economist’s take on clean energy oddly one-sided

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I was surprised by The Economist’s recent headline piece (‘Clean energy’s dirty secret’, February 25th). Not because it didn’t jibe with my worldview – that I could’ve guessed from the title – but rather by the omission of significant facts and perspectives in the story and the lack of a clear argument to reach its conclusion. I have come to expect and respect level-headed analysis from this newspaper, even on matters over which we disagree. Pro-stability and neoliberal though it leans, it is usually at least thorough and logical. Not so this time.Read More »

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relationships and choice

I’d always believed that relationships impose a constraint on an individual’s independence and freedom, as decisions would include the preferences of two people instead of one. The optimum for aggregated preferences would be further from an optimum based only on your own constraints.

But then there’s the paradox of choice – in a nutshell, that counter to mainstream econ beliefs, more choice isn’t always better. In fact, more choice could be costly. Which means that limiting choice by way of internalising (or, at least, accounting for) another individual’s preferences could actually be a good thing, because it’s less of a headache to make decisions, as certain options are immediately ruled out.

In sum, compromise in a world of imperfect information and finite cognitive capacity with which to optimise situaitons is… utility maximising/increasing?!

tragedy of the commons

Can we revisit the idea of overcoming tragedy of the commons through reframing action hitherto considered altruistic rather as strictly dominant?

I dunno how I feel about playing by ‘their’ rules and using ‘their’ language instead of snatching the reins to control the discourse on my own terms (I need to read that book that my colleague recommended) but whenever I try to use the language I wanna use, it comes out moralistic and I end up realising that I’d far rather try to use ‘their’ rhetoric to argue my point – and win! Like with the economic argument for eg. renewable energy.

Anyway. Tragedy of the commons. What if cooperate became the strictly dominant strategy due to reframing of the issue – and, thus, the payoffs?!?? E.g. using alternative indicators. That’s essentially the effect of using alternative indicators – you change the payoff structure and thus the strategy. Boom.

From a previous post:

The ultimate solution to this and all tragedies of the commons is to take unilateral action. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions because doing so is good for yourself or is the right thing to do, regardless of what others do.

Isn’t this basically what we’re trying to convince policymakers? Isn’t our work strategy to highlight benefits and awesomenesses resulting from taking the action we propose?

i can haz electoral reform?

The government has no soul, heart nor morality. No respect for the environment. No respect for Canadians. No respect for first nations whom they consider as simpletons. The worst and most cynical government in or history. How did they get elected three times?

– comment in response to Northern Gateway

Is the Conservative Party and the federal government listening to itself? It thinks the economy, jobs and money are the most important things for the country. If that’s all my country is about – if money is the be all and end all – I’m not sure I want to be part of it anymore. Jobs and profit are tools to achieve something higher, like a more equal, happier, healthier society made up of individuals and communities filling their lives with meaning and worth. GDP growth is not a legitimate end goal. This government fails to see the bigger picture, fails to be driven and guided by higher values and principles. We CANNOT allow the Conservative Party to form a fourth government. It would be the final nail in the coffin for the country.

—–

The experience of being in a faith community was transformative for me; just as significant was the sense that I finally had answers to all of life’s questions.  The world, once so complex and confusing, was suddenly simple and easy to navigate.  Had a question?  The Bible had an answer.  The end.

– Liz Lin, Confessions of a Former Neofundamentalist

This was exactly how I felt when I was introduced to economics as an academic discipline in my last two years of high school. The world suddenly made sense! It was life changing and I felt enlightened. Everything in life could be explained by an equation or a graph. Decisions boiled down to the first order condition – or, even more simply, a cost-benefit analysis.

I became a Christian when I was a sophomore in high school, after years of wrestling with questions of religion and spirituality.  The experience of being in a faith community was transformative for me; just as significant was the sense that I finally had answers to all of life’s questions.  The world, once so complex and confusing, was suddenly simple and easy to navigate.  Had a question?  The Bible had an answer.  The end. – See more at: http://thesaltcollective.org/confessions-former-neofundamentalist/#sthash.CoIZWvrV.dpuf
I became a Christian when I was a sophomore in high school, after years of wrestling with questions of religion and spirituality.  The experience of being in a faith community was transformative for me; just as significant was the sense that I finally had answers to all of life’s questions.  The world, once so complex and confusing, was suddenly simple and easy to navigate.  Had a question?  The Bible had an answer.  The end. – See more at: http://thesaltcollective.org/confessions-former-neofundamentalist/#sthash.CoIZWvrV.dpuf
I became a Christian when I was a sophomore in high school, after years of wrestling with questions of religion and spirituality.  The experience of being in a faith community was transformative for me; just as significant was the sense that I finally had answers to all of life’s questions.  The world, once so complex and confusing, was suddenly simple and easy to navigate.  Had a question?  The Bible had an answer.  The end. – See more at: http://thesaltcollective.org/confessions-former-neofundamentalist/#sthash.CoIZWvrV.dpuf

measuring responsibility and leadership

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Lady Justice (c) Tristan Henry-Wilson

Today I received this in my work email inbox: OECD states cut emissions too slowly.

For anyone who watches the news, this is hardly groundbreaking. For those of us working in environmental justice or international development, we’ve seen graphs and diagrams ad nauseam depicting the earth’s trajectory vis-a-vis greenhouse gas emissions based on different scenarios and data. They have the same story: The planet – and, therefore, humanity – is doomed because we’re not doing enough to rein in emissions.

But who, exactly, are ‘we’? Read More »