Showing posts with label natural resources. Show all posts
Showing posts with label natural resources. Show all posts

Monday, March 2, 2015

Improving San Diego’s Infrastructure to Reduce Resource Costs

Infrastructure determines how efficiently we can use resources to encourage economic growth while conserving the environment. Old infrastructure can put pressure on electricity, housing, water, transportation and business development. Ensuring that infrastructure improves as the city grows will help reduce future costs that impact the quality and cost of living locally.

Infrastructure influences the amount of fuel, electricity, water, road ways, public transportation and other systems used. It is a basic motherboard that all other things are built upon. The infrastructure will determine which type of structures will be built and how wide versus large a city will become. Proper infrastructure impacts just everything within the city.

As an example, consider how a Stanford study on the California drought was determined to be human driven and likely to be a regular visitor (1). This means that we should expect warmer summers, less rain, and more problems keeping up with nature’s elements which will raise the cost of living for everyone. People will need to pay more for resources they are currently using.

For example, spread out housing can use lots of water to keep laws green and copper wire to keep connected. It will cost more to get basic utilities in older systems than newer systems. Properly built multi-unit housing can be designed to make better use of space, natural resources, and aesthetics to improve living standards at a cheaper cost. 

The cost of housing has increased to the point of putting pressure on wages, families, and commerce itself. As a larger percentage of income moves toward housing it will soak resources from restaurants, college savings, clothing, family budgets, etc… Eventually increased costs will impact other things such as wages or less disposable income.

Of course there is also public transportation itself that helps reduce congestion, pollution, roadways, and lifestyle. Getting additional light rail lines, sectioning off bike paths, and finding alternative transportation helps improve the functioning of the system. Manhattan provides an example where 82% of people get to work without using a car (Goodspeed, 2006). 

Infrastructure is an important aspect of San Diego and any other city that wants to ensure growth in the future. Planning is focusing on today's problems and tomorrows solutions to see if both can be met. There are no simple solutions as changes are slow, large, and long-lasting. Trying to think 20 years down the road can be difficult. Tomorrows problems are rearing their head today.

Goodspeed, B. (2006). It’s not easy being greenest: 10 cities to watch. The Environmental Magazine, 17 (4).

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Call for Papers: International Congress on Economics, Finance and Energy

June 12th and 14th 2014
Almaty, Kazakhstan
Abstract Deadline : Until February 15, 2014
Central Asian and Caucasian Countries: Regional Development Potentials, Opportunities and Threats

Web address:

The main purpose of the EFE'2014 is to analyse energy issues in Central Asian and Caucasian Countries within the scope of economics, finance and policy through the perspectives of developing and changing conditions in the world economy. The Congress offers a unique opportunity to bring together academics and other professionals all around the world in a great platform to deliver the latest innovative research result and the most recent development and trends in economics, finance and energy related to Central Asian and Caucasian Countries. EFE'2014 will include keynote and invited talks, full paper presentations, panels and round table discussion sessions.

The EFE'2014 invites research papers that encompass all the areas of economics, finance and energy including the following special fields:

World Energy Markets and Central Asian and Caucasian Countries
- International Energy Policies
- Energy Markets
- Energy Economics
- Energy Efficiency and Productivity
- Pricing of Crude Oil and Natural Gas
- World Energy Requirement and Energy Demand Security
- Regional Energy Resources
- Oil and Natural Gas Pipelines
- Regional Energy Investments
- Financing of Energy Projects
- Energy Supply Security
Projections: Regional Opportunities and Threats
- Growth and Development of Central Asian and Caucasian Countries
- Economic and Social Impacts of the Past
- Regional Impacts of the Future Global Energy Requirements
- Political Stability
- Regional Powers
- Global Powers
- Renewable Investments and their Regional Impacts
- Turkey's Regional Policies and their Effectiveness

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Technological and Labor Skill Advancement Increases Economic Output

Economic systems have both inputs and outputs. When outputs exceed the total inputs, the system is seen as unsustainable. A paper by Brestschger and Valente (2011) delves into a method of measuring the sustainability of resource rich countries. Even though their focus is on oil producing countries, they do have some broader implications. 

Most studies seem to rule out the concept of technological progress and trade gains to determine economic viability. Technology has the ability to lower the cost of transactions and increase overall outputs. Thus, technological advancement can lead directly to an export market and more sustainable system. 

Net investment is a concept that focuses on the net increases in all the productive assets of the local economy. Such net investment are measured by adding all of the technology and labor productivity increases and subtracting things like depletion of natural resources. The more information available the more accurate such evaluations become. 

The model proposed by the authors includes an expression of net investment from:

1. International trade in different types of inputs
2. productivity growth in final sections
3. cost-reducing technology in resource extraction

A large percentage of resource-exporting countries are unsustainable because of negative net investments. This means they are losing resources and not hedging the influx of capital to ensure that sustainable growth beyond these resources occurs. According to net investment, the economic capital flow is moving outward.  

If w were to apply the findings of this study to other areas using a similar schema we would conclude that economies that can raise their value of products and export them on the market have net inward flows of value. The wealth of an area increases while those countries that export resources without raising the values significantly are less sustainable.  Technology and local labor skill have the ability to convert lower value products to higher value outputs that increase local wealth. When considering global economies hubs can use local technology and skills to purchase lower value inputs from other places in the world and develop them into higher value products that are sold on the market to increase the wealth of an area. 

Bretschger, L. & Valente, S. (2011). International trade and net investment: theory and evidence. International Economics and Economic Policy, 8 (2).

Monday, January 21, 2013

Book Review: Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Revolution

Natural Capitalism is a book that focuses on the natural development of the economic system. The work by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and Hunter Lovins discusses the nature of technology and development within the economic system and how this impacts the natural environment. It discusses in great deal the next industrial revolution, economic waste, costs within organizations, food development, financial solutions, and human capitalism. Through the chapters the reader will be brought through painstaking detail the components of economic system and how the circumstances are right for another transformational development.

The book makes the theoretical argument that the next industrial revolution will be a natural environment one. At present the economic system focuses heavily on human capacity but will soon be more focused on natural resources and the efficient use of such resources. People could live twice as well on half as much energy and resource waste. The creation of efficient environmental usage will develop higher levels of social and economic existence. It is a systematic approach to society and its relation to the natural environment.

The book is written at a graduate level for other academics. It can be hard to follow or stay focused if one is not interested in the topical area. Much of the work has multiple statistics, lists of facts, and detailed information that eventually leads one to a conclusion about the system and its environment. However, the prose is not particularly interesting for the casual reader so one should already have a keen understanding of these concepts. The book's theoretical pitch, with environment changes a new way of societal interaction with the environment is coming, appears to be a sound one. There are lots of references for people who are interested in finding additional resources.

Hawken, P., Lovins, A. & Lovins, H. (1999). Natural Capitalism: creating the next industrial revolution. NY: Little, Brown & Co. ISBN: 0-316-35316-7

Blog Ranking 3.6 -1 (Age of Book)=2.6
Price: $13
Pages: 322