26 Mar 2018

Ten years (and the end) of Aguanomics!

Money laundering washing at a Japanese temple
On 26 March 2008, I published for the first time at aguanomics (older posts were imported from a predecessor blog "sex, drugs and water utilities"). Since then, I have written over 5,000 posts (guests have written another 500+) on the political-economy of water... and other distractions.

Every year around now I give a brief update on the blog  and my future plans (here's last years), and every year I have pledged to continue blogging. This year is different, as I plan to stop blogging here sometime in the next few months. (I have posts queued to the end of April, so don't walk away yet!)

The blog is dead, long live the blog!

I am making this decision for a few reasons:
  • In this recent interview/podcast, I talk about how I've decided to simplify my life by taking on fewer new obligations and shutting down ongoing obligations.* I recommend that podcast for more details, but the main message is that I am happy to have less stress and more time for teaching, reading, writing and living.
  • The Aguanomics archive is too large for me to search or manage. I doubt that anyone reads old posts, so I want to create a summary product. I plan to publish The Best of Aguanomics sometime this summer. That book will include a few hundred of my favorite posts, collected in different categories (e.g., controversial, corruption, markets, etc.) Although choosing a few out of 5,000 will be hard, I am looking forward to the search ;). And, yes, please do email me a few of your favorites.
  • Of course I'll keep blogging!
    I've often written about the same topics, and I hate to repeat myself. Thus, I will start a new project. Sometime in the Fall, I will launch The One Handed Economist (TOHE), a blog where we will discuss "no-brainer" economic ideas that anyone can use. Although I am all for "on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand" reasoning, I think that some people assume that those discussions mean that economics has no sound ideas for them. I intend to make economics useful for regular folks on the TOHE blog, which will eventually be summarized into a book.
Going forward, I am going to experiment with increasing engagement. Blogging has changed a lot in the past ten years (Facebook, Twitter and the iPhone were roughly a year old in 2008, and people were not yet addicted to "the feed"), but our need to understand complex ideas has only grown stronger. My goal is to engage the "thinking minority" who want to understand and improve their lives rather than chasing the "flighty majority" who have only a click of time. I intend to put out an elite product that anyone can use, not a product designed for everyone.

Bottom line: I've learned as much from the insights, questions and experiences of you readers as I did in my PhD program, and I am grateful for this opportunity to think about water for 10 years.** It's now time to close this chapter and start a new one. I hope you will join me.***

* As of 24 March, I have reduced my backlog of 60 blog posts to write (based on notes stored in three different "piles") to one book review. This is the first time in 10 years, I think, that I've had nothing in the "I've got to blog this" pile!

** Yes, I will of course be keeping track of water issues and probably publishing on the political economy of water, but I'll be blogging more on TOHE issues...

*** Subscribe to my newsletter to get occasional updates on this project and a few others.