27 Oct 2010

Anything but water

  • No duh: "The majority of Kenyans are unwilling to abandon their traditional energy sources in favour of cleaner or renewable ones, unless their incomes rise significantly"

  • Annoying facts: "replacing all of Britain’s cars with subsidised electric cars would cost the taxpayer £150 billion and, with Britain’s current fuel mix, cut CO2 emissions from cars by about 2%. For the same money, Britain could replace its entire power-generation stock with solar cells and cut its emissions by a third."

  • Good service or job security? "In 1999-2000 there were 2,140 fires in the Merseyside area and 15 fire-related deaths; last year (2009-10), there were 1,299 and 8. Meanwhile, the number of traditional fire officers has fallen from 1,400 to 850, saving money."

  • Professor Frank takes Mankiw apart: "Economists who say we should relegate questions about inequality to philosophers often advocate policies, like tax cuts for the wealthy, that increase inequality substantially. That greater inequality causes real harm is beyond doubt... There is no persuasive evidence that greater inequality bolsters economic growth or enhances anyone’s well-being. Yes, the rich can now buy bigger mansions and host more expensive parties. But this appears to have made them no happier."

  • UCLA Professor Emeritus William Allen says: "Mathematics, with its econometric handmaiden, was to be an aide and a tool in the service of pertinent economics -- the technical medium was not to be the substantive message... But used unwisely and naively, it turns economists into pretentious parasites on the rest of the community."
In other words: