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Chasing Rainbows, Economic Myths, Environmental Facts (Independent Minds) Paperback – 30 Nov 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Stacey International (30 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906768447
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906768447
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 429,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm a businessman working in the field of weird and rare metals and many of my customers are in the renewable energy business: it's the weird and rare metals that make so many of the different renewables technologies work. This gives me a slightly different view of the whole marketplace. I tend to see quite a lot of information, technical information, about technologies that aren't quite ready for prime time as yet for example.

I'm also a freelance writer specialising in politics, economics and matters environmental. A consistent theme is that yes, we do indeed have environmental problems, up to and including climate change, but that doesn't mean that we should necessarily swallow all the policy recommendations of anyone who calls themselves an environmentalist.

For economics is, at least in part, the study of the incentives people face and how they change their behaviour in the face of those incentives. Thus, if we want to change peoples' behaviour (which I think we do) then we'd better go and study the economics of how to change incentives so as to change that behaviour.

The book Chasing Rainbows is mostly (apart from a few jokes, some side stories, some insults and a proof that domestic recycling doesn't actually save resources) about exploring that issue. I accept that climate change is happening (although you don't in order understand the argument) and that we must do something about it (ditto). But if we look at the economists who have studied exactly this question, what should we do now, we find that just about everything the green movement tells us we must do is wrong.

A reasonable taste of my writing and my views can be found on my blog, www.timworstall.com

Product Description

Review

Tim Worstall is one of the few right-wing writers on economics leftish readers can bring themselves to read although we often hate ourselves (and him) for doing it. Although he takes a butcher's cleaver to many sacred cows of green thinking, his work is animated by a true concern about how to solve the great environmental challenges of our age --Nick Cohen, author of 'Waiting for the Etonians'

Fearless, fresh, forensic and funny, Tim Worstall cuts through all the nonsense and brings sparkling and profound economic insights to the environmental debate. Read this book. --Matt Ridley, author of 'The Rational Optimist'

Tim Worstall is asking the right questions, and often producing the right answers. Jaw-droppingly rude he may be, but he's smart, and this book is quite an education. --Tim Harford, author of 'The Undercover Economist'

Fearless, fresh, forensic and funny, Tim Worstall cuts through all the nonsense and brings sparkling and profound economic insights to the environmental debate. Read this book. --Matt Ridley, author of 'The Rational Optimist'

Tim Worstall is asking the right questions, and often producing the right answers. Jaw-droppingly rude he may be, but he's smart, and this book is quite an education. --Tim Harford, author of 'The Undercover Economist'

About the Author

Tim Worstall is both a businessman working in the field of renewable energy and a freelance writer. He has been published in The Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, The Register and numerous other online sites. He is a Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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A very well written book which challenges a lot of the accepted views about environmental issues. The book is split into sections, each dealing with different aspects of environmental policies. Of particular interest was the section concerning recycling, and how this whole business has been approached in such a naive and simplistic way, with no real planning or sensible thought ever really being applied. I have often questioned the wisdom of a lot of the 'green' policies we are now forced, through legislation to support, at great financial cost, both individually and to businesses, and as a nation through taxpayer subsidized programs. This book really does lay bare all the shortcomings of the green lobby's well meaning, but infantile, overzealous methods of operating. If you care about our environment, I advise you read this book and gain a greater understanding of just how out of control this juggernaut has become, with a lot of people getting very rich, while in reality, doing massive environmental damage.
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25 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 12 Dec. 2010
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This isn't a "sceptic" book in that it accepts all the "consensus" science and policies of the IPCC and Lord Stern. What it does is show what simple economics tells us we should be doing to implement them. The economics are not controversial either, they are completely mainstream and well accepted.
The conclusions are surprising though. The most vocal of campaigners and policy makers are proposing the wrong solutions. That is why it will bet lumped as a "denier book" and ignored.
But don't ignore it, not only is it important, it is an easy read and an enjoyable one. This isn't some dry dusty tome but a short gallop, whooping and hollering across the landscape pointing out interesting asides and unexpected truths. You don't need to know any economics to appreciate it just an open mind.
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19 of 28 people found the following review helpful By James-philip Harries on 12 Dec. 2010
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This noisy polemic is by Tim Worstall, member of the Adam Smith Institute, press officer for the UKIP and commodity trader. He's not a climate scientist, so it's safe to ignore him.
Except... he's an economist, and a good one. And here he examines the recommendations of the global warming lobby through the lens of some really basic economic axioms.
Seen through the optic of Smith's needle factory, Bastiat's broken windows and Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage, all (ALL) the prescriptions for reducing global warming are wrong. Farmers' markets, green subsidies, compulsory sterilisation and one world government are "remedies" which will not achieve their aims and will make us much poorer.

This book is likely to be bought and read only by committed deniers, which is a pity. It should (and can - there is no math) be read by anyone without any grounding in economics. I would recommend it to our ruling class. What did we do to deserve such pig ignorant bosses?
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful By T. J. Jones on 12 Jan. 2011
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Probably most of us reading this book at this point are familiar with Tim Worstall's blog, and the contents are reassuringly familiar - brusque, sometimes rude, to the point, and fundamentally a clear economic perspective on the environmental movement. Worstall's basic point is that in more cases than not, the stated aims of the environmental movement (i.e. to minimise human impact on the environment), do not translate to supporting policies which will bring about that goal. His point is that other agendas (which he does not get into detail about) seem to be driving the movement. His technique is to do a cost/benefit analysis of any particular policy, e.g. to show that the cost of asking us to sort our own recycling is simply not known, and at some level will outweigh the benefit of this activity. Or that buying locally does not necessarily have a smaller impact on the environment than sourcing a good from somewhere where it can be produced more efficiently (e.g. buying farm product from New Zealand may produce less externalities than buying from the UK, if in the UK farming requires mitigating against the cold winters by keeping livestock in heated sheds). He's probably preaching to the converted, in my case I have my own suspicions that the environmental movement attracts those who would like an economy planned centrally by the government, i.e. the movement has picked up those who would have supported communism in the 1980s.
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