphere, atmospheric tides, and ozone photochemistry. He has published more than 200 scientific papers and books. From 1983 until his retirement in 2013, he was Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a lead author of Chapter 7, “Physical Climate Processes and Feedbacks,” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Third Assessment Report on climate change. He has criticized the scientific consensus about climate change and what he has called “climate alarmism.”

  In May 2018, Prof. Lindzen had a conversation with Mr. Grégoire Canlorbe, who interviewed him on behalf on the French Association des climato-réalistes—the only climate-realist organization in France.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Your early work dealt with ozone photochemistry, the aerodynamics of the middle atmosphere, the theory of atmospheric tides, and planetary waves. How do you present to the layman the several scientific discoveries you were responsible for in these areas?

  Richard Lindzen: My work is mostly about ‘explaining’ rather than ‘discovering’, and I doubt that my achievements would mean much to laymen. With respect to my early work, I provided the explanation for the Quasi-biennial Oscillation of the tropical stratosphere. This phenomenon refers to the fact that the wind between 16 and about 30 km in the tropics blows from east to west for approximately a year, and then reverses and blows from west to east for about another year.

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A conversation with Willie Soon, for Heartland Institute

a-dr-willie-soon-gc-article-11  Willie Soon is an independent solar physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who has been studying the Sun and its influence on the Earth’s climate for more than a quarter of a century. In September 2017, he had a conversation with Grégoire Canlorbe. Here Dr Soon speaks for himself.

Polar bears – the poster-child of climate panic

  Canlorbe: You say polar bears are far less endangered by global warming than by environmentalists dreading ice melt. Could you expand?

  Dr Soon: Yes, indeed. I have argued that too much ice will be the ultimate enemy for polar bears. Polar bears need less sea ice to be well fed and to reproduce. Why? Think about this for a minute: Polar bears eat a lot. Any large colony will need a great deal of food. The bears’ staple diet is seal blubber. But seals are a long way up the food chain. So a fully functional and healthy eco-system is required. And that means oceans warm enough to support the lower links in the food chain from plankton all the way up to seals.

  Indeed, a good puzzle for polarbear science is the answer the question how polar bears survived during the ice ages, when ice covered coastal zones and large parts of the global ocean. Ice was piled miles deep on land, making it extremely difficult for eco-systems to provide enough food. Of course, areas of relative warmth, which population biologists call refugia, always exist. They may well the key to explaining how polar bears survived the Last Glacial Maximum about 21,000 years ago.

Capture d’écran 2018-02-25 à 14.31.55

  The so-called “environmentalists”, who seem to allow unreasoning emotion and political prejudice to stand in place of rational thought and sound science, became very angry when I asked them whether they would prefer to see a billion polar bears instead of the 20,000-30,000 living now. The real threat to polar bears was unregulated hunting, which reduced the population to perhaps as few as 5000 bears in the early 1970s.

  After the November 1973 agreement to regulate hunting and outlaw hunting from aircraft and icebreakers, the polar bear population rebounded. By 2017 it was approaching 30,000. In 2016 a survey by the Nunavut government found a vulnerable population in the western Hudson Bay region to have been stable for at least five years.

  I should say categorically that this polar bear fear-mongering is evidence of mass delusion promoted by group think. As a physical scientist rather than a biologist, I am generally reluctant to get involved in such topics as the influence of climate on polar-bear population, health and biology. But in 2002, Markus Dyck asked me to examine independently these strange and insupportable claims by environmental extremists that polar bears are threatened with extinction by global warming.

  Consider the facts. From 6000 to 10,000 years ago, the Earth was considerably warmer than today. Yet the polar bears survived. In fact, they had evolved from land-based brown bears some 150,000 to 200,000 years ago, and to this day they rear their cubs in land-based dens burrowed into the snow.

Capture d’écran 2018-02-25 à 14.34.42

  Readers curious about Al Gore’s false statement that a scientific survey had found polar bears drowning because they could not find ice should see my talk on how environmentalists are the real threat to polar bears: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmoKRz5VcbI. The survey cited by Gore in his sci-fi comedy horror movie in fact found that just four polar bears had drowned, three of them very close to land, and they had died because of high winds and high waves in an exceptional Arctic storm. The authors of the paper were later victimized by their academic colleagues at the instigation of environmental extremists because they had stated – correctly – that it was the storm, and not global warming, that had killed the bears.

  What is more, in the dozen years before the survey, the sea ice extent in the Beaufort Sea, where the survey took place, had actually increased slightly. At no point was Al Gore’s story true. In 2007 the High Court in London condemned Gore for his false statements about polar bears, whose Linnaean classification is ursus maritimus – the Bear of the Sea. It is now known that they can swim for more than 100 miles over periods of several days. Al Gore could not even ride a pushbike that far.

