Questions

While I was away having fun in the mountains, I rudely ignored a number of comments on the blog that I'd normally answer. I could answer them in place, but if I did that now, no-one would notice, hence this post. Did I rudely ignore your fine comment here, too? Then tell me. But first, a picture: walking from La Berarde up towards the Pilatte hut.

The rule of law

Q: When will we see 'tailpipes' on cars as morally wrong? An Earth Day question
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1101015_when-will-we-start-to-see-t…

The similarity to smoking ban in public places seems an obvious similarity to draw.
http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1112133_when-will-ads-for-cars-with…

My thoughts:

One difference between smoking and ICE cars is that it is cheaper and not essential to smoke, however electric cars are more expensive and some travel is essential. Consequently I can see reasons for such a movement not gaining much ground for the next couple of years. Fortunately it may not be much longer before electric cars are cheaper and then there is no reason for sales not to be banned in fairly short order along the same lines as smoking to protect innocent other people. Indeed Norway is already talking about banning ICE cars by 2025. If all countries did so, we might have difficulty in making enough electric cars by 2025. The more this is talked about, the more car companies will realise it is coming and prepare and the sooner it will be possible to put such a ban in place.

So morals should demand that we should talk about it to encourage it to become possible to put such a ban on sales of ICE cars in place sooner.

What is the libertarian counterargument? That we should be allowed to make decisions that deliberately harm other people?

A: Ha, you mistake me for an L theorist. I will attempt to guess an answer: they would likely say that the evidence for the public smoking ban (i.e. for damage from secondary smoke) was weak enough to not justify government action. Damage from cars definitely exists, and yet most of the population benefits, and almost all of the population that can afford a car, buys one; and hence are in a poor position to complain. My suspicion is that Electric will take rather longer to come in than some rosy estimates, so this problem will be around for a while yet.

Economic denialism?

And some more denial.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/08/20/th…

A: Meh. If you're going to get excited by every dumb thing Trump does, you're going to be permanently excited, which is bad for you. As for the committee, you have to get a long way down the article before you find The committee was established in 2015, but its members were not appointed until last summer. They convened their first meeting in the fall.

>How about the rest of the species on this planet? Not a single economy out there, let alone a discount rate.

This is what I don't get: much of biology is made out of economies (there's a whole discipline called Ecology for starters), and yet most economists seem to have zero idea about the fundamental set of relationships that pay the bills. By Pay The Bills, I mean a) provide oxygen for those of us who breath, b) feed all the humans on the planet, and c) provide livable environments/moderate climates.

I find it bizarre that ECOnomics is solely concerned with human financial relationships, while our unbelievably fantastic and generous Growth Economy continues to unsustainably eat away at both "our" biological capital and the very systems that provide food and oxygen. The dismal science indeed...

A: I have some sympathy for this viewpoint. As I've said many times in the past, it seems to me likely to be the major impact of GW, but very hard to quantify. That said, we're not and won't be short of oxygen, and current crop yields are increasing, not decreasing.

Study of company documents, peer-reviewed papers and newspaper ads claims to show how the oil giant tried to cast doubt on climate science...
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/24/exxon-deliberately-mis…

But economics!!! The company clearly got its money's worth....

A: Meh. Retread; nothing new.

Somewhat higher up, coming down from Pilatte.

More like this

A happy story for once. Isn't that nice? The Big Green Bang: how renewable energy became unstoppable (archive) from those commie pinkos at the FT: ...the disruptive impact of green energy on companies — and entire industries — around the world. After years of hype and false starts, the shift to…
Someone pointed me at Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers in El Rego, which is Lewis "you know you can't trust me" Page's take on What It Would Really Take to Reverse Climate Change by Ross Koningstein & David Fork. Who they? Dunno, but you can read what they say about…
Mais où sont les neiges d'antan! Did you know that "Antan", though it now means "yesteryear" (which was itself coined to translate "antan") formerly meant "last year", as a contraction from the latin "ante annum"? Fascinating, eh. But not as fascinating as poking at the innards of dead things.…
This search engine will scan a large number of sites known to have good climate change related information on them. Below is a list of sites scanned. If you know of a site that is not included here but that should be, please put a link in the comments. Don't bother with climate science…

Gee, I thought Economics was a bit grander in scope than analyzing human financial relationships. The phrase 'allocating scarce resources to best serve humanity's needs' kinda comes to mind.

By Thomas Fuller (not verified) on 07 Sep 2017 #permalink

"Fortunately it may not be much longer before electric cars are cheaper"

Really.

So why is it that electric cars are getting cheaper?

How did that happen?

Do explain.

[Who are you asking? -W]

By Phil Hays (not verified) on 07 Sep 2017 #permalink

Re #2: It's called the march of human progress. It's technologies costs generally, and in particular with automotive innovations, reducing in relation to adoption.

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 07 Sep 2017 #permalink

>"So why is it that electric cars are getting cheaper? How did that happen? Do explain."

Battery prices falling due to Elon Musk gigafactory scale investments.

Do you need more explanation than that?

The interim step was the development of hybrids which made a significant jump in efficiency. Back in the early 70s when I was researching engine combustion, Prof Med Thring told me there was even more advantage in developing regenerative breaking. Back then we were limited to mechanical controls, once we got to the ability for digital control many more things became possible.

