Saturday, September 29, 2007

When Does Nonviolent Resistance Work?

It seems that the Burmese nonviolent uprising has failed. The have been jailed or killed. There are still spotty demonstrations by angry people on the streets of , but the army seems to be breaking them up quickly. One must feel discouraged.

Yet every failure should be studied as a lesson, taken as an incentive for change. My worry is chiefly that this failure will be regarded as proof that is only for dreamers, not practical people. So the challenge is to consider seriously what went wrong and what should have been attempted instead.

When I return to Toronto from Ottawa (I’m here for the Group of 78 annual conference) I will phone Colonel , an American expert on nonviolent resistance who tried hard to help the Burmese people count an opposition movement when he was posted to the US Embassy in Rangoon. He did not get very far, since the people were too demoralized by the history of their previous failure, in 1988, when some 3,000 civilians (mostly students) were killed by the for trying to get democracy into their country.

Helvey found that most would listen skeptically to his suggestions but never really own it themselves. I will be interested in determining what he thinks of this recent uprising. But I think I can guess part of what he will say, based on my previous conversations with him and with , whose ideas he has strongly promoted.

The key thing is to realize that nonviolent actions cannot usually be carried out spontaneously, for they require strategy. Impulsive action is a way of expressing oneself, but it is not a good way to win a – including a nonviolent war. Instead, there needs to be analysis, strategizing, and planning.

The monks who started this resistance movement knew, no doubt, that they were risking death. One can hardly criticize them, since they had been so courageous, but it is still worth asking now: what might have succeeded?

Helvey takes a group of opposition leaders together for a few days to discuss, first of all, the pillars of power on which the dictators rely. In each country, the answers are specific. The controlled press? Businesses? Labor? The police? The army? Usually the army is crucial, as it was in Burma. Strategizing consists of figuring out ways to undermine the power of those forces propping up the dictators.

One example of this was in Ukraine before the . The youthful opposition leaders realized that the army would be likely to fire on them, so they took two full years to overcome them through behind-the-scenes persuasion. They succeeded in winning over the wives of the officers, so that when the demonstrations began, these women were in the front row of the protesters. Naturally, their husbands were not about to fire on them.

In general, it is a bad idea to try to stand in front of a tank. Too often, the tank will run over you. Don’t march down the street into the line of fire of the army. Instead, fine alternative means of resistance, such as calling a general strike so that people simply stay home instead of going to work for a few days. That makes it harder for the army to come to your home and drag you off to jail.

The main difficulty in such an alternative approach is that in Burma it is hard to coordinate a general strike because the press is censored. So an earlier phase of resistance consists of finding methods of communicating that the regime cannot cut off. They quickly cut off the , but the broadcasts from Norway have continued – though I have no idea how many people own radios that can pick up the signal from Norway. Maybe the thing that has to be done first is just to distribute ten million wind-up radios, so people will be able to pick up the news and hear the instructions from leaders about each day’s tactics. Today, don’t march. Stay home.

Certain leaders should be assigned the business of talking to the troops who may be expected to repress the demonstrations. Show them another way of refusing safely from firing on the citizens. Surely most of them don’t want to do that.

Tomorrow and I will offer a motion to the general meeting of the Group of 78 about what to do to help Burma. It’s probably too late to find success this time, but what we plan is to suggest that the Canadian government expel the Burmese ambassador and the embassy staff, since they represent a government that is not legitimate. We should look into the mechanism for calling upon the International Criminal Court to indict the junta leaders. Then we’ll ask the Canadian government to order, as the US is going, an exclusion of 20 top Burmese leaders from entry to the US, and impound any money or property of theirs now in Canada. And finally, we will ask for new legislation curtailing the business charters of any Canadian corporations operating in Burma. That idea was attempted about a decade ago against an African regime, but it never was enacted, whereas the US has done so for quite a while.

I mentioned today another proposal that has been on my mind for a long time: to mandate the Montreal organization to support nonviolent democratic opposition movements inside any dictatorship. I hope this shows up in the report the fellows are writing tonight.

None of this will help much at this point, but there will always be a next time, and with planning we may be able to forestall the worst of the effects that are so visible tonight.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More Objectionable Opinions

A week or two ago I started a series of blog entries about my offensive opinions — the twelve issues about which many of my friends disagree with me. Tonight I hope to finish the series by addressing the final four opinions:

9. The best way to reduce the is by economic development.
10. is an that has little to do with the quality of one’s or relationships.
11. Our Western civilization is not inferior to all other cultures previously known.
12. is good for peace and for , though the political decisions made in democracies are not necessarily better than those made in other systems.

Why did I write these four items down in this particular order? I was reacting to some recent disputes with friends who are disdainful toward our modern, commercialized, democratic culture. However, the points don’t fall into any logical line of argument, so I’ll not take them up sequentially.

Such friends have a variety of different grounds for disliking our society, many of which reflect disgust with the prevailing and . Personally, I enjoy most of the people around me (some more than others, of course) and I don’t consider this the worst society in history. The problems most people experience involve insecurity, but nevertheless I see considerable generosity. Canadian materialism and morality are nowhere near as sleazy as in the formerly socialist countries.

And as for societies, I remember watching a film about (see photo) in which thousands of naked warriors gathered to throw stone-tipped spears at each other on a weekly basis. They and the Nazis and Romans make our soldiers look effete. For 500 years the all over the Mediterranean enjoyed gladiatorial contests above all other entertainment.

Quite often (including in the upcoming October issue) Peace Magazine prints articles by people who want to start society over, from the ground up. They believe that if you could just do a good job with the children, instilling the right values and teaching them good personal virtues and interpersonal skills, then war would vanish, for, as they grow up, these youths would settle their differences in a civilized manner.

We go ahead and print these fantasies, but I don’t believe them. I think that the atrocities of war are perpetrated, not by unsocialized monsters, but by normal, nice people in abnormal situations. I think that most of us are capable of great violence (I certainly am!), especially in a situation where our own lives are in danger. While they are shooting at you, you can’t act as if they were your friends. And if the government declares war, all the friendship in the world between the two sides may count for little. As has shown in his remarkable book, War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning, once a war has started, it is impossible to talk sense to any of the parties. Hatred is not susceptible to conflict resolution in war. People can’t help it; even if they were friends before, the madness of war seizes them.