  One positive aspect of my work in science is that I have befriended many seekers after truth. A polar bear expert, Professor Mitch Taylor of Lakehead University, told me late in 2017:

  “Just finished up in Davis Strait with 275 DNA samples.  The bears were in better condition this year than they were during the 2005-2007 study years.  The Wrangel Island bears in the photo are in good condition, but the Davis Strait bears were even fatter.  Markus [Dyck] has found the same in the Cape Dyer area.  Local people confirm the bears are very fat this year and are also reporting a big increase in ringed seals (immigration, not local productivity).”

  Keen readers who may want solid information and frequent scientific updates about the overall health and trends of all 19 subpopulations of polar bears should visit the website of another friend of mine, Dr. Susan Crockford: http://polarbearscience.com.

Is climate change naturally cyclical?

Capture d’écran 2018-02-25 à 14.38.48

  Canlorbe: Climate change is surely nothing new. It is a long-established, cyclical behavior of our planet, which has long been oscillating between glaciations and interglacial warm periods. Should we diagnose Mother Nature with a bipolar disorder?

  Dr Soon: Earth’s climate system dynamically oscillates between icehouse and hothouse conditions in geological time or, to a lesser degree, between the glacial and interglacial climates of the last 1-2 million years. But, as with many interesting questions about the Earth’s climate, there is no certain answer. The data do not support over-simplistic accounts.

Sea level rise – mother of all scares

  I was fascinated to discover that changing sea levels, including extremely high global sea levels 65-250 feet (20-75 m) above today’s mean, occurred during the “hothouse Earth” era. One does not need an enormous ice sheet for sea level to be high, chiefly because the Earth’s coastal zones and ocean basins may be more porous and capacious than one would imagine. Indeed, deep geological studies proffer good evidence to support my position. I included this empirical evidence in an essay I recently co-wrote with Viscount (Christopher) Monckton of Brenchley.

  In addition to the ever-changing shape and depth of the ocean basins and coastal zone boundaries, one must also bear in mind the “leaky Earth”: there appears to be a continuous exchange of water between the ocean bottom and the Earth’s crust, as Professor Shige Maruyama of Tokyo Institute of Technology has shown.

  Sea level has risen by 400 feet over the past 10,000 years. For the past 200 years it has been rising at about 8 inches per century, and that rate may well continue. It has very little to do with global warming and much more to do with long-term climate cycles. In fact, so slowly has sea level been rising that environmental-extremist scientists have tampered with the raw data by adding an imagined (and imaginary) “global isostatic adjustment”, torturing the data until they show a rate of sea-level rise that has not in reality occurred.

Capture d’écran 2018-02-25 à 14.42.00

  My own examination of the Earth’s climate system extends beyond the solar system to include our place in the galaxy. When the solar system was born, we were 1–3 kiloparsecs closer to the galactic center than today. We are now 8 kiloparsecs from the galactic center.

  The solar system drifts along the  spiral density wave that orbits the center of the galaxy about  every quarter of a billion years. Sometimes, the solar system has lain above or below the plane of the galactic disk. Also, we need to consider the evolution of the Sun from its thermonuclear-burning core to its outer thermosphere. Furthermore, for 4.5 billion years the planets have continued to push and pull the Sun around the barycenter of the solar system.

  It was 13.82 billion years ago that, at the moment of creation that we now call the Big Bang, God said, Let there be light, and there was light. The solar system, including our planet, is thus one-third as old as the known universe. Our place and time in the universe cannot be ignored in assessing the climate. The original proposition to resolve the Faint Young Sun Paradox by WeiJia Zhang of Peking University concerned the relevance of Hubble expansion flow in affecting the mean distance between the Sun and the Earth over geological time. One must even consider our galaxy’s interaction with passing stellar systems, especially the coming merger (in a few billion years) between the Milky Way and the M31 Andromeda galaxy to form the Milkomeda cluster. This very likely event will occur within the five billion years of the Sun’s lifetime. Gravity rules even over very large distances.

  These are just a few of the considerations that lead me to insist on being open-minded in pursuing my scientific study. I study the Sun mainly to improve my own understanding. As A.E. Housman’s Greek chorus used to put it, “I only ask because I want to know.”

It’s the Sun, stupid!

  Canlorbe: You suggest that the Sun’s behavior is the driving force of climate warming, not factory smokestacks, urban sprawl or our sins of emission. Would you like to remind us of the keystones of your hypothesis?

