Home > Bob Murphy, carbon pricing, climate change, scarcity > Bob Murphy acknowledges that implicit carbon pricing may reflect genuine economic scarcity

Bob Murphy acknowledges that implicit carbon pricing may reflect genuine economic scarcity

In June, I made a number of comments to Bob Murphy in response to his blog post entitled, Cap and Trade Is Not a “Market Solution”; Bob declined to respond at that time.

One of my comments was that Bob

(1) … unfairly conclude[s] that, since it will be government that will be implicitly pricing carbon emissions, such pricing “won’t reflect genuine economic scarcity” at all, when Austrian approaches do not deny that lack of property rights will result in economic actors ignoring external costs, but simply indicate the government pricing of resources can only imperfectly reflect economic factors;

Bob Murphy, in comments on his blog, has acknowledged his overstatement:

However, in context, my statements could easily be construed as saying that even in principle, the idea of carbon emissions having anything to do with scarcity was crazy. And that is too strong, so my op ed was misleading on this point.

It’s a minor point, but I appreciate Bob’s acknowledgment.

  1. November 5th, 2008 at 18:06 | #1

    Yes, that’s the one! Okay, it could have been toned down, but what about my attempt to define what it means to “reflect scarcity” such as in the case of carbon caps? Does the chain of reasoning make sense to you?

  2. TokyoTom
    November 5th, 2008 at 17:25 | #2
  3. TokyoTom
    November 5th, 2008 at 17:25 | #3

    Silas, it puzzles me that Bob, despite his relative openness (he did after note in comments on his LVMI blog post that we had good comments, and has a number of discussions with you and me in various places), has been so begrudging to acknowledge his obvious overstatement here.

    Is this your blog post on scarcity that you`re referring to? I don`t think I saw it previously,but I think Bob linked to it somewhere. I would say that you are a bulldog and somewhat more prolix than you need to be to make the point – but it might well be what Bob`s stubbornness has earned.

  4. November 4th, 2008 at 14:41 | #4

    Bob is still being extremely deceptive:

    1) He refuses to say that anywhere that a reader of his original op-ed would read it.

    2) It’s not that his statements “could easily be construed” that way; there simply is no other way to interpret them. As I mentioned on my blog, (can’t access now for some reason), he structured his essay like this: “Genuine, *market* prices are good at reflecting scarcity. Like if a pipeline blew up, and oil got more expensive, that’s a price reflecting a genuine new scarcity. But if the price exploded because of emission caps, that doesn’t reflect scarcity.”

    No human being, *including* those who know Bob and have every existing piece of disambiguating context, could possible read that contrast and say, “Oh, but at, um, non-explosive levels, that could of course reflect scarcity.”

    To claim that he was simply “could be misinterpreted” is a lie.

    Btw TT, what do you think of my blog post specifically about scarcity? I’ll link it when I can access my blog again.

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