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September 16, 2011 / 74

Jevon’s Paradox – the Green Movement Doesn’t Iike It.

It seems that I’ve stumbled into a discussion of which I was unaware. (I’m sure there are many such… but this one interests me)

It seems that the only people who throw rocks at the Jevon’s Paradox

(See: http://michaelepicray.com/2011/09/14/schools-of-economics-2/ )

are the Greenies. Especially the Global Warming crowd. Of course, anyone with a 2nd grade science education knows that AGW people are incapable of doing REAL science, lacking as they do an understanding of scientific method, and placing faith, as they do, in their beliefs instead of actually DOING science. To the AGW people, the “science” of AGW is “Settled” ie “finalized for all time.” And throughout history the only people who have felt that they know THE truth and you cannot change it or disprove it have been religious zealots. The Greenies fall into this category. I once told a greenie that “Science, REAL science, is NEVER “settled” – and he disputed the idea.)

I read one article where the person started right out saying if you have inflation, you have more money to spend… completely ignoring the known effects of inflation (being that though you have MORE  money – it is worth LESS per unit… and since wages and interest rates NEVER keep pace with inflation you probably actually have LESS to spend in terms of value.)

In my own life I can give many examples of Jevon’s Paradox:

I got a fuel efficient car – I drove it more and burned more gas.

I use window A/C because if a central air unit goes out, you’re screwed. If a window unit goes out, you still have A/C until you can either get the broken one fixed, or buy a new one. As window A/Cs have become more efficient, I tend to use A/C more. Whereas I used to only use A/C on the HOTTEST days of the year (temp over 90 to 95 F) – now I use it almost all summer.

And someone referred to food and the developing world. As production of food increased in the developed world, more food could be sent to the third world – where the increase in nutritional levels caused an exploding level of infant survivability. So the more food we grew, the more people could eat, and the more people were produced TO eat more food.

The simple fact is that if technology reaches an equilibrium, the use of resources also reaches an optimal level for that level of technology. Increase the level of technology, and you disturb the equilibrium – causing imbalance between supply and demand – which (because people seem to tend to live “better”  – or consume MORE if they can) causes increased consumption.

So Jevon’s paradox isn’t really a paradox at all – but a natural working of the forces of economics.

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