Is It Hot In Here?

I’ve been saying for years it’s a very curious thing US businesspeople are so averse to environmentalism in general, and mitigating climate change in particular. My reasoning is, almost all the measures to do such mitigation boil down to doing more with less — and isn’t that the classic definition of increased productivity, and thus profits?

Well, I now have some company in this view: the New Climate Economy Project, the International Monetary Fund, and an economist who’s won the Nobel that isn’t a Nobel.

A fairly interesting bunch with whom to kibitz.

Bitcoin Shakes Its Mighty Fist Again

From this LinkedIn thinly-veiled advertisement:

“Bitcoin is digitized money… Bitcoin is eliminating or dematerializing the use of physical money (bills and coins), even credit cards.”

My reply:

US Annual GDP: $15.68 trillion
Actual physical cash in circulation (M0): $4.1 trillion
“Dematerialized” money that circulates every year: $11.6 trillion, or 74% of GDP

There already is a dematerialized, digitized currency, one in wide circulation, and nearly universally accepted by the market. It’s called the US Dollar.

I know, I know… You’re all in favor of the free market. Right up until the market disagrees with you.

Oh, BTW:
Total value of circulating Bitcoin: $6.2 billion.
Percentage of the value of M0 dollars in circulation: 0.2
Percentage of value of US GDP ($15.68T): 0.03
Percentage of value of global economic product (given that Bitcoin isn’t tied to any one state, and thus competes in a global market) ($71.83T): 0.008

To rephrase a newspaper headline of the 1970s: “Free market to Bitcoin: Drop dead.”

The Worm Turns

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has a fascinating post up, “Why Russia calls a limited nuclear strike “de-escalation””.

See, the US (and NATO more broadly) developed the category of “tactical” nuclear weapons in the 1980s to counter perceived USSR conventional superiority. (Notably the Pershing II missile, from 1981-89.) The Soviets were having none of that — their stated policy was that any use of nuclear weapons would be considered a full-on strategic strike, and would be retaliated against accordingly.

In our time, though, the Russians are saying they might resort to tactical nuclear strikes, because of US conventional superiority, as demonstrated in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

“De-escalation,” indeed.

(h/t, Elisabeth Eaves, on Twitter.)