Thursday, December 13, 2012

Superstorm Sandy: a Harbinger of Migration?

Global Warming refugees?
"Anyone who lived through the life cycle of the baby boom knows two things about demographics. First, demographic cycles are slow but inexorable. And second, perhaps because they move so slowly, they are often ignored. It was obvious with the emergence of the baby boom post-World War II that over the course of the next five to ten years there would be a tidal wave of bodies coming into elementary schools, and that in 10 to 15 years that tidal wave would hit high schools, then colleges, then the housing market. Yet schools were not built to accommodate this boom, even though there was more than adequate lead time. (And many of the schools that did get built then were torn down once the baby boomers move past school age, just in time to miss the next demographic wave – the children of the baby boomers). Climate change will progress at an even slower, imperceptible pace. And unlike demographics, where the changes in birthrates are undeniable, climate change exists in a cloud of uncertainty. Even those who take it as a given cannot clearly project its course. The point is that we miss even the obvious risks if they move slowly enough, and the realities and effect of climate change remain less than obvious. And there are few risks that are as slow moving but substantial as those associated with climate change. The frog in the pot is the operative analogy.
Barbarians overran Europe as far as Scotland to the north and Portugal to the west; the land was carved up and administered by this new elite, with the original land holders displaced and the laborers becoming serfs. The Burgundians and the Visigoths took two thirds of their respective conquests, each Burgundian being housed as a “guest” with the former landholder now living in a small part of his former estate. The Vandals seized all the best lands in northern Africa, without any regard to the former inhabitants. The Lombards in Italy took one third part of the land. The Franks took possession of much of the land in France. The newly arrived became lords of their holdings, the previous tenants and farmers became their serfs. In the end this great migration gave us the Feudal Age, a social order that defined Europe for eight hundred years. What will appear a century hence after the great migration on which we are soon to embark?" Read more posts by Rick Bookstaber
Read more: Business Insider