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April 17 2012


"The Hans-Werner Sinn paradox" by Andrew Watt

I have just learned that Hans-Werner Sinn has taken on even weightier subjects than rescuing the euro area from its crisis. Back in 2007 Germany’s best-known economist wrote articles on saving not just Europeans but the whole of humanity, namely from climate change; these thoughts have now just appeared in book form in English under the title ‘The Green paradox‘, published by MIT press.

Sinn’s solution to the euro crisis, in a nutshell, was to kick out Greece, followed by other Club Med countries. The ‘euro area crisis’ would then be resolved, as it were by definition: the economic mess that would then face all the former euro area members would certainly have needed a new name. Judging by the publicity material for the new book on climate change, Prof. Sinn in no less forthright in his way of arguing when it comes to climate change. The problem is that he appears to be completely on the wrong track.


Hans-Werner Sinn on climate change: its the supply side, stupid

Western governments have failed to curb carbon emissions, we are told, because they have sought to limit the consumption of fossil fuels using all sorts of costly and distortionary measures. Instead we should

extract less of it [fossil carbon] from underground to start with. That would inevitably lead to less  fossil carbon being combusted.

No-one had grasped this crucial insight

… until Hans-Werner Sinn broached the idea in a series of scholarly papers in 2007…

and that is why climate-protection policies have been such a failure. Specifically,

By neglecting the supply side of the carbon markets, the policies against global warming simply disregard half of the market for fossil fuels and ignore the fact that the fossil resource owners are the real climate makers. By inserting fossil carbon into the carbon cycle by way of supplying it to the markets, enlarging thus the stock of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, they determine the speed of global warming and, consequently, hold the fate of humanity in their hands.

A moment’s reflection shows this to be entirely wrong. If it were the oil producers – think Saudi sheiks – that determined the level of emissions, then what is the explanation for the fall in emissions during the economic crisis? Did the oil producers coincidentally decide to turn off the taps just when the global economy plunged? In the real world, the amount of oil pumped is driven by the physical demand for it at the current market price. The physical demand is affected by things like incomes and economic growth, and the quantity and fuel efficiency of  energy-consuming devices. The price is determined by the marginal cost, i.e. the cost of producing the last barrel demanded, and that in turn is set by the level of demand combined with technical supply-side factors.

But Hans-Werner Sinn has a different explanation for why the producers, who in his view are running the show, are pumping so much oil. It’s all the fault of – you guessed it – those misguided western governments and their feed-in tariffs and rules on light-bulbs, what he calls ‘green policy measures’ aimed at reducing consumption. In Sinn’s worldview, that may seem paradoxical, but it is obvious:

The resource owners regard the tightening of green policy measures with increasing concern, because they perceive them as a destruction of their future markets. Quite understandably, they try to pre-empt the expected wealth losses by extracting and selling their fossil fuels before their markets disappear. That is the Green Paradox: announced future reductions to carbon consumption may have the effect of accelerating climate change now.

Ok, here I really struggle to follow the logic here. Unlike in the previous paragraph, here it seems that Sinn sees western demand as the driver, and not supply. But it is future demand, he claims, that is key: because future demand is expected to fall, then present supply is (artificially?) ramped up.

Wow. Well, isn’t it eminently more plausible simply to assume that that oil sheiks are relatively short sighted profit-maximisers like everyone else. They don’t maximise their expected returns over the next infinite number of generations, even if some economic schools of thought think that everybody does (or should do). They just see that – to take extremes – oil in the ground means riding from one dusty tent to the next by camel, whereas oil pumped out of the ground can be converted into Bentleys, advanced weapons systems, welfare-induced quiescent populations, numerous wives, and all the other things that your average Saudi Prince thinks are necessary for the good life. They  pump oil to meet these ends. Or to keep the Americans on-side. Or whatever. (And the same applies to less colourful figures in places like Norway, even if their ‘needs’ are more prosaic.) One thing that is surely NOT driving oil-pumping policy is that they are petrified of the German or anyone else’s feed-in tariff ten or twenty years hence.

But that is not all. Then it gets really strange. The obvious policy question posed by Sinn’s ‘analysis’ is

But how can you induce resource owners to leave more carbon underground?

