Austin Energy Wants an Electric Power Rate Hike

Michael Giberson Deep in the heart of the competitive wholesale and retail electric power market that is (the ERCOT system in) Texas lies a little island of small-scale socialism: the municipal electric utility called Austin Energy. While power prices are dropping all around the state due to low natural gas prices, in the Texas state … More Austin Energy Wants an Electric Power Rate Hike

Do You Want to Be Intellectually Honest?

Michael Giberson Some techniques for checking the tendency toward extreme partisanship, which can be a ready source of intellectual errors (source): •Take opposing points of view at face value. It is more comfortable to treat opposing points of view reductively. That is, rather than deal with a different viewpoint, we prefer to explain it away. … More Do You Want to Be Intellectually Honest?

Schmidtz on the Philosophy of Property

Michael Giberson At Bleeding Heart Libertarians, University of Arizona philosopher David Schmidtz discusses what a good concept of property does for society. He sums his view concisely at the end, reproduced below. Go read the rest of it for the background and support for these conclusions. To summarize, in more concrete terms, when a system … More Schmidtz on the Philosophy of Property

The Energy Price Version of “This Time It’s Different”

Michael Giberson David Wessel’s economics column at the Wall Street Journal takes a look at an IMF analysis of commodities prices since 1973. In the process, he makes an odd claim about energy prices. Wessel writes: To help distinguish temporary trends from long-lasting ones, International Monetary Fund economists recently charted the inflation-adjusted prices of four … More The Energy Price Version of “This Time It’s Different”

Natural Gas Reserves May Rapidly Disappear (and Later Reappear)

Michael Giberson At Toronto’s The Globe and Mail, Nathan Vanderklippe reported, “Low natural gas price casts doubt on ‘proven’ reserves.” He explains how rapidly falling natural gas prices can cause reserves to disappear. And, by the way, with higher prices reserves can just as quickly reappear. It isn’t magic. But the nature of oil and … More Natural Gas Reserves May Rapidly Disappear (and Later Reappear)

If You Must Subsidize Energy, Subsidize Wisely

If you must subsidize energy, subsidize wisely. Given the way public policy gets made, subsidizing wisely is much harder than you might think. … More If You Must Subsidize Energy, Subsidize Wisely

Great Strides Have Been Made Combating Price Gougers in Venzuela

Michael Giberson Venezuela “President” Hugo Chávez  has put his government strongly behind efforts to combat price gouging, which in this context means selling a good for more than the government’s permitted price. The policy has had the usual effects: shortages of ordinary consumer goods and queues reminiscent of Soviet-style communism. The New York Times reports, … More Great Strides Have Been Made Combating Price Gougers in Venzuela

Pat Wood: The Texas Tribune Interview

Michael Giberson Pat Wood, the former FERC chairman and former Texas PUC chairman, was interviewed recently by The Texas Tribune. Wood is surely one of KP‘s favorite ex-regulators, so of course we’re linking to the interview. Here’s just one bit: Wood: … There is also a lot that can be done, particularly on the energy … More Pat Wood: The Texas Tribune Interview

On the U.S. President’s Role in Economic Highs and Lows

Michael Giberson SMBC on the president and the economy: [HT to Rick Weber for the heads up.]

Catch Shares and Sustainable Fishing

Lynne Kiesling Yesterday was Earth Day, and here’s a good way to observe it: Andrew Langer and Iain Murray argue for catch shares as a sustainable free-market fisheries policy. The idea is simple: give fishermen an ownership stake in a particular fishery through the assignment of quotas, which can be traded. The quotas give individual … More Catch Shares and Sustainable Fishing