With oil prices low and unlikely to rise, Saudi Arabia is in severe trouble, facing existential crisis by the end of the decade if the oil futures market is right. [more inside]
The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States (PDF); prospectus (PDF); press coverage (YT) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio actually makes a case against austerity and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
The Futurist Magazine along with The World Future Society predicts the future with a list of the top trends and forecasts for 2013 and beyond.
A massive shortage of gas all over New York and New Jersey is fueling hours-long lines stretching blocks or even miles. A big part of the problem has been power shortages to gas stations and refineries. Nevertheless, some argue that laws preventing gas prices from spiking in response to the disaster ("price gouging") are making things much worse, discouraging businesses from staying open in tough conditions and preventing entrepreneurs from profiting from any clever ways of increasing supply. Others admit gouging has some advantages, but still consider it ethically dubious. Gouging seems to be happening informally regardless.
"We do not share the view of many of our economics colleagues that growth will solve the economic problem, that narrow self-interest is the only dependable human motive, that technology will always find a substitute for any depleted resource, that the market can efficiently allocate all types of goods, that free markets always lead to an equilibrium balancing supply and demand, or that the laws of thermodynamics are irrelevant to economics."
"There's No Tomorrow" is a half-hour animated documentary that deals with resource depletion, energy, and growth. [more inside]
UCSD physicist Tom Murphy inaugurates his blog Do the Math with two posts on the thermal limits of energy use on earth and the related absurdity of infinite economic growth.
The author of a new book on how rising oil prices will change America makes the claims that higher gasoline prices will make the country healthier and safer. Christopher Steiner asserts that, for every $1 that gasoline prices rise, obesity rates drop by 10% (as people walk more and eat out less). As for "safer", that comes in when high gasoline prices force police out of their cruisers and onto bicycles and foot patrols, where they can interact more closely with their communities. [more inside]
Recently, John Michael Greer has been exploring a little known idea of the deceased economist E.F. Schumacher (a student of the oft-discussed Keynes). "Schumacher drew a hard distinction between primary goods and secondary goods. The latter of these includes everything dealt with by conventional economics: the goods and services produced by human labor and exchanged among human beings. The former includes all those things necessary for human life and economic activity that are produced not by human beings, but by nature. Schumacher pointed out that primary goods, as the phrase implies, need to come first in any economic analysis because they supply the preconditions for the production of secondary goods. Renewable resources, he proposed, form the equivalent of income in the primary economy, while nonrenewable resources are the equivalent of capital; to insist that an economic system is sound when it is burning through nonrenewable resources at a rate that will lead to rapid depletion is thus as silly as claiming that a business is breaking even if it’s covering up huge losses by drawing down its bank accounts." [more inside]
Water footprint - "of an individual, business or nation is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual, business or nation"
Open Secrets - the trouble with Enron
Fair Price Energy. One persons idea for a free market solution to the fossil fuel problem.
Crime in the Suites. William Greider claims that the Enron collapse demonstrates the failure of market orthodoxy.
Alberta will face a disastrous competitive and economic disadvantage if Canada signs the Kyoto accord. Meanwhile, this year has been one of the worst for smog in Toronto. Some municipalities in Ontario are voluntarily looking towards alternate energy sources because they feel, in the long run the costs will be lower (lower health costs, avoiding higher fossil fuel costs, etc. - sorry, no link) What do you think? Is it possible to have economically viable alternative energy, and is the US setting a bad example for countries that feel they need to compete?
California's Energy Crisis, minute by minute. Interesting to watch, even when you feel that we're all over-reacting a bit.
California Blackouts Inevitable says the U.S. Govt Energy Secretary. He is against price caps. It seems there is a lack of understanding on his part to grasp a *public good* that benefits all. Having a few producers control a market with a high cost for competitors to enter the market to form true competition screams for some control. Particularly for a commodity that business and people a like use to drive the overall economy. Since the economy is in such great shape maybe we don't need these controls [sic].