Category Archives: Economics

Cook with Olive Oil, Kill Birds

The theory of efficient markets, when applied beyond financial markets, is proposed by those who bridle against government regulation of business.  Their idea is that markets will punish bad behavior of individual firms or even whole industries and thus create incentives for firms to produce goods and services without harming employees, consumers, or the environment.  […]

The Economics of Nature

We went for the first time this year to the Orono Bog Boardwalk on Monday morning.  This is an absolute gem of a resource for the Penobscot Valley community, giving people easy access to a part of our Acadian landscape that is not often so easily visited.  If you have never been there you will […]

Right Wing or Left Wing – There Are Still No Free Lunches

Readers of Stirring the Pot know that I am deeply concerned about the issues of global climate change and inequality in the United States.  Climate change, or the larger issue of global change, is an existential threat to modern human civilization.  Inequality strikes at the very heart of the American ideal of “liberty and justice […]

One Lesson NOT to Take from France’s “Yellow Vest” Protests

One narrative about the Yellow Vest protests in France is that politicians should not adopt energy taxes to change behaviors that lead to climate change.  In this telling, the political costs of wise energy policy are too high.  This is an overly simple reading of the French experience and is a convenient excuse for those […]

Lessons From Seaweed

Most Mainers know something about seaweed, some of what they know might even be true.  My mother sang the praises of dulse in her diet, though I recall that she rarely ate it.  My father used what we called rockweed from the shores of Penobscot Bay to enrich his vegetable garden.  R.P.T. Coffin describes the […]

Time for the State of Maine to Get Out of the Alcohol Business

Not that long ago the purchase of many types of alcoholic beverages in Maine required a visit to a State-run liquor store.  This was rooted in the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which ended the Prohibition era in 1933 and allowed states to regulate importation of liquor.  But no longer, Maine got out of […]

Lessons from Japan for Imagining Sustainable De-growth

Cornell University ecologist David Pimentel and colleagues estimated that the earth might be able to sustain only 2 billion people by the end of the fossil fuel era.  There are about 7.5 billion humans on the planet right now.  It seems counterintuitive that there is nearly 4 times the sustainable population now living on the […]

Disdain for the Future

I first encountered the idea that the future was something one could study in 1971 from historian Roger Howell Jr.  In one way or another, thinking about the future informed much that I have written about since, including here in Stirring the Pot. In my way of thinking about the future, I believe there should […]