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Horse-Manure Crisis

Freakonomics author Steven D. Levitt suggests science and market forces will eliminate the climate-change problem with minimal effort.

Fortnightly Magazine - December 2007

infant mortality was something like 10 percent. We solved those problems through healthcare and medicine. Now we have problems like overpopulation and obesity, but I will take today’s problems over [the historic] problems any day, and now let’s figure out how to solve [today’s problems].

It may be we’ve just been lucky. We’ve had a good run. For about 20,000 years the standard of living of humankind was almost unchanged until the industrial revolution, when it exploded. And now we live better today than the Roman emperors did.

I might be overly optimistic, but it seems to me the lesson of the last 200 years is if you set a goal, like getting to the moon, and put smart scientists on it, they are remarkably effective at getting to the goal.