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Sleeping with the Enemy: Economists who Side with Polluters

Coasians and other defenders of “property rights” have captured mainstream economics to the detriment of public interest in our shared environment.. A personal story:

Sleeping with . . . → Read More: Sleeping with the Enemy: Economists who Side with Polluters

Keeping Land in Capital Theory: Ricardo, Faustmann, Wicksell, and George

Most economists today live in a two-factor world: There is just labor and capital. Land, so central to classical political economy, has been swallowed into capital and “disappeared.” This paper surveys some of the better historical treatments of land and capital, their interrelations, and how they support modern Georgists and Greens who want land to reappear. . . . → Read More: Keeping Land in Capital Theory: Ricardo, Faustmann, Wicksell, and George

Repopulating New Orleans

How did San Francisco do what a top economist says New
Orleans cannot?

Our latest Nobelist in economics, Thomas Schelling, offered the following advice in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: “There is no market solution to New Orleans. It is essentially a problem of coordinating expectations… .” By that he meant simply that each . . . → Read More: Repopulating New Orleans

Whose Water? Ours: Clearing Fallacies about Implementing Common Rights

The late Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana in 1922 suffered the fate of Oregon’s Congressman Al Ullman: he was retired by the voters for proposing a national sales tax. Thereafter, he mellowed into being a scholar and biographer. In these philosophical years he wrote “You know, I’ve learned in the Widener Library at Harvard that most of what I was taught . . . → Read More: Whose Water? Ours: Clearing Fallacies about Implementing Common Rights

Nonpoint Pollution: Tractable Solutions to Intractable Problems

Nonpoint pollution goes right to a chink in the armor of conventionally trained economists (like myself) who are overtrained towards becoming protagonists of the price system. The very name “nonpoint” pollution suggests that economists see this as just an odd bit of clutter, something “non-regular” in their tidy world. Indeed, all pollution was an exception, an “externality”, until recently. Then economists . . . → Read More: Nonpoint Pollution: Tractable Solutions to Intractable Problems

How a Water Market Might Work

This will not be a perfect market. There will be only one seller, and the buyers will surely form a user’s association. But this should not deter us. No human institution is perfect, except some that are perfectly awful. The present water market is one of these, and the point is to make it less awful. Maximum feasible improvement is the . . . → Read More: How a Water Market Might Work

Environmental Policies and Full Employment

In order to protect the environment, we are going to have to face up to the chronic (and now acute) problem of mass unemployment. To save jobs and make jobs we now tolerate polluting mills and vehicles; we chew up more earth each year for energy and materials; we secure and protect mineral rights abroad at great material, environmental and human . . . → Read More: Environmental Policies and Full Employment

The Water Giveaway: A Critique of Federal Water Policy

The many wasteful policies and procedures in federal water resources programs have been much analyzed by economists and other scholars. Agency benefit-cost practices have been found wanting. Benefit estimates have been biased upward and cost estimates downward. Environmental effects of projects, often adverse, are not weighted enough. I generally endorse the thrust of these criticisms and will not repeat them . . . → Read More: The Water Giveaway: A Critique of Federal Water Policy

Economic Aspects of Water Policy

This article reports what I as an economist think I have learned from the experience of the western states in economizing on water, which may suggest what eastern researchers might learn by directing some of their efforts toward sifting and evaluating the western history. This is one area in which history flowed backwards: the western evolution anticipated that in the East . . . → Read More: Economic Aspects of Water Policy

Welfare Economics and Environmental Quality

Important as the physical environment is, the intellectual, social and psychological are more so. The greater gain of improving the physical world is improving the man who does it, the greater gain of achieving harmony of man and nature is achieving, through nature, harmony of man and man. In this case, the means may indeed be the end.

In Henry Jarrett (ed.), . . . → Read More: Welfare Economics and Environmental Quality