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Wen Xiang Chuah
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I'm concerned about the psychological impacts present within CVM models and how they might impact the stated preferences of interviewed consumers. In particular, while a consumer's stated preference is related to their attitude towards the good/service, does the presence of informational asymmetry affect the optimality of their decision? Even without methodological challenges such as endowment effects, if a consumer is underinformed regarding the properties of a good/service, are their opinions equally valid as a more informed consumer (who may or may not exist).
The article serves to highlight the shortfalls in traditional methods of thinking about marine resources. As we increasingly come up against the maximum holding capacity of the planet, it is crucial to examine our core assumptions regarding the sustainability of our activities, especially in light of the chronic human fallacy of short termism. In particular, the article highlights the effects that the unseen (marine) ecosystem has on our lifestyle, especially with regards to carbon dioxide absorption. Again, like with other issues that we've examined this winter, much of the regulation for a global public good such as this will have to originate from a central unified source, as no one nation is sufficient to combat the threat posed by manmade externalities to the natural world.
While I'd like to echo the sentiments expressed above, I can't help but feel that the solar technology utilized in the above article is a little...delicate. Presumably mirror alignment will be managed mechanically, which opens up a host of mechanical issues, not to mention the sheer sustainability of the concept. In addition, the natural limitations of solar (inconsistent, only while sunny, etc) technology remain impediments to widespread utilization. From a financial perspective, I wonder how much of this green technology has been subsidized by the government - as seen previously in companies like solyndra, solar remains a relatively risky proposition as a business model.
As posted above, the primary issue once again lies within Congress' inability to present and discuss issues without overly politicization. Tying again into the political structure of the United States, the decentralization of authority and excessive focus on (underinformed) public participation. In particular, it also outlines the lack of knowledge possessed by the nation's policymakers as a whole, which is undoubted a detriment when it comes to making informed decisions for the betterment of the nation.
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2013 on Another Political Football at Jolly Green General
Although this isn't as large of a step as say, China's shift to a carbon tax, it seems to at least represent a cautious step towards a more environmentally sustainable future. However, there is room for little more than cautious optimism, with the initial impetus for the shift originating from a 1999 lawsuit. The fact that it has taken approximately 13 years for the legal process and settlement to get to this point is inherently disappointing. Furthermore, the lack of governmental involvement in this shift is further cause for concern: although its inaction has defending the United States' laissez faire economic policy, it fails to represent any sort of concerted recognition of the impeding climate disaster by the government.
Although the results of the RGGI prove encouraging, both in terms of revenue gain and emissions reductions, the fact that a sizable portion of the nation had to basically deviate from national policy seems rather concerning. Admittedly, I originate from a more centralized model of government, but piecemeal implementation of such policies may prove to be less efficient, due to the effects on regional comparative advantage - the article makes no mention of the potential contractionary effects the policy may have created. Additionally, the differing market environment of the Northeast region may provide incomplete information of the potential effects if the same policy were to be implemented nationwide - would it be similar? larger? smaller?
Toggle Commented Feb 11, 2013 on Hurray for Market Forces!!!! at Jolly Green General
I suspect that much of the controversy over carbon tax originates from an issue closely related to government transparency – as a simple heuristic device for ‘controlling’ government spending, the populace at large seeks to draw causal links between a carbon tax and global warming, ignoring the fact that government revenue and government spending do not have to be proportionally linked by source. As discussed in class, the carbon tax allows for the re-alignment of MPC to MSC, whereas the issue of government spending (in relation to the effects of global warming) has little to no actual bearing on the viability of the tax. Revenue is revenue and revenue is for the government to allocate as it sees fit. While the damages caused by Katrina and its ilk constitute part of the MSC, the time-delay on the effects prevent reactive responses to current costs.
Policy perspectives are very distanced from theoretical realities (haha) though. When you boil concepts down to soundbite size, almost everything fundamental is lost in 'translation'. There is very much so a deadweight loss associated with the current costs (or more accurately, price?) of education, and that has very much impacted contemporary political discourse, creating the widening gap between what politicians claim to believe and reality.
Toggle Commented Jan 27, 2013 on My Bad..... at Jolly Green General
Although this proposal may have been initiated with the best of intentions, as others above have mentioned, it has approached the issue of emissions controls from a distinctly lopsided perspective. As economists, we often discuss globalization and free trade in terms of comparative advantage, noting that developed countries often provide the ‘brains’ of an operation, and developing countries (such as China) provide the ‘brawn’, with their inexhaustible (relatively) supply of cheap labour. However, any attempts to hold nations liable for greenhouse emissions contradicts the current model of the world economy – the developed nations have shifted their production centers (and with it, a large portion of the emissions that can be attributed to them) into the developing nations. Minutiae on distributive formulae – whether by population, landmass, or some other method – only further adds to the structural issues faced by the proposed agreement. Corporate responsibility, however, may prove to be a more viable avenue of pursuit – as currently discussed in class, holding private producers liable for damaging the ‘commons’ holds much potential to align private costs with social costs. However, I remain skeptical that American political environment (because really, the US has historically proven to be the largest and most vocal opponent to the formulation of a true response to environmental issues. See: Kyoto Protocol) is conducive towards a commitment to basically coerce the private sector.
As discussed in class earlier, the bill itself is one that has been long overdue, with academic consensus having been long since achieved on its necessity. However, as long as the structure of domestic politics continues to encourage myopic self-interest, I remain personally pessimistic about the likelihood of a ‘green’ bill passing, primarily due to the economic costs associated with environmental protection and the continued denial of economic issues such as global warming prevalent within certain (significant) segments of the American populace. At least personally, I believe that we need to begin a gradual shift towards re-integrating nuclear energy into the standard renewable energy portfolio. Although nuclear fission is not ‘renewable’ in the traditional sense, additional money and research (from increased interest) would contribute towards the development and attainment of viable fusion energy technology, which is (at least for now) one of the most efficient form of clean energy known. Renewed interest and investment is vital in light of the current state of nuclear energy globally – the potential for nuclear proliferation aside, the nuclear accidents of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl have left the public wary of continued nuclear exploration (even more so in light of the recent Fukushima disaster), culminating in the current limbo state of nuclear energy – Much of the world’s nuclear energy plants were built in the ‘70s, and few additional (commercial) reactors have been built over the years, slowing down the pace of research and development in the field.
Toggle Commented Jan 14, 2013 on Rumor has it..... at Jolly Green General
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Jan 13, 2013