“Reagan’s true legacy is a hollowing out of the middle class… that ultimately led to the financial crisis, a stupendous increase in the national debt, and a rise in inequality that gave rise to an oligarchy… and the resentment that elected Trump.” Read the paper [pdf].
Cryptoprices are down 80+ percent from their high, but the “decentralized web” (Web 3.0) is carrying on. Here’s an interesting tale of a social media site that was shut down because it was not decentralized enough.
I thought I’d have this book out last May, but it takes a lot of time to choose 445 posts (out of 5,460), edit them into a manuscript, and then make editing corrections (with the help of nearly 20 people).
But now that process is done, and The Best of Aguanomics is available!
What does that mean to you? Read on…
Should you buy it? Not unless you’re going to read it. I am selling the book at cost (Amazon has added its 60 percent markup but that’s not money to me), so don’t buy it to send me money 😉
Should you read it? The book is nearly 700 pages, but it’s not meant to be read cover to cover. I included posts if they contributed either to discussions on important topics or to exploring how I developed my thinking on ideas over the 11-year history of the blog. For examples of “important,” consider posts I wrote on agricultural policy, water auctions, important books, psychology, political corruption, academic failure, and many other topics (MOT). For examples of “development,” consider the collections I wrote on pricing water, climate change, and MOT. See below for MOT.
My main goal with this book was to summarize the best out of a massive body of work. I think it’s best read as a sampler that gives you a new topic each day (the average post is 500 words).
The book is available in paperback only on Amazon.com ($15.40), Amazon.co.uk (£12.80) and Amazon.de (€16.00). FYI, I am not providing kindle or PDF versions of the book because I want to encourage people to sit with a physical thing and think at their leisure about interesting ideas.
Here’s a short video introduction to the book:
How about a sample to give me an idea of MOT? This PDF has the table of contents, Introduction and bits of 2 chapters.
Bonus: This spreadsheet has links to all 445 posts, grouped by chapter. You can use this as a “cheat” way to read the book, but I don’t recommend it because (1) there are so many posts and (2) I wrote a little bit about every post to put it into context (see the PDF sample).
How bad is it in Venezuela? So bad that the indigenous people (you know, the people who have lived there for thousands of years) are fleeing. That says something about their adoption of modern life styles (consumption), but also about the loss of their traditional means of mitigating risk.
If you want to learn more about water (conflict) between Israel and Palestine, then I suggest reading this very interesting paper on wastewater management in the region. The authors are also looking for feedback, so free free to contact them!
I was in California last week and I gained a kilo from the excess of food that results from eating out. We know that caloric intake is more important than exercise for maintaining weight (exercise is good for many other things!), but we don’t know much more than that. Listen for more.
Some industry blogs and magazines look for “thought bites” — short opinions on a topic. I wrote two recently that might interest you. (No sense in waiting for publication somewhere obscure 😉
Question from Source Magazine: Facing diminishing health, access, and supply-side options, how can water professionals ensure that markets become increasingly attractive, effective, and equitable?
My answer: Water markets, like markets for houses, cars, phones, etc., depend on clear property rights and low transactions costs to move water to its highest and best use. Water’s bulk, low value per unit, and dependency on green/gray infrastructure for storage and movement means that markets will only work at the wholesale level, i.e., among farmers and/or water/wastewater utilities. This structure can work as well for retail customers as the current structure for distributing oil works for consumers of gasoline. Equity in water markets is more tricky due to a past negligence for quantifying rights, missing information on the quantity of water available in time and place, and a failure to set aside environmental flows that should be owned in common (Public Trust). In cases where right remain with the State (and thus the people), some water should be reserved for the commons while the rest is sold to the highest bidder and revenues are distributed among citizens (the real owners of a nation’s water). In cases where rights are private property, some rights should be taken back from current owners and restored to the commons they should never have left.
Question from FE Insights blog: It’s been said that there’s a financial crisis about every 10 years. Currently, it’s been about a decade since the last one and with many analysts forecasting the global economy to begin slowing in the near future, we were wondering if you’d care to comment on when you think the next financial crisis will hit and what the catalyst(s) will be.
My answer: The next crisis has already begun, but we do not yet see the signs. The most likely sources of stress are opaque accounting and questionable governance at Chinese firms, Donald Trump’s fiscally irresponsible tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and the rise of various other populist leaders (besides Trump) who prefer mercantilist trade policies. Other factors of interest are over-compliant central banks that value economic growth over economic stability and the rising costs of climate disruption. In terms of a global recession, I think that corporate debt markets might be the first to run into trouble either due to fraud or regulatory interventions that reduce liquidity or the perceptions of risk. Although the international trading system is fairly robust relative to the situation in the 1930s, I could see a Trumpian-style war of all-against-all as a likely first casualty of any sizable macro disruption, in the same way that rising tariffs in the US (Smoot-Hawley) and elsewhere were erected in the years after 1929’s Black Friday. Although companies with large domestic revenues might appear as beneficiaries in an isolationist world, I think that their share prices will fall after a brief increase as they experience disruptions and other collateral damage from populist policies.