Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wildly Irresponsible Predictions for 2020

It's the beginning of a new decade, so what the hell: here are five things I think will happen in the next ten years:

1. Google's operating system will be a big success; lots of people will choose an Internet-centric computer that doesn't have all the virus and software update and slow bootup problems of Windows.
2. A Republican will be elected President in 2012 or 2016.
3. In 2020 health care costs will still be rising, and we'll still be arguing over what to do about it.
4. The consensus on Global Warming will be that the Earth isn't actually terribly sensitive to CO2 levels, and that while warming will have significant costs it will also have significant benefits, so the best solution is "deal with the consequences, don't try to prevent CO2 emissions."
5. Medical marijuana will become legal in at least 10 states.

I hope that 1, 4 and 5 happen.

2 worries me (I really don't like the direction the country took under the last two Republican presidents).

And I think 3 is inevitable; even if we get British-style single-payer healthcare or a more free-market Singapore-style system, we'll spend more on health care because we'll be older and richer (on average) than we are now.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I promise to come back and give you the "I told you so" on Number 4, if you turn out to be right, but I think that you're predicting with your heart and not your head there. I'd like to know what you're reading. I refer you to Tim Flannery's "The Weather Makers".

I agree, however, that some of the claims are better substantiated than others from the climate change doomsayers.

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

As to Prediction #2:

Let's really look at what the Republicans have been doing over the past few years.

I would submit that they have been overplaying their hand on the built-in Electoral College advantage that they have (they do very well in states where nobody lives). In essence, they have painted themselves into an ideological corner, creating litmus tests to excommunicate the few moderates left in the party. This does not seem to me to be a winning strategy for 2012 or 2016.
And they continue to hope that a politician with Ronald Reagan's unique skills is going to walk through that door.

So this vector toward a Little Tent Strategy is running neck and neck with the Democrats' traditional self-destructive tendencies.

And I still see the strong opportunity, both politically and culturally, for a Sarah Palin third-party candidacy in 2012 or 2016, AFTER the Republican establishment drives her out, sort of a George Wallace '68 revisited.

Remember: Wallace picked up the electoral votes from FIVE southern states in that 1968 campaign. Could Sarah Palin win several states as a third-party candidate right now? You betcha.

Rich Morse

Gavin Andresen said...

I just bought The Weather Makers for my Kindle, and I promise I'll read it (and will likely blog about it).

My interests in economics and skepticism influence my attitudes towards climate change. Economics tells me that incentives matter-- and it seems to me that there are built-in incentives for scientists to exaggerate the impact of global warming. I don't think it's even conscious, I just think that results that predict Doom are more likely to show up in research papers than results that show Minimal or No Effect. (Skeptics know that's a well-established bias in all fields of scientific research)