Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Power of Economics--Hybrids and Energy, Bad and Good

One of my frustrations with some critics of modern agriculture is their under-estimation of the power of the market. Our current "depression" (as certified by Megan McArdle) reminds us of the effects of wealth, or the lack thereof:

  • Bad for greens--the sales of hybrids, according to this,have dropped more than other vehicles. (Why--they're pricier and take years to pay off any savings, particularly when gas is lower than $2)
  • Good for greens--via Gristmill this DotEarth graph shows China's contribution to carbon emissions has decreased.
  • Bad for conservatives--we're now talking trillion dollar deficits. (I remember when LBJ scored a political coup by keeping the entire budget under $100 billion.)
  • Good for conservatives--no one has mentioned it, but the depression means more people will stay in the job force longer, which should have a positive effect on social security.
My point is that bottom-line economics has a sweeping impact on everything.

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