Reduced travel means a bit more time for blogging.
A few things I’ve been mulling over.
I’m not an expert in these areas and have low confidence in my opinions, but thought I’d share in case they are issues you think about too.
The Importance of Geoengineering
The vast majority of existential threats, save for pandemics and AI, involve harming the atmosphere.
Climate change will make the earth very warm, and a host of other threats will make the earth too cold: nuclear war, super volcanoes, and asteroids will all cause dust induced long winters.
Our ability to be able to geoengineer, will, at some point, be very important to our future.
We should of course use a bunch of other tools to fight against these threats, but geoengineering is unique in how many threats it could potentially ameliorate.
We would never want to use it unless we had to, but if we had to use it, best to be prepared with a well thought out approach.
Cuddly vs. Cutthroat Welfare States
Lane Kenworthy has a great new book arguing that we should adopt Denmark’s welfare state. He makes a compelling case.
The best argument against adopting Denmark’s welfare state is that it will reduce innovation, which will end up costing more lives than a welfare state would help. In other words, Denmark is free riding on our innovation.
Kenworthy looks at Denmark’s productivity before and after adopting its welfare state and sees little reason for concern. However, to the extent their productivity is built off our innovations, this could be a false data point.
I think I’m on Kenworthy’s side, but it’s a very complicated issue that is very hard to test empirically.