There is such a thing as a , to be sure. But it’s not predominantly a culture; it’s a set of institutional arrangements. If there are well-recognized international laws, and if the commercial interests are aligned rather than opposed, and if there are alternative mechanisms for dispute resolution, then it may be possible to avert a war. But training children to play nicely is the least promising approach of all. It’s a good thing to do, for its own sake, but not as a way of preventing war.

The very best institutional arrangement for is democracy. Yet, oddly, this statement is one of my very most offensive beliefs. The great majority of my friends reject it, so I should clarify exactly what I mean (though they will disagree anyhow). Democratic countries almost never go to war against other fully-established democratic countries. Moreover, democratic states perpetrate vastly fewer murders of their own citizens than do non-democracies.

Nevertheless, democratic states do wage fierce wars against non-democracies. And I do not claim that democracies are perfect performers on the international stage. They may do all kinds of terrible things, ranging from surreptitiously and violently attempting to overthrow other governments (e.g. Allende in Chile, Castro in Cuba, and Mosaddeq in Iran) to “fixing” elections abroad, to sponsoring “proxy” wars.

Nor am I naive about how democratic certain states may be. Two nights ago I heard a lecture about how in Ohio in 2004 and thereby stole the presidency for the second time. (See Was The 2004 Presidential Election Stolen?: Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count
by Steve Freeman and Joel Bleifuss). I was readily convinced. The trick seems to have involved limiting the number of voting machines in predominantly , so that the (mainly Democratic) voters had to stand in line many hours; many of them left without voting.

So what I am saying here is a limited, but astounding, proposition: that democratic governments hardly ever go to war against each other, and they rarely murder their own citizens, whereas the same cannot be said of non-democracies. The reason this is astounding is that it is well-established. By now, there have been hundreds of studies, and there is very little controversy among scholars about the validity of this conclusion.

The late discovered the association between democracy and peace (fulfilling a prediction by ) and in Hawaii has done the most to establish it. Don’t ask me to prove any particular case, because my recollection of history is weak, but you can read the material yourself and you’ll find this is true. For example, read Paul K. Huth and Todd L Allee, The Democratic Peace and Territorial Conflict in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2002). The authors attempt to explain the pattern, but I found their explanation less interesting than the generalization itself.

The corollary of this finding is remarkable: If all societies became established democracies, international wars would end. We’d still have plenty of problems to solve, for there might still be insurrections and civil unrest within states, and dirty, covert actions might continue abroad, but international warfare would stop.

Why would anyone object to this? I don’t understand it. I suppose it shows the power of anti-Americanism, and certainly some of my friends are unrepentant Stalinists – well, at least Brezhnevites and possibly Maoists, though I never try to pin them down. They certainly don’t want to criticize Castro or for not running democracies. That’s probably the nub of the explanation.

But the best thing is, democracy is also good for . (At least I personally think it’s great – but I have friends who don’t believe in economic development, so it is not great to them.)

In the preceding blog I mentioned as showing the value of democracy for development. But there are lots of other scholars who have explored this question, beginning with who first saw the correlation between economic advancement and democracy, but who believed the development was a factor permitting democracy to succeed. Later, people began to argue that the causal relationship ran in both directions. Here I will mention only a bit of the research by Yi Feng, Democracy, Governance, and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence (MIT Press, 2003).

Surprisingly, and in distinction from Lipset, does not accept that “economic freedom leads to political freedom. Rather, economic freedom can exist without immediately engendering political democracy.” In other words, economic development does not reliably yield democratization. (China and Singapore illustrate his point, for both are prosperous but non-democratic.) However, democracy does foster economic development, though the relationship is not necessarily statistically significant in itself. Its effect takes place through a certain path:

“I argue that democracy affects growth through its impacts on political instability, policy uncertainty, investment, education, property rights, and birth rates.
“While the direct effect of democracy on growth is ambiguous, its indirect effects on growth — through its impact on the probabilities of regular and irregular government changes - are positive.”

What he means here is that governments change regularly in democracies, but if they change at all in non-democracies, it is through rebellions. And regular change is good but “irregular” change disturbs growth.

Moreover, Yi Feng found that the longer a democracy had been functioning in a society, the more became the income levels.

Finally, the most interesting discovery here was that democracy had as much or more influence on as did economic development. This somewhat contradicts one of the beliefs that offend my anti-economic-development friends, for they would clearly like to see birthrates reduced everywhere. Economic development does so, consistently, as I said before. However, it seems that living in a democracy also directly and strongly tends to reduce birth rates.

Have I covered everything? I think so.

Have I influenced anyone’s opinion? Almost certainly not.

But I will persevere.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Is Economic Development Good or Bad?

I've been attempting to justify my offensive opinions — the ones that I seem not to share with many of my friends. This is the fourth in the series of (I expect) five, and tonight I turn to -- specifically to my offensive opinions number 7, 8, and 9, as follows:

7. Economic development is good, and need not use up the earth’s .

8. The economy is increasingly a matter of creating and selling , and less and less a matter of producing .

9.The best way to reduce is by economic development.

I hope you are shocked by the very idea that economic development is a controversial goal. All decent people want the poor people of the world to escape from and improve their living standards and life expectancy.

Yet beyond that basic level one hears expressions of ambivalence about further development – especially when it involves economic growth. This anxiety arises from the ongoing commitment to a theory that has been immensely influential over the years: Malthusianism.

Though he died over 250 years ago, lives today in the assumptions of people who do not know his name. The Malthusian assumption is that the earth's resources — notably food — are capable of increased growth, but only at an “arithmetic” rate, whereas population is capable of increased growth at an exponential rate. Indeed, considering certain built-in aspects of human nature, we must expect the human to grow beyond the means of subsistence. Since that situation cannot be prolonged very long, there will be “” that bring the population back down to the levels that can be sustained. These positive checks are disease, famine, and war — sources of death.

Malthusian assumptions can take other forms besides referring to the production of food. Since raw materials of all kinds are finite, one can make the same argument about other aspects of economic development. Mining, forestry, fisheries, fresh water, and all the other necessities for can be depleted, thus causing to collapse. And empirically, one can find historical cases of such actual population – such as the Easter Islanders and the civilization. So we have to ask whether this must inevitably be the fate of our own civilization.

The humanitarian concern for the well-being of the world’s poor is tempered, then, by an offsetting concern that their expanding population, coupled with increasing affluence, will inevitably bring the world to the brink of collapse. Only a drastic reduction in humankind’s of raw materials (known nowadays as our “ecological footprint”) will allow us to avoid worldwide collapse. Or so modern Malthusians believe.

