When Arab oil exporters imposed their embargo on the U.S. and the Netherlands in October 1973, George Schultz noted that the United Kingdom and France faced hardly any problem accessing crude oil supplies.Schultz was Secretary of the Treasury at the time and had earlier been in charge of Nixon’s Cabinet Task Force on Oil Import … More “In the spirit of Apollo, with the determination of the Manhattan Project”: Nixon’s Project Independence
A few weeks back George Schultz posted a few happy memories on a Hoover Institution website from his time heading Nixon’s Cabinet Task Force on Oil Import Control way back in 1969 and 1970. The task force was charged with reviewing the existing mandatory oil import quotas, first imposed under the Eisenhower administration, and recommending … More Energy imports and energy security: a view from 1970
Put yourself in the 1830s-1840s United States. What was the most disruptive, anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian activity going on at the time? Abolitionist, anti-slavery advocacy, organized nationally through written correspondence. These rabble-rousers threatened to upset the social, cultural, and economic balance of a young nation. Who cares about pesky considerations like the morality of slavery? In that … More Lysander Spooner on government surveillance
My department is currently a focal point in the debates over the future of innovation and economic growth. Technopessimist arguments from my colleague Bob Gordon (as profiled in this New York Magazine article from the weekend) join those in Tyler Cowen’s The Great Stagnation to suggest that the increase in living standards and the growth … More Joel Mokyr: Technopessimism is bunk
Kate Galbraith, a reporter for the Texas Tribune, and Asher Price, a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, have written a great historical review of the development of wind power in Texas. Recommended reading if you are interested in the development of wind power. … More How did an oil and gas state come to lead in wind power?
Lynne Kiesling Recently Virginia Postrel used the US (PBS) premiere of “Mr. Selfridge” to highlight the underappreciated social and economic role of the department store. As she notes, Yet like railroads and telegraphs, the department stores of the late 19th and early 20th century were socially and economically transformative institutions. They pioneered innovations ranging from … More Department stores as economically transformative
Michael Giberson Two foreign policy initiatives, both began in mid-March, one a year old and the other started ten years ago, have had dramatically different effects on the world. Eric Shierman celebrates the wiser of the two efforts: I have considered writing about the Iraq War on the tenth anniversary of our collective, bi-partisan decision … More Two foreign policy initiatives contrasted
Michael Giberson If you’re looking for another point of view on gasoline prices, Ralph Nader has an article in Counterpunch, “The Gas Gougers.” In the article Nader blames speculators, a lazy media, and a business-friendly government for the recent 50-cent run up in gasoline prices. There was a time when even a few cents increase … More Ralph Nader on gasoline prices
Michael Giberson I ended my semester in “Energy and Environmental Economics” talking about resource optimism and resource pessimism, framed mostly as a big picture debate between Julian Simon and others against Paul Ehrlich and Neo-Malthusians. Simon reports being puzzled at how folks could look at data showing human health and well-being getting better and better … More Dr. Ehrlich, call your office
Michael Giberson Timothy Taylor observes Census Bureau data showing “geographic mobility in 2011 were at their all-time low since the start of the data in 1948, and were only a tad higher in 2012.” Here is the Census Bureau chart illustrating the data: Taylor considers a number of possible explanations, including many explored in a … More Is the Great Society a less mobile one?