Monday, July 17, 2017

Collective Action

People get mad at this stuff sometimes (specifically, people have expressed anger at me when I have expressed this stuff sometimes), but ultimately it doesn't matter much if you, individually, roll coal or bicycle everywhere. That isn't saying "there's nothing you should or could do." There is! And, you know, if lots of us do that stuff that's a good thing! But collective action problems require collective action generally. The magic of simple economics is that it shows how individual actions can lead to, under certain too simple assumption, "good" outcomes (where "good" is defined in specific ways). But the entire point of the economics of environmentalism is that individual actions, even ones tempered by some degree of altruism, aren't going to do it.

Drive less. Recycle. Put in energy efficient lightbulbs. Eat less meat. Turn your thermostats up/down in summer/winter. All good things. It'll help. But it won't be enough.