But in reality, humankind has multiplied six times over since Malthus’s day, while improving our standards of living vastly. The has fallen, year by year, instead of becoming more scarce. People live twice as long as before. How is this possible?

The Malthusian answer only takes account of two factors; population size and economic growth. To restore the balance between these, it would seem that what is required is: (a) an increase in , (b) a decrease in birthrates, (c) a cut-back in material consumption, or (d) a combination of these three factors.

That Malthusian theory may stand to reason, but it is not true. What has happened instead is that technology has improved the efficiency of production enough to allow human well-being to improve. This is, of course, economic development. And as the Nobel laureate in economics (see photo) points out in his book, , there is no reason to expect this enhancement of efficiency to stop. We do not face any imminent threat of collapse from the depletion of natural resources or from food or water, since when one material resource becomes scarce, economic development yields substitutes and ways of producing the same goods with less material.

The world does face great dangers, but they are from such factors as global and , but not from shortages of material resources – at least if we don’t interrupt the process of economic development. The economy requires wise policies and intellectually sophisticated leaders. Without astute coordination, societies can indeed collapse — as did when its leaders kept cutting down trees to build huge stone heads.

As Sen points out, economic development enhances human capacities. It provides education, health, and an opportunity to choose freely among various options rather than live like beasts of burden, tilling the soil merely to survive. The prospect for our collective future depends on improving .

And the consequences of economic development include a decline in , followed by a decline in birthrates, and the stabilization of population size, with societies constituted largely by old people.

If, however, one tries to solve the problem in the opposite way – by reducing consumption – then the economy cannot grow and development cannot occur, so death rates will remain high and so will birthrates. This is a recipe for disaster.

Leftists in capitalist societies tend to believe that economic growth should be curbed, so as to reduce the “through-put” of raw materials. The cessation of economic growth is not a tenable goal. Why not? Because all productive enterprises require capital investments. A businesswoman setting up a new firm, for example, will borrow money from the bank or offer shares on the stock market. This money must be repaid with , or the new company must go bankrupt. The interest cannot be repaid unless the profits grow by at least that amount. Hence if economic growth stops, all productive enterprises will go bankrupt and the economy will collapse. We must either .

But growth does not necessarily mean that the natural resources are used up. With the rise of the “” growth can take place by exchanging ideas rather than processing physical things. To be sure, humans always will require food, shelter, clothing, and other physical necessities, but such products will never again be our main expenditures or our main sources of income. Material comforts can become simple, cheap, and abundant, while economic growth continues.

This is already the trend. We don’t have to do anything remarkable to make it occur. Economists now know what is required to facilitate economic development. We can help it along or mess it up with bad theories, but the basic outlines of development are understood.

So relax and enjoy it. Life is good.

But don’t relax altogether. We have other problems to solve — such as nuclear weapons and global climate change. Let’s pay attention to these issues – the ones that we really do face, instead of false problems that we need not worry about.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

There ARE Technological Fixes

Already I have embraced my disreputable status. Already I have acknowledged disagreeing with most of my friends about the direction that our society should be heading. Already I have assured you that I’m willing to be drummed out of the corps for holding dissident views. Now it’s just a matter of continuing to identify the ways in which I hold defiantly unpopular views. I’ve spelled out the first few points: my rejection of equality as a proper goal; my belief that it is more promising to change social institutions than the attitudes and behavior of individuals; my acceptance of capitalism and of globalization. Now let me turn to items five and six:

5) is more a blessing than a problem. Our future depends on encouraging and managing technological development.

6) Global warming cannot be stopped solely by reducing but requires mainly structural, especially technological, innovations.

Opposition to technology has become a facile shibboleth, especially among intellectuals. It’s part of a general lifestyle that prizes the natural, the small, the homey and unpretentious. Actually, that lifestyle mostly appeals to me too. I certainly don’t crave ostentatious belongings or fashion. But technology is a different matter; I view it mainly with enthusiasm. In its linkage with science, it tends inherently toward elegance and simplicity. As stated in a column today in the Globe and Mail, there’s a tendency to judge in terms of . A mathematical proof that is shorter is better than one that’s longer. A machine with only four moving parts is better than one with five (assuming, of course, that it accomplishes the same objective). In science and technology alike, simpler is better.

But Kingswell also points out that technological innovations are not always for the better. He mentions computer systems, for example, as susceptible to changes that complicate rather than simplify. Microsoft Word is a perfect example. I used to do everything useful with it, using techniques that any normal human being could master. Now I cannot use half of its functions properly, and I cannot even turn off the little bully who pops up on my screen to offer his advice on how to write a business letter.

So technological “improvements” do not necessarily improve. And we’d be better off if we could steer clear of such complications — which we cannot do because other new softward that’s coming up now cannot interact with our old applications, so we have to keep upgrading even if we dislike the changes.

It bugs me too. But then, when I compare what I can accomplish today with what was possible a decade ago, I realize that even these stressful changes have paid off. I can produce , for example, with perhaps one-fifth the amount of work that used to be required. And where I had to run around southern Ontario wasting gas, scrounging for photos and having them made into screened PMTs, which then I would slice up with a T-square and paste onto boards with hot wax — well, the time, money, and of current technology is vastly superior than that of even fifteen years ago. It’s worth the effort required to master these new programs.

The generalization is this: there is an enormous and continuing decrease in the amount of physical stuff that goes into producing a magazine. But what makes up for it is the increasing amount of know-how that’s required. Knowledge uses very little energy and raw materials; and pollutes not at all. For example, I bought a new program that makes crossword puzzles for the magazine. I downloaded it, paying with my credit card on-line, so they didn’t send me anything physical at all. But it was really hard to learn. This morning, at least six months after I bought it, I think I have figured out how to use it for the January issue of Peace. Until now, I’ve continued using the old program, which took me all afternoon to create each puzzle. Now that I know how, this new program will do it for me with five minute’s work.

This is absolutely a normal change in today’s world. It’s not just Peace Magazine that is undergoing such changes. Ours is increasingly a knowledge economy. We need to realize that today’s economy is not primarily one involving the manufacture or transportation of physical stuff. We can sit at home in our pajamas, reading policy papers and writing blogs that make more difference in society than do the workers who handle material products.

