Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Taxing bad things

A lot of environmental economics literature revolves around the idea that we should tax ‘bad things’ more and tax ‘good things’ less. So we should tax (or fine) things like cigarettes, speeding on the road and greenhouse gas emissions heavily and go easy on, say, payroll tax (which is a tax on giving people jobs).

It’s a pretty attractive idea. You discourage the bad activities, you make some money which hopefully can be directed to repairing some of the damage done by those activities (eg direct cigarette revenues to public health) and you get the bonus of a sort of moral satisfaction that the ‘baddies’ have to pay.

I saw a cool version of this kind of tax recently on the Freakonomics website – police in New York (where else?) handing out fines to drivers who pushed in front of a line of other drivers waiting patiently to exit a highway.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Welcome to my blog

So I've started a blog!

It's about environmental and economic issues. I've called it Oikos. Both the words ecology and economics come from the Greek word oikos, meaning “home” or “a place to live.”

Ecology literally means understanding home and economics means taking care of home. Their common roots reminds me how interconnected they are, even though they seem to have become regarded as opposites.

The aim of this blog is to discuss environmental and economic issues in a way that’s interesting and accessible to people who are not economists nor ecologists.

I'll try to post a couple of entries a week.

Let me know if you've got any comments. Are the dots annoying?