The free-market case for world government

(in five bullet points)

• The sine qua non of free market economics is secure property rights.

• The likelihood of severe and potentially catastrophic anthropogenic climate change is in part a consequence of our inability to enforce any right to protection from the harm to life and property caused by the cross-border impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.

• A secure regime of property rights requires enforcement and (in the long run) legitimacy.

• The existence of cross-border impacts requires the cross-border reach of enforcement and legitimacy.

• This implies a relatively strong version of world government.

What could be clearer?

–Paul Baer (

Atlanta GA, USA

The Flood Next Time

I’ve been meaning to take a look at Jacobin, and their publication of Alyssa Battistoni’s The Flood Next Time gave me a good excuse.

Basically, it’s a caution — in this case against ever expecting an extreme event, even one as extreme as “Superstorm Sandy,” to act as a real wake up call.  And the author has done her homework.  For example, here’s a nice part of the setup:

But do disasters act as turning points, or wake-up calls, or teachable moments? Do those oft-discussed silver linings really materialize? It seems easy to conjure examples in the affirmative. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire led to stricter factory safety standards, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 to the Mississippi River levee system. But those are the exception, not the rule. The BP spill was supposed to wake us up to the costs of our reliance on fossil fuels — as were the Exxon Valdez spill and the 1970s oil shocks. Aurora followed Virginia Tech and Virginia Tech followed Columbine, and gun control laws remain unchanged. When disasters throw a kink into frenzied everyday life, we talk about the things we’re now forced to talk about — but what happens to all those conversations when urgency diminishes and regular life returns?

Continue reading “The Flood Next Time”