This is Bennett Henson's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Bennett Henson's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Bennett Henson
Recent Activity
I thought this paper did a good job of representing the pros and cons of both Pigouvian tax policies and cap n trade permit systems. As a developed country with a well off economy the United States has the relative luxury of being able to forego possible economic expansion in order to create a healthier, ore sustainable infrastructure. Developing nations such as India and Brazil are not as fortunate as developed countries and are therefore not as able to forego rapid economic expansion in the pursuit of sustainability. When looking at policies to help developing countries develop sustainably there are two policies that economists prefer: taxes and cap n trade systems. Both of these systems have their pros and cons which the article explains in depth, but what I found really interesting is how either type of policy would be implemented. Through implementing a sustainability policy such as increased taxes, a country disincentivizes businesses from locating their. It is easier to think about this issue on the state level in the US: if you're a logger on the NC VA border and North Carolina raises its tax on logging, you might consider moving to Virginia. In an increasingly global economy this issue of cost management becomes important on a global scale (just look at the inversion of companies in the medical industry). A good way to think of this problem is through a game theory framework. As a planet we would all be better off if countries increased taxes or cap n trade systems, but countries are incentivized to do the exact opposite because higher taxes or regulations result in businesses going to other countries. It is even more unlikely that a developing country will raise taxes because they are aggressively looking for outsider investment. The paper we read for Tuesday points out that Clean Development Mechanisms (CDMs) are a possible way to correct for this global market inefficiency.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
Climate change is considered a problem by around 97-98% of scientists. While it is widely considered a real and credible threat among those who know the most about it, it is an unmentionable in our current political atmosphere. Mentioning the importance of human activity's effect on climate change almost definitely results in a drop in the polls for politicians. The reason climate change is not mentioned in the political arena is that it takes place over decades and centuries whereas election happen every 2 or 4 years. This is a problem. We are not doing enough to stop climate change and the world is suffering due to our inaction. We have a problem of being too short sided, and it is going to take incentivizing the production and use of clean energy sources to shift our current consumption patters to a more sustainable method. Shaw's paper made me realize how the gravity of our current situation when he expressed that a goal of 550 ppm is 45% our current level, but would require a 70% reduction in how we currently do things. Today's actions may have serious consequences tomorrow. But it's not just the future generations who will suffer from climate change, many people today suffer from climate change, just ask residents of Miami. As Schrag says, the technology to reduce CO2 and therefore climate change is there, all it takes is the will to act. In order to act we need funding, and in order to raise funding we first must increase awareness of the issues facing our environment. I believe one potential way to get the wheels moving would be requiring climate change discussion in public school national sciences courses, but I highly doubt that would go over smoothly with the politicians who have our educational system in the palms of their hands.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
Biological diversity has been shown to be a desirable ecological trait. Biodiversity not only makes ecological systems more stable and able to withstand exogenous shocks such as hurricanes or natural forest fires, it directly increases human beings' utility by providing services such as carbon sequestration, pest control, medicinal benefits, and other goods and services. However, there are large opportunity costs associated with maintaining biodiversity on earth. As human population increases more space is needed to provide the resources for sustained growth. The trade off here is continued expansion or biodiversity. We have a clash between two desirable things, and biodiversity has been and is losing out to the ever expanding human ecological footprint. Humans are decreasing biodiversity through habitat destruction or conversion, introducing new species to non-native areas, and taking advantage of open-access harvesting (the tragedy of the commons). In order to prevent the further extinction of species and loss of biodiversity, policy measures that remedy the disparity between the marginal private costs and the marginal social costs of ecological destruction need to be put in place. As this article shows, we have not been doing a good job of implementing effective and efficient policy, and biodiversity has been forced to bear the cost of our ineptitude.
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2016 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
I'd like to talk about the issue of cattle farming next to the Maury river. In Humston's ENV class we talked about the waste going into the river, but that farmers had paid a premium for property next to the river so their cattle could drink. I thought it was an interesting topic and think it could add to our ongoing discussion on environmental externalities.
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2016 on ECON 255 and 102 at Jolly Green General
This paper analyzes survey results from vacationing SCUBA dives in Barbados in order to determine, through non market valuation, how the divers value the quality of marine biodiversity. By better understanding what divers' value, a win-win solution can be generated, where divers have more pleasant trips and natural resources are invested in and protected. The country of Barbados derives a large amount of its GDP from tourism, so it is very important that they can accurately value their resources. 47% of respondents said that their sole reason for traveling to Barbados was SCUBA diving, so it would make sense that Barbadians would want to better understand the value of their marine biodiversity to tourists. The cost benefit trade off for enhanced marine protection reveals that investment in environmental protection can yield larger returns than harvesting the resources can in the short term. People typically assume that environmental protection is not good for economic growth. Barbados, and other tourism based economies, show that environmental protection can be economically advantageous. As we've talked about in class, environmental resources can not be valued via traditional markets due to asymmetries among private and social costs and benefits. Although I do not fully understand non market valuation, it is very interesting to read about it being applied in the real world.
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
As earth’s population grows exponentially, we have the desire to spread out, conquering new lands and establishing new cities, harvesting the resources necessary to feed our insatiable desire to grow as a species. As we grow and expand we are, have, and will, permanently destroying millennia old ecosystems and environments in order to harvest the resources necessary to sustain and grow. This trend will inevitably result in the overpopulation of the earth and the destruction of many non-replaceable resources. The relative freedom we have to use these resources may seem beneficial in the short term, but will result in less resources available in the future. Not only are we destroying our own resources by abusing the commons, we are destroying the resources of future generations. As Krutilla says in "Conservation Reconsidered" we are eating away at resources that may be immensely more valuable in the future. Potential cancer curing roots and plants may be unknowingly destroyed in order to make room for business offices or subdivisions. It is difficult to assess the value of nature when we can not predict the technological advancements and the necessities of the future, so it is better to err on the safe side and conserve as much land as we can before it is lost forever. The conservation of potentially invaluable lands butts heads with our innate desire to breed and start families, to grow and expand, but the long term costs associated with unearthing a wetland in order to put in retirement homes may vastly outweigh the short term benefits. Humans habitually forego long term benefits (especially if their generation will never realize these benefits) in order to reap smaller, but more immediate, benefits. As population continues to grow the destruction of environments will continue to expand as well. Hardin's command and control viewpoint on breeding may seem ridiculous at the time, but could possibly prevent the extermination of our species in the future. As Ali notes, the majority of current rapid population growth is occurring in resource rich developing nations. One possible strategy to curtail population growth and conserve these valuable is to enhance education in these developing countries so that parents have less incentive to have more children. Not only would this result in lower population growth, it would result in a more educated and conscientious population as well as spur economic and societal development in the relative short term. The combination of short term and long term benefits associated with educational advancement make this a plausible solution to the Malthusian dilemma.
Toggle Commented Jan 21, 2016 on ECON 255 for Friday at Jolly Green General
Bennett Henson is now following Caseyj
Jan 20, 2016
Bennett Henson is now following The Typepad Team
Sep 22, 2014