But those manual workers are also caught up in the process of technological change. Lots of their jobs are being exported overseas, and the ones staying here involve increasingly efficient means of production. Trade unionists complain, and one has to worry about the young people who flip burgers for low wages. Those who don’t keep up will be in trouble, just as I am because I haven’t spent enough time learning Microsoft Word’s new stunts.

But of course a magazine is a physical item, made of paper and ink. It still has to be hauled around, and it fills up garbage dumps when people toss it out. Magazine publishers . Obviously, the thing to do is switch to on-line magazine publishing. Peace Magazine does put its contents onto our web archive, but there is room for improvement. So far, readers have not liked the little portable machines that have been produced to allow us to read books, magazines, and newspapers on-line. My assistant Ken does read whole books on his while riding the subway, but very few of us would do the same. What we really need is a great new technological breakthrough that will produce an electronic device that we’ll enjoy handling as much as we like our paper publications. (See photo.) I hope that will happen soon — and I trust that it will, probably within a decade.

So stop being so snooty about technology. We need it. That’s the only way we’re going to survive as a society, for at the rate we’re going, we will use up all the raw materials and drown in the debris we are creating. Technology can make production more efficient, thereby saving forests, gasoline, and all the rest. And, as Amory Lovins and his partners have shown, this is possible. In their book , they show that it is possible to double the output of goods with half the amount of material inputs that we're using now.

As I showed with a graph on a previous blog entry, the worldwide has been declining for centuries, despite the growth in human population and of capitalistic production. Why? Because technology keeps getting more efficient, using materials that are more readily available. That’s the result of . Manufacturers depend on price signals to tell them when to look for cheaper means of production. When the price of copper goes up, for example, the telephone companies switch to (made from sand, basically) and then to . You can count on capitalism to drive this trend toward efficiency. So be grateful to these greedy capitalists!

What that also means is that we need to use more effectively to introduce changes that we will not carry out, as individuals. The modern state all kinds of production as a boon to private interests. For example, the nuclear industry does not have to charge consumers the full price of electricity, for accidents are not insured against catastrophe, and the costs of dismantling the nuclear plants and disposing of the waste are also not covered by the price of the electricity. If these “externalities” were included, consumers would quickly realize that certain renewable forms of energy are cheaper than they appear to be now.

You can pretty much bet on this: Individuals will not change their lifestyles voluntarily enough to reduce global warming. I try, but I’m not even getting close. The best way to force us to change is by using price signals on a big scale. A will do so — though any politician will have to swallow hard before coming out in support of such a mechanism. If we switch away from paying income taxes and start paying for the full costs of energy and pollution, the changing incentive structure will make immense, but disagreeable, changes in our consumption habits. That will also send a message to the capitalists who plan ahead, so they will quickly search for new and more economical sources of energy and natural resources.

Changing your own is a great thing, if you will do it. And if everyone else will do it. But that means that you can’t fly around on anymore, say, or eat meat from ruminants. Are you going to stop doing those things this very day?

I didn’t think so.



Friday, September 14, 2007

Hooray for Globalization!

If you read the preceding blog entry, where I declare my enthusiasm for , it will come as no surprise to you when this entry sings the praises of capitalism. Here I am trying to tackle, one by one, the whole array of topics about which I find myself at odds with my (mainly leftist) friends.

The term has many obscure meanings, including the notion that cultures and tastes diffuse and blend together all around the world. But mostly it refers to the spread of technology through international trade, and that is what I particularly favor. To me, it’s amazing that my friends deplore this economic aspect of globalization. If you believe in economic development and in raising the socio-economic floor, so that the poorest people can experience improved standards of living, it logically follows that you’ll rejoice in current globalizing trends.

But not everyone shares my point of view. Indeed, it is widely assumed that globalization is impoverishing, rather than enriching, the world’s underprivileged classes. And of course there are events that can be adduced to prove the point – especially when we take account of the socially irresponsible effects of many large corporations. Not only the poor, but also the environment, is jeopardized. The main writer pointing out these flaws is , whose new book I have not yet read.

But I have read, just today, ’s book, . He doesn’t sing the praises of globalization, exactly, because he doesn’t believe in historical determinism. Technology is just technology. Nothing says that it can’t be misused. He reports being despondent at times because his daughters are leaving home for their own adult lives at a time when the world is far more dangerous than when they were born. Friedman knows that.

And yet, I find his book immensely encouraging. He doesn’t really believe that the world is flat, but only that it is flattening in a thousand different ways and places. By “flat” he means that it is becoming possible for people living in backwater regions of the world to interact with the rest of humankind instead of being left behind.

I’ve been making pages for the October issue of Peace Magazine today, and we have a story that illustrates this “flattening” effect: the “” movement. For about $100 apiece, it will soon be possible to distribute children anywhere on the planet. These little machines are almost indestructible, can be taken home for the parents to try, can access the Internet if the school sets up its own server, and can run on the basis of energy provided by pulling a string. These children will surely live in a flatter world than the one where you and I grew up.

Friedman enjoys the inventiveness of businesspersons who work out efficiencies in the new economy — which is not made up of material objects so much as and know-how. So the first section of his book tells the stories of the ten most recent forces that have been flattening the world. They include India’s shift from its sluggish socialist model to a competitive capitalist one under the prodding of President , who had been finance minister when he began opening India’s economy. The country only had #1 billion in foreign currency at the time, but now has $118 billion. Much of the change has come from the outsourcing of the telecommunications and computer industry around .

The second flattener was the , which arose along with Netscape. All kinds of new protocols enabled the multiple computer systems to interact smoothly and efficiently with each other: FTP, HTTP, HTML, SSL, SMTP, POP, and TCPAP. They enable us to standardize e-mail messages and web-based transactions.

Next came “work-flow software” that enables all kinds of documents, in all kinds of formats, to be translatable. “That is, your sales department had to be able to send not just email messages but also documents to your billing department and spreadsheets to your supplier’s inventory department. And your supplier’s inventory department had to be seamlessly connected to its supplier’s supplier, which was a factory in China.” Making this kind of software obviously boosted economic efficiency.

Fourth, Friedman names and as a great contribution to humankind. You don’t have to mail in a cheque or money-order anymore. And this system helps individuals, not just big companies, when they buy and sell on-line.

I won’t go on listing these innovations, but you get the drift. The world is becoming an interdependent system in which geographical location is almost irrelevant for many transactions. Why would anyone oppose this globalization trend?

