nep-pke New Economics Papers
on Post Keynesian Economics
Issue of 2009‒12‒19
two papers chosen by
Karl Petrick
University of the West Indies

  1. Energy Needs and Efficiency, Not Emissions: Re-framing the Climate Change Narrative By Nancy Birdsall; Arvind Subramanian
  2. Upon Daedalian Wings of Paper Money: Adam Smith and the Crisis of 1772 By Hugh Rockoff

  1. By: Nancy Birdsall; Arvind Subramanian
    Abstract: The basic narrative on climate change between the rich and poor worlds has been problematic. The focus on emissions has made industrial countries inadequately sensitive to the unmet energy needs in developing countries. And it has led developing countries to adopt the rhetoric of recrimination and focus on the legacy of historical emissions by industrial countries. The ensuing blame game has led to the current gridlock. As a way out, we suggest some simple principles for determining equitable distribution of emission cuts between developed and developing countries to meet global targets. These principles emphasize basic energy needs and the equality of access to energy opportunities rather than emissions, taking account of development levels, as well as energy efficiency in creating such opportunities. To apply these principles, we develop a new data set to distinguish between energy needs and emissions-intensity for major developing- and developed-country emitters and quantify the relationship between these variables and changes in income (or development). This quantification allows us to project emissions levels in 2050. Our main finding is that meeting global emissions targets equitably requires very large, probably revolutionary, improvements in the carbon intensity of production and consumption, much larger than seen historically. We conclude that a new shared narrative that places equality of energy opportunities at the forefront would naturally shift the focus of international cooperation from allocating emissions “rights” or reductions and blame to maximizing efforts to achieving technology gains and rapidly transferring them worldwide. Abandoning the setting of emissions targets for developing counries and creating instead a framework where all countries contribute to maximizing technology creation and diffusion is what Copenhagen should be about.
    Keywords: equity; emissions; climate change
    Date: 2009–11
  2. By: Hugh Rockoff
    Abstract: Adam Smith advocated laissez faire for most sectors of the economy, but he believed that banking and finance required several forms of regulation including usury laws and the prohibition of small-denomination bank notes. Smith’s support for banking regulation appears to have been a response to the shocks that hit the Scottish banking system during the time that he was composing the Wealth of Nations. The most important was the Crisis of 1772, which has been described as the first modern banking crisis faced by the Bank of England. It resembles the Crisis of 2008 in a number of striking ways. This paper describes the Crisis of 1772, the other shocks that hit the Scottish banking system, and the evolution of Smith’s views on the regulation of banking. It is based on Smith’s writings, the secondary sources, and a quantification of the new issues of Scottish bank notes during Smith’s era.
    JEL: N1
    Date: 2009–12

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