  Dr Soon: For a quarter of a century I have studied the hypothesis that solar radiation is causing or at lest modulating climatic variations over periods of several decades. The most up-to-date report of my sun-climate connection research is in a chapter I and my colleague Dr. Sallie Baliunas contributed to a book in honor of my late colleague Professor Bob Carter of Australia (1942–2016). For the more serious science geeks, a fuller paper, with my two excellent colleagues from Ireland, the Connollys pere et fils, is worth reading. If your readers have any difficulty in finding these works, just contact me.

Continuer la lecture de « A conversation with Willie Soon, for Heartland Institute »

A conversation with Patrick Moore, for the Association des Climato-réalistes

cropped-patrick-header  Patrick Moore is a Canadian activist, and former president of Greenpeace Canada. Since leaving Greenpeace, which he helped  to found, Moore has criticized the environmental movement for what he sees as scare tactics and disinformation, saying that the environmental movement “abandoned science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism.” He has sharply and publicly differed with many policies of major environmental groups, including Greenpeace itself on other issues including forestry, biotechnology, aquaculture, and the use of chemicals for many applications.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: The beliefs and values of an individual generally reach such a degree of interdependence (regardless of the poorly or rigorously logical character of this interconnection) that challenging a particular aspect of his worldview sets the whole edifice in motion, and not just that particular belief or value. When you finally decided to distance yourself from Greenpeace, how much had you been evolving in your personal philosophy?

  Patrick Moore: Well, I have to say even at the beginning of Greenpeace, I didn’t share all the same values and opinions of my comrades. I was doing a PhD in ecology, so I was involved in a science education and, although there were a few people in the original group who had some science education, in the end, science was lost altogether in the Greenpeace evolution, to where during my last 6 years as a director of Greenpeace International, none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. In the beginning, we had a very strong humanitarian orientation to save human civilization from all-out nuclear war.

  That was basically the main focus of Greenpeace. The “peace” part was really what we were emphasizing in the beginning. Our theme was that all-out nuclear war would also be extremely damaging to the environment, the “green” part. So “green” and “peace” being put together in one word was a revolutionary concept and one of the reasons it gained so much authority and power, because it resonated with people that humans and the environment were one thing closely related to each other. As time went on, the peace kind of got lost when we shifted to “save the whales,” “save the baby seals,” “stop toxic waste dumping,” and “anti-nuclear energy”, instead of anti-nuclear weapons. And so the thinking shifted to where we were focusing more on nature, and that caused the “peace” to drop off the end of Greenpeace, a little bit, and by the time I left in 1986, Greenpeace and much of the rest of the environmental movement was characterizing humans as the enemies of earth, the enemies of nature. And this does not resonate with me.

  Being an ecologist, I see all life as one system on the earth. Ecology is about the interrelationships among all of the different forms of life, including humans of course. We came from nature, we evolved from nature in the same manner, evolutionarily, as all of the others species did. So, to see human as separate and, in a way, the only evil animal, is how it is now projected. We’re the only bad animal, the only bad species. Even weeds are better than us, disease agents are not evil, they are just there, part of nature. While humans in a sort of original sin kind of fashion, have become characterized as the enemies of nature, so that’s why I left Greenpeace on the broader front, because I don’t believe in that even for one second, that we are the enemies of nature, and you’ll understand why later in the interview, but, for me, my distancing from Greenpeace began about four years before I left.

  In 1982, there was a meeting of international environmental with about 85 of us, I believe, from all over the world chosen on geographical criteria. I was from Western Canada, the one person from Western Canada in that meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. After the first UN Conference on the environment in 1972 in Stockholm, the first United Nations agency to be in a developing country, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was founded in Kenya. And in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Stockholm conference, we 85 environmental were brought together by the Environmental Liaison Center, which was the environmental NGO’s liaison with UNEP. It was at that meeting that I heard for the first time in my life the term “sustainable development.” That term had been coined earlier in the day at a meeting between environmentalists from the industrial countries and environmentalists from the developing countries.

  Most people think sustainable development was a compromise between environmentalists and industrialists, the development part, but no. It was a compromise among environmentalists, because if you’re an environmentalist in a developing country, you cannot be against development. Whereas most of the environmental people from the industrial countries were basically against mega-projects and developments like large dams and nuclear power plants, huge construction projects they were always opposing, and still do today. But in developing countries, if you’re against development, you are laughed away from the room, because developing countries are developing and that’s all there is to it, they’re trying to have a better life for their citizens and more wealth for their countries.

