Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has been active fighting against price gouging during the pandemic emergency. Actually, she was on the case even before the governor issued a stay-at-home order on March 23, 2020. Three days prior to that AG Healey added anti-price gouging regulations to the state regulatory code under emergency powers. She has … More Consumer Complaints in Massachusetts Fell in the First Quarter of 2020
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
Halea Walker and I have an op-ed appearing in the Dallas Morning News explaining that Texas’s anti-price gouging law comes with some unintended consequences. What I most want to say about price gouging laws is, in effect, “if you mess with price discovery, you’re going to have a bad time.” Unfortunately, that claim does not … More Texas Price Gouging Law is Backfiring
Understanding the economy as a dynamic, complex system relies on the foundational work of several economists, including Adam Smith (of course) and Ronald Coase. As Coase observed in his 1991 Nobel Prize address, What I have done is to show the importance for the working of the economic system of what may be termed the … More Coase’s Influence on Economics, and Adam Smith’s Influence on Coase
An article on federal oil and gas auctions by Natasha Geiling at ThinkProgress caught my eye. The ThinkProgress story mostly is concerned that quasi-anonymous companies can secure oil and gas leasing rights on federal land, and anonymity might make it harder to enforce regulatory protections and lead to environmental problems. The object of her concern is … More Is an Anonymous Energy Company Actually a Front for a Conservation Group? I Hope So!
The proposed steel tariff will benefit the steel industry. This is what is seen as a consequence of the steel tariff. What is unseen is the higher prices for goods that use steel, the lower quantity demanded of those goods, and the resulting lost jobs in industries like automobile manufacturing and construction. Bastiat’s “What Is … More Us Steel Reopening Plant and Bringing Back Jobs: Ceo on Trump Tariffs
This BBC article on big data and fisheries is fascinating. Using satellite photography, researchers have mapped all of the world’s fisheries by area, finding that fishery area is larger than arable acreage while providing less than 2% of all calories consumed. I also found the conclusion thought-provoking that the patterns reveal larger effects from politics … More BBC News: World’s Fishing Fleets Mapped from Orbit
“The Lone Star State approaches electricity policy—among other things—a bit differently,” wrote the R Street Institute’s Devin Hartman in “Testing Texas power.” That “differently” is one benefit of the quasi-independent status of the ERCOT grid. While there are benefits to harmonization of rules across regions, there are also benefits to exploring alternatives to whatever currently … More Texas’s Power Market Performance
How should state and federal governments make decisions concerning offshore federal resources the development of which may affect nearby states? Two approaches: one, give the Trump administration a huge political negotiating chip, with which it can reward friendly politicians, or two, a transparent system that seeks to treat all U.S. citizens fairly. Pick one. Last … More Should the Trump Administration Get to Play Politics with Offshore Federal Oil and Gas Resources?
Happy New Year! At Forbes Brian Potts asks a pithy question: will 2018 be the year of solar or coal? He starts with an observation familiar to most who have a passing familiarity with energy innovation in the past decade: the decline of coal as an electricity generation fuel source is a consequence of the … More Will 2018 Be the Year of Solar or Coal?