Thursday, October 06, 2005

Energy use reduction scenario: A literary model

Back in the good old days, economists hardly used formal, mathematical models. They used what Alpha Chiang (of math econ fame) refers to as "literary models". Typically these are peppered with numerical examples. The work of the great classical economists like Smith and Ricardo were entirely of this mould. While sacrificing generality, such an approach is incomprable as a tool for understanding. Let me link you to a fine example of a modern application of literary logic:

Exhibit A: John Quiggin on the prospects for energy use reduction

Just as I thought: price increases are the lasting way to cut down on fossil fuel emissions. If the climate change scenarios are really that bad, then more expensive fuel now is just what we need.

Capping global consumption is not necessary. Getting prices right is.

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