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Mackenzie Dalton
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This article addressed many politician's and people's main concerns with implementing a carbon tax. People complain that a carbon tax would not be cost effective but as we have discussed in class and the article points out, we are not being cost effective now. We aren't paying the actual cost now and are causing more damage than if the actual cost was internalized. Our markets are not efficient and are causing a market failure. A carbon tax could help fix this cost effectiveness problem. People also believe that a carbon tax would hurt the poor people and poor countries disproportionally. However, poor countries are going to have most of the harm done to them if global climate change continues. A carbon tax could be a regressive tax based on income in the United States. Also profits made from a tax on a national and international scale could be given to help mitigate the effects of global climate change on the poorer countries. This carbon tax wouldn't hurt the poor instead it could help them. Although, developing a tax on the national or global scale is very important to start addressing climate change, it is going to be very difficult to convince the United States that it is necessary. However, this article does a good job at analyzing the benefits associated with a carbon tax.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
This paper gives an insight into all the steps coal goes through and all the negative outcomes and costs that come from our use of coal. The detailed facts about how coal negatively impacts our lives was very concerning. Coal is such a big part of our economy and would be difficult to move away from by investing in more sustainable energy. However, this paper shows how it is necessary to at least begin the process of equating the social cost of coal to the private costs. Coal has a huge amount of negative ecological and health impacts on society and disproportionally hurts the impoverished. Although this paper doesn't show the cost of coal reducing coal use to industry, it predicts the cost coal is actually having on our lives. This market isn't efficient when the social and private costs are not equated and we should strive to fix this problem. Starting with a small tax or another incentive could help encourage alternate energy sources or push for cleaner technology. Then gradually as technology increases through new innovations the abatement cost of getting rid of coal would become gradually less. We do not have an policy for fixing this problem and need to before it keeps hurting our society. This could at least start to mitigate the problems associated with coal.
Toggle Commented Mar 10, 2016 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Biodiversity is an important thing we need to conserve now however, it isn't seen as a priority. We make decisions based on our personal benefit not cost to society. We frequently don't see the whole picture and look at the negative externalities we are causing for others. Protecting biodiversity should be an important factor that we think about when making decisions. Protecting nature can give us material goods and important ecosystem services. These services are highly valuable to our society such as carbon sequestration or water purification. However, it is very difficult to get policy makers to support bills that protect biodiversity. Gathering public support or starting at a local level have shown to help spur environmentally friendly policy. Making protecting biodiversity a priority will help fix this issue.
Toggle Commented Mar 2, 2016 on ECON 255 for Thursday at Jolly Green General
Chapter 15: In light of the Flint water crisis currently going on, who should be responsible for cleaning up and paying for the damage done to Flint water? Is this a market failure because the government didn't regulate testing of water quality properly? How will this effect price/availability of water for Flint?
Toggle Commented Feb 10, 2016 on More Chapters from Kahn at Jolly Green General
This paper measuring SCUBA diver's willingness to pay for biodiversity in Barbados can be a valuable tool to convince policy makers to implement laws to conserve natural resources. Measuring and "monetizing" these preferences can be helpful for many people to understand. It is difficult to convey how much people value an object without doing this. As Elizabeth showed, "just because it doesn’t have a price doesn’t mean it’s not valuable." Using stated preferences can be used to show policy makers people's preferences on conserving biodiversity and give it more value. The way our market and most politics works now is based on short term decisions. People see the initial market value of for example, harvesting wood from a forest, but rarely see the long term environmental effects of clearing a forest. Policy makers need to be aware of these long term effects and make laws that help control and limit these purely short term decisions that are harmful in the long run. Many natural resources are more beneficial in the future. This study can help show policy makers people's preferences for conserving marine biodiversity so they can make more informed decisions on conservation.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2016 on ECON 255 for next Thursday at Jolly Green General
Like William pointed out, Hardin's examples do seem a little outdated but I still feel as if they are relevant to today's issues. As we increase the population, everyone's "per-capita share of world's goods must decrease" (Hardin, 1968). Although we can create much more food with current technologies, the quality of these goods is decreasing as Hardin predicted. Our food is highly processed and some are genetically modified which decreases the nutritional value of these foods. We are damaging our land more as we expand unsustainable agricultural techniques. Soil quality and nutrition has decreased which lessens the quality of our food that is grown in the poor soil. So as Hardin shows, although we have many technological advancements, we decrease the benefit for everyone as we exploit these finite resources. Bentham's "greatest good for the greatest number of people" isn't reached with new technological advancements. Yes, these advancements help improve people's lives in different ways but, unfortunately it still can never be reached. As a society we must figure out a way to balance caring for the growing population but by not exploiting our limited resources as much. We can manage the "commons" to help benefit everyone rather than decrease everyone's benefit.
Toggle Commented Jan 21, 2016 on ECON 255 for Friday at Jolly Green General
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Jan 21, 2016