I just sent this to On Line Opinion. It may take a week for it to be posted, if they like it.
Are On Line Opinion readers interested in innovative solutions to major problems? Or do they (you) just want to defend old positions, or have an argument? Or what?
I ask these questions because there have been several pieces recently that present quite innovative ideas or perspectives on solving the economic crisis and/or global warming. Yet four such articles attracted a total of 15 comments. (They are Remaking the economy, 4 comments; Energy Rewards to stimulate the economy, 2; The need for indirect action on climate change, 3; Sustainability will not be sidelined, 6)
On the other hand I wrote a piece (Neoliberal pseudo-science) that directly challenged recent received economic wisdom, and it got 65 comments. My piece also offered novel ideas, and those drew a few comments, but the bulk of the discussion was in response to my challenge (or to the readers perception of my challenge).
There is a larger context here. For some years I and a few others have argued that we can save money as we save greenhouse gas emissions, and save them quickly, by using smarter designs. I quote well-researched sources based on existing examples. I thought the news would be hailed as a welcome relief from gloom and doom and a way out of our dire situation. Yet this message has been very slow to gain traction. By now, energy efficiency gets mentioned some of the time along with renewable energy, but its potential is still almost absent from the mainstream political discussion.
Does everyone imagine we can solve the global financial/economic collapse or global warming by relying on the people who were in charge as the problems developed? If not, does that imply we have to be willing to listen to new voices, outsiders with different perspectives, and to ideas that may at first be puzzling or contrary to the way were used to thinking?
I wonder if there are deeper reasons why serious prospective solutions to major problems just seem not to compute. Its not that they get attacked, or derisively dismissed, theyre just passed over and lie neglected. Yet the news is full of dire developments and predictions. Id like to know whats going on here.
Here are some of my theories. Id like to hear yours.
· I totally agree. Its so obvious I dont have to comment.
· We cant expect anything more than incremental improvement. Anyone claiming more must be simplistic.
· The world is full of experts on these topics. Who is this idiot who thinks he knows better?
· Im not really interested in this topic (even though I just put ten acrimonious comments on another, more conventional post on the same topic).
· Stabilising the financial markets would mean going back to village economies. Fixing global warming would mean horse-and-buggy or cave-man life styles.
· Thats not how Ive always thought about it, so it must be wrong.
· If I admit this makes sense, then I have to admit the world is run by idiots and crooks and I cant face that.
· If I take the trouble to read these pieces then I might realise how serious the threats are and I dont want to think about that.
· If we meddle with the system it will crash. No, really, I mean worse than whats happening.
· I like it here in my silk-lined coffin. Its familiar, and its not really very uncomfortable. Why should I move? Theres a big scary world out there.
· I want to tiptoe through life, even if its only to arrive safely at my grave.
OK, over to you. The question is not whether you agree with the proposals in the articles Ive mentioned. The question is why didnt you have enough interest even to debate or comment on them? Those willing to pause and feel a little deeper than their knee-jerk reaction will get a smiley face.