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Buy Local or Don’t Buy At All December 10, 2008

Posted by A Texan In Grad School in Economic Theories, Environmentalism.
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Megan McArdle calls it a sign of the times that scrip, local community-based currency, is starting to make a come back.  She compares this to the instances of scrip during the Great Depression.  She asks if this is a negative sign regarding Bernanke’s helm at the Fed.

Personally, I think this is more demagogueing with regard to the current recession.  Every political movement is trying to capitalize on the strife.  Environmental groups are pushing a “Green” New Deal.  Now, the buy local movement is trying to grow also.  Check out this great episode of Econtalk about buying local with Russ Roberts and Don Boudreaux.

Pleasant Surprises December 3, 2008

Posted by A Texan In Grad School in Environmentalism.
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In a lot of my classes we have been discussing which policies will materialize in the new Obama administration.  Obama made a lot of populist promises on the trail to the White House, especially in the primaries.  He started to moderate these promises as the general election started.  Apparently he has started to listen to his economic advisers and dropped the windfall profits tax on oil companies (HT: Hit & Run).  Apparently some environmentalists are upset.  After Obama won the election, his staff and surrorgates, realizing Obama had promised everything to everyone, started working very hard to temper expecations about his administration.  This is the second policy I know of that he has used the “quietly drop off the website method.”

Bjorn Lomberg on the Green Revolution November 20, 2008

Posted by A Texan In Grad School in Economic Theories, Environmentalism.
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Over at RealClearWorld.com there is an article by “The Skeptical Environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg.  As usual, his criticism of global warming policies is spot on.  My favorite paragraph is below:

The problem with the green revolution argument is that it doesn’t trouble itself about efficiency. It is most often lauded for supplying new jobs. But billions of dollars in tax subsidies would create plenty of new jobs in almost any sector: the point is that many less capital-intensive sectors would create many more jobs for a given investment of taxpayers’ money.

Towards the bottom of the article he suggests that of all methods to fight global warming, he believes investing directly in R&D is the best.  Of course he is ignoring that this will be an inherantly arbitrary decision plagued by lobbying.  Personally I support the do-nothing policy, but of all do-something proposals I am Pigouvian and support a uniform carbon tax with lowered income taxes.