Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Commons vs Lords

COP15 dealing with global warming is taking place in Denmark. There are two aspects to the problem. First, what is actually happening and, secondly, what should our response be. Whatever the cause of global warming, our response will primarily be an economic and political solution and perhaps we should consider the difference between economics and politics and how they might work together. In ancient times economics dealt with "rule of the home" while politics concerned itself with management of the city-state. There is still this division today in the separation of microeconomics and macroeconomics. The first deals with local problems while the latter deals with more general problems. The difficulty that we are having with global warming might be that the two approaches are out of balance.

In nature one finds a similar division between Special Relativity and General Relativity. Special Relativity is local while General Relativity deals with weaker but more "global" forces that ultimately dominate. These are the Commons and Lords of Nature.

We can probably do something similar with economics and global warming and try to get the two systems to work together better. The question is, "Are we up to the task?"

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