Externalities and tariffs

Krugman correcting a flaw in an Obama speech about the energy bill. It’s very unfortunate that the president didn’t get this right, since externalities are the whole point behind cap and trade legislation. If he isn’t able to articulate this point consistently and correctly, he won’t (and shouldn’t) be able to convince anyone. Moreover, any bill that comes out of this process that isn’t based on people understanding (and admitting to understanding) externalities will likely be hopelessly flawed.


I got The Age of Turbulence for Christmas. Very interesting so far, especially to read with hindsight given recent history. This passage is fascinating: “…According to objectivist precepts, taxation was immoral because it allowed for government appropriation of private property by force. Yet if taxation was wrong, how could you reliably finance the essential functions of government, including the protection of individuals’ rights through police power? The Randian answer, that those who rationally saw the need for government would contribute voluntarily, was inadequate.

Hydrogen to electricity?

Here’s a good candidate for the silliest energy idea I’ve heard in a while: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/reinventing_the_car.html Larry Burns, the vice president for R&D; at GM, notes that 4% of cars equal the power generation ability of the entire current electric grid, and dreams of a future where fuel cell vehicles are used to generate electricity while parked. This is great because hydrogen can come from a wide variety of sources, so as long as each community has their own tailor-made method for generating it, we can use the cars to cheaply generate electricity.

Foie Gras