Feb 2, 2015
econ4org
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Diminishing Marginal Utility

Or: Is a Dollar Worth More to a Billionaire or a Secretary?

Here’s a first example of Econ4’s instructional economics videos. More to follow if and when funding permits. Please stay tuned!

Mar 31, 2015
boyce

The Next System Project

A new project from Econ4’s Gar Alperovitz and many more:

Learn more about the Next System Project here.

Mar 31, 2015
boyce

Stranded asset denial

John Ashton, formerly Britain’s top climate diplomat, writes in an open letter to the president of Shell Oil:

You deny your assets will be stranded. True, first tier assets are cheap, and those that are heavily invested in tend to bear fruit quickly. But your case also assumes failure on 2C and rates of renewables deployment long surpassed by reality.

The Bank of England is watching the carbon bubble. Bloomberg screens include a carbon risk valuation tool. The divestment movement may still be small but it is rallying young people, has moral authority, and can now make a prudential case as well as an environmental one.

Writing on the wall. Story of the world.

You could accept squarely that the days of yesterday’s business model are numbered, that the challenge now is to manage its decline and build alongside it a new business fit for today.

Read his letter here. Read the story here.

Mar 11, 2015
boyce

Stranded fossil assets

Bill McKibben writing in The Guardian on the coming shift in the world energy economy:

What in 2013 was the rallying cry of a few student campaigners has by 2015 become the conventional wisdom: there’s a “carbon bubble,” composed of the trillions of dollars of coal and oil and gas that simply must be left underground. Here’s the president of World Bank speaking in Davos: “Use smart due diligence. Rethink what fiduciary responsibility means in this changing world. It’s simple self-interest. Every company, investor and bank that screens new and existing investments for climate risk is simply being pragmatic….”

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, did his best to explain the unwelcome news to the industry at a conference last October: the “vast majority” of the planet’s carbon reserves “are unburnable,” he said. When Shell’s chief executive hit back last month, calling a rapid transition off fossil fuel “simply naïve,” it was Tory veteran and chair of parliament’s energy committee Tim Yeo who told him off: “I do believe the problem of stranded assets is a real one now. Investors are starting to think by 2030 the world will be in such a panic about climate change that either by law or by price it will be very hard to burn fossil fuels on anything like the scale we are doing at the moment.”

Read his analysis here.

Mar 9, 2015
boyce

Monopoly power v. solar power

The Washington Post reports from the electricity battleground in the clean energy transition, where surprising political realignments are emerging:

“Conservatives support solar — they support it even more than progressives do,” said Bryan Miller, co-chairman of the Alliance for Solar Choice and a vice president of public policy for Sunrun, a California solar provider. “It’s about competition in its most basic form. The idea that you should be forced to buy power from a state-sponsored monopoly and not have an option is about the least conservative thing you can imagine.”

Read more here.

Mar 7, 2015
boyce

Banned in China: know your air

The powerful film (with English subtitles) on pollution – initially hailed, then banned, by Chinese officialdom:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6X2uwlQGQM

From New York Times story on the ban:

On Friday evening [the day the film was banned], Xinhua, the state news agency, posted on Twitter, which is also blocked here, that “President Xi Jinping vows to punish, with an iron hand, any violators who destroy ecology or environment, with no exceptions.” That night, the United States Embassy air monitor in Beijing rated the air “hazardous.”

Read more here.

POSTSCRIPT: Chinese officials are not the alone in trying to suppress bad news on the environment. Check out the latest from Florida, here.

Mar 5, 2015
boyce

Guaranteed income from common wealth

Peter Barnes writes in Yes! magazine:

THERE’S LONG been a notion that, because money is a prerequisite for survival and security, everyone should be assured some income just for being alive.  The notion has been advanced by liberals such as James Tobin, John Kenneth Galbraith, and George McGovern, and by conser­vatives like Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Richard Nixon.  It’s embedded in the board game Monopoly, in which all players get equal payments when they pass Go.  And yet, with one exception, Americans have been unable to agree on any plan that guarantees some income to everyone.  The reasons lie mostly in the stories that surround such income.  Is it welfare?  Is it redistribution?  Does it require higher taxes and bigger government?  Americans think dimly of all these things.

But then, there’s the exception.

Read all about it here.

Feb 19, 2015
boyce

Rising student demand for new economics

From the Economist:

“I DON’T care who writes a nation’s laws, or crafts its advanced treatises, if I can write its economics textbooks.” So said Paul Samuelson, an American economist who more than achieved his aim by producing a bestseller. But debate swirls around the teaching of the dismal science—nowhere more so than in Britain.

Read more here.

Feb 15, 2015
boyce

A glimpse of the future economy

From the E3 Network’s Future Economy Initiative:

Source: http://www.futureecon.org/

Jan 18, 2015
boyce
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Inequality.org

A portal for people seeking information and analysis on economic inequality in the United States, with lots of data, news items and links:

http://inequality.org/

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