One more week of Easterly


in Daily updates

For those participating in this month’s book club, there is just over a week left to finish William Easterly’s The White Man’s Burden.

I will be posting a review here, and I hope at least a few other people will be prepared to discuss it. We can also consider a book for May at that point.

[Update: 6 April 2009] One thing that already worries me about Easterly’s book is that he doesn’t seem to think climate change or fossil fuel depletion are critical issues for the next few decades. The index doesn’t include anything about ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming,’ ‘fossil fuels,’ ‘peak oil,’ or ‘energy.’

I think climate change mitigation, adaptation to climatic changes, and addressing growing fossil fuel scarcity will all be critical issues during the next few decades, perhaps particularly for developing countries. Successful mitigation will depend on countries like India and China making the transition to a low-carbon economy well before they reach the level of per capita wealth that exists now in the West. Climate change impacts will also seriously affect global agriculture, migration, and so forth. Finally, if fossil fuel availability is going to decrease significantly before 2100, development plans that rely on it continuing to be cheap and plentiful will fall short. That makes it all the more important to start integrating them into planning now.

While Easterly is largely derisive of long-term planning and grand schemes, it is vital to understand that we can no longer assume the base conditions upon which existing global prosperity is built to be durable.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

R.K. April 6, 2009 at 10:21 am

I forgot about the whole thing, and doubt I will get it read by next Wednesday.

Tristan April 6, 2009 at 10:29 am

It would probably be a good idea to have the discussion of the next book on a separate page.

Milan April 6, 2009 at 10:34 am

Agreed. I am also curious whether anyone actually decided to read Orientalism.

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