[Who are you asking? -W]

You, of course. I'd love to hear. Start with the first mass market EV of modern times:

[Oh. I did think you might be, but then I wondered why. I don't really know, other than to guess that everything is getting cheaper -W]

Required by CARB, that evil government regulation issuing economy killer. Subsidized by the Federal Government "Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles" program, to the level that GM probably made a profit even if they gave every EV1 away for free. Overwhelming consumer demand, drivers with "wonderfully-manical loyalty." GM expecting and hoping for a flop and getting a star instead.

Then GM recalling and crushing every EV1. That will fix the "problem".

A carbon tax wouldn't have starting production of EVs, unless sky high. Regulations and subsidies have. It takes decades to ramp technology and production up to levels where a carbon tax might matter to the decision to make or to buy an electric car.

So give me the Liber Terrier version. Ask Timmy to chime in so we can laugh harder.

[You're being silly, and also impolite -W]

#3 Progress is not mandatory. How did EVs get far enough down the cost curve to start to matter?

#4 Gigafactory scale is the end of the story. Hopefully will be a happily ever after story. Politics can still kill the Electric Car.

Small scale is very expensive. What about the beginning?

By Phil Hays (not verified) on 08 Sep 2017 #permalink

#5 regenerative braking dates back to the AMC Amitron, a full electric concept car in 1967. Subsidized by the "Electric Vehicle Development Act of 1966".

Mass market hybrid cars started with the Toyota Prius, released in 1997 in Japan after the EV1 in 1996.

By Phil Hays (not verified) on 08 Sep 2017 #permalink

> I could answer them in place, but if I did that now,
> no-one would notice, hence this post.

That's why I wish you'd adopt the RC sidebar listing and linking to comments "...With Inline Responses"

I dunno how easyly one can steal HTML, but it's there to be stolen.

[No idea how to do that, I'm afraid -W]

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 11 Sep 2017 #permalink

"A: I have some sympathy for this viewpoint. As I’ve said many times in the past, it seems to me likely to be the major impact of GW, but very hard to quantify. That said, we’re not and won’t be short of oxygen, and current crop yields are increasing, not decreasing."

That doesn't count as any sort of a response. Don't worry, we'll be right. :)

https://www.facebook.com/thedavidbrin/posts/792294687966

"I have long inveighed against the absurdly lobotomizing so-called "left-right political axis," which crams all issues together along a scale that no one can even properly define. Others have agreed that it is unworthy of a sapient people. My recently departed colleague, Jerry Pournelle, was among those who have tried to offer an improved landscape.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pournelle_chart ..."

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 12 Sep 2017 #permalink

> how to do that
Ask Gavin?

[Gavin has more control of his site's appearance and properties than I do; I don't have much -W]

-------------

Also worth a look:

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2017/09/on_the_equifax_.html
"... The market can't fix this. Markets work because buyers choose between sellers, and sellers compete for buyers. In case you didn't notice, you're not Equifax's customer. You're its product....
This market failure isn't unique to data security. There is little improvement in safety and security in any industry until government steps in...."

[Yes, I saw that. You may perhaps be under the impression that I, or the Libertarians, believe that all regulation is wrong; but that impression is itself wrong -W]

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 15 Sep 2017 #permalink

> I, or the Libertarians ....

It's not you all I worry about.
It's our homegrown USA-variety "market" absolutists who don't get that they're part of the product being bought and sold.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 19 Sep 2017 #permalink

Ya know that efficient market idea? It may be history.

https://alphaarchitect.com/2015/08/17/the-sustainable-active-investing-…

"... being smart, having superior stock-picking skills, or amassing an army of PhDs to crunch data is only half of the equation. Even with those tools, you are still only one shark in a tank filled with other sharks. All sharks are smart, all sharks have a MBA or PhD from a fancy school, and all the sharks know how to analyze a company. Maintaining an edge in these shark infested waters is no small feat, and one that only a handful of investors has accomplished.

Perhaps all the edge in investing is gone. There are too many CFAs. There are too many computers. There are too many quant PhDs. Is active investing dead? Many authors, such as Charlie Ellis, have suggested that active investing is a “Loser’s game,” in the sense that there are too many smart people chasing too few ideas. The hypothesis Ellis emphasizes leverages recent decreases in classic factor premiums, such as value and momentum, as evidence that the loser’s game is well underway...."

...
"... what is the boldest move one can do at the University of Chicago?

Focus on research that questions the efficient market hypothesis.

OK…sounds bold…how the heck are we going to show this?"

[I think you may have misinterpreted that. What they're saying is that the EMH is pretty good; that is why it is so hard to beat the others. But you can find aspects where strict EMH doesn't hold; that is unsurprising. See-also Proof of the Efficient Markets Hypothesis by Timmy, for example -W]

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 05 Oct 2017 #permalink

"Timmy": "... we don't say that the processing of information by markets must necessarily be moral, just that it's efficient. As insider trading is, even if it's not moral/legal."

Ah, that's why market information doesn't want to be free, eh?

[There's an interesting discussion as to how much connection you want between your economics and your morality. The answer "none" is arguably the one you want. Do you want your govt to impose morality? -W]

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 06 Oct 2017 #permalink