The Solar-Powered Car

In a feat of enterprise and endurance, Hans Tholstrup drove a solar-powered car across Australia in 1979. The car had a large flat roof arrayed with photoelectric cells that turned the sun’s radiation into electricity and charged a battery.

Solar radiation cannot deliver more than about a kilowatt, roughly an old-fashioned horsepower, per square metre at ground level, and it usually delivers less.  ... Read more

Oil Price Goes Down – Whoopee

Oil price goes down – whoopee

The price of crude oil dropped dramatically last year. This was not unexpected – supply and demand of this resource are finely balanced, so that any political or economic disturbance can cause large fluctuations.  ... Read more

Discussion of Costs Resumed

Partial Accounting: Another spurious “cost” often used as a basis for policy appears as a result of partial accounting. An urban public transport service might be reduced or eliminated on the grounds that the costs of the service are nowhere near covered by passenger fares, and that costs can be reduced and the nation or city thereby enriched by cutting the service.  ... Read more

Digression: Renewal and Recycling of Resources; Wages and Jobs

It is possible for some time to consume a resource faster than its renewal rate, just as a business can for some time consume its accumulated money capital faster than it takes money in (this is only an illustration and does not confuse money with wealth).  ... Read more

The Decline and Rise of Nations

I was asked recently if I thought that American dominance of the world was over, if America would decline like other great powers before it, and what nation would take its place.

I replied that the old idea of a nation becoming ‘great’ and ‘wealthy’ by hugely increasing its consumption and getting control of other nations to keep its own consumption growing, had always been part of human history, but would be quite inappropriate for the future.  ... Read more

Stand firm on new mining tax

The Labor government in Australia needs to stand firm on the new super profits tax on mining. Caving in to pressure from the big mining companies would set a most unfortunate precedent and have ramifications into the future.

The mining companies have millions to spend and are able to buy the support of the federal opposition as well as funding a couple of spurious political parties supposedly formed from the ‘grass roots’ to fight the new tax.  ... Read more

The Tyranny of Vested Interests

In 1964, the ship Alkimos was wrecked on a reef off the coast of Western Australia at a time when our largest city, Perth’s, suburban sprawl had not reached that far. The ship was Greek but had a varied and colourful history, including on-board murders and criminal activity, under different names and flags.  ... Read more

Limits to Growth?

Current economics assumes a world of unlimited resources, unlimited wealth. No matter how rapidly a resource is used, either (i) “They” will always find more, or (ii) substitute resources will always be found to serve to any required extent as well or better in place of the depleted resource.  ... Read more

Global Warming – A Red Herring?

The Australian Government has recently announced revised, reduced targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. There has been some objection to this but it should not really be surprising.

Governments around the world have shown that they just don’t get it.  ... Read more

The Effect of People’s Expectations

The factor of people’s expectations, left out of this discussion so far, would change the outcome somewhat.

The effect of rising expectations would be to stop the “boom” and return to “stagflationary” conditions sooner than if resource depletion alone were the depressing factor.  ... Read more

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