  So that’s when I first began to realize, this term “sustainable development” told me that the challenge for environmentalism going forward would be much larger than just awareness of the environment. It includes the social and economic dimensions. Sustainable development means you have to take into consideration the fact that there are more than 7 billion human beings, who every day need food, energy, and materials to survive. Food, energy, and materials, all come from the environment. So I saw things in a completely different picture as a result of this new approach. I too, in the campaigning of the environmental movement that what we did 24/7, all we did was think about our campaigns, I kind of had the blinkers on, a little bit and only seeing the ecology and the environment and nature, and not seeing the relationships with the social and economic factors that govern our daily lives, and so I realized that the incorporation of environmental values into the social and economic fabric had to be taken.

  You can’t just say, “Ok, we’re going to save the environment, never mind the people, just let them die, because they can’t have anything anymore, because it will affect the environment.” That’s not a correct approach and I think too much today, if you take for example, the movement against oil, and pipelines to carry to refineries and all of this. It’s basically being proposed that we commit economic suicide. If you look at the environmental movement position on energy today, they are against fossil fuels, they are against nuclear energy, they are against hydroelectric energy, they are against 98.5 % of the world’s energy. This would be suicide, not just economic suicide but really suicide, like dying. So, over 4 years, not knowing or understanding what I could possibly do next after being in Greenpeace for 15 years, right out of university, right out of my PhD, I had no chance to have a “normal” life in industry or government, at this point I was far, too far gone along my way of thinking to do that. So I left Greenpeace.

  Why did I leave Greenpeace finally? Because they adopted a campaign to ban chlorine worldwide. And of this I thought how ridiculous, I’m in this group where all the other directors have no science and they’re saying we should ban the element chlorine from existence in human affairs. They didn’t seem to understand that chlorine was the most important element for public health and medicine and when I saw this I realized they really didn’t care about people. They would ban an element which is so important in healthcare and in medicine, adding chlorine to our drinking water has been the biggest advance in the history of public health in swimming pools and spas where it prevents bacteria from killing us, and most of our synthetic medicines, pharmaceuticals or drugs are made with chlorine chemistry. Chlorine is important, precisely because it’s toxic to bacteria and other disease agents that are trying to kill us.

  So in the end, that was the sharp point of the stick for me. I could not stay in an association, as an international director, that was against the use of chlorine for medicine and public health. And so I left and began a salmon farm in aquaculture at my childhood home on Northern Vancouver Island and, within a year or two, was being attacked by Greenpeace for growing fish. Then I really knew I was smart to get out, because aquaculture, of course, is one of the most important future methods of food production for this world. Producing healthy proteins and fats better for you in a diet than land animals, not that I don’t eat those but that’s a long winded explanation of why I left Greenpeace.

Grégoire Canlorbe with Patrick Moore

Patrick Moore (on the left), in the company of Grégoire Canlorbe,
in December 2017 in Paris

  Grégoire Canlorbe: President Trump makes no mystery of his climate skepticism, thus echoing the own language elements of his Russian homologue. It was revealed that Mr. Putin’s skepticism dates from the early 2000s, when his staff did very extensive work trying to uncover all aspects of the alleged anthropogenic climate warning. Do you believe the Kremlin, along with the Trump administration, has become a front-runner in the fight against climate change totalitarianism?

  Patrick Moore: Yes, it’s been very obvious for some time that the Russians, particularly Russian scientists, do not believe that man-made climate change has been a catastrophe of some kind. I mean, most scientists will say, yes of course, there are over seven billion humans and our missions and our activities, especially the clearing of ecosystems for agriculture, it’s obviously having some effect on the world but whether it’s having a huge effect on the climate is very much debatable, and I don’t really believe it is true. Microclimates, yes, cities have made changes that had make it warmer inside, for example, the “urban heat island effect” as it is called. So everywhere you go where there is a city with a lots of concrete and lots of heat being used in the buildings, you will find that it is warmer in the city than it is out in the country right nearby.

Continuer la lecture de « A conversation with Patrick Moore, for the Association des Climato-réalistes »

A conversation with István Markó, for Watts Up With That

  20604491_527762360889101_3787449182197163589_nIstván Markó (1956 – 2017) was a professor and researcher in organic chemistry at the Université catholique de Louvain. Prof. Dr. Marko was an outspoken defender of the skeptical view on the issue of human-caused/anthropogenic global warming, appearing in numerous French-language media on the Internet, in public debates and diverse English-language blog postings. He also joined with Anglo-Saxon climate skeptics, publishing several articles together on Breitbart News.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Climate activism is thought of as Marxism’s Trojan horse, a way for its followers to proceed with their face masked, in the never-ending holy war that Marxism claims will be necessary to establish communist totalitarianism. Yet it was actually Margaret Thatcher, the muse of conservative libertarianism, who kick-started the IPCC. How do you make sense of this?

