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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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.

Is Capitalism Dying?

Posted in economics, externalities, Policy Issues, Regulation by ittecon on May 8, 2013

It’as not very often that I agree with a large part of an article published by Forbes, but here is one.

Capitalism has been the dominant economic system in the Western world for, give or take, 400 years. And in that virtual eye blink in the grander scheme of things it has produced more wealth than all the prior economic systems put together.

via Is Capitalism Dying? – Forbes.

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.

Quinoa—The Other White Meat

Posted in economics, externalities by ittecon on January 18, 2013

The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain  has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture.

via Can Healthy Food Eaters Stomach the Uncomfortable Truth About Quinoa? | Alternet.

Another real life supply demand where the affluent bid up the price staple products of the poor. Many if not most of these people are likely otherwise conscientious consumers, at least to some extent, but they fail to see the larger picture. Save a cow, imperil a human.

Pakistan factory fires kill at least 261

Posted in economics, employment, externalities, Policy Issues by ittecon on September 12, 2012

The only reason this does not happen in the United States very often is that the price of labour is too high. If Conservatives had their way, there would be no minimum wage;  they would drive wages down to pennies an hour, there would be no right to healthcare, unemployment, collective bargaining, file a grievance, and a laundry list of other societal ills.

“You have strikes, load shedding [power outages], local mafias charging you turf protection money — you name it,” Ahmad said. “Plus you have ruthless buyers sitting in the U.S. who dont care what you do, as long as you do it on time … we take a hit every time were late. That means lost margins. That means we do what we need to do to make our orders, fast. This factory owner may have been working extra shifts just for that purpose.” 

This is what unregulated free markets do.

via We were trapped inside: Pakistan factory fires kill at least 261 – World News.

The Cause of Riots and the Price of Food

Posted in economics, externalities by ittecon on September 12, 2012

If we dont reverse the current trend in food prices, weve got until August 2013 before social unrest sweeps the planet, say complexity theorists

via The Cause Of Riots And The Price of Food – Technology Review.

Monopoly power in action

Posted in antitrust, economics, environment, externalities, Policy Issues by ittecon on May 16, 2012

90 Percent of Corn Seeds Are Coated With Bayer’s Bee-Decimating Pesticide

90 Percent of Corn Seeds Are Coated With Bayers Bee-Decimating Pesticide | Mother Jones.

Bats Are Worth at Least $3 Billion Per Year

Posted in economics, environment, externalities by ittecon on April 1, 2011

Insect-eating bats are worth at least $3 billion — perhaps as much as $54 billion — per year to U.S. agriculture alone, say biologists who evaluated their ecological contributions.

Bats Are Worth at Least $3 Billion Per Year | Wired Science | Wired.com.