Economists in the bathtub

Env-Econ is one of several econ sites to pick up on standupeconomist Yoram Bauman’s assessment, Grading Economics Textbooks on Climate Change. Most point out the bad, but there’s also a lot of good. On Bauman’s curve, there are 4 As, 3 Bs, 5 Cs, 3 Ds, and one F. Still, the bad tends to be … Continue reading “Economists in the bathtub”

Firefighting and other project dynamics

The tipping loop, a positive feedback that drives sequential or concurrent projects into permanent firefighting mode, is actually just one of a number of positive feedbacks that create project management traps. Here are some others: Rework – the rework cycle is central to project dynamics. Rework arises when things aren’t done right the first time. … Continue reading “Firefighting and other project dynamics”

Dynamics of firefighting

SDM has a new post about failure modes in DoD procurement. One of the key dynamics is firefighting: For example, McNew was working on a radar system attached to the belly of airplanes so they could track enemy ground movements for targeting by both ground and air fighters. “The contractor took used 707s,” McNew explains, … Continue reading “Dynamics of firefighting”

Policy Resistance – Immigration & Prohibition

Complex systems find many ways of resisting or evading pressures, resulting in policy failure, backlashes, whack-a-mole games and other unintended consequences. Some great examples just wandered by my desk: Via Economist’s View: Immigration reform has a long history of unintended consequences: More than two decades of increased enforcement since the passage of the Immigration Reform … Continue reading “Policy Resistance – Immigration & Prohibition”

News Flash: There Is No "Environmental Certainty"

The principal benefit cited for cap & trade is “environmental certainty,” meaning that “a cap-and-trade system, coupled with adequate enforcement, assures that environmental goals actually would be achieved by a certain date.” Environmental certainty is a bit of a misnomer. I think of environmental certainty as ensuring a reasonable chance of avoiding serious climate impacts. … Continue reading “News Flash: There Is No "Environmental Certainty"”

Confused at the National Post

A colleague recently pointed me to a debate on an MIT email list over Lorne Gunter’s National Post article, Forget Global Warming: Welcome to the New Ice Age. The article starts off with anecdotal evidence that this has been an unusually cold winter. If it had stopped where it said, “OK, so one winter does … Continue reading “Confused at the National Post”