And the answer:

a swiftly introduced Super-Kyoto system, combining all consuming countries into a seamless demand cartel using a world-wide cap-and-trade system

But this obviously raises at least two fundamental questions. First, if this is really thought to be a realistic policy proposal then wouldn’t it, on Sinnian logic, be the mother of all incentives to pump oil like there was no tomorrow? If Sinn’s green paradox is real, we would be in oil up to our knees if a super Kyoto were, ahem, in the pipeline. And “every atom of carbon we extract from the ground ends up eventually as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere”.

On the other hand, if this super Kyoto is a utopian solution then all the fiddly, specific, freedom-limiting and costly demand-reducing measures that Sinn so disapproves of have to be seen in a much more favourable light. They are, in economist-speak, second-best solutions. But they are likely to be preferable to a first-best solution that is never going to be implemented. (For the record, I agree entirely that price-based carbon-reduction mechanisms are the way to go, but an EU-carbon tax with some form of border adjustment would be much more realistic and effective (see here, pdf))

In short Hans-Werner Sinn’s whole approach appears riddled with contradictions and problematic assertions. I say “appears” only because I am basing myself on the publicity material, but an author has no right to complain that people don’t read his book if the publicity material – which was produced by his own institute’s press service and not some penny-fiction publisher – is so dubious.

The Hans-Werner Sinn paradox

Which makes me wonder. Hans-Werner Sinn continues to be hugely influential in Germany, where he has a huge media presence, and also in Europe via the European Economic Advisory Group (EEAG). Yet he rushes into debate after debate, causes a commotion, but gets a bloody nose each time.

In 2003 he asked rhetorically Ist Deutschland noch zu retten? (whether Germany can be saved: English 2007), the title of a book in which he analysed the ‘malaise of the world’s first welfare state’ – the very welfare state (in the broad sense) that performed extremely well during the crisis and which now has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe.

Then it was the bizarre thesis that Germany had become a “bazaar economy” and was fast becoming a basket case. The analysis underpinning the bazaar economy idea was wrong (here on the facts and here for a critique of Sinn, beide auf deutsch), and the prediction, well we have seen how that turned out. Related to all this, he tried to claim that the so-called capital exports resulting from trade surpluses were somehow a loss to the domestic economy (refuted here auf deutsch).

Then it was kick Greece out of the euro area, one of the main justifications for which was that he pounced on the Target imbalances between the central banks of the eurosystem, making a number of claims that the the subsequent debate showed to be erroneous (see innumerable entries on, Herdentrieb, Kantoos, several in English).

What seems to unite all these episodes is a flamboyant style, a resolutely micro-based approach, successfully convincing (German) voters and readers that they are losing hard-earned cash thanks to an array of dark forces ranging from trade unionists, to Greek pensioners to the eurosystem of central banks. Oh, and rapidly being proven wrong.

Call it the Hans-Werner Sinn paradox.

Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

Alle Weisheit ist von Gott

“Kalligraphische Schriftvorlagen”, herausgegeben um 1620 von Johann Hering:

(Gefunden bei

Reposted fromglaserei glaserei vianunatak nunatak

Ein Korb voll Licht

Flor Garduño: “‘Canasta de luz, Guatemala” | Die Wikipedia über die mexikanische Fotokünstlerin Flor Garduño (* 1957).

(Gefunden bei Couleur)

Reposted fromglaserei glaserei


Virna Haffer: “Fox Glove or Digitalis” - Photogramm |
Die Wikipedia über die Pflanzengattung Digitalis (Fingerhüte)

(Gefunden bei

Reposted fromglaserei glaserei
"Eloge du conflit" - Vidéo de la rencontre avec Miguel Benasayag - TV BRUITS

Le dimanche 6 avril 2008 à la librairie Terra Nova à Toulouse se tenait une rencontre avec Miguel Benasayag à propos du livre écrit avec Angélique Del Rey : Eloge du conflit.

En voici presque la totalité légèrement réorganisée et découpée en trois parties

April 15 2012

Des kits technologiques pour la préservation des langues en péril

L' Institut pour les langues en danger, un organisme basé dans l'Orégon, aux États-Unis, s'emploie à trouver des réponses à la disparition des langues minoritaires et de l'effacement de civilisations qui va avec.

Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

On the border between matter and anti-matter: Nanoscientists find long-sought Majorana particle

Scientists in the Netherlands have succeeded for the first time in detecting a Majorana particle.



// oAnth



Quantum computer and dark matter


Majorana fermions are very interesting -- not only because their discovery opens up a new and uncharted chapter of fundamental physics; they may also play a role in cosmology. A proposed theory assumes that the mysterious 'dark matter', which forms the greatest part of the universe, is composed of Majorana fermions. Furthermore, scientists view the particles as fundamental building blocks for the quantum computer. Such a computer is far more powerful than the best supercomputer, but only exists in theory so far. Contrary to an 'ordinary' quantum computer, a quantum computer based on Majorana fermions is exceptionally stable and barely sensitive to external influences.



Breakthrough in Quantum Communication

A team of scientists at the MPQ realizes a first elementary quantum network based on interfaces between single atoms and photons...




Mit den neuen Regeln soll der Parlamentspräsident verpflichtet werden, das Wort nur mehr den von der Fraktion eingeteilten Rednern zu erteilen. Andere Abgeordnete darf er nur ganz ausnahmsweise und nur noch drei Minuten lang reden lassen - auch dies nur "im Benehmen mit den Fraktionen".

Diese Formulierung verlangt zwar keine ausdrückliche Zustimmung der Fraktionen (die wahrscheinlich regelmäßig nicht erteilt würde). Der Bundestagspräsident soll sich aber nicht nur mit der Fraktion des Abgeordneten verständigen, den er abweichend von der Nominierung reden lassen will. Er soll auch alle anderen Fraktionen informieren und ihre Stellungnahmen einholen. Und er muss allen Fraktionen nicht nur die geplante Worterteilung, "sondern auch die konkrete Platzierung in der Rednerfolge" mitteilen.

Diese neue Geschäftsordnung soll es offensichtlich dem Bundestagspräsidenten besonders schwer machen, Vertreter abweichender Meinungen überhaupt zu Wort kommen zu lassen: Das ihm auferlegte Procedere ist kompliziert. Es soll auf diese Art und Weise verhindert werden, dass noch öfter passiert, was Norbert Lammert bei der Abstimmung über die Euro-Rettung gestattete: Er hatte die Abgeordneten Klaus-Peter Willsch (CDU) und Frank Schäffler (FDP) reden lassen, die von ihrer Fraktion abweichende Meinungen vertraten.

Lammert wollte, das sich so die kontroverse öffentliche Debatte auch im Parlament widerspiegele. Die Fraktionschefs hatten protestiert, der Ältestenrat erteilte Lammert eine Rüge. Die Änderung der Geschäftsordnung ist nun ein Mittel, um den Bundestagspräsidenten nachhaltig zu disziplinieren.

In der Praxis ist es seit langem so, dass die Fraktionsgeschäftsführer festlegen, wer als Redner zum Zug kommt. Der Bundestagspräsident bekommt fertige Rednerlisten. Dabei soll es nun, durch die neue Geschäftsordnung zementiert, strikt bleiben. Eine Verpflichtung der Abgeordneten, sich der Mehrheitsmeinung der Fraktion anzuschließen, gibt es freilich nicht. Im Grundgesetz sind die Fraktionen nicht einmal erwähnt.


Rederecht im Bundestag - Fraktionen planen Maulkorb für Abgeordnete | - Heribert Prantl 2012-04-14
Reposted bykrekkwonkourfinlolufopaketpaket

April 14 2012

Les oeufs de Pâques roumains deviennent objets de musée et de décoration

Quand Ioana Matei apprit à décorer des oeufs avec sa grand-mère pour les Pâques orthodoxes grâce à une technique complexe à base de cire et de teinture, elle n'imaginait pas qu'un jour ses créations voyageraient hors de Roumanie.

"Les gens en ont assez des objets produits à la chaîne. Ils veulent des choses faites main, avec le coeur", explique cette quinquagénaire en dessinant des motifs floraux et religieux sur des oeufs de cane, en ce week-end de Pâques pour les chrétiens orthodoxes.

