Crude oil prices have gone above $30 again, according to a Bloomberg Energy News story. Still working with this prevailing uncertainty … it will be interesting to see what happens to prices Monday, after Bush and Blair meet this weekend.
My colleague Bob Poole also wrote a Reason study released yesterday in which he recommends expanding the number of airports allowed to opt out of the fully federalized security model that is already failing. Several members of Congress have supported the study, most notably John Mica of Florida, who is chairman of the House Transportation Aviation Subcommittee. Bob’s recommendations are sensible, implementable, and realistic, and I recommend the study to you.
Through my colleague Bob Poole I learned about Baggage Direct, which will pick up your baggage 12-24 hours before your flight, and deliver it to your destination. As with most things, this is good news and bad news — entrepreneurship and human ingeneuity are thriving, but it will cost us, and that cost is the result of inefficient, wasteful regulation.
In Great Questions of Economics, Arnold Kling always asks important questions that plumb the nuance and power of economics. In this post he raises the issue of intellectual property, specifically with reference to media. I think he’s right about our current ugly transition from a mass media era to a distributed media era, and how the mass media companies are fighting it tooth and nail. I also personally think that they are not fighting fair.
Has it been a week? Boy, have I had my head in my work! Except for last weekend, when I had my head in my knitting, trying to finish a sweater to take on vacation next week. I am working on a book chapter on retail electric pricing for an edited volume on electricity restructuring. The focus is, surprise surprise, on the information content of prices, and how the traditional fixed, regulated, average-over-time retail price that we pay throws out a lot of information, doesn’t give consumers any incentive to conserve or to make informed choices about their energy consumption, and leads to poor investment incentives. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere, in this country has market-based retail electric pricing, even in places that have “deregulated”. This is going to become an increasingly important issue in electricity policy, and it’s going to be a sticky one, because it’s not just pass a law and bammo — it’s about changing a century of culture, for consumers, for industry, for regulators. My favorite articulation of this problem is from Vernon Smith, at ICES: utilities have to wrap their minds around the thought that they can make more money by selling less power.