[Editor note: A profile of Guillermo “Billy” Yeatts, an Argentinean and energy expert, author, and free-market philanthropist, is at the end of this post.]
The history of oil and gas production in Latin America has been characterized by a continuing tug of war between the state as owner of the subsurface (Spanish colonial tradition) and private producers in pursuit of profits. Private participation in the industry has been limited to brief periods and restricted to specific phases of oil and gas production.
The typical pattern is that foreign oil and gas companies are allowed into a country to locate and initiate production. Once oil is flowing, governments nationalize the companies’ facilities – with or without compensation – and hand them over to government-owned and operated monopolies.
Whether the oil or gas is produced by private corporations or by a government monopoly, it is almost always the government that receives most of the profits.…
[Editor note: Bradley is currently working on the second volume of his political capitalism trilogy. Book 1, Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy, came out last year. Edison to Enron: Energy Markets and Political Strategies (Scrivener Press/John Wiley & Sons) will examine the rise and fall of the father of the modern electricity industry, Samuel Insull. Publication of Book 2 is scheduled for year-end.]
“Several electric utilities, including nuclear power giant Exelon and PG&E, joined more than 170 businesses to punctuate the importance of placing a price on carbon through a complex bill that is facing a political impasse.”
– Evan Lehmann, “Businesses Push Reid to Abandon Immigration for Climate,”E&E News, April 29, 2010
The Edison Electric Institute has controversially thrown its support behind cap-and-trade legislation sponsored by Sens.…
Just what shape is California in?
Several weeks ago, credit default swaps on state bonds were at 200 basis points. Kazakhstan’s were at 170. At the end of 2009, California’s cost of debt was the treasury rate plus 310. Mexico’s was plus 185. The state is temporarily solvent thanks to a great legislative fix: they took an extra month of state income tax withholding from all state workers’ paychecks, which they get back (without interest) in their next tax refunds.
When it comes to gauging the state of California’s government, however, you can’t do better than follow the conflict between Los Angeles’ municipal electric system – the Department of Water and Power (LADWP) – and the city’s mayor and council.
Municipals are an odd American institution, a significant presence of publicly funded entities in a system that is largely private.…