Links for the Week Ending 1 December

  • There has been a lot of press comment (including Martin Wolf of The Financial Times here) on a talk of Larry Summers (who was recently pipped by Janet Yellen for the Federal Reserve Governor nomination) at an IMF panel early in November; in particular, Summers’ concern that US employment has barely budged over the last four years and that there has been no growth catch-up. Best in such a situation to go to the source of the chatter, which is his speech here (his main argument starts at 2:15 minutes). Just as a heads up, Summers basically believes that the growth problem lies in a lack of monetary policy efficacy at the zero interest rate bound; I think the problem is much more structural in nature. Listen to the speech (only 16 minutes long).
  • Unlike The Daily Mail, the UK’s right-leaning Telegraph can, on occasion, report environmental issues without following a strict party line. (Indeed, on The Telegraph‘s roster is Geoffrey Lean, one of the best writers on green issues in the UK.) But last week I was most surprised by an article written by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard on global soil depletion.  Evans-Pritchard usually saves his passion for economic and financial issues, so I was pleased to see him focus on land degradation. And here is the original paper in Science that the article was based on.
  • I have a bunch of books by Vaclav Smil on my bookshelf, and am currently reading “Harvesting the Biosphere”. Smil is an extraordinary polymath and a favourite of Bill Gates. Given Gates’ close association with Wired Magazine, it is not surprising to see a good interview with Smil in Wired here discussing energy and a lot more else.
  • Two of my favourite blogs on energy depletion, The Oil Drum and Early Warning have gone dormant over the last year (the former permanently, the latter I hope temporarily). However, Gail the Actuary is still posting at Our Finite World. I don’t always agree with her analysis but boy do we need more such commentary challenging the cornucopian consensus.
  • William Nordhaus, the doyen of economists looking at climate change, has a new book out called “The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty and Economics for a Warming World“, which I flagged in ‘Links’ a couple of weeks ago. Put it on your Christmas wish list, but if no-one is obliging enough to buy it for you, then at least read this article by Martin Wolf (again) in The Financial Times, which captures the essence of Nordhaus’ thinking.

3 responses to “Links for the Week Ending 1 December

  1. Vaclav Slim??? Is this a case of spell-checker oppression?

  2. More likely human spell checker error 🙂 Thanks

  3. I just thought that one explanation for some of the peak oil sites going dark is that it turns out the basic questions they asked have been answered.

    The two key questions were whether the world was running short of light sweet crude oil, the kind that was relatively cheap to extract, and then what?

    It turns out the the answer to the first question is “yes” and the answer to the second question is “good until the last drop!” (more money is diverted from the rest of the economy towards production from more marginal sources, the “rest of the economy” basically meaning “poor people”). So there is really not that much to discuss.

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