  István Markó: More precisely, Margaret Thatcher, although a trained chemist and therefore aware of the mendacious character of such an allegation about carbon dioxide (CO2), was the first proponent to use the excuse of climate implications posed by CO2 to achieve her political ends. At the time, that is, in the mid-1980s, Thatcher was waging war with the almighty coal union. In those days, the UK coal unions were remunerating themselves with public monies and by lobbying via the Labour Party had managed to pass an enormous number of laws and subsidies to keep an industry afloat that was no longer profitable on its own.

  While facing a strike by the British miners, chaired by Arthur Scargill, (nick-named “Arthur the Red”) who was later to found and lead the Socialist Labor Party, Thatcher thought it worthwhile to enshrine the thesis of warming linked to CO2 emissions to wind up the trade unionists holding her country hostage. But she was not really the initiator of the IPCC. The “kick-off,” as you call it, came more from personalities who were involved in hard ecologism,[1] such as Norwegian Gro Harlem Brundtland, who chaired the UN Commission responsible for the famous 1987’s report “Our Common Future,” or Canadian Maurice Strong, who ranks among the founding members of the IPCC.

  The belief in a catastrophic greenhouse effect due to CO2 emissions provided Thatcher with an additional asset, in her arm wrestling with the union, to set up the United Kingdom to get out of coal and to transition to nuclear energy. It was a belief she knew to be unfounded, but one she largely helped to entrench and popularize. One can, admittedly, deplore Thatcher’s strategy based on a perversion of science. The fact remains that, at that time, the electric power generation industries, notably that from coal, did not do so under very clean conditions. Even though CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with a poison, there existed then a real pollution associated with coal burning due to a lack of modern emission control technology.

  Indeed, the combustion of coal not only produces innocuous CO2 emissions, it is accompanied by sulfurous and nitrogenous waste, produces SO2 emissions, SO3 emissions, and NOx emissions, ejects fine particles, and leaves nominally radioactive ashes (despite the fact that the epidemiological evidence and data for any serious health harms are still very controversial and hard to come by). Since the 1980s, the treatment of industrial pollution has however evolved. Today an electrical utility power generation plant that uses coal as a raw material now results in very little environmental pollution.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: According to you, a person sensitive to pastoral charms, smitten with lounges of greenery and variegated grass beds, can only celebrate the increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air. Could you come back to the necessity to stop demonizing CO2 as a “Satanic gas” in view of the objective data of chemistry?

  István Markó: Again, CO2 is not, and has never been, a poison. Each of our exhalations, each of our breaths, emits an astronomical quantity of CO2 proportionate to that in the atmosphere (some >40,000 ppm); and it is very clear that the air we expire does not kill anyone standing in front of us. What must be understood, besides, is that CO2 is the elementary food of plants. Without CO2 there would be no plants, and without plants there would be no oxygen and therefore no humans. The equation is as simple as that.

Capture d’écran 2017-10-28 à 15.09.05

  Plants need CO2, water, and daylight. These are the mechanisms of photosynthesis, to generate the sugars that will provide them with staple food and building blocks. That fundamental fact of botany is one of the primary reasons why anyone who is sincerely committed to the preservation of the “natural world” should abstain from demonizing CO2. Over the last 30 years, there has been a gradual increase in the CO2 level. But what is also observed is that despite deforestation, the planet’s vegetation has grown by about 20%. This expansion of vegetation on the planet, nature lovers largely owe it to the increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

  If we study, however, what has been happening at the geological level for several million years, we realize that the present period is characterized by an extraordinarily low CO2 level. During the Jurassic, Triassic, and so on, the CO2 level rose to values sometimes of the order of 7000, 8000, 9000 ppm, which considerably exceeds the paltry 400 ppm that we have today. Not only did life exist, in those far-off times when CO2 was so present in large concentration in the atmosphere, but plants such as ferns commonly attained heights of 25 meters. Reciprocally, far from benefiting the current vegetation, the reduction of the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere would be likely to compromise the health, and even the survival, of numerous plants. To fall below the threshold of 280 or 240 ppm would plainly lead to the extinction of a large variety of our vegetal species.

  In addition, our relentless crusade to reduce CO2 could be more harmful to nature as plants are not the only organisms to base their nutrition on CO2. Phytoplankton species also feed on CO2, using carbon from CO2 as a building unit and releasing oxygen. By the way, it is worth remembering that ~70% of the oxygen present today in the atmosphere comes from phytoplankton, not trees: contrary to common belief, it is not the forests, but the oceans, that constitute the “lungs” of the earth.

