- 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.
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