- Science: Notes for a book on how to think about the fundamentals of economics scientifically, including behavioral micro-foundations, how these contradict the fundamental welfare theorems, and misleading interpretations of math econ.
- Behavior: Utility theory has always assumed a functional that excludes consumption and actions by others. It assumes people are sociopaths. I have never seen this mentioned in any text. Since about 1990 this has been changing, but the next best theory is still shaky. Experiments are improving.
- Climate: We are conducting behavior experiments to demonstrate that the climate negotiation game can be improved to substantially reduce the free-rider incentives that have stymied negotiators for 20 years. (priceCarbon, COP21 Paris conference)
- Electricity: Amateur economists still dominate discussion of the adequacy problem, and sell the nostrum that economics says unfettered spot markets will induce “optimal capacity” of the variety needed for adequacy.
Jun 14, 2015. The economist has an Thorium story. I've been curious about this for years. Lot's of hopeful rumors and iffy speculations about why it hasn't happened. In this comment, there is an answer (right or wrong) which I can't quite understand:
"Thorium itself is not fissile. If bombarded by neutrons, though, it turns into an isotope of uranium, U-233." [Read more...]
Jun 12, 2015. Here's a fun interview with Freeman Dyson, the guy that explained Richard Feynman to the world (and improved his math). He also recently discovered some very interesting new properties of repeated prisoner-dilemma games. You can be absolutely sure his views are not tainted by oil companies, but he thinks we really do not understand climate. That does not mean we should not take action; there is still a great risk. But if Dyson is skeptical, who am I to think I know more? Here's the YouTube
Jan 31, 2015. History is the key. In 1980, the Saudi's oil minister, Yamani, warned OPEC it was trying to keep the price too high. They didn't listen, and all agreed to cut production. The Saudis did, but the rest cheated. To hold their cartel together, the Saudis cut supply even more than promised, but the high price reduced demand and called forth North Sea and Alaskan oil. By 1985, the Saudi's were pumping at about 30% of capacity and [Read more...]
Dec 28, 2014. Climate negotiations are a sort of prisoner's dilemma, so we need to find a way to change the game or change the outcome of a prisoner's dilemma. Hofstadter proposes that if we can induce players to be "super-rational" we may get a more cooperative outcome. Does this make sense? [Read more...]