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Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

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  • Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

    Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen

    Eric Janszen's new book will discuss the painful structural changes he says are coming to the U.S. economy.


    As the mortgage and financial crisis continues to notch more victims, the question on many economists' minds is not whether a recession will happen, but how deep it will get and how long it will last. But one prominent voice thinks the high-flying finance industry isn't going to bounce back -- and that we'll need to look elsewhere to set the U.S. economy back on firm footing.

    In a widely discussed Harper's article in February, "The Next Bubble: Priming the Markets for Tomorrow's Crash," Janszen argued that clean tech is the only sector that could create enough "fictitious value" to replace the losses from the housing bubble, if only temporarily.

    Neither a clean-tech skeptic nor a booster, he wrote, "Given the current state of our economy, the only thing worse than a new bubble would be its absence."

    Wired.com recently spoke with Janszen to discuss the state of the economy, his plan to pay for alternative energy with a tariff on oil, and how running fiber to your home is good energy policy.

    Wired: Though you focus on clean tech, you are making a broader argument about the U.S. economy and its reliance on the finance industry. How is the economy now bubble-based?

    Eric Janszen: The elevator pitch is that we've gone through a series of asset-price inflations that started back in 1995. What really kicked the whole series off were some changes that the Feds made to the U.S. banking system to get us out of the recession that we were in during the early 1990s. That facilitated the beginnings of a growth in credit that supported the two bubbles: internet and real estate. more...
    Ed.

  • #2
    Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

    Janszen: One way to do it is to put a floating tariff on the price of oil and gradually raise the price up to $200 or $300 a barrel. As long as you do it gradually, the economy can respond to it. That's the beauty of our system. It has responded very calmly to an increase from $20 to $100. The economy hasn't collapsed. It's definitely slowing, but it's not wrecking it. You could create a process that gradually forced a lot of relatively painless transition without wrecking the economy.
    Why not use a carbon tax plan, taxing oil usage rather a tariff?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

      RE: Communications is also a big part of it. If the high-level objective is to reduce the energy intensity of the U.S. economy, why don't we run fiber-optic cable to everyone's house? That will support applications to allow people to stop commuting.

      EJ, a fiber roll out to every home is not needed even though Verizon is now rolling it out, and cable bandwidth technologies already have been available in various forms for the last 12 years or so. Technologies like Windows Terminal Services and Citrix make telecommuting a breeze and take most of the bandwidth considerations out of the equation.

      The archaic model and inefficiency of the 9-5 workday with a long commute need futher incentives or legislation forcing businesses to adopt models like IBM or Best Buy, who embrace telecommuting and ending the overhead of expensive office space.

      Companies and their hierarchal model lend themselves to adopting rules of work that force people to show up at the office to put in a days work by sitting at a desk whacking away at a keyboard.

      Then their is the personal validation that many in management get by showing up first at work, first at a meeting etc. It is almost one of a nonsexual sadism, If you have ever observed managements facial expressions of a frown or the occassional verbal "we were waiting for you" when you show up a minute later than the time showing on their watch then you know where I am coming from.

      Allot has to change to force a majority of companies to rewrite the rules of work and bandwidth has little to do with it in this day and age.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

        Good points.

        Cable is more economical, of course, and will bring all the bandwidth needed.

        The cultural/behavioral change needed to replace petro-chemical commuting with tele-communing will be facilitated by the downturn.

        Which is simpler? Carbon tax or higher prices? Both are regressive, so policy will have to cope with the issue either way.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

          Originally posted by EJ View Post
          Good points.

          Cable is more economical, of course, and will bring all the bandwidth needed.

          The cultural/behavioral change needed to replace petro-chemical commuting with tele-communing will be facilitated by the downturn.

          Which is simpler? Carbon tax or higher prices? Both are regressive, so policy will have to cope with the issue either way.
          EJ,


          Offer a carrot instead of a stick.