Friedman answers that question speculatively, pointing out (p. 548) that the affluent people in the West lost touch with the true aspirations of the world’s poor. The anti-globalization movement emerged as attacks on the WTO and the G-8 meetings, becoming violent in Seattle and Genoa. (See photo.) A second factor was the

“rear-guard push by the Old Left — socialists, anarchists, and Trotskyites — in alliance with protectionist trade unions. Their strategy was to piggy-back on rising concerns about globalization to bring back some form of socialism, even though these ideas had been rejected as bankrupt by the very people in the former Soviet Empire and China who had lived under them longest.... These Old Left forces wanted to spark a debate about whether we globalize. ... The fourth force driving the movement, which was particularly strong in Europe and in the Islamic world, was anti-Americanism.”

There was a fifth force in the movement that Friedman actually respected; they were a coalition of constructive groups such as environmentalists, trade activists, and NGOs who were trying to focus the debate on how we globalize. By 2001, they were drowned out by the “whether we globalize” part of the movement. The serious part of the movement no longer wanted to be associated with the anarchists and therefore began to withdraw. Friedman says they have left a huge political vacuum waiting to be filled. “There is a real role today for a movement that could advance the agenda of how we globalize – not whether we globalize.”

Just today on TV, I also heard an announcement that the number of children dying around the world is the lowest in history. There can be no more meaningful measure of economic success than the declining rates of in the world. What does globalization have to do with it?

In June 2003, the was carried out worldwide. Its findings support the conclusion that globalization helps reduce poverty and inequality. As , Director of Development Policy at the World Bank, notes, there has been a significant decrease in the number of extremely poor persons on earth since 1980. Moreover, the views of globalization are far more positive in low-income countries than in rich ones. The fast-growing economies are those in developing countries that are intensively seeking to integrate with the world economy.

To be sure, there are many problems, but the poor people who were polled did not attribute their problems to economic integration. When asked whether “growing global trade and business ties are bad or good for my country” the replies were as follows:

US and Western Europe
Very good 28%
Bad 27%

Developing Asia
Very good 37%
Bad 9%

Sub-Saharan Africa
Very good 56%
Bad 10%

Moreover, in Sub-Saharan Africa 75% of households thought that multinational corporations had a positive influence on their country, compared to only 54% in rich countries. Views of the effects of the WTO, the World Bank, and IMF on their country were nearly as positive in Africa (72%). What they do resent is the opposite: being excluded from economic opportunities, as for example by agricultural protectionism in the rich countries.

Other studies by the World Bank confirm these results. Globalizing developing countries are growing faster than rich ones. David Dollar reports that the more globalized countries have seen an acceleration of the per capita growth rate,

“reaching a population-weighted average of 5% annually in the 1990s. By contrast, rich countries grew at 2%, and the rest of the developing world, at –1%. Over 3 billion people are included, for Bangladesh, China, India, Brazil, and Mexico are part of this category.

“The anti-globalization movement often claims that integration leads to growing inequality within countries, with no benefits going to the poor. Generally, this is not true. There are certainly some countries in which inequality has risen, like China and the US, but there is no worldwide trend. Most important, in the developing countries that are growing well as a result of integration and other reforms, rapid growth translates into rapid poverty reduction. The total number of extreme poor (living on less than $1 per day measured at purchasing power parity) increased throughout history up to about 1980. Since 1980 that number declined by 200 million, while world population increased by 1.8 billion. The progress is heartening, but there are still 1.2 billion people living in poverty.”

I wonder: Do these facts make any difference whatever to my friends? I doubt it. But I will keep arguing the case whenever I get a chance. The moral failure that I fear most is the temptation to go along with others'opinions just to avoid offending anyone.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

My Offensive Opinions

As I get older, I am getting more truculent. Probably my friends have noticed. So I have made a list of the twelve opinions of mine that most often lead into arguments. These views would not raise many eyebrows among social scientists, but they do seem to offend my friends. Hence it may be useful for me to justify my views and send them around so you can each decide whether to reply or simply avoid the topic whenever we get together. I will present these opinions in bite-sized chunks, starting with the first three topics today, and working my way through the list during the next week.

Evidently my most controversial opinions are the following twelve:

1. Social equality is not a desirable goal.

2. It is harder to change hearts and minds than to change crucial social institutions.

3. Capitalism is mainly a blessing and markets are essential. They can be improved without great disruption.

4. Globalization is more a blessing than a problem, especially to less developed countries.

5. Technology is more a blessing than a problem. Our future depends on encouraging and managing technological development.

6. Global warming cannot be stopped solely by reducing individual consumption but requires mainly structural, especially technological, innovations.

7. Economic development is good, and need not use up the earth’s natural resources.

8. The economy is increasingly a matter of creating and selling knowledge, and less and less a matter of producing material stuff.

9. The best way to reduce the birth rate is by economic development.

10. War is an institution that has little to do with the quality of one’s personality or relationships.

11. Our Western civilization is not inferior to all other cultures previously known.

12. Democracy is good for peace and for economic development, though the political decisions made in democracies are not necessarily better than those made in other systems.

Social equality is not a desirable goal.
Instead, I favor a “floor” below which the poor and disadvantaged will not be allowed to fall. Yes, it will indirectly amount to redistributing money and privileges from the well-off to those lower in , which will increase . However, I don’t believe it’s a good idea to encourage invidious comparisons. Instead, we should all be thinking in terms of whether we have enough — where "enough" is finite.

As put it, one can live comfortably in a small house until someone builds a mansion next door. Then the little house suddenly seems to be only a miserable shack. It is a bad (but widespread) habit to compare oneself to others to decide how well off one is.

Here’s a fact: The people who were nominated for an but did not win it have a FIVE-YEAR shorter than those who did win Oscars. They are successful people in every respect except by comparison to those who won. We’d all be happier if we judged our own well-being in terms of our unique personal goals and needs, not those of other people. Satisfaction should come from having enough, not from being equal to anyone else.

There are many acceptable ways of guaranteeing that every member of society has access to a decent . I don’t have any preference, so long as we all have our basic needs met. If nobody is seriously deprived, I don’t care how unequally the remainder is distributed.

It is harder to change others’ hearts and minds than to change crucial social institutions.
The world is full of smart social reformers who make excellent suggestions about the of others. Unfortunately, the others don’t usually accept these recommendations, even when they should know better. For example, we all know better than to fly around the world enjoying vacations and visiting relatives, for the planes' CO2 emissions are destroying our planet – but we do it anyhow. (Try talking someone out of it, and see how far you get.)

