16 Aug 2009

My Future Activities

I am teaching a class ("Environmental Economics and Policy" -- or EEP 100) to 90 undergraduates at UC Berkeley during the Fall semester. I'll be posting videos of my lectures on YouTube.

I have a contract to write a book (The End of Abundance) with the University of California Press. Here's my final proposal [doc] and an extended reply [doc] to a referee's concerns about the book. The actual book (which I will begin writing as I teach) will be different as I develop the material. I will be posting draft chapters -- for your comments -- as I write them.

(I will also blog, revise papers, give public talks, run lab experiments, consult and apply for academic jobs...)

Stay tuned -- fun times ahead!


  1. Interesting. Do keep us informed about that book, looking forward to reading your chapters.

  2. As a member of your target audience, I'm looking forward to your book, and I promise I won't be insulted. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I hope that in the pricing chapter of your book you will get into why water agencies don't use inclining block tiered rates. I think the article I've sent you about the City of San Diego, Helix Water District and other agencies down here have given you some insight into the political pressures they operation under, and how some customer classes are treated differently from others due to politics. And why agencies depend on higher sales and revenues to pay for their large capital projects, and thus have a built in incentive NOT to help customers use water more efficiently.

    Just saying that everything would be fine if agencies just charged the right prices - from your own perspective - won't help people understand why that isn't happening unless you explain the real world of local water pricing politics to them too.

  4. Your reviewer asserts that "traditionally, water was an engineering problem and economics was not considered". Is this guy nuts? Why do you think that the parties figured out the engineering of moving huge amounts of water from one place to another other than to make huge economic profits? Whether it was farming in Idaho or California, or mines that needed more water to mine gold and silver, its always been about making a buck, or economics. That guy sounds very dumb making that statement.

  5. [on path dependence...]

    In addition to getting comfortable with the old ways, some parties fight change because the whole system is set up to subsidize their operations with cheaper water, providing them with huge profits, so they have $millions of reasons to try to keep everybody moving along the same old paths. Central and Imperial Valley farmers being one example. These players own congressmen and senators and will fight to the death to prevent real changes from taking place.

  6. @all -- thanks for the support. I can't wait to hear with you think about the draft chapters!

    @DW3 -- Good point, but path dependence *results* from the leverage special interests have over the general population.


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