How can an 18th-century Scottish philosopher and economist help us understand the digital economy and our modern, hyper-connected world? That’s a question I’m tackling in a series of three essays at libertarianism.org. Digital technologies have increased our connectedness in profound ways. In the first essay I examine how Smith’s ideas about specialization and exchange combine … More Adam Smith and the Digital Economy: Connectedness and Gains From Trade
I’m pleased to announce that I have accepted a new position at Carnegie Mellon University, as Visiting Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Co-Director of the Institute for Regulatory Law & Economics (IRLE), and Faculty Affiliate in the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, starting July 1. Founded in 2004 … More Job change, and a blogging renaissance
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
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
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.”
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”
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?