Alchian and Allen, opportunity cost, and the kid in the candy store

The new Alchian and Allen book Universal Economics is out. The publisher reports the authors have collaborated to produce a ”fresh, final presentation of the analytical tools” contained in their famous (among a certain kind of economics nerd) textbooks University Economics and Exchange and Production. In introducing the idea of opportunity cost in the new … More Alchian and Allen, opportunity cost, and the kid in the candy store

Richard Rhodes, “Energy: A Human History”

Richard Rhodes has written an amazing book. He aspired to tell the tales of energy transitions over the past 400 years. His Energy: A Human History accomplishes that task. The book is daunting in size for non-required reading. It is filled with brief stories of this or that device or discovery or development, and almost overwhelming … More Richard Rhodes, “Energy: A Human History”

The UK smart meter transition: industry structure, market power, and interoperability

The UK government started an energy digital smart meter rollout in 2008, an “… £11bn scheme to put 53m devices in 30m homes and small businesses by 2020” to yield an estimated gross benefit of £16.7bn. Calling the rollout a disaster would be generous — it’s behind schedule, about £1bn over budget, and full of technical … More The UK smart meter transition: industry structure, market power, and interoperability

“Any aid package, no matter what dollar amount, is a Band-Aid on an arterial bleed.”

More stinging criticism of the agricultural industry harms from the Trump tariffs and the proposed aid package to offset some of those harms since my post about the dairy industry yesterday — this article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is full of pointed arguments against them: Bill Gordon, a soybean farmer near Worthington, Minn., said his crop … More “Any aid package, no matter what dollar amount, is a Band-Aid on an arterial bleed.”

Dairy farming, tariffs, and Trump’s “12 billion dollar crutches”

Farming has always been an uncertain business. Weather and the price-taking nature of being small relative to large commodity markets lead to feast or famine. The Trump Trade War and today’s palliative farm subsidies to farmers harmed by Trump’s tariffs combine with pre-existing subsidies to amplify that underlying boom and bust cycle, imposing high costs on … More Dairy farming, tariffs, and Trump’s “12 billion dollar crutches”

Should your electricity distributor also be your electricity retailer?

Maximilian Auffhammer explored the question, “How Local Should Your Energy Retailer Be?” at the Energy Institute at Haas blog. He said the issue had come up over lunch in the office. The distribution utility of the future is going to buy electrons in this reordered market (mostly renewables and some fossils) and sell them to its … More Should your electricity distributor also be your electricity retailer?