Robert Ayres, INSEAD
with Michael Olenick and Lu Hao
Tax cuts, wages and salaries: Will lower taxes help workers? And the economy?
For several weeks, the guest experts on CNBC and Bloomberg News have been talking about the coming tax cut legislation (for corporations) that the Republicans finally seem to have in their grasp. The Bill, as it is currently proposed, will eliminate the insurance mandate for health care and may leave quite a lot of upper middle class salaried people, worse off, especially in high tax states.
The sure winners will be the shareholders of multinational corporations and “pass through” enterprises, especially real estate partnerships. The “supply-side” cheerleaders for the plan, both in Congress and the White House (Mnuchin, Cohen, Mulvaney, et al) argue that economic growth be much faster, that it will pay for the cuts, and that wages and salaries will rise, thanks to a burst of new investment.
By contrast, virtually all top economists say that the cuts won’t pay for themselves, that the deficit and the national debt will increase, and that growth will not accelerate.
Everything you always wanted to know about global warming. But were afraid to ask.
Most carbon emissions are absorbed by the ocean, but it’s running out of capacity, which could make global temperatures rise even faster.
The bottom line is that there is no alternative non-anthropogenic theory to explain rising temperatures, melting glaciers, sea level rise and ocean acidification. If we don’t act, the existing mechanisms of the climate will only reinforce the damage already done.
Scientists are closer than ever to definitively proving that climate change exists and putting the deniers to rest. Despite the recent climate agreement in Paris (COP21), where 195 countries adopted the first legally binding treaty to curb climate change, the debate about whether climate change exists or whether it’s the fault of human beings still rages on.
The first article in a three-part series, originally based on an interview, followed by a publication in “INSEAD Knowledge”. I undertook it, at first, to compensate for the influence of certain climate deniers on the faculty and among the readers.
See “On EROI, as a measure of what’s left in the barrel” at http://wp.me/p55vqx-95
Happy to see a website devoted to the (mostly) good ideas of Robert Ayres. As the originator of the term if not the concept of EROI I would like to clarify a few things from my own perspective. The energy invested is usually and appropriately considered the energy diverted from society to get energy to society. Thus natural gas used to pressurize an oil/gas field or energy used in society to make a drill bit or oil rig or fertilizer for corn-based ethanol would be considered part of the investment. Geological energy to make radioactive uranium or oil would not.
FINDING YOUR WAY
A revolving collection of photos and graphics which are intended to capture/suggest the main themes and issues treated here.
To get full value from this somewhat ambitious web platform, we invite first-time visitors to spend a few minutes to work their way along the top menu from left to right to get a feeling for how each of these main sections works. Taking them in order.
This paper makes several points about the use of EROI as an indicator of future potential.
First, for comparability it is important to limit comparisons to specific end-use a products, such as gasoline for cars or electricity for the grid, or perhaps hydrogen for fuel cells. Comparisons between different end-uses are very dubious.
Second, it is important to avoid comparing EROIs for fossil fuels stored by geochemical processes in the Earth’s crust vs nuclear power (based on a single element, uranium) vs technologies based on energy directly or indirectly from the sun.
This site has been pretty passive since first broad on line in alpha form in late 2014, not much happening and basically waiting for a better day (today!). Nonetheless, over four thousand visitors dropped in during this basically self-driving period, coming from some ninety countries on all continents.
John A. “Skip” Laitner is the first guest contributor whom we are proud to welcome to the important Op-ed section of this site . This section is intended to serve as a tribune for readers and colleagues who are working to develop new ideas and perspectives on the important topics focused on here — Environment, Exergy, Economy and Growth — to share their work, ideas and challenges with our growing network of international readers. We welcome critical discussion and creative disagreement.
Abstract: The universe resembles a heat engine. It does work while cooling and expanding. The work performed is to create differentiable objects and structures, starting with elementary particles, then atoms, molecules, bacteria, plants and animals, humans, social organisms and scientific papers. The differentiation mechanism is called “symmetry-breaking. The selection mechanism – survival of the fittest, is familiar.
The evolutionary process before humans can be regarded as an accumulation of natural wealth. Humans have learned to exploit (and destroy) natural wealth in order to create “new” wealth. Can the new wealth, based on knowledge, compensate for the wealth destruction in order to ensure long term survival? Or are we on a suicidal path?
This article, never published, was based on a talk given to the Swedish society for Future studies, in 2005. On re-reading it 11 years later, I have little to change or add, with one exception. In that same year, a book entitled The Singularity Is Near by Ray Kurzweil (a well-known denizen of Silicon Valley) was published. It’s thesis was that progress in computer technology had reached the point where artificial intelligence (AI) can be applied to its own development. Kurzweil suggests that this would lead to a hyper-exponential rate of progress resulting in a computer-based “super-intelligence capable of controlling human evolution or surpassing it.
The essay below is a short version of the main thesis of my new book, entitled “Energy, Complexity and Wealth Maximization”, just published by Springer. It points out the interesting correlation between the expansion and cooling of the universe, and the creation of complexity and diversity. In a fundamental sense, wealth can be characterized as diversity, although the billionaires of Wall Street probably think in terms of money.
But what does money provide if not choices? I venture to think that the ideas discussed here constitute the first baby steps toward a thermodynamic theory of evolution. Even at its full length, the book is hardly a complete theory. There is a lot more to do. But it does suggest that the arrow of time is not necessarily aimed at the cold and the dark.