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May 11, 2018

Political Economy of the Environment: New video series from Econ4

Econ4 is pleased to announce its new video series on the Political Economy of the Environment, produced in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst department of economics.

Part One: Introduction

  1. The economy & the environment. Are people different from pondweed?
  2. Limits to growth – of what? It’s time for a new formula: grow the good, and shrink the bad.
  3. Political economy. Who wins, who loses, who decides?
  4. Safety, efficiency, sustainability, and justice. What should be the goals in environmental policy?

Part Two: Environmental protection – in theory and practice

  1. What is efficiency? There’s more – and less – to neoclassical efficiency than meets the eye.
  2. Discounting the future. Are the lives of our grandchildren worth less than our own?
  3. The value of a statistical life. How do economists put a monetary value on risks of death?
  4. Externalities. External costs and benefits are not the exception – they’re the rule.
  5. The Coase theorem. Why private bargaining can seldom solve environmental externalities.
  6. The tragedy of the commons. More accurately, the tragedies of open access.
  7. Environmental justice. Defending the right to a clean and safe environment.
  8. Power & the environment. Costs and benefits weighted by the power of those to whom they accrue.
  9. Regulation & environmental protection. Rules as a solution to environmental problems.
  10. Incentive-based environmental policies. Prices as another way to solve environmental problems.
  11. Market failure & government failure. Democracy versus oligarchy: beyond the market-versus-government debate.

Part Three: Global dimensions

  1. Globalization & the environment. The globalization of market failure poses new challenges for governance.
  2. The environmental Kuznets curve. What happens to the environment as per capita income goes up?
  3. Population & the environment. What Malthus got wrong.
  4. Tropical deforestation. How transnational alliances can change balances of power.
  5. Building natural assets. How poverty reduction and environmental protection can go hand-in-hand.
  6. Agriculture & the environment. The costs of industrial agriculture and benefits of ecological agriculture.
  7. Cultivated biodiversity. Small farmers sustain some of the world’s most valuable biodiversity.

Part Four: Climate policy

  1. Climate change. The defining environmental challenge of the 21st century.
  2. Carbon pricing: 1. Why & how? Why we need to put price on fossil carbon, and how we can do it.
  3. Carbon pricing: 2. The social cost of carbon. What should be the price on carbon dioxide emissions?
  4. Carbon pricing: 3. Revenue allocation. The trillion dollar question: who will get the money?
  5. International climate negotiations. No-regrets policies can help overcome myopia and the free rider problem.

Check out the whole series here.

 

May 8, 2018

Econ4 Video Remix Contest

The contest’s theme was Greed.

Here’s what we wanted:

  1. Fun. Economics is stuffy enough as is, so make sure your video isn’t!

  2. Short. 3 minutes max.

  3. On Point. Videos should address the theme (“Greed”) but they should also contribute to a broader understanding of economics. Have a look at our mission statement and you’ll see what we mean.

Here’s what we got.

Contest Grand Prize Winner!

“The Greatest Economics Lesson” created by Taylor Erickson, a nonprofit intern in Cleveland, Ohio.

Runner Up

“Charlie Chaplin on Greed,” produced by Korbinian Blendl and Marco Bader from Germany.

3rd Place

“Greed: It’s What You Need!” by Evan Moore, an independent filmmaker based in Seattle.

Honorable Mentions:

Video by Evan Warner, a senior at Northfield High School in Northfield, Vermont.

 

Featuring Jameson King and Haylie Bettes with video production by Brett Lucas from the Macon Area Career Center in Macon, Missouri.

 

“Greed in America” by Aidan Connolly, a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

 

“Econ4 Greed Music Video” by Andrew Erickson of the Digital Film Academy in New York.

 

Sep 14, 2017

Losing it all

Peter Barnes comments on Hillary’s swing-and-miss on funding universal basis income from common wealth:

IN HER LATEST book What Happened, former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reveals that she was “fascinated” by the idea of using our national patrimony to pay every American “a modest basic income,” much as Alaska pays every resident yearly dividends from its oil wealth. Clinton spent weeks working with her policy team to see if this idea was “viable enough” to include in her campaign. Ultimately she decided that the numbers didn’t work, so she left the idea on the shelf.

Too bad. Whether or not embracing the idea would have swung the election her way, it would surely have sparked a lively discussion of our national patrimony — what’s in it, how much it’s worth, and who benefits most from it. Such a discussion would have shed surprising light on solutions to middle class decline, climate change, financial instability and economic stagnation. And it would have established that the numbers can work.

Read more here.

Dec 4, 2016

No comment

Here are the 50 states, ranked from “most shortchanged” to “least shortchanged” by the U.S. government. The ranking is based on an index combining: (i) votes in the Electoral College per state resident and (ii) benefits received per tax dollars paid to the federal government.

States ranked

Source: New York Times.

Jul 13, 2016

Wasted: The high cost of laissez-screw finance

What has the flawed financial system cost the U.S. economy? Here’s your receipt:

Overcharged-Promo-Graphic-1

Read the accounting by Econ4’s Jerry Epstein together with Juan Montecino here. Excerpt follows:

A healthy financial system is one that channels finance to productive investment, helps families save for and finance big expenses such as higher education and retirement, provides products such as insurance to help reduce risk, creates sufficient amounts of useful liquidity, runs an efficient payments mechanism, and generates financial innovations to do all these useful things more cheaply and effectively. All of these functions are crucial to a stable and productive market economy. But after decades of deregulation, the current U.S. financial system has evolved into a highly speculative system that has failed rather spectacularly at performing these critical tasks.

What has this flawed financial system cost the U.S. economy? How much have American families, taxpayers, and businesses been “overcharged” as a result of these questionable financial activities? In this report, we estimate these costs by analyzing three components: (1) rents, or excess profits; (2) misallocation costs, or the price of diverting resources away from non-financial activities; and (3) crisis costs, meaning the cost of the 2008 financial crisis.

 

Jan 5, 2016

Econ4 Video Remix Contest: Great entries

It’s time to start sharing some of the great entries we’ve received in the Econ4 Video Remix Contest. Stay tuned for more!

Entries received by February 1, 2016, are eligible for cash prizes. You can enter here.

 

Oct 26, 2013

When the going gets tough, the tough build a new economy

Econ4’s Gar Alperovitz on building the new economy from the bottom up:

Deepening economic and social pain are producing the kinds of conditions from which various new forms of democratization—of ownership, wealth and institutions—are beginning to emerge. The challenge is to develop a broad strategy that not only ends the downward spiral but also gives rise to something different: steadily changing who actually owns the system, beginning at the bottom and working up.

Read more here.

Jul 23, 2013

Why GDP fails to measure economic well-being

A primer on the defects of GDP as a measure of economic well-being, from Econ4’s James Boyce:

Source: The Real News Network.

Apr 27, 2012

Colbert: United Against Them

Stephen Colbert finds common ground between liberals and conservatives: blame immigrants for climate change.

 

Feb 1, 2012

Robert F. Kennedy versus GDP

Hear Robert F. Kennedy’s words, just as compelling today as when they were spoken shortly before his assassination in 1968:

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77IdKFqXbUY

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