  About the supposed link between global warming and CO2 emissions, it is simply not true that CO2 has a major greenhouse effect. It is worth remembering, here too, that CO2 is a minor gas. Today it represents only 0.04% of the composition of the air; and its greenhouse effect is attributed the value of 1. The major greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is water vapor which is ten times more potent than CO2 in its greenhouse effect. Water vapor is present in a proportion of 2% in the atmosphere. Those facts are, in principle, taught at school and at university, but one still manages to incriminate CO2 alongside this learning, in using a dirty trick that presents the warming effect of CO2 as minor but exacerbated, through feedback loops, by the other greenhouse effects.

Continuer la lecture de « A conversation with István Markó, for Watts Up With That »

A conversation with Tsutomu Hashimoto, for Revue Arguments

139205802_624  Tsutomu Hashimoto is a Professor of Economics at Hokkaido University in Japan, obtained a Ph.D. at Tokyo University, and published various books on liberalism and philosophy of economics in Japanese. He was a visiting researcher at New York University from 2000 to 2002 and at Aix-Marseille University in 2016. Contact: hasimoto@econ.hokudai,ac,jp

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Among the major quests of your lifetime, one project that is dear to your heart consists in constructing an original theory of liberalism from the angle of a “philosophical anthropology of the social sciences.” Could you develop the origin of this vocation and the present lines of force of your perspective?

  Tsutomu Hashimoto: So far, I have published nine and edited five books in Japanese, all related to the theme of liberalism. You mention “philosophical anthropology of social sciences,” which is actually the title of my second book. In this book, I developed my philosophical foundation of liberalism, focusing on the concept of “person” in the context of philosophical anthropology since Max Scheler (1874–1928).

  However, before explaining this, let me discuss my experiences on three epoch-making or breaking crises of our age, since all of these led me to a new consideration on liberalism. The first was the Revolutions of 1989 that lead to the fall of communism in Eastern European countries. The second were the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, which actually happened during my stay in New York. The third was the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, in 2011.

  First, the Revolutions of 1989 gave me the starting point of my study. At that time, I was 22 years old and was simply shocked by the corruption in Eastern European communist countries. Many Japanese intellectuals who influenced me in the 1980s were sympathetic to Marxist ideologies and they investigated new possibilities or frontiers on Marx’s text in terms of developing contemporary philosophy. In fact, many creative social theories in Japan emerged from this line of investigation. However, in 1989, I realized that these theoretical contributions were entirely useless in terms of normative issues.

  At that time, I also had the chance to read F. A. Hayek’s Law, Legislation and Liberty during a seminar at my university in 1989. However, since the professor was a stubborn Hayekian and talked about Hayek authoritatively, I came to read Hayek critically. Meanwhile, I happened to find M. Rizzo and G. O’Driscoll’s stimulating book, Economics of Time and Ignorance, in my college library. When I found this book, I intuitively realized that it would be very important for both my life and research. In fact, after 10 years, I translated it into Japanese and, thanks to Professor Mario Rizzo, I had the chance to be a visiting researcher with New York University from 2000 to 2002.

  My first book, The Logic of Liberty: Popper, Mises and Hayek, published in 1994, is about my investigation on liberalism as anti-communism. During the entire 20th century, the most important issue in the field of economic thought was “which regime is better or more desirable between capitalism and socialism?” Since this question cannot easily be settled at a theoretical level, the debate proceeded up to the stage of scientific methodology, and many people examined which side’s methodology or epistemology was scientifically legitimate between capitalism and socialism. This was a unique situation, because methodological statements carried some normative implications of these ideologies.

  For example, methodological individualism carried implications on normative individualism. However, in my analysis, this situation gradually collapsed or faded. As such, methodological debates between capitalist and socialist camps have ceased to represent normative conflicts, partly due to their logical endogenous problems and partly due to historically exogenous elements. In other words, methodological investigation became de-ideologized or eliminated its “thought-ladenness.” In order to show what happened with the methodologies of the 20th century, I developed my “functional theory of methodology” and presented a thesis in which I call upon the “thought-ladenness of methodology.” This is, in short, the theoretical core of my first book.

  The second book, as I already mentioned, is a philosophical investigation, in which I proposed a new model of what I call “problem-subject.” In this book, I analyzed the achievements of Max Weber and the subsequent Weberians and constructed an original system of philosophical anthropology.

  After working on this book, I went to New York for two years as a visiting researcher and experienced the 9/11 terrorists attack in 2001 there. I was frightened not only by this incident, but also by the subsequent situation in New York. For example, I was stuck in an underground car a number of times for reasons unknown to me. Since I was alarmed by this situation in New York, I changed my research interests from Austrian economics to international political economy in general. The achievement of this change was reflected in the publishing of my third book, The Conditions of Empire, in 2007.

  In this book, I first developed the ideas of “trans-conservatism” and “spontaneitism” as certain types of liberal enterprise in a global context. From this original perspective, I proposed two policies. One is how to create “world money” through Tobin’s tax and associated avoidance activities. The other is how to promote a liberal society by adjusting tariffs.

