1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
, 10 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance (Hardcover)
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This is a sequel to the best-seller of a few years ago. That book, 'Freakonomics', got people talking because it exploded the myth of the 'super-fly' drug dealer as depicted on TV and demonstrated that this 'career' had a corporate structure identical with legal businesses, the main difference being that the benefits and pay were lousy (the headline fact: most dealers still live with their mothers) and the occupational safety record.
The rest of the book was as interesting, depicting human self-interest behaviour that contradicted conventional thinking.
This book is mostly as revelatory. We discover that the bottom has not fallen out of the world's oldest profession - it's actually the middle - and that estate agents may be close to complete extinction.
One thing that appears not to be close to extinction is the human race. The five-star rating of this book is because of the discussion about Global Warming. This is ideal Superfreakonomics territory as it has to do with statistics and how perceptions are not the same as what the facts actually show. For example the worlds worst greenhouse gas turns out to be water droplets, not carbon dioxide. And this leads on to why people are talking about this new book.
Just as man may have contributed to the warming of the planet (note the 'may'), it is possible that man may be able to cool the planet, and for what is in global terms, small change.
The key term is 'geo-engineering'. We remake the planet to suit ourselves.
For all this the book becomes not a good book, but a great book. Once again there is hope. We are once again the masters of nature, not completely at its mercy. This book has attracted criticism from environmentalists, but their rhetoric has more to do with an earth-worshipping irrationality than the fact that as rational conscious beings, mankind can design a way out of this problem instead of committing ourselves and future generations to a form of quasi-virtuous self-denial and sacrifice which would be globally unenforceable as developing economies demand more cheap energy and get it from the burning of fossil fuels.
If you not only believe, but know, that technology will always provide the solutions, then this is the book for you. Out there, people are trying to fix climate problems instead of letting rain (or heat) stop play.
Man, not Mother Earth, is on top again.
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