War on Climate Change Good News for the Economy

Bill Gates recommended on Twitter a new book with the title “Tap Dancing to Work” about his friend Warren Buffett, and also reviewed it on his personal website.

I have followed that recommendation and am reading that right now. I am not through yet, but already agree with this assessment in Gates’ review:

Examining the arc of Warren’s business life in his own words and those of other gifted observers (preeminently, Carol Loomis, herself) is an extremely worthwhile use of time – to get into the mind of this remarkable business leader and philanthropist.

In this post, I would like to address an observation found in a chart around location 7203 of the Kindle edition.  There Buffett talks about the growth of per capita GDP in the United States in the 20th Century, which has been quite impressive. But I was surprised to learn that the best decade was actually the years from 1940 to 1950, with a 50% increase, with most other decades only scoring about 25%.

That fact is quite contrary to what I would have guessed if asked without knowing the answer.

I recall that the main even of the decade was World War II. So one would assume that in a time of war, the economy would take second place to the war effort.

But the actual record is the exact opposite. War was great news for the economy. The American economy, that is. It was rather less so in other parts of the world.

That’s good to know, since we are having a new World War II effort coming up, this time with everyone on one side. There needs to be a war on climate change, with Khalmorot (the evil alien bastard that has been causing it) the face of the enemy.

If that happens, it will mean a lot of extra economic activity. Building renewable capacity by the Terawatt will create more jobs and more economic growth than any other revolutionary transition in history before.

It may take another couple of years before humanity declares war on Khalmorot. But once that happens, it will be good news for the economy as well as the climate.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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