Alternatively, it is often easy to get big political decisions made for a whole society. Right now, I’m going to work to promote a and give up my futile practice of criticizing other persons’ consumption habits. Remember when John Kennedy announced that the US would ? Citizens were not asked to give their hearts and minds to the cause; Congress just decided to do it and so it happened — apparently without regard to whether voters liked the idea. Governments can do the same today with : just announce some changes and make them happen. Thus, switching our taxation system from income tax to a carbon tax over a period of, say, ten years, will objectively make it too costly for us to mindlessly generate . Social are far easier to fix than human shortcomings.

Capitalism is a blessing and are essential. But they can, and should, be improved without great disruption.
It is so easy for leftists to slam capitalism! But what would you put in its place? Slavery? Feudalism? A command economy? Pick one, if you insist on abolishing capitalism. (No, you’re not allowed to choose the Scandinavian welfare state, which is actually a highly successful version of capitalism.)

It amazes me that, when economists have reached a virtual consensus as to how to lift a population out of poverty, I am surrounded by friends who would like to abolish that very system. (Admittedly, Easterley, Sachs, Stiglitz, and others have some details to resolve, but they are all in favor of capitalism.) Even China is capitalist now, whatever they may call the party that’s in power. Every developing country now is trying to follow the examples of Japan and the “Little Tiger” economies. Recently North Korea has instructed its people to go into business. Long ago, even and , the “founding fathers of ” stopped defending their previous approach. When Cardoso became the president of Brazil he said he was not going to follow any of the recommendations he had promoted in his books. I don’t think a single economist in the whole world today would favor abolishing a market system — but many of my friends would, for they claim that capitalist societies are crassly materialistic and greedy. Be careful what you wish for, friends.

I know very few crassly materialistic, greedy people but they weren't brought up as capitalists. Most of those people live in formerly socialist societies, or have left those countries to come West. I also know a few shallow people here in North America, but they are not primarily materialistic, but merely overly-focused on their families instead of on societal problems. Their limitations did not arise from a belief in capitalism, but we can't expect them to grow much. Changing to a different kind of economy would not help them or anyone else, and fortunately, it’s not going to happen anyway. It can't be done.

What has capitalism done for our life expectancy? When the Industrial Revolution and began in Britain in 1750, life expectancy at birth for males was 31 years and for females, 33 years. By 1900, it had increased to 45 for males and 48 for females. Today it is nearly 77 for males and 82 for females. Even the world-wide average life expectancy at birth has increased to 65 for males and 70 for females.

These advantages are strongly connected with capitalism. , apparently the shortest-lived country in the world, has an overall life expectancy at birth of 39.6 years, whereas in 15 countries (all capitalist) it exceeds 80 years. (Cuba and the United States are tied, with an overall life expectancy at birth of 78 years, each being the “over-achiever” and the “under-achiever” in its respective socialist or capitalist category.)

Moreover, as a report by Statistics Canada announced,

“In 1996, Canada’s infant mortality rate dropped below six infant deaths per 1,000 live births for the first time. These improvements in health, coupled with greater economic prosperity and environmental conservation have resulted in an overall enhancement in quality of life for Canadians.”

Who wants to give that up?

Still, I concur with the prevailing misgivings about . Indisputably, some business firms do harm society in countless ways. , for example, is largely responsible for climate change. Some firms (e.g. tobacco and munitions manufacturers) are inherently unethical and probably should not be accepted at all.

Nevertheless, it is easy to think of innovations to regulate these organizations. has suggested one approach, which is now endorsed by the . They favor issuing to corporations that last only ten years. At the end of that period, a jury of ordinary citizens will review the company’s practices and plans. Only if it is deemed will its charter be extended for another ten years. This procedure will enable civil society groups to collect and present evidence bearing upon this decision. At present, the directors of a corporation are legally bound to promote the interests of their , but we need a far more extensive kind of social accountability, which Lerner’s proposal will accomplish. It will barely disrupt the workings of our capitalist economy.

Next time I will take up globalization, a process that seems to me mainly beneficial in the less developed countries.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Global Dimming and the World's Future

Listen up, guys. This is important. In fact, it may be the most important news story you hear this year. It’s about the relationship between “Global Warming” and “Global Dimming” — which I’d never heard of until last night.

NOVA broadcast a TV show about it that everyone – repeat, EVERYONE — needs to see. Since you probably won’t see it, I took notes, which I’ll present herewith.

You may already know that the has increased by .6 to .8 degrees Celsius. Well, that’s only part of the story, which NOVA recounted by beginning with September 12, 2001, when a climate scientist named David Travis noticed that the Wisconsin sky was unusually clear. This meant something special to him, since he had been studying airplane ““ for several years. After 9/11, almost all airplanes in the US were grounded, so there were no contrails, though the atmospheric conditions were ideal for creating them.

Next we go to Israel, where 40 years ago another scientist, , had begun measuring the intensity of the sun in various parts of Israel so as to determine how much water was needed for plants. In the 1980s, Stanhill had updated his measurements and was astonished to find a reduction in the sunlight by about 22 percent. Though he published these findings, other scientists ignored them.

But in Germany, was studying the solar levels in the Bavarian Alps, and she too found remarkable reductions. Both Liepert and Stanhill independently began searching records around the world and found declines everywhere – in some places as little as 9 percent, in other places as much as 30%. Overall, the worldwide amount of sunshine had declined by 2-4 percent. This was puzzling. If there is , the world should be cooling, but in fact it is heating up.

Next NOVA took us to Australia, where climatologists Roderick and Farquhar had been recording the “.” This term refers to the process of measurement that had been followed worldwide for about 100 years. Scientists pour sufficient water into an outdoor pan each day to bring the level up to that of the previous day. The difference is the amount that had evaporated. The Australian researchers found that evaporation is decreasing. Why, when the earth’s temperature is increasing? Because heat is not the main determining factor; sunlight is. It’s the impact of photons hitting the surface of the water. By accident they discovered an article in Nature magazine titled “Evaporation is Losing its Strength.” Measurements in Russia, Eastern Europe, and the United States matched the findings of Liepert and Stanhill; sunshine is declining everywhere.

