What to Read on July 6, 2009

  • Obama, Medvedev Agree on Talk Structure — Washington Post – Baby steps, but progress nonetheless. Bravo!
  • A Few Facts About the Honduran Military Coup — Ken Silverstein – All Americans should read this short list. #4 is questionable; this is tricky territory where it’s hard to know what is the correct response. #5 is the most important point; let it sink in, and remember it when you read future articles about foreign policy.
  • Failing Upwards: The Wall Street White House — Barry Ritholtz – On the one hand, they bring much-needed inside knowledge of the industry; on the other hand, they bring rather suspect loyalties and biases. We will know which one was more powerful when we see the final regulations.
  • Supreme Court Opens Door to Possibility of Corporate Political Spending — The Hill (via truthout) – Another reason for serious lobbying reform (per my first post on this blog).
  • The Economics of Climate Change — Robert P. Murphy – I can’t get over how good this article is. Murphy gives the best explanation of the economics of climate change that I’ve seen yet (including my own post last week). I disagree with his overall conclusion for the reasons laid out in my analysis of Waxman-Markey — namely, citing Nordhaus as the average/norm instead of an outlier, not accounting for all the high ROI projects for which the tax revenue will be used (he talks about deadweight loss like Hennessey did), and ignoring many secondary and tertiary benefits of cap-and-trade. I should add that NPV (“net present value”) analysis, which is cost-benefit analysis that uses a “discount rate”, is actually a very incomplete method (not only in climate economics, but especially in this case), as it does not account for all the options for further beneficial investments that the society has as a result of the investment (e.g., the $138 billion I cited in my analysis). Nonetheless, you must read all of Murphy’s article, for which I say Bravo!