Worried About Too Much Demand Elasticity in Electric Power Markets

Michael Giberson Will electric power consumers facing smart-grid enabled real time prices have the potential to accidentally destabilize the power grid and cause a blackout?  A paper presented at a recent IEEE conference says it is a possibility. The surprising culprit? Too much price elasticity in the market demand function. It is a surprising culprit … More Worried About Too Much Demand Elasticity in Electric Power Markets

Learnliberty.org: Unplanned Order

Lynne Kiesling I’ve been enjoying the new videos available at LearnLiberty, all of which give clear, insightful discussions of fundamental concepts of classical liberalism (including economics). My highlight of the day is Tom Bell’s “Can order be unplanned?” The answer is yes. Here Tom explores the rich intellectual history of the concept of spontaneous order, … More Learnliberty.org: Unplanned Order

Paul Cézanne’s Birthday

Lynne Kiesling Today’s Google banner celebrates the 172nd birthday of Paul Cézanne, my favorite artist. I love how he unpacks the underlying layers of geometry in landscapes. When I first saw the painting above, Le lac d’Annecy, in the Courtauld Gallery in London when I was a college student, it literally took my breath away. … More Paul Cézanne’s Birthday

Nhl’s Experiments in Hockey

Michael Giberson Stephen Dubner at Freakonomics points to a Macleans story on some wild experimentation going on in the National Hockey League: shallower nets, moving the second referee off the ice, moving the face-off circles, three-on-three and two-on-two shootouts, and more. The article said: The unusual nature of some items tested at the camp reminded … More Nhl’s Experiments in Hockey

David Warsh on Complexity and Economics

Lynne Kiesling David Warsh’s Economic Principals column this week is about complexity, and the study of complexity in economics. It is as informative and insightful as Warsh’s columns usually are, despite its selective coverage. He highlights some ideas that I think are important for the future direction of economics — the isolation of the twin … More David Warsh on Complexity and Economics

Group Theory, Visualization, and Mattress Longevity

Lynne Kiesling Steve Strogatz is a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell and a master of explaining abstract mathematical principles to non-mathematicians. He also posts occasionally on the New York Times’ Opinionator blog, and his post on Sunday was a real treat. Using the domestic conundrum of how to flip your mattress to maximize its … More Group Theory, Visualization, and Mattress Longevity

Cato Unbound: Hayek and the Common Law

Lynne Kiesling This month’s issue of Cato Unbound has a topic that sits at the core of the issues of interest here: Hayek’s concept of spontaneous order, its universality, and its applicability to orders beyond market processes, including the common law. Examples abound. No one individual or committee sets market prices; those who have tried … More Cato Unbound: Hayek and the Common Law

Some Complexity-based Thoughts on Macro

Lynne Kiesling I am doing a lot of reading and thinking, trying to make some headway on a way-overdue paper, and have been reading a striking working paper from David Colander, Richard Holt, and Barkley Rosser, “The Complexity Era in Economics” (August 2009). Their insights are directed toward the evolution of economics methodology and the … More Some Complexity-based Thoughts on Macro

Energy Secretary Steven Chu: Not Exactly Making Friends and Influencing People

Michael Giberson From WSJ Environmental Capital: When it comes to greenhouse-gas emissions, Energy Secretary Steven Chu sees Americans as unruly teenagers and the Administration as the parent that will have to teach them a few lessons. Speaking on the sidelines of a smart grid conference in Washington, Dr. Chu said he didn’t think average folks … More Energy Secretary Steven Chu: Not Exactly Making Friends and Influencing People

Grant Mccracken: Concatenating Capitalism

Lynne Kiesling Grant McCracken always has insightful interpretations of various human/social phenomena, and in this recent post he offers one that he calls “concatenating capitalism“. In discussing “eco-entrepreneur” Joshua Onysko and his work developing his Pangea Organics products, Grant makes a decidedly beyond-Schumpeterian observation about the role of entrepreneurs in transforming the economy and the … More Grant Mccracken: Concatenating Capitalism