Onward, to the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean. These islands run from north to south, with the northern ones receiving polluted air blown from India, and the southern islands receiving pristine air blown from Antarctica. The climatologist Veerabhadren undertook a major international study to document and explain these differences. The difference between the amount of sunshine reaching land in the northern and southern Maldives indicates the extent of the “.” It turned out to be more than ten percent. Ramanathan had expected it to be between half a degree and one degree Celsius, so these results were ten times the predicted amount.

What is “global dimming”? It is the amount of sunlight filtered out or reflected back into space by the visible pollution in the air—soot, or sea salt, say, or the clouds produced from contrails.

What causes it? Particles of pollution. Water droplets collect on particles, then often bump into and merge with other particles that hold water, getting larger and larger until they may fall as rain. There were up to ten times as many man-made particles in the northern Maldives as in the south. Numerous small droplets reflect more light than fewer big ones, so the polluted clouds were reflecting more light back into space, preventing the heat of the sun from getting through. This is the same thing that goes on all around the world – especially today in India and China.

These more reflective clouds can alter the world’s rainfall, with tragic consequences. For 20 years in the 1970s and 1980s, the belt of clouds around the equator failed to move northward, as they do ordinarily. As a result, the in Africa received no monsoon rains – the source of water on which they depend. Drought followed, causing suffering and death of 50 million people, notably in Ethiopia.

But why had the rainbelt failed to move upward? According to Leon Rothstein, pollution from North America and Europe had been blown across the ocean as usual. But when Rothstein took account of the Maldives findings, he could recognize that the polluted clouds had stopped the heat that would have drawn the raincloud belt northward. Others had supposed until then that the explanation must have had something to do with global warming, but in this case, it was the cooling effect instead – global dimming.

As Ramanathan points out, there are billions of people in Asia whose lives are at stake. We have to cut down on air pollution, if not indeed eliminate it altogether. In the rich countries this is happening because of such inventions as catalytic converters on cars, smokestack scrubbers, and the like. That is probably why the monsoons have returned to the Sahel. But the growing economies in Asia also are suffering from pollution, with huge numbers of . Those countries will probably reduce their too, since it is much easier to achieve than the reduction of CO2. But now we see that pollution, for all its horrible qualities, has been protecting us from an even greater threat: accelerated global warming.

It was Travis who showed us a world without global dimming. He had been studying contrails for fifteen years. Water droplets produce clouds that can blanket the sky. In the southwest US, there are photos showing them covering half the sky. But to determine how large their effect was, Travis needed to find a period when the conditions were right for contrails to form but when there were no flights. There had been no such period until the three days following September 11, 2001. And suddenly Travis could collect data from all over the US, comparing it to other measurements taken over the past thirty years. His particular interest was in the temperature range – the differential between the highest and lowest temperature within a 24-hour period. This turned out to be much greater than expected. However, Travis knew that contrails are only a minor contributor to global dimming. If they could have this much effect, then the total amount of global dimming caused by all factors together must be huge.

Now shifts to a British climatologist, Peter Cox, who is formulating models to depict these phenomena. He explains that there has been a tug of war between two factors influencing global temperature: greenhouse gases, which produce warming effects, and pollution, which produces cooling effects. Which is stronger?

We are pumping out greenhouse gases now with enough energy to light a 100 watt bulb ever six square meters over the entire globe. That means, we’re producing 2.6 – 3 watts per square meter.

How much effect is global dimming having? In 2002 NASA launched the aqua satellite with instruments capable of measuring pollution. It seems that there’s a minus 1.5 watt effect per square mater – i.e. a cooling effect of one degree Celsius. So while greenhouse gases have been adding 2.6 watts per square meter, global dimming has subtracted 1.5 watts – more than half the effect of the greenhouse gas emissions, thus masking the gases’ emissions. Without this masking, we would have noticed the warming earlier and would have had more time to respond.

If we keep bringing particle pollution down, this will greatly benefit human health, but if we keep on pumping out greenhouse gases, we could worsen the effect on global temperature. This would soon cause a heating by more than 1 degree Celsius – which is more than we have seen already. And by continuing, the temperature could rise by 2-3 degrees Celsius or 5 degrees by mid-century. An increase of two degrees guarantees disaster.

We have already seen the shield melting. (Today’s Globe and Mail, page A3, has this heading: “Dramatic collapse of ice cap stuns experts: Area almost twice as big as Britain disappears in the last week alone as levels of sea ice in Arctic reach record low.” Once this starts, it is out of our control

Earth was three degrees warmer some three million years ago when there was a natural increase in gases in the atmosphere. This raised 25 METERS higher than today. At the rate we are going, most of New York City, Washington, DC, Florida, and Louisiana will be under water. The Amazon will dry and burn, releasing more CO2 and accelerating global warming.

Most current models do not take account of global dimming. Even the scientists have been misled by it. Cox says we may be underestimating the heating effect of future global warming , and that by 2100, the temperature could rise by 10 degrees Celsius. Many plant species would die. In the far north, would melt. Some or all of the 10,000 billion tonnes of methane would be released. That is a greenhouse gas eight times stronger than carbon dioxide. When this last happened 50 million years ago, the temperature was increased by 13 degrees Fahrenheit.

Within less than a decade we will pass the point of no return. To achieve less than 1 degrees Celsius, we’d have to make greenhouse gases decline by mid-century. As it is, we are experiencing increases of over 2 percent per year.

In other words, what we are facing is probably the greatest emergency in human history. NOVA does not tell us exactly what we should be doing about it. Nobody knows. However, I have an opinion. I believe it is too late to turn this around by any conservation measures that have any chance of political acceptance in a free society. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take radical steps ourselves, beginning by holding meetings with our friends, co-workers, and neighbors. But I think that high-tech inventions MAY make a essential difference, if we support them quickly and with big money.

I’ll only mention three approaches, though there are several important high-tech projects being explored. First, there’s the possibility of creating “artificial trees” to remove carbon from the ambient atmosphere, then hide it underground. This approach is being developed by Professor at Columbia University. He says that to make it economically viable, we’d have to introduce a carbon tax or ration carbon emissions. I personally would like to work on promoting a . It wouldn’t add to our total tax burden, for it would reduce income taxes while making us pay more for anything that emits greenhouse gases. If you Google Lackner you will find several sources explaining what he is doing. Or you can listen to his Q and A on NPR at:

Lackner himself says that only solar can suffice in the long term as an alternative to fossil fuels, which are emitting greenhouse gases. There are some solar innovations that will shortly multiply by four or five the efficiency of solar panels. I cannot describe them to you now but you will have more this fall.

