Hayek and a Carbon Tax: Response to Bradley

By Ed Dolan -- May 18, 2017 2 Comments

Editor note: Professor Dolan kindly submitted this rebuttal to Robert Bradley’s post yesterday, “Hayek was not a Malthusian or Global Tariff Advocate (link to a carbon tax peculiar, errant).” Bradley’s post, in turn, was a critique of Dolan’s original piece, “Friedrich Hayek on Carbon Taxes.”


I am happy to comment on the validity of the nine points you raise regarding Hayek and a carbon tax.

  1. Hayek was suspicious of scientific ‘consensus,’ given the consensus of Keynesianism and central planning in his lifetime.

I agree with what you say about Hayek’s attitude toward the Keynesian consensus. However, my reading is that he distinguished between social sciences and natural sciences, and between the ability of people to offer informed judgement on fields in which they have specific expert training compared with fields in which they do not have such training.

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‘Bradley: Gas, Oil Interests Invite Intervention’ (1996 book review revisited)

By John Jennrich -- May 24, 2016 2 Comments

Twenty years ago, Rob Bradley, then president and now CEO of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), published a two-volume, two-thousand-page history of hydrocarbon regulation, legislation, economics, and politics from the mid-1800s to the mid-1980s. Titled Oil, Gas & Government: The U.S. Experience, Bradley’s treatise puts many of today’s energy issues in historical context.

On April 1, 1996, I wrote about the book in the newsletter I founded and edited, Natural Gas Week. I started my column, dubbed Perspective, by quoting philosopher George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Today, 20 years later, I would urge current legislators and regulators to consider the main takeaways of Bradley’s book before casting another vote or initialing another regulatory memo.

In his book, Bradley said that political motivations for government intervention are “narrow and self-interested, not necessarily in the common good and not necessarily representative of the citizenry.” He said the public sector “is not a place of scientific instruction and higher callings but is slave to the ideas, trends and passions of the moment.”

Rather than put government leaders on a pedestal, he quoted economist and Nobel laureate James Buchanan, who said that the complex government structure is “peopled by ordinary men and women.” Bradley added that these same government employees “value advancement, prestige and income” and are “fallible intellectually and morally” and are “capable of breaching personal ethics and the law itself.”

Strong words, but in the critical election year of 2016, they are words worth recalling.

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Enron: Robert Kennedy Jr.’s Corporate Climate Champion?

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 3, 2014 1 Comment

“I do, however, believe that corporations which deliberately, purposefully, maliciously and systematically sponsor climate lies should be given the death penalty.”

“The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, the Cooler Heads Coalition, the Global Climate Coalition, The American Enterprise Institute (ALEC), Americans for Prosperity, Heartland Institute, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), George C. Marshall Institute, the State Policy Network, The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).… these front groups are snake pits for sociopaths.”

“Koch Industries and ExxonMobil have particularly distinguished themselves as candidates for corporate death.”

– Robert Kennedy Jr., “What States’ Attorneys General Can Do About Climate Deniers,” Huffington Post, October 1, 2014.

Robert Kennedy Jr.’s screed against great American corporations is an elitist indictment against consumer preferences for affordable, reliable energy. Kennedy’s hate speech is also a confirmation about how badly the climate fanatics are losing in the court of public opinion.

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Bradley's Political Capitalism Project (Part II: Energy Policy Today)

By Ken Malloy -- February 3, 2012 2 Comments

Yesterday, I fawningly reviewed Robert Bradley’s Political Capitalism Project for providing information and insight to where much of our economy has gone wrong in the last 80 years, i.e., allowing companies to succeed by using political muscle instead of free market acumen.

The Bradley Project provides a sturdy worldview for thinking about energy policy. Today, I will critique both recent and historical energy policy by relying on Bradley’s framework for assessing the implications of political versus market capitalism. Tomorrow I will argue the legitimate role of government in energy markets and give an example where active government policy is needed.

Back to 1973

The modern era of energy policy began on October 17, 1973, the day that OPEC announced an oil embargo against the U.S. With very few exceptions, since that day, energy policy, on both sides of political aisle, deteriorated until finally, and literally, it fell off a cliff with the Obama Administration’s embrace of the “green economy” and its hostility to carbon energy.

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Bradley's Political Capitalism Project (Part I: Introduction)

By Ken Malloy -- February 2, 2012 1 Comment Continue Reading

"Rob Bradley at Enron" (for the record)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- October 20, 2011 4 Comments Continue Reading

Rollins College Profile: Bradley ('77) on Enron, Life, and Real-Deal Capitalism

By administrator -- June 22, 2011 1 Comment Continue Reading

A Positive Human Influence on Global Climate? Robert Mendelsohn, Meet Gerald North!

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 6, 2010 36 Comments Continue Reading

“Big Oil vs The World”: BBC Exposé Fails (Episode III)

By -- September 21, 2022 3 Comments Continue Reading

“Big Oil vs The World”: BBC Exposé Fails (Episode II)

By -- September 20, 2022 No Comments Continue Reading