The unsustainable Fair Trade business model

Michael Giberson Colleen Haight examines the past and present of Fair Trade-certified coffee and wonders whether it has a future in “The Problem with Fair Trade Coffee,” published at the Stanford Social Innovation Review. The title probably should have been “Problems,” plural, as more than one problem gets explored in the article. I’ve argued in … More The unsustainable Fair Trade business model

Things that caught my eye: subsidies, wine, LEDs, dismal economists

Lynne Kiesling As a coda to Mike’s post yesterday regarding the CRS study of the effects of removing oil subsidies on gasoline prices, here’s Ron Bailey at Reason reminding us that ethanol subsidies are almost triple those to the oil companies, and with little to show either environmentally, economically, or energetically. Courtesy of Dr. Vino, … More Things that caught my eye: subsidies, wine, LEDs, dismal economists

Next Restaurant: pricing and ticketing innovation redux

Lynne Kiesling Last May I wrote about Next, a new restaurant in Chicago from chef Grant Achatz and his business partner Nick Kokonas. In that post I focused on the two innovations in the proposal: selling tickets concert style rather than having a reservation system, and using dynamic pricing for reservations/tickets at different times on … More Next Restaurant: pricing and ticketing innovation redux

Fair trade for coffee may be good, but…

Michael Giberson Fair trade for coffee is good, but many readily available alternatives may be better. “Better” as in, better for the producer and better for consumers. I was browsing the website of a local specialty coffee roaster, and noticed the “Ethics” labels on the products: “Premium price” and “Farm Gate”, but not “Fair Trade.” … More Fair trade for coffee may be good, but…

Roast potatoes, Elinor Ostrom, Whole Foods competitors

Michael Giberson Some food for thought. For months and months, it seems, these three items – “Roast potatoes,” “Elinor Ostrom,” “Whole Foods competitors” – have dominated the “Top Searches” list in the Knowledge Problem site stats. We blog a lot about energy, economics, and public policy. Once in a while a bit of food or drink … More Roast potatoes, Elinor Ostrom, Whole Foods competitors

All the life-extending benefits of caloric restriction, without actually, you know, restricting calories?

Michael Giberson The dramatic finish to an article in The Economist: If inherited epigenetic changes were causing daughter rotifers to produce more catalase, it would raise the question of whether a similar thing happens in other species and, if so, whether it might be induced artificially, without all the tedious business of a lifetime’s starvation. … More All the life-extending benefits of caloric restriction, without actually, you know, restricting calories?