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Category — Government vs Markets

Response to Media Matters on Wind Power Accidents (dilute or dense energy for health & safety?)

“[Wind accident] data … is by no means fully comprehensive – CWIF believe that what is attached may only be the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of numbers of accidents and their frequency…. Renewable UK confirmed that there had been 1,500 wind turbine accidents and incidents in the UK alone in the past 5 years. Data here … may only represent 9% of actual accidents. “

- Caithness Windfarm Information Forum (UK), Wind Turbine Accident Data to 31st December 2012.

My latest Forbes Political Energy post, Oil & Gas Isn’t Just One Of The Richest Industries, It’s Also One Of The Safest, examined the improving, impressive safety of the U.S. oil and gas industry compared to the much smaller (but accident prone) industrial wind power industry. The massive height of open-element wind turbines introduces hazards for high-up workers and from falling debris.

The density, scalability, and portability of oil, gas, and coal make them affordable, reliable, and flexible for average consumers,” my article concluded. “Wind turbines and solar panels, contrarily, are expensive, intermittent, and inflexible—and have their own set of health and safety issues.”

Media Matters Rebuttal

Enter Media Matters for America–the progressive answer to Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center–that is all-in with (government-enabled) wind energy, described as “an expanding market that saves money and creates jobs.”

In  “Forbes Reaches To Find Wind Power Fatalities” (March 27, 2013), Media Matters begins: [Read more →]

April 2, 2013   4 Comments

The Crisis of Interventionism (Mises’s 1949 wisdom speaks to the limits of government- forced energy transformation today)

Ludwig von Mises’s Human Action: A Treatise on Economics might stand as the single greatest social science book of the 20th century. Written in 1949, with slight revisions in 1961 and 1966, Human Action has been described as economics as it might have been and should be. No economists jokes here! This book is all about using sound assumptions and logically deriving the qualitative truths, the science, of economics.

I spent the summer of my sophomore year in college (1975) teaching tennis and studying Human Action. It was slow reading, and I worked up my own index to help me. I underlined profusely and wrote margin notes.

It was exhilarating. I had just changed my major from business to economics and wanted a solid foundation, a worldview, to understand the business and economic world. This book gave me that–and more.

Part Six of the 900-page treatise is called The Hampered Market Economy. Mises explains government intervention in detail, from taxation to production controls to consumption rules. He also examines the redistributive state and business-government corporativism. Money and credit manipulation by decree is also covered.

This part ends with a section, The Crisis of Intervention. MasterResource this week has explored the current crisis of Big U.S. Government in light of the Misesian concept of the exhaustion of the reserve fund.

The Obama Administration today is at the crossroads of fundamentally less or more government. More federal spending, even greater budget deficits, federalizing and socializing economic sectors, forcefully transforming factors of production (think energy) will no doubt bring on a feared death spiral.

But more Americans than ever have woken up to this fact. The path of significant and continuing government cutbacks–bringing balanced budgets in the short-to-medium-term and tax cuts in the longer term–is part of this libertarian renaissance.

                                The Harvest of Interventionism

                                                   by Ludwig von Mises [Read more →]

July 22, 2011   5 Comments

A “Solution” to the “Energy Situation”? (Glenn Schleede Responds to a Critic)

Mr. Schleede:
I’ve read your position on wind farms and their associated problems with a great interest.  Can you tell me when we can expect to receive your solution to the energy situation here in the US?

I look forward to your response. 

Regards, ______________ Fairfax, VA

Dear Ms. _____:

Thanks for your note. You certainly do flatter me with your expectation that I could produce a “solution to the energy situation here in the US.”  (But I suspect that was not your purpose.)

As you may know, U.S. political leaders and government officials at both the federal and state levels — not to mention hundreds of smart people in universities, business and non-profit organizations — have been seeking that solution for at least 35 years.

The U.S. Department of Energy and its predecessors have spent over $150 Billion (2006$) on “energy R&D” and, unfortunately, have little to show for it.  That doesn’t include more billions in federal and state tax credits, credit programs and other subsidies of various kinds (e.g., cash, regulatory, government official lobbying) to promote energy technologies selected by government officials.

Numerous “promising,” government-selected energy technologies have emerged and retreated during the past 35 years.  (You can find references to dozens of them in Presidential messages, the Congressional Record, or in hundreds of press releases.)

Looking back, it’s now quite clear that these “promising” technologies that were selected for government support always

(a) take longer to develop,

(b) face technological hurdles,

(c) have unacceptable environmental impacts, and/or

(d) cost much more than their promoters claimed. [Read more →]

March 24, 2010   8 Comments