Finally, there is a lot of interest in . There’s one fellow in Florida who can burn salt water in fields, but it is controversial whether there’s any payoff. (See the preceding blog about that.) And there are inventions that would possibly make hydrogen more accessible. See:

All I intend to say here is that we cannot go on living as we have done before. We are stewards of this planet and must protect it with all the force of our intellect and physical capacities. I hereby sign up for the task. Do you?


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Hydrogen and All That

I’ve just finished reading David Sanborn Scott’s book Smelling Land: The Hydrogen Defense Against Climate Catastrophe, plus a couple of surprising things about energy. Scott believes that the next great energy innovation is going to be the hydrogen age, and that after that, and (which he calls ) will together constitute the two dominant energy currencies until the end of civilization. Other sources of energy will exist, but they will work by being transformed into either hydrogen or electricity, the two main currencies.

Scott distinguishes between a source and a , and I think the latter is a useful concept. For certain uses, energy must be in a particular form. We can’t run our computers on gasoline. We can’t run airplanes on electricity, and so on. But just as we can exchange dollars for pesos and vice versa, we can exchange different energy currencies for others that are more suitable — gasoline for electricity. It always costs us something to make the transaction, but often we’re glad to pay for it. Hydrogen can be converted into electricity in , and electricity can split water into hydrogen and oxygen by .

Scott says that it’s possible to get hydrogen from almost anywhere, and he doesn’t spend much time discussing the technology of extracting it, though I believe there are significant problems involved even in producing it in large quantities from water. And I imagine that we’d already be deeply into the hydrogen age if the uses of it for transportation were as easy as he makes it out to be. Unfortunately, I’m poorly educated about such matters, but I have some better-informed friends who are betting that hydrogen may never take over in auto industry beause already are doing so well. He claims that batteries have never developed much, but other say that a system could be established in service stations whereby you drive in and replace your run-down for a charged-up one and go on your way. You would have to stop about every 300 miles, but that’s not so bad.

The main thing I did notice was that his image of hydrogen air travel is greatly at odds with the picture that paints in his marvelous book, Heat. Where Scott sees hydrogen as a logical solution, Monbiot finds it out of the question, point by point. Probably airline executives agree more with Monbiot, for the most hopeful news I have read it that Boeing and Air New Zealand are going to produce fuel from for mixing with the usual kerosene fuel. So far as I know, they aren’t expecting to use it as the sole fuel.

In any case, I found Scott’s book fascinating. He thinks is necessary and not very dangerous. I can hardly be so sanguine, though if it’s a matter of having civilization die because nothing else is ready, I’d accept nuclear as a stopgap. I’m not sure it has to come to that choice, though. Some day I need to give my full attention to this debate, which I’ve not done lately.

Scott says that in the seventies he believed that we had to develop hydrogen because he believed we were going to run out of oil. Now he says there will be lots of oil left in the ground indefinitely, because we’ll have to get out of oil into other fuels to prevent . The urgency of climate change is coming at us far sooner than the end of oil.

But I’ve encountered two other remarkable stories – one new and one old. First the new one. There’s a fellow named in Florida (see photo) who is working on a treatment for cancer involving of gold, which are attracted disproportionately to cancer cells. Once they are attached to those cells, Kanzius proposes zapping them with radio frequency waves, which will heat them and kill the cancer. (He hopes.)

But one night he got up at 3 am and made a in the kitchen with his wife’s pie pans. And he found that salt water (including sea water from the canal in his back yard) will burn when put into the radio frequency field. There are several video clips showing this process. The fire is yellow (colored by the sodium, apparently) and intensely hot – 1500 degres or higher. He often uses a paper towel as a wick, but the paper does not burn. When he interrupts the radio frequency field, the fire instantly goes out, and when it goes back on, the fire does too. If he puts a fluorescent tube in the field, it glows. If he puts his hand into it, nothing apparently happens.

The thing that puzzles most people is: where is the energy coming from to do this stunt? He says it’s not electrolysis. Now if it were electrolysis, I think people would not be surprised, so I myself am no more surprised about this than about electrolysis. In any case, it would seem to have more promise than electrolysis. I've seen a video of a home electrolysis experiment. What happens is that little bubbles of hydrogen appear and you can ignite them with discrete pops on the surface of the fluid. Nothing resembles a sustained, intense fire. This thing Kanzius has done is new.

But there's another odd invention that may belong in the same category. A Bolivian chap named had heard that a priest in his country had invented a battery that would give 3 volts instead of the normal 1.5 volts. However, that priest had emigrated back to Germany so Pacheco had to try to figure out the invention anew. He heard that the priest had used water from a river where women washed the minerals from a mine. While experimenting, he discovered that bubbles of gas were forming. Because he smoked, he ignited an explosion and discovered that the bubbles were hydrogen. Then he collected the hydrogen and used it to boil water, and after that to run an auto engine.

In 1943 Pacheco immigrated to the United States, hoping to demonstrate his hydrogen generator to the military. Everyone was resistant to his invention. Eventually he received patents from Germany, Brazil, and Japan. In 1974 he demonstrated the generator by running a 26-foot power boat for nine hours with it. In 1979, Nan Waters, a consulting chemist with the Aesop Institute analyzed the generator and wrote,

“I have read the literature relating to Pacheco's hydrogen generator. In my opinion, there is no reason why it ought not work as described. Basically, he has combined in one device three very simple chemical principles: a) the use of active metals to produce hydrogen from water, b) the differing electrical potential of two metals to produce an electrical current, c) the use of electrical current to produce hydrogen from water by electrolysis. All the ideas are well known; they simply haven't been put together this way before. It is so simple as to be elegant."

Time after time, Pacheco demonstrated his device, even by outfitting a neighbor's home with it, but he was unable to bring it to public attention. sent a research chemist to see it, but the company then took no interest. One oil company returned all papers to him in an unmarked envelope and after a meeting with him, one of its executives said, "We are in the oil business. Your invention, if we were to develop it, would be against our interests."

Is that what Kanzius has to expect too?

At first he said that the energy output (efficiency) was below unity, but later he said that it seems to be above unity, so he is going to stop talking about it publicly, presumably while conducting business negotiations for developing it.

I'm rooting for him. And of course for his as well. He says he'd be glad to sell the saltwater fuel invention to pay for his ongoing cancer research. His heart is in the right place. Now I'm terribly curious about how his device works, and what it has in common with the Pacheco generator.