Tag Archives | fracking

Gated Boomtowns

Policy Ideas for the Age of Automation, Part Two In this series, I have been considering what we can do to smooth the adjustment to a technological revolution in automation—but from the perspective of a skeptical free-marketer who doesn’t buy into ill-conceived utopian schemes like the basic income. In part one, I considered what policies […]

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But He Fights (Against Liberty)

My readers may have noticed that I am occasionally wrong in my predictions about politics, including such little things as who is going to win the presidential primaries or who is going to win the general election. But the more important part of my job is to figure out who ought to win, so I […]

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Knowledge Is Power

Matthew Boulton, of the 18th Century engineering firm Boulton & Watt, once boasted of his company’s steam engines, “I sell here, sir, what all the world desires to have: power.” He and James Watt had demonstrated the ultimate meaning of Francis Bacon’s famous dictum “Knowledge is power.” Watt’s knowledge of the science of energy made […]

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How Not to Predict the Future

When you spend a lot of time thinking about emerging technology, you begin to notice certain things that are naturally just assumed to be true about the future, as if everyone just knows them. These ideas are so widespread and infrequently challenged that they come to seem inevitable. These are also things that a lot […]

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Don’t Count Out the Internal Combustion Engine

Is the electric car the inevitable wave of the future? Is the internal combustion engine finished, through, a relic of the 20th century—as many are now saying? I have argued before that electric cars are overhyped. I calculated that the Tesla, for example, is still a really bad deal when you compare its substantial extra […]

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The Era of “Green Energy” Hype

Two of Elon Musk’s companies, SolarCity and Tesla, have made an initial agreement to merge. The logic of the conglomeration seems to be entirely based on the idea of combining SolarCity’s rooftop solar panels with Tesla’s Powerwall battery storage. “SolarCity is going all in on a strategy that some analysts say is ahead of its […]

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Atlas Is Still Shrugging

A Reader’s Guide to Atlas Shrugged, Part 7 Spoiler Alert: You do not need a reader’s guide to Atlas Shrugged—at least not for your first reading. Ayn Rand’s novel is clear, compelling, eminently readable, and perfectly comprehensible on its own terms. Yet Atlas is also a rich and complex novel, with an intricate plot in […]

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What to Look for in 2015

We’ve already counted down the top stories of 2014. But what can we say about what’s likely to happen in the new year? What are the big stories to look for in 2015? As the old saying goes, predictions are hard, especially about the future. The biggest stories are usually the things we can’t predict. […]

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How to Kick Putin in the Teeth

For the past week, we’ve had to put up with a lot of grey little men from the foreign policy establishment lamenting that there’s really nothing we can do to deter Vladimir Putin from grabbing part or all of Ukraine. This is just a process of rationalization for the fact that they don’t really want […]

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