  After writing this book, I published several other books on liberalism. Finally, in 2011, Japan experienced the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. This was the third crisis for me and a crisis of the legitimacy of the Japanese government as well. Facing this disaster, I conceived the nature of the problem from an Austrian perspective and pointed out that the constructivist formation of the electricity supply is at issue. From a broad perspective, capitalism in the 21st century would be driven by people’s ecological concerns.

  In my book, Lost Modernity, published in 2012, I tried to answer the following question: what type of driving force is possible in our age for capitalism? Theoretically, I divided contemporary history after World War II into three periods: modernity, post-modernity, and lost modernity. Then, I investigated the driving force of capitalism in the age of lost modernity. The answer would be neither “modern diligent work,” nor “post-modern expanded desire.” I will talk about my investigation later during our interview but, in any event, this book was based on my observation on the contemporary Japanese society.

  Therefore, I have developed my idea on liberalism by facing the three epoch-making crises: the Revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

  I call my original theory of liberalism “growth-oriented liberalism” or “spontaneitism.” More recently, I developed a theory on liberalism by extending the implications of Dogen’s masterpiece, Shouhou Genzou (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye), written in 13th century Japan. I am still trying to broaden my original perspective, especially in the field of economic philosophy.

  For example, I am targeting a theory of “capability as potentiality,” as opposed to Amartya Sen’s “capability as ability,” a “vita activa” model of interventionism, as opposed to Cass Sunstein’s libertarian paternalism, and so forth. Hopefully, I would systematize these theoretical studies and present a new image of the liberal ideal. Overall, this will be a work on the art of governance from the perspective of a Hayekian horticultural expert, which I am still working on.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: In economics, you esteem the Austrian methodology and Weltanschauung very highly. When it comes to enlightening the specificities of Japanese capitalism, how do you sum up the conceptual advantages of Austrian economics over other approaches such as Weberian sociology or Marxian theory?

  Tsutomu Hashimoto: Considering the idea of catching up with western capitalism, I think that there is no great worldview or Weltanschauung that has contributed to explaining it in detail. This is true in the Japanese case as well. Neither Max Weber nor Karl Marx provides us with any significant theory on this topic. Austrian economics, however, might have a normative answer. This school would propose that developing countries be incorporated into the global network of market economy through deregulation of the domestic market and acceptance of capital from advanced countries as much as possible.

  This type of normative perspective would explain the successful history of capitalism in small countries such as Singapore, but would not explain other successful economic developments in large countries such as Japan. In fact, the Austrian worldview has begun to influence the Japanese society after Japan has economically caught up with the western countries in the 1980s.

  In order to look into the specificities of the success of Japanese capitalism, we need to refer to some innovations in management, such as “just-in-time inventory management” and “quality control circle.” In this respect, Ikujiro Nonaka’s work on shared tacit knowledge in firms is worthwhile mentioning, since this theory explains why Japanese firms have competitive advantage in the global market economy in terms of knowledge. Nonaka’s work is best placed in the context of Austrian economics, as an application of the Hayekian theory of knowledge.

  It is also worth mentioning that Katsuichi Yamamoto, the founder of Austrian economics in Japan, became active in the political area as well. While he wrote a comprehensive book on socialist calculation debate in 1939 and several related books on anti-socialism, anti-totalitarianism, and anti-welfare state, he became a member of parliament for five mandates. His political stance was based on moral nationalism and he sought national integrity for the Japanese spirit by means of education. It would be interesting to study his contribution to Austrian economics and his politically conservative message.

  What I utilize from the Austrian worldview are some contemporary issues on social policies in Japan. For example, I have presented my reform proposals on national universities. In Japan, national universities have finally transformed into “national university corporations” in 2003. During this transformation, I proposed the following ideas: free mergers and acquisitions among universities, free use of university brand names, acceptance for those who passed a low standard of common entrance examinations in every university and college, additional examination to select students starting the third grade, and so on. It is interesting to see that some of my proposals have been accepted and institutionalized in the reform process of universities.

  Other proposals of mine are related to the following issues: privatization of post offices, counter-arguments on the criticism of neoliberalism in Japan, reform proposal on the NHK (National Broadcasting Corporation), reform proposal on the tariff system, proposal to create a world currency, etc. In these proposals, I am, to some degree, inspired by Hayek’s way of thinking rather than by Marxist, Weberian, neoclassical or institutional economics.