Reposted fromsigalonfrance sigalonfrance

April 13 2012

Play fullscreen
American Holocaust: The Destruction of America's Native Peoples


Uploaded by VanderbiltUniversity on 30 Oct 2008

American Holocaust: The Destruction of America's Native Peoples, a lecture by David Stannard, professor and chair of the American Studies Department at the University of Hawaii. Stannard, author of American Holocaust, asserts that the European and white American destruction of the native peoples of the Americas was the most substantial act of genocide in world history. A combination of atrocities and imported plagues resulted in the death of roughly 95 percent of the native population in the Americas. Stannard argues that the perpetrators of the American Holocaust operated from the same ideological source as the architects of the Nazi Holocaust. That ideology remains alive today in American foreign policy, Stannard avers.

The 31st Annual Vanderbilt University Holocaust Lecture Series, the longest continuous Holocaust lecture series at an American university, takes the theme this year of (over) Sites of Memory and examines places that are infused with memories of genocide and the challenge to find effective ways to honor these memories.


cf.: - - "US-Regierung zahlt Ureinwohnern eine Milliarde Dollar" | 2012-04-12

In einer historischen Einigung entschädigen die USA zahlreiche Indianerstämme für die Nutzung ihres Landes. Damit werden zum Teil mehr als 100 Jahre alte Klagen geregelt.

Reposted byhenteaser henteaser

April 12 2012


Der spanische Innenminister Jorge Fernandez Diaz, der wie andere Minister der Regierung Mitglied der Vatikansekte Opus Dei sein soll, kündigte im Parlament am Mittwoch eine Reform der Strafgesetzgebung an. Ziel ist es, diejenigen strafrechtlich verfolgen zu können, die im Internet oder anderen Medien zu Protesten aufrufen, die wie beim Generalstreik in Barcelona am 29. März "ernsthaft den öffentlichen Frieden stören". Das soll künftig als Bildung einer kriminellen Vereinigung gelten. In Barcelona war es zu heftigen Auseinandersetzungen zwischen Polizisten und Demonstranten und zu Beschädigung von Banken und der Börse gekommen.

Aufruf zu Protesten im Internet soll als Bildung einer kriminellen Vereinigung bestraft werden | Telepolis 2012-04-12
Reposted bykrekkwonkoeat-slow99percentgarethbrown

April 11 2012

April 07 2012

Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759)


Excerpts from the Sacred Oratorio Theodora

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Conductor: William CHRISTIE
Director: Peter SELLARS
Singers / soloists: Frode OLSEN, David DANIELS, Richard CROFT, Dawn UPSHAW, Lorraine HUNT LIEBERSON;

Production for GLYNDEBOURNE 1996 

complete libretto

April 06 2012


Peter Wiegel: Meine Fonts - 80 Schriftarten, 195 Schnitte | Freeware

Liebe Schrift-Freunde, Auf dieser Website stelle ich meine Schriftarten vor und biete sie auch zum freien Download an. Alle hier angebotenen Schriften habe ich selbst erstellt und jedes Schriftzeichen auch gezeichnet. Es sind also keine eingescannten und automatisch vektorisierten Buchtabenformen, wie man sie oft bei Free-Fonts findet, mit vielen Knoten und verwaschenen Konturen. Auch versuche ich immer einen maximalen Nutzwert zu bieten, so ist das Euro-Zeichen ein Muss, ebenso sind die lateinischen Schriften mit allen Akzenten und Sonderzeichen ausgestattet, viele enthalten zusätzlich kyrillische und/oder griechische Schriftzeichen und einige weitetre Akzente und erweiterte Schriftzeichen in den jeweils enthaltenen Schriftsystemen. Manche umfassen den World Glyphset 1 und ermöglichen es alle mit lateinischen, griechischen oder kyrillischen Buchstaben Sprachen damit zu schreiben. Frakturschriften und deutsche Kurrentschriften sind alle mit dem langen und runden s, sowie vielen Ligaturen ausgestattet, wobei ich ein spezielles Kodierungsscheme gewählu habe, mit dem die speziellen Frakturregeln ohne Zusatzprogramme eingehalten werden können. Symbolschriften sind besonders Trickreich und so komplette Clipart-Sammlungen für farbige Symbole.
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