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!

May 23, 2015
boyce

An international student call for pluralism in economics

From an open letter signed by student associations from across the world:

It is not only the world economy that is in crisis. The teaching of economics is in crisis too, and this crisis has consequences far beyond the university walls. What is taught shapes the minds of the next generation of policymakers, and therefore shapes the societies we live in. We, over 65 associations of economics students from over 30 different countries, believe it is time to reconsider the way economics is taught.

Read more here.

May 19, 2015
boyce

True cost of fossil fuels

A new IMF working paper estimates world spending on fossil fuel subsidies:

Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.

Read more here.

May 10, 2015
boyce

A user’s guide to economics

The author of Economics: A User’s Guide breaks down the scientific aspirations – or pretensions – of neoclassical economics:

Source: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13830

May 9, 2015
boyce

Real-world microeconomics

Here’s an introductory textbook – written by Econ4’s Jerry Friedman – that not only covers the usual micro topics but goes beyond, putting the economic behavior of consumers and firms into its social context:

This unique textbook covers all the standard topics of an introductory microeconomics course, including the profit-maximizing firm, the utility-maximizing consumer, supply and demand, price and income elasticities, factors of production and their marginal products, and so on. But this book does much more: it offers both an alternative vision of microeconomics—placing individual decision-making in the context of social norms and institutions—and cogent criticism of neoclassical theory. Students using this book will get more than just an introduction to mainstream microeconomics—they will gain a deeper and more critical understanding of it.

Friedman cover--273x352   Read more about Microeconomics: Individual Choice in Communities here.

Read more about other economics textbooks from Dollars and Sense here.

Apr 19, 2015
boyce

Innovation for the future economy: solar roadways

A century ago, cities were “drowning in horse manure.” Today we are drowning in fossil fuel emissions. It’s time for the transportation revolution of the 21st century. Maybe this will be part of it:

 

Source: http://paksc.org/video/documentaries/246-solar-roadways-the-prototype

Apr 19, 2015
boyce

Divestment pressure mounts

This week’s student protests put the heat on Harvard:

“Throughout Harvard heat week, Harvard’s top decision-makers have been hiding from both their students and from the issue of climate justice,” protesters wrote in a statement on Wednesday. “They must face the broad, diverse, and growing coalition behind divestment from fossil fuels.”

Read more coverage here and here. And check out the Divest Harvard facebook page here.

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.

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