Rundle and Marx:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Rundle: capitalism … finally the pundits are taking notice” (yesterday, item 10). Guy Rundle quite rightly castigates financial commentators for their misrepresentation of Karl Marx and then goes on to make his own pronouncements without any reference to what Marx actually said:

“Marx never thought that the global spread of markets, or the financial system, or the “redistribution” of income led to crisis. He wrote of high capitalism before the spread of the limited company (i.e. the modern corporation), dominant finance capital, or the rise of trade unions and the global unevenness that made high wages possible.”

Really? In the Communist Manifesto of 1848, Marx discussed the “world market”, “the ever expanding union of the workers”, and the dependency of “the East on the West”.   He published Capital, Volume 1, in 1867, well after the British Limited Liability Act of 1855, and in Volume 3, published after his death in 1883, he discussed finance extensively, including the concept of “fictitious capital”, which many see as having great relevance to the GFC.

In fact, the greatest failure of commentators is to portray current developments as new, rather than depressingly familiar.

Truthiness and climate change:

Tamas Calderwood writes: Matt Saxon (yesterday, comments) says that if you sum the warming spurts of the past 150 years listed by Phil “hide the decline” Jones of the CRU you actually get 1.75C of warming. Matt has obviously double counted the 1975-1998 and 1975-2009 periods listed by Jones. If you stick to the first three acknowledged warming spurts you get 1.2C of warming, but the cooling periods from 1880-1910 and 1940-1975 mean there is only a net 0.7C of warming in the past 150 years. And Matt still can’t explain why the longest spurt started up over a century ago when our CO2 emissions were much lower

Alan Harrington (yesterday, comments) insists that “numerous climate scientists” say that 1998 was an abnormal peak and the overall trend is inexorably up, although Andrew Davison (yesterday, comments) says 2005 and 2010 were the warmest years, according to NASA. So which is it, guys? Andrew also posted a highly misleading graph that uses completely unrelated scales on its two Y-axes to imply a correlation between CO2 and warming. Truthiness, anyone?

In any case, again, analysis of the highly accurate UAH satellite temperature data shows 1998 as the warmest year.  A regression back to 1998 shows just 7/100ths of a degree Celsius of warming since then.  OK, let’s exclude 1998 and start the regression from 2000:  6/100ths of a degree Celsius of warming.

Oh, I know — I don’t have a degree in climate science so I should just shut up and Crikey should stop publishing my comments.  It’s just that the data doesn’t fit the dangerous, man-made warming hypothesis and you don’t need any qualifications to see that.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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