Apologies for the paucity of posts in recent weeks. I’ve become rather overstretched and the blog has been a casualty as a result. Anyway, here are some links that have caught my eye in recent weeks:
- Tamino in his Open Mind blog looks at the much-loved-by-skeptics 15-year hiatus period from 1998 to 2012 in temperature rise. Contrast and compare the 98-12 period with that of 92-06 and be enlightened.
- Paul Krugman has a very perceptive piece in the op-ed section of The New York Times called “Addicted to the Apocalypse”. In it, he takes issue with all those financiers, economists and commentators who have been arguing that “the sky is falling down” (for a taste of this meme read the blog Zero Hedge). Given my own blog, whilst not apocalyptic over the short term, is certainly pessimistic, Krugman’s criticisms apply equally to me. My view has changed a little recently, and I accept that the post credit-crisis period has seen a complete victory for monetarism: we have not all died of debt and Krugman is right to point this out. Restated, central banks have put into practice never-tried-before text book theory – and this ‘theory into practice’ has worked. Whether such a policy can work over the longer term, given that the underlying lack of economic growth hasn’t improved at all, is a completely different question. So I remain a worried parent with regard to my children’s future.
- Staying with Krugman, I am always astonished, and a little jealous, of how he can be so prolific but at the same time maintain such quality. Here he is in The New York Review of Books reviewing William Nordhaus’ book “The Climate Crisis: Risk, Uncertainty and Economics for a Warming World”. Nordhaus is probably the world’s leading economist writing on climate change today, and Krugman has a lot to say about Nordhaus’ approach to the problem.
- Of the UK political weeklies, I dip into both the left-learning New Statesman and the right-leaning Spectator on occasion. Here is a nice piece by Felix Martin of The New Statesman looking at the natural scientist’s approach and social scientist’s approach to global population limits.
- The US Energy Information Agency has an interesting analysis of why rig count is no longer a good forecaster of natural gas and oil production. I take on board the technical point that new rigs have different capabilities than those of the past, but still flag that US natural gas production has plateaued and, without new investment, looks on the verge of falling back. Note the comments of the outgoing CEO of Shell on how he regrets his big bet on shale (see here in The FT) and a separate FT article entitled “US Shale Is a Surprisingly Unprofitable Miracle”. This blog has been flagging the non-existent miracle in shale for a long time and also calling out academics like Dieter Helm who believe that the energy policy of most advanced countries could be built on a foundation of shale. Even the mainstream press appears to be realising the view of Helm and his fellow travellers is nonsense.
How refreshing to see Felix Martin refer to Malthus as Robert and not Thomas – always a good guide to someone who has actually read him! UN constant fertility population projection for Burundi now 242 million in 2100 in a country one tenth the size of UK (& popn 3m fifty years ago). Population momentum means panic early – there’ll be a rush later on!
Dont you mean the post-crisis period has been “a complete victory for Keynesianism [not monetarism]” above?
Phillip. No. I think aggressive Keynesianism has been missing in action in most developed countries with the possible exception of the US (and even there the fiscal injection was passive not active). In Europe, the dominant response has been austerity. The reason this hasn’t led to true Great Depression is because monetary policy has gone where it has never gone before.
There is an irony here, since Milton and Rose Friedman’s “Freedom to Choose” is a standard libertarian text, yet libertarians like Ron Paul now vilify the Fed. Bernanke, being one of the leading scholars of the Great Depression, would, however, I think endorse Friedman’s view of the Great Depression as being at heart a monetary policy mistake, and QE’s intellectual foundations rest on the Friedman analysis. Moreover, we have Krugman now doing victory laps over the same said policy of QE (and in the past bemoaning the fact that Obama never enacted a true Keynesian fiscal stimulus). Is a strange old world 🙂