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I suppose whether a metaphor is compelling is in teh eye of the beholder. I don't feel compelled. Maybe I'm in the minority here.

I can imagine better metaphors for environmental degradation than gambling. Such as: eating the seed corn, pissing in your own soup.

The more you look into the gambling metaphor the shakier it gets. What's the analogue of card-counting? Where are the mathematically precise odds? Where is the bluffing? Is it a zero-sum game? Even the quoted text starts by distinguishing odds from stakes and then mixes them up. And the resort to gambler's ruin (odds of something ever happening) is self-defeating as it invites my observation that ruin is certain (Kolmogorov's zero-one law) which reduces the whole exercise to absurdity. This is related to Cheney's infamous one-percent rule

If there's a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It's not about our analysis ... It's about our response.
(Hat tip to someone)

I don't see the betting parlour in environmental/energy policy (or lack thereof). The only betting parlour in sight is the financial markets, and there the gambling metaphor is apt, the more you look into it the better it gets, and the final conclusion must be

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 25th, 2007 at 07:02:38 AM EST
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