February 18, 2024


by: tguerry


Categories: Current Culture

Economists, Climate Change and the Looming Labor Shortage

Economists, Climate Change and the Looming Labor Shortager

I have to admit that I embody a growing admiration for economists — primarily for economists that don’t waste their time on economics. True economists are dataphiles, committed to searching out and analyzing hard facts (even in the face of controversial findings) and letting the truth take them where it may.

Smart-Ass Economists
One of the first economists to capture my attention was Thomas Sowell, a black man born in 1930 – not the optimal era to be a young, intelligent, vocal, black male in America. Although he was born in North Carolina, he was soon shipped off to be raised by relatives in Harlem where he attended the famous Stuyvesant High School followed by Harvard. Originally drawn to Marxism, Sowell eventually recognized and began to write about the failures of non-incentive-based economic systems.

In particular, Sowell spent many years exposing how government programs to combat poverty, actually ended up stunting the economic growth of the black community. His data, taken from census and income tax figures, confirms his thesis. Sowell went on to describe with deliberate sarcasm how government entities have nothing to lose and everything to gain by engaging in and funding social engineering programs.

Another pair of my favorite economists are Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, the authors of “Freakonomics”, “More Freakonomics”, and “Think Like a Freak”. If you haven’t read all three of those books, stop reading this article immediately and go to Amazon where you can purchase them and read something enlightening. They specialize in getting past the emotional arguments and diving into data to discern truth — like the fact that backyard swimming pools have a far greater mortality rate on kids than loaded firearms in the home.

One of the Steves’ most controversial findings was that the massive drop in big-city U.S. crime rates during the late 90’s, correlated directly to the 1973 “Roe v. Wade” ruling that legalized abortion. Radicals on both sides of that argument (and there are no calm centrists when it comes to the abortion argument) were ready to lynch these two guys. Unfortunately for the nay-sayers, the data drew a direct line from massive numbers of poverty-stricken mothers in the 70’s aborting their unwanted babies to a distinct shortage of poverty-stricken, crime-prone 18- to 25-year-olds (the prime crime ages) in big cities near the turn of the century.

As long as we’re on that touchy subject of eugenics, it’s impossible to ignore Peter Zeihan’s book, “The End is Just the Beginning”, where he addresses world-wide supply chain issues. Zeihan highlights the fact that China’s average laborer is 45 years old and the less-than-30 population is almost nil due to China’s severe restrictions of the number of children that married couples could bring into this life. Seems that they forgot to account for natural attrition from stuff like disease, industrial accidents, crime, and suicide. Consequently, it’s no surprise that China has their sights set on Taiwan with all those young fertile women.

Climate Change
Regardless of what the rational science may or may not say about climate change, and in particular, manmade climate change, it is unquestionably a touchy topic with folks on both sides of the debate. With the under-30 crowd, it might even be a more emotion-driven topic than abortion was to their parents.

It’s not the pro and con arguments about climate change that grab my attention. It’s the proposed solutions. First, there are the Elon Musks of the world who utilized their marketing savvy to capitalize on those fears. “Drive that clean, all-electric vehicle and do away with nasty fossil fuels!” Never mind where that electricity will come from or that those defunct Lithium batteries will end up in landfills.

Uncle Sam will provide tax credits to make clean energy affordable and abundant until we find a way to make it self-sustaining (or until the taxpayers go broke). And never mind that those giant wind farms that blight our landscape will one day replace the acres of rusting pump-jacks that blanketed America in our youth.

Labor Doom
Eco-marketing has worked wonders on the under-30 crowd, and they are flocking to more eco-friendly forms of personal transportation like motorcycles and smaller cars. Can anyone spot the risk of combining smaller, less safe vehicles with the misguided youthful concept of personal immortality. When I was a young driver, I did a lot of really stupid stuff but at least I was doing it in a heavy, albeit gas-guzzling, hunk of iron that provided a modicum of protection.

A few days ago, I made a roughly 30-mile trek up Central Expressway during morning rush hour. It was probably the first time in ten years that I’d engaged in such foolishness. Within a 45-minute time span, I witnessed three separate incidents of young men on motorcycles riding the lane dividers and cutting between cars at upwards of seventy miles per hour. I also watched one IQ-challenged young woman in a Volkswagen, pass an eighteen-wheeler by speeding down the left shoulder. Was every young person late for a job interview?

So, here’s my economist-style prediction: In ten more years, all the individuals of child-bearing age will simply have become actuarial statistics at the hands of aging red necks like me who still drive big heavy vehicles and who have reduced sensory perception that we at least lived long enough to develop. So, if AI and humanoid robotics don’t fill the labor gap soon, we’re gonna need to start seeking our own Taiwan to procreate a whole new labor force. Come to think of it, we better start now because there’s an 18-year lead time.

Think my opinions are offensive? Great, but tell me so to my face. Email me at
guy@lawsoncomm.com. I’ll buy you coffee and we can haggle about which one of us is craziest. Who knows? You might even win that debate, unless you’re Russell. Russell is way crazier than me but I’d still buy him coffee.


The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.

― Albert Einstein, “Old Man’s Advice to Youth: Never Lose a Holy Curiosity.” LIFE Magazine (2 May 1955)

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Einstein’s relativity and the Modern Quantum Revolution

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