Source: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr ( https://flic.kr/p/rgen12 ) - Unmodified. License: CC BY 2.0 ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ ).

Is the US a producer or a consumer of energy?

A very smart student recently inquired about whether the United States (US) should be considered an energy consumer or an energy producer given the boost in oil and gas production seen in the past few years – thanks to the shale revolution. A very good question, as the whole consumer/producer differentiation is becoming increasingly fuzzy…

Oil Pump Jacks in the US. Source: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious via Flickr ( https://flic.kr/p/5NFhTB ). License: CC BY-SA 2.0 ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ ).

An essential overview of global energy (1969-2015)

Energy has not always been a central item in the political agenda. Back in 1969 the US rejected a decade of oil at $1/barrel, offered by the Shah of Iran; in 1971 oil was not even discussed when President Nixon and Saudi Arabia’s King met. True, oil was important but the idea that oil prices…

Indeterminate complex uncertain life

It would seem to me that at least some of the uncertainty that I experience in life comes not from complication but from indeterminacy. For example, I love both sushi and pizza. Simple preferences. No lack of information involved, I’m telling you: I dig them both! But put me in front of two restaurants selling…

The nuances of the word ‘complexity’

One of the most popular ways to explain the difference between risk and uncertainty is the example of the coin: Imagine you flip a coin 100 times. If the coin was perfectly balanced the final tally would read: 50x head, 50x tails. However, since coins are not perfect, in real life you’re more likely to…

What I learned from… Rod Dacombe

Rod Dacombe (2011) Can we argue against it? Performance management and state funding of voluntary organizations in the UK. Public Money & Management, 31(3), 159-166. Say you volunteer to help an old lady carrying groceries from the store. Should she thank you if you drag the bags across the street and break everything that she…

What I learned from… Elisa Cavatorta

Cavatorta, E. (2010) Unobserved common factors in military expenditure interactions across MENA countries. Defence and Peace Economics, 21(4), 301-316. What Elisa is interested in doing here is to go beyond the most typical variables used to explain military expenditure (monetary capacity, perception of external threats, perception of internal threats). Although I am using the word…

What I learned from… Damien Bol

Bol, D. (2016). Electoral reform, values and party self-interest. Party Politics, 22(1), 93-104. Political parties need to follow electoral rules to get elected but, once elected, they can (to some extent) change these rules. What drives them to support changes? Is it a desire to be re-elected or the benefit of society? Apparently, is a…

Hidden energy articles — A final note about the surge of interest in free market environmentalism

I have previously highlighted articles that show an increasing interest in cleaner energy/environment within pro-market circles that used to be fairly dismissive of such things. I’ll be moving on to other topics, but I wanted to close by bringing attention to the following article: ‘Clean Energy‘, by David Battersby on the Adam Smith Institute’s blog.…