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Category — Energy Teaching

‘Adventures in Energy Economics’ (Murphy online course begins Tuesday)

Tuesday July 2 begins my new Mises Academy online class, “Adventures in Energy Economics.” This five-week $59 course will cover the economic treatment of depletable natural resources, pollution, and climate change, as well as the current public policy debate.

The course naturally will focus on an entrepreneurial, property-rights, Austrian perspective, but the standard mainstream views will be accurately presented. All reading materials will be provided and are included in the course fee.

After the five-week course, the student will have a solid command of some of the major issues in energy economics and will be able to handle typical objections to laissez-faire capitalism coming from an environmentalist perspective.


The weekly lectures will run from July 2 through July 30. The first week will address the question, “Will we run out of energy?” We will cover the standard mainstream treatment (based on the classic article by Harold Hotelling) and then see the weakness in this perspective, because it fails to account for the role of entrepreneurship.

To see the “optimistic” Austrian take, we will cover selections from Julian Simon and Robert Bradley, arguably the world’s leading Austrian expert on energy economics, who chose Murray Rothbard to oversee his dissertationon the U.S. experience with oil and gas regulation. [Read more →]

June 28, 2013   2 Comments

The Perfect Energy Course? (Pierre Desrochers’ “Energy & Society” class about as good as it gets)

Dr. Pierre Desrochers, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Toronto Mississauga, is the scholar’s scholar. In an age where few read all important material on all sides of their subject, this professor stands out.

Can President Obama strike a deal with the University of Toronto to make this course available to his top energy and environmental aides, even smartest-guy-in-the-room John Holdren? Energy legislation is currently stalled, and the summer might be a good time for a “time out” to learn the basics of energy and the free society.

Here is the syllabus for GGR 333H5F

The development of new energy sources has had a major impact on the development of both human societies and the environment. This course will provide a broad survey of past and current achievements, along with failures and controversies, regarding the use of various forms of energy. Understanding of technical terms, physical principles, creation of resources and trade-offs will be emphasized as a basis for discussions about energy options. The local and global dimensions of the economics and politics surrounding the world’s energy resources will be recurring concerns in this course.


The course has three main objectives:

• To cover the basic physical, technical and economic issues related to energy use;
• To cover broadly the history of energy development and use;
• To introduce students to past debates and current controversies.

Lecture 1 (September 8): Introduction
Lecture 2 (September 15): Concepts and the Big Picture
Lecture 3 (September 22): Fire and Agriculture
Lecture 4 (September 29): Fossil-Fueled Civilizations 1
Lecture 5 (October 6): Fossil-Fueled Civilizations 2
Lecture 8 (October 27): Electricity (Hydro and Nuclear)
Lecture 9 (November 3): Renewables and Alternatives
Lecture 10 (November 10): The Perennial Energy Debate
Lecture 11 (November 17): The Curse of Natural Resources
Lecture 12 (November 24): The Future of the Automobile
Lecture 13 (December 1st): Current Issues

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March 6, 2010   5 Comments