Fiscal Conniptions

With the impending "fiscal cliff" upon us, there seems to be fresh worry and general gnashing of teeth over the economy again.  At times like this, I think it is especially good to step back and look at the bigger picture. Keep in mind that artificial deadlines are just that, and long-term trends don't change overnight.  The... Continue Reading →


The Carbon Cost of Coal Trains

The debate is heating up over the transport of coal from mines in Wyoming and Colorado to west coast ports, where the coal will be shipped to Asian markets.  Combining the vast appetite for coal in Asia with the vast stores of underground carbon in the US will accelerate the already rapid rise in atmospheric... Continue Reading →

Wealth and Inequality – Pareto, Gini and Contingency

The nature of inequality is a topic that is getting a lot of attention these days.  It's worth taking a careful look at how inequality arises in our economy.  In fact, inequality is built into capitalism and it perpetuates itself, steadily increasing, even in the absence of greed.  Inequality naturally arises whenever future wealth is contingent upon the wealth you... Continue Reading →

Powering Down in an Age of Irrational Politics

The politics of pain that is the fashion these days offers an unprecedented opportunity to advance a power-down agenda that will become a necessity in the years ahead. The defining characteristics of the Great Recession, and the Great Depression of the 1930's, are very high unemployment rates while interest rates remain very low. High unemployment... Continue Reading →

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