Understanding Brexit; Reprise

In light of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s move to suspend Parliament for several weeks, it might be helpful for investors to review our blog of 30 Apr 2019; Understanding Brexit. Understanding Brexit In Great Britain you can bet on almost anything through authorized bookmakers.  Currently, the odds on Brexit happening are now, for the … Continued

Clean Air is Complicated

Reuters recently reported that India’s coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to rise by 22.4% in three years, based on comments by India’s federal power ministry’s chief engineer. India, the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, saw annual coal demand increase 9.1%, to nearly 1 billion tonnes, in the year ended March 2019.  Coal demand … Continued

“The Middle Way Is None At All”

The full quotation, “In politics the middle way is none at all” is attributed to John Adams, frustrated by holdouts in the Second Continental Congress, who were clogging the docket with useless half-measures and misguided appeasements during the debate over a declaration of independence.  Of course, we know that John Adam’s views prevailed and independence … Continued

The Yellow Vests Movement

According to Wikipedia, the yellow vest movement is a populist, grassroots, political, revolutionary, (take your pick) movement that began in France in October 2018.  The movement is motivated by rising fuel prices, a high cost of living and the belief that a disproportionate burden of the government’s tax reforms are falling on the working and … Continued

Understanding Brexit

In Great Britain you can bet on almost anything through authorized bookmakers.  Currently, the odds on Brexit happening are now, for the first time, no better than even. Trying to explain Brexit is almost impossible.  Perhaps the most interesting effort comes from Jeff Lafferty, a Scottish comedian.  “So the way I understand it is that … Continued

Subsidy Risk

Dependence on subsidies entails significant, and potentially existential, risk factors.  A case can be made in favor of subsidizing new technology, for limited periods, in order to mitigate early, low volume related costs, as potential participants seek to reach critical mass.  However, subsidies are generally of limited duration, as the long term costs are not … Continued

Universal Basic Income: Now India?

We have previously commented on proposals by economists and political scientists that would substitute universal income policies as credible alternatives to existing social programs such as unemployment insurance.  (see blogs dated 2015-12-17, 2016-11-22 and 2018-05-02,) The idea is straightforward:  Provide citizens with a minimum allowance, without means-testing, that would give everyone the wherewithal to live … Continued

“The Risks of Failing to See the Sea”

This is the title of a recent Wall Street Journal editorial written by Elisabeth Braw, referencing a major military exercise, in and around Norway, involving 31 countries.  She notes that the West suffers from what is sometimes called “sea blindness”, a general ignorance of maritime and naval affairs. She goes on to suggest that, since … Continued

The EV Dichotomy

Following a recent visit to India, I came away with several pertinent climate and energy observations. Traffic in major cities, such as Delhi and Mumbai, is very difficult. Air quality is bad.  In the morning, visibility from my hotel room window was generally less than one mile.  While some improvement developed during the day, the … Continued

He Said, She Said

On June 5, 2017, Bloomberg News reported that, “China plans to halt issuing permits to produce electric vehicles because of concern that additional approvals may lead to a glut in the world’s biggest auto market, according to people with knowledge of the matter.” On June 19, 2017, Bloomberg News reported that, “Tesla, Inc. is close … Continued

Can U.S. Manufacturers Compete With China?

It is beginning to look like the answer is yes. Historically, conventional wisdom held that China’s low wage rates were the trump card in manufacturing location decisions.  Things are changing.  While low wages were certainly a major factor in China’s economic competitiveness, low taxes were also a material factor. Today in China, wages are going … Continued

Coal Powered Cars

Is China moving towards using coal to power cars and trucks? Consider: China is the world’s largest importer of oil. China is the world’s largest producer of coal. China has a chronic shortage of electricity. In 2016 57% of China’s electric generating capacity was coal fired. China continues to build new coal generated electricity capacity. … Continued