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The Sciences

The Economics of Ideas in the Global Warming Debate

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyApril 10, 2009 5:27 PM


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The New York Times now profiles Morano, the howitzer of climate denial, and among many revelations, the paper has seen fit to inform us about his salary:

Mr. Morano’s new Web site is being financed by the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a nonprofit in Washington that advocates for free-market solutions to environmental issues. Craig Rucker, a co-founder of the organization, said the committee got about a third of its money from other foundations. But Mr. Rucker would not identify them or say how much his foundation would pay Mr. Morano. (Mr. Morano says it will be more than the $134,000 he earned annually in the Senate.)

Normally, such things aren't relevant to bring up (so one wonders why the Times did so). However, this factoid happens to dovetail closely with my last Morano post. There, I pointed out that our left wing philanthropists don't bother creating counter-Moranos, and so, in essence, are guilty of egregiously misspending their money. Now we learn that the right wing think tanks (and right-wing Senators) pay their own climate pundits quite well. Good for Morano, honestly. I bring this up because there are probably a dozen climate related journalists, writers, and activists out there who, given a full-time salary of $ 134,000 with benefits, might not only become an intellectual warrior on the opposite of the issue from Morano, but could perhaps be as good at the game or better. I'm not one of them--among other reasons, I think this work, and this life, would grow intellectually dull very quickly. But my point is that being a counter-Morano simply isn't there as a career path, for me or anyone else who actually wants to defend good science on global warming. Prepping for media appearances doesn't pay. Coming up with talking points doesn't pay. Op-eds and blogging barely pay. The market does not produce careers in doing these things on its own; it takes actual money to support such careers. This is, in essence, the core of the failure of the left, on the politics of science and on much else--basic economics, applied to the dissemination of ideas.

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