Economics @ ITT

Supreme Court Rules That Clean Air Is Too Expensive

Posted in economics, environment, externalities by ittecon on June 29, 2015

Ain’t that a crock…

The Supreme Court voted Monday that the EPA cannot stop power plants from releasing hazardous chemicals without first proving that the clean air is worth more than the companies would have to spend to stop polluting.

via Supreme Court Rules That Clean Air Is Too Expensive.

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Conspicuous Consumption: A(nother) Cautionary Tale

Posted in economics, environment by ittecon on January 27, 2014

Unfettered capitalism is a road to extinction, and, sadly, not just a metaphor.

At first the frenetic pace of the killing didn’t matter: there were so many seals.  On one island alone, Amasa Delano estimated, there were “two to three millions of them” when New Englanders first arrived to make “a business of killing seals.”“If many of them were killed in a night,” wrote one observer, “they would not be missed in the morning.”  It did indeed seem as if you could kill every one in sight one day, then start afresh the next.  Within just a few years, though, Amasa and his fellow sealers had taken so many seal skins to China that Canton’s warehouses couldn’t hold them.  They began to pile up on the docks, rotting in the rain, and their market price crashed.

To make up the margin, sealers further accelerated the pace of the killing — until there was nothing left to kill.  In this way, oversupply and extinction went hand in hand.  In the process, cooperation among sealers gave way to bloody battles over thinning rookeries.  Previously, it only took a few weeks and a handful of men to fill a ship’s hold with skins.  As those rookeries began to disappear, however, more and more men were needed to find and kill the required number of seals and they were often left on desolate islands for two- or three-year stretches, living alone in miserable huts in dreary weather, wondering if their ships were ever going to return for them.

“On island after island, coast after coast,” one historian wrote, “the seals had been destroyed to the last available pup, on the supposition that if sealer Tom did not kill every seal in sight, sealer Dick or sealer Harry would not be so squeamish.”  By 1804, on the very island where Amasa estimated that there had been millions of seals, there were more sailors than prey.  Two years later, there were no seals at all.

via Noam Chomsky is right: It’s the so-called serious who devastate the planet and cause the wars – Salon.com.

Why We’ll Be Better Off if the Walmart Protests Fail

Posted in environment by ittecon on September 5, 2013

I am not generally a fan of ad hominem attacks, but this Vedder is quite the wanker is the epitome of what is wrong with economics today.

The American economy has shown anemic, sputtering growth for several years—largely because businesses, investors, and consumers have been angry and fearful of public policies constraining their ability to operate efficiently and profitably.

That, in part, why I’m hoping that Walmart workers’ national protest movement will be a monumental failure.

via Why We’ll Be Better Off if the Walmart Protests Fail – The Daily Beast.

Corporate Hunger for Profits Has Devastated American Life—and the World

Posted in economics, environment, externalities, International Economics by ittecon on May 20, 2013

The damage caused by the relentless corporate drive for profits has become more clear in recent years. In the most important areas of American life, devastating changes have occurred:

Health Care: Almost half of the working-age adults in America passed up doctor visits or other medical services because they couldn’t afford to pay. The system hasn’t supported kids, either.

via The 4 Big Ways That Insatiable Corporate Hunger for Profits Has Devastated American Life — and the World Along with It | Alternet.

What If We Never Run Out of Oil?

Posted in economics, environment by ittecon on May 6, 2013

[B]urning [methane hydrate] produces carbon dioxide. Researchers view it as a temporary “bridge fuel,” something that can power nations while they make the transition away from oil and coal. But if societies do not take advantage of that bridge to enact anti-carbon policies, says Michael Levi, the director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations, natural gas could be “a bridge from the coal-fired past to the coal-fired future.”

via What If We Never Run Out of Oil? | Mother Jones.

Want to fight climate change? Get rid of $1.9 trillion in energy subsidies.

Posted in economics, environment by ittecon on March 30, 2013

What’s the simplest way to tackle global warming? Make sure that fossil fuels are priced properly and not subsidized. Is it really that easy? That’s the core idea behind a large new report from the International Monetary Fund, which argues that the world “misprices” fossil fuels to the tune of some $1.9 trillion per year.

via IMF: Want to fight climate change? Get rid of $1.9 trillion in energy subsidies..

Should smokers pay more for health insurance?

Posted in economics, environment, externalities, Policy Issues by ittecon on March 29, 2013

The answer, should you want to know, is an unqualified yes.

Like lots of people who enjoy their vices, smokers like to invoke their constitutional right to light up. I don’t dispute that. So feel free to get lung cancer, American freedom fighter, but don’t forget that the rest of us are sucking up your second-hand smoke and helping foot your considerably heftier medical bills.

via Should smokers pay more for health insurance? – latimes.com.

Joseph Stiglitz: Innovation should focus on quality of life, not just productivity

Posted in economics, employment, environment, externalities, Policy Issues, Regulation by ittecon on March 16, 2013

“We have a lot of unemployment and yet firms are investing in machines to replace unskilled workers,” he said. “Do we want to create more unemployment of unskilled workers? No. We want to focus our innovation on saving our planet, resources, the environment and the quality of life.”

via Joseph Stiglitz: Innovation should focus on quality of life, not just productivity | Bangkok Post: business.

Economics Might Be Coal’s Worst Enemy

Posted in economics, environment, microeconomics, Policy Issues by ittecon on September 26, 2012

Coal-fired power plants and coal mines are being shuttered at an unprecedented pace mainly because the price of natural gas has dropped so far that it has made coal power uncompetitive. Specifically, electricity from natural gas power plants comes at less than half the cost of electricity from coal generators. As utility executives hustle to remain competitive in the deregulated marketplace, they are increasingly turning to the cheaper alternative.

via Why Obama might not be coal’s worst enemy – US news – Christian Science Monitor | NBC News.

Black Lung Surges Back in Coal Country

Posted in economics, environment by ittecon on July 10, 2012

A Center analysis of databases maintained by the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration found that miners have been breathing too much dust for years, but MSHA has issued relatively few violations and routinely allowed companies extra time to fix problems.

via Black lung surges back in coal country | iWatch News by The Center for Public Integrity.