09 Jul 2013

“Will We Run Out of Energy?” free lecture

Oil, Shameless Self-Promotion 3 Comments

Here is last week’s first lecture from my Adventures in Energy Economics class. There is still time to sign up for the remaining 4 lectures.

3 Responses to ““Will We Run Out of Energy?” free lecture”

  1. Matt M. (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

    Thanks for making this available. I always want to share this kind of stuff with my statist friends, but there’s no way I could convince them to pay to hear a free market argument, and I don’t feel comfortable sharing this kind of thing without permission.

    It also serves as a good infomercial for the Mises Academy among my more libertarian friends who are sympathetic, but very cautious with their money…

  2. guest says:

    The video talks about Peak Oil and how conservation as a central planning goal is economically destructive as well as unnecessary due to price signals.

    Also, there’s this cool resource:

    MasterResource – A free-market energy blog

    • Tel says:

      I think we have a pretty major problem as a society applying proper price signals to critical resources like oil.

      Let’s try a thought experiment where some investor makes a reasoned decision that the price of oil will double in the next 10 years. Following the logic of this she decides to buy barrels of oil and stockpile in a warehouse with the thought in mind to sell that back into the market next decade at a profit. Nothing in principle wrong with that concept, and it represents one method that the free market can conserve limited resources for future use.

      If our hypothetical investor is correct, she makes a profit, if wrong, she makes a loss. Maybe a new solar technology ends up being cheaper or something like that. At any rate, she is investing her own money, at her own risk… which is the general ideal of personal responsibility.

      What would really happen? Think about it for a second… demagogues would quickly point to the warehouse of oil and say, “Look what the free market does! All that oil is being withheld from the market by speculators and profiteers… just to artificially inflate the price of oil. This is unacceptable. We should loot their property and raid those oil reserves, so we can have it here and now,” and that’s exactly what they would do. Since investors understand this, they are reluctant to invest. A tragedy of the commons brought about by government interference.

      Then to compensate for this result, the central planners impose their own compensation rules, “because the free market has failed us.”

      We won’t win until enough people understand the trickery of central planning and why it fails. For that to happen, they have to see it fail, with their own eyes.

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