Lecturas y vídeo 09.01.2013

Happy New Year! Peace on Earth in 2013.



A ‘real American triumph’: the US shale revolution delivers a much cleaner environment, along with jobs and prosperity, by Mark J. Perry.

To summarize, the great “American triumph” is creating millions of shovel-ready jobs throughout the U.S. labor market, stimulating the economy with trillions of dollars of new investment capital, lowering energy costs for residential and industrial customers and generating billions of dollars of savings, bringing U.S. natural gas prices down to the lowest level in the world and helping to spark a renaissance in energy-intensive manufacturing, adding billions of dollars of revenues for federal and state governments, and creating thousands of new millionaires from the oil and gas royalties being paid out to farmers and landowners around the country. And as an additional environmental benefit, we’re “rolling the carbon clock back” by several decades. Unless there is major political or regulatory interference, the impact of the energy revolution and the “real American triumph” is just getting started, and provides one of the strongest reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy, the job market, and the environment.

The greening of the planet, by Matt Ridley.

In the future, Earth's plants should be able to successfully adjust their physiology to accommodate a warming of the magnitude and rate-of-rise that is typically predicted by climate models to accompany the projected future increase in the air's CO2 content. Factoring in plant productivity gains that will occur as a result of the aerial fertilization effect of the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2, plus its accompanying transpiration- reducing effect that boosts plant water use efficiency, the world's vegetation possesses an ideal mix of abilities to reap a tremendous benefit in the years and decades to come.

Better Than Human: Why Robots Will — And Must — Take Our Jobs, by Kevin Kelly.

It’s hard to believe you’d have an economy at all if you gave pink slips to more than half the labor force. But that—in slow motion—is what the industrial revolution did to the workforce of the early 19th century. Two hundred years ago, 70 percent of American workers lived on the farm. Today automation has eliminated all but 1 percent of their jobs, replacing them (and their work animals) with machines. But the displaced workers did not sit idle. Instead, automation created hundreds of millions of jobs in entirely new fields. Those who once farmed were now manning the legions of factories that churned out farm equipment, cars, and other industrial products. Since then, wave upon wave of new occupations have arrived—appliance repairman, offset printer, food chemist, photographer, web designer—each building on previous automation. Today, the vast majority of us are doing jobs that no farmer from the 1800s could have imagined.

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This is not a race against the machines. If we race against them, we lose. This is a race with the machines. You’ll be paid in the future based on how well you work with robots. Ninety percent of your coworkers will be unseen machines. Most of what you do will not be possible without them. And there will be a blurry line between what you do and what they do. You might no longer think of it as a job, at least at first, because anything that seems like drudgery will be done by robots.

We need to let robots take over. They will do jobs we have been doing, and do them much better than we can. They will do jobs we can’t do at all. They will do jobs we never imagined even needed to be done. And they will help us discover new jobs for ourselves, new tasks that expand who we are. They will let us focus on becoming more human than we were.

Let the robots take the jobs, and let them help us dream up new work that matters.

Aguantar mata: el dilema de España, por Michele Boldrin.

Los ejemplos abundan. El enfrentamiento entre la Comunidad de Madrid y sus empleados del sector sanitario que durante varias semanas paralizó los servicios hospitalarios (y frecuentemente las calles) es un claro ejemplo de los efectos nefastos del aguantar. Las reglas actuales de gestión y financiación de la sanidad, en la Comunidad de Madrid y en las otras comunidades españolas, no son sostenibles ante el cambio demográfico y tecnológico y la evolución actual y esperada de los recursos disponibles. Es perfectamente posible que la “nueva vía” que la Comunidad indica sea equivocada: eso no es, ahora mismo, mi problema. Mi problema es que los médicos, los enfermeros y, sobre todo, los sindicatos de este sector, no pueden oponerse a los cambios propuestos pidiendo, simplemente, el mantenimiento del statu quo. Esta actitud se funda en la idea que debemos “aguantar”, y no podemos: debemos cambiar las reglas que rigen nuestro sistema de sanidad pública porque, siguiendo las reglas antiguas, lo único que acabaremos haciendo es destruirlo. Si las reformas que el Gobierno de Madrid propone no funcionan se deben proponer otras, mejores, que consigan un éxito socialmente más deseable. Pero no se puede pedir únicamente aguantar.

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