Jonathan Rauch on the uncomfortable necessity of middlemen in transactional politics

In his recent work Jonathan Rauch has been writing about what I’ve unwillingly concluded are some uncomfortable home truths about politics. In a lot of places, especially the U.S., politics is more counterproductively fraught and fractious than it has been in the past century. This is true despite a near century of Progressive and populist … More Jonathan Rauch on the uncomfortable necessity of middlemen in transactional politics

The Economist on adverse selection and moral hazard

The Economist is running a series on classic articles that have transformed economics, starting with George Akerlof’s 1970 “Market for Lemons” paper. Akerlof catalyzed the field of information economics by pointing out possible consequences of asymmetric information in the case where one party to a transaction has more complete information about product quality than the … More The Economist on adverse selection and moral hazard

Can regulated rates be designed to mimic competition?

Rather than attempting to “mimic competition,” Giberson suggested simply “to allow competition.” Cost-of-service rate regulation cannot be designed to mimic competition. If you want competitive results, then allow competition. At least that was my claim reported in a¬†Megawatt Daily story, “Texas wires rate study draws mixed reactions.” (From Monday, June 27, 2106; articles are not … More Can regulated rates be designed to mimic competition?

Gaming the rankings on the Texas Power to Choose website: TPUC’s simple solution

The Texas Public Utility Commission has implemented a fix to the “gaming the rankings” problem. The fix itself can be gamed a bit – is already being gamed a bit – but the offers gaming the fix are less misleading than before. It is an improvement. Here is what is going on: Creative retail electric … More Gaming the rankings on the Texas Power to Choose website: TPUC’s simple solution

How cool is this? Accelerated geologic weathering by creating rocks from carbon dioxide

Geologic weathering is an important, but slow, part of the carbon cycle in which rocks essentially absorb carbon dioxide. A research team in Iceland has invented a method of creating rocks using carbon dioxide, water, and basalt rock. A chemical reaction among them enables the basalt to absorb the carbon dioxide. A Washington Post article … More How cool is this? Accelerated geologic weathering by creating rocks from carbon dioxide

Pencil or peach, either way, a marvel of decentralized coordination

Many of you are probably already familiar with Leonard Read’s famous 1958 story I, Pencil. Told through the eyes of a pencil, it describes the process of producing a pencil and how many people are involved in doing so, but without ever having met or consciously, deliberately set out a plan under the control of … More Pencil or peach, either way, a marvel of decentralized coordination

Texas PUC continues look at “gaming the rankings” problem on state website. Here’s my solution.

Last week the commissioners of the Texas Public Utility Commission once again complained about retail power suppliers who gamed the ranking system on the state’s retail electric power shopping website http://www.powertochoose.org. This post summarizes the problem and then offers a simple solution. From the Houston Chronicle: Texas’ utility commissioners complained Thursday about confusing or misleading … More Texas PUC continues look at “gaming the rankings” problem on state website. Here’s my solution.