Continuer la lecture de « A conversation with Tsutomu Hashimoto, for Revue Arguments »

A conversation with Deirdre McCloskey, for Man and the Economy

Deirdre_McCloskey_(15579711609)  Deirdre Nansen McCloskey taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 2000 to 2015 in economics, history, English, and communication. A well-known economist and historian and rhetorician, she has written 17 books and around 400 scholarly pieces on topics ranging from technical economics and statistical theory to transgender advocacy and the ethics of the bourgeois virtues. She is known as a “conservative” economist, Chicago-School style (she taught in the Economics Department there from 1968 to 1980, and in History), but protests that “I’m a literary, quantitative, postmodern, free-market, progressive-Episcopalian, Midwestern woman from Boston who was once a man. Not ‘conservative’! I’m a Christian libertarian.”

  Her latest book, out in May 2016 from the University of Chicago Press—Bourgeois Equality: How Ideas, Not Capital or Institutions, Enriched the World—argues for an “ideational” explanation for the Great Enrichment 1800 to the present. The accidents of Reformation and Revolt in northwestern Europe 1517–1789 led to a new liberty and dignity for commoners—ideas called “liberalism”—which led in turn to an explosion of trade-tested betterment, “having a go.”

  The earlier book in the trilogy, Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World (2010) had shown that materialist explanations such as saving or exploitation, don’t have sufficient economic oomph or historical relevance. The first book in the Bourgeois Era trilogy, The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce (2006), had established that, contrary to the clamor of the clerisy left and right since 1848, the bourgeoisie is pretty good, and that trade-tested betterment is not the worst of ethical schools.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: Could you start by reminding us of the lines of force of your libertarian case in favor of the principle of unhampered market economy and against the belief that state intervention is virtually omnipotent?

  Deirdre McCloskey: One principle and one consequence. The principle is the liberal one that persuasion and trade are better for humans than violence and compulsion. The liberal principle fosters the bourgeois virtues, as against the aristocratic/bureaucratic vices. It has long been praised—by the Blessed Smith, by Mill, by Herbert Spencer, by Mises and Hayek and Friedman. Smith wrote of “the obvious and simple system of natural liberty,” and declared in 1755 that “little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism, but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.” He did not realize how very true his deduction from the liberal principle would prove to be, when slowly adopted in the nineteenth century, against the old and new pressures of mercantilism—as old as the Navigation Acts and as new as the Trump administration.

  The consequence is that adhering to the liberal principle, as China has in economic policy since 1978, and India in both economy and polity since 1991, yields a Great Enrichment, a rise of real income per head in a couple of generations from horrible poverty to reasonably comfort—on the order not of 100% or even 200%, but 3,000%. The consequence of liberalism after 1800 was that masses of ordinary people were encouraged to have a go. The having-a-go resulted in steam power, plate glass, autos, containerization, and the modern university.

  Grégoire Canlorbe: One of your favorite fields of study, in which Vilfredo Pareto may have been a precursor with his theory of “residues” and “derivations,” is the rhetoric of economics. A salient feature of our epoch, in this regard, seems to be the invasion of anticapitalist fallacies. “Every mystery, past, present, or future, wrote Pareto sarcastically in The Mind and Society, yields to the magic password ‘capitalism.’ Capitalism, and capitalism alone, is the cause of poverty, ignorance, immorality, theft, murder, war.” How would you account for the persisting attractiveness of anticapitalist rhetoric? How do you respond, in particular, to Thomas Piketty’s highly popular claims about the worsening of income inequalities?

  Deirdre McCloskey: I myself was a long time ago a mild-mannered Marxist. I think the attractions of socialism arise from our experience as children in a loving family, in which income falls myserteriously from Dad, and Mom is the central planner. Unless we are raised on a farm or in a small business, we get no early instruction in the charms, and terrors, of voluntary exchange. We think commands rule the economy, the way commands do rule the family or firm inside—though the child does not realize that prices in markets outside rule all. It is shocking to a child of the bourgeoisie such as Marx and Engels and Lenin, to find that he or she cannot command the rich to relieve poverty. It does not occur to the child that voluntary exchange, and having a go under a liberal ethic, are what has in fact relieved poverty. The relief has not come out of redistribution by state violence from the rich to the poor.

  As to Piketty, I wrote a 50-page, respectful review of his book, concluding that it was a brave attempt, but mistaken in ethics and economics and history. I listened in October of 2016 in Shanghai to a paper by Samuel Bowles, an ex-Marxist economist at the Sante Fe Institute, in which he showed that in fact the income distribution is notably similar in all societies, old and modern. That Sam then suddenly concluded that we need to massively redistribute income shows merely the persistence of the leftward lean acquired as a child, against the evidence of its failures accumulated as an adult. A policy of redistribution does not follow naturally from Sam’s amazing historical findings. Rather the contrary.

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