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DOE’s Chu’s Resignation Letter: Ten Questions

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 5, 2013

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design. To the naive mind that can conceive of order only as the product of deliberate arrangement, it may seem absurd that in complex conditions … adaptation to the unknown can be achieved more effectively by decentralizing decisions…. Yet that decentralization actually leads to more information being taken into account.”

F. A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism (1988), p. 76.

Stephen Chu, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), announced last week his intention to step down once a replacement is found. His 3,800-word resignation letter should be critically studied by students of energy policy and, indeed, public policy more generally.

I offer ten critical points to bear in mind as Chu’s letter is read (other points can be added in the comments section).