          Most executives today feel that business is already overregulated by all levels of government. A carbon tax if instituted at the State level would give many businesses the option to simply move to friendly States. A Federal program will take too long and waste too much money and there are bound to be loopholes courtesy of Congress. Initally higher gasoline prices will just bring back more failed programs like ride sharing and diamond lanes on the highways. $300 a barrel would send our economy and business into a tailspin that they would not have enough time to recover from.

          Corporate tax cuts or rebates would work. Business will respond positively and faster to tax cuts and rebates, especially cuts that will show a direct effect on the bottom line and that is what the board rooms want to see come up in their monthly meetings.

          I am sure our legislators can come up with a graduated scale of incentives starting with perhaps initially one day a week of telecommuting for tax cuts or rebates. The effects would be immediate on the oil market, and the strength of the dollar.
          Last edited by seanm123; 03-20-08, 09:17 AM. Reason: grammar

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

            Green trading policies are currently a heavy debated subject.
            From the CFR site article a few good links.
            http://www.cfr.org/publication/15715...breadcrumb=%2F
            Policy Clash Looms between Trade and Climate

            March 12, 2008
            Author: Toni Johnson



            Steel imports, from countries such as China, could face green tariffs under climate change proposals being considered by the U.S. Congress. (AP/Imaginechina)

            Canada’s ambassador sent a letter (PDF) to U.S. officials in February warning that an overly broad interpretation of the Energy Independence and Security Act, signed into law in December 2007, could actually prohibit the United States government from importing oil. The law prohibits the import of alternative fuels with higher greenhouse-gas emissions than conventional petroleum sources. Canada points out this might be read to include oil from tar sands, which makes up the bulk of the oil Canada sends to the United States. Canada is the largest single supplier of oil to the United States, thanks in part to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
            The concerns raised by the Canadian embassy highlight a looming clash between climate change policy and U.S. commitments to free trade. After years in which the United States declined to take part in the multilateral approach to climate policy, symbolized by the Kyoto Protocol, U.S. lawmakers appear ready to push through climate change legislation. But lawmakers worry about U.S. competitiveness. They want to discourage industries from relocating abroad to avoid climate regulation. They also want to ensure foreign producers don’t get a “free ride” on greenhouse-gas regulations when U.S. industries are forced to comply. Under pending proposals (PDF), U.S. lawmakers are weighing several options that would penalize foreign trading partners if they do not take steps to reduce emissions during the production of commodities for the U.S. market. But the import taxes, labeling specifications, and requirements to purchase emissions permits being proposed are in conflict with the notion of free trade, say some experts. The European Union, in particular, is considering such measures (EurActiv), many of them directed at producers in the United States.
            U.S. lawmakers and environmental advocates believe these measures would fall within World Trade Organization (WTO) rules covering environmental standards. But some experts disagree. Although the WTO allows discriminatory actions by members for environmental concerns, such measures must be proved not to be arbitrary, overly onerous, or merely using the environment as a means to erect covert trade barriers. International trade lawyer Bernd G. Janzen says that to date, the WTO’s rulings on these issues offer little in the way of guidelines for U.S. or other policymakers. A report from the National Foreign Trade Council, a U.S.-based trade advocacy group, points to a 1994 WTO ruling (PDF) that prevented the United States from imposing an auto import tax on based on fuel efficiency standards.
            Gary Clyde Hufbauer, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told U.S. lawmakers earlier this month that almost all environmentally based trade restrictions (PDF) stand a good chance of a WTO challenge. He says such restrictions could spark retaliation on U.S. exports. Sebastian Mallaby, director of CFR’s Center for Geoeconomic Studies, says the potential destabilizing force of green tariffs on existing international trade deals should be assessed before finishing a new round of global trade talks. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful proponent of free trade, suggests a better climate policy solution would be liberalizing the trade of clean energy technologies (PDF). The Bush administration and European Union are both pushing for an end to clean-technology tariffs currently imposed by other countries. The administration has also warned against imposing the type of tariffs being proposed in Congress and the European Union.
            A number of policy groups, including the Center for American Progress, suggest climate trade restrictions should be policy “tools of last resort.” Instead they suggest engaging countries in multilateral or bilateral climate agreements. A 2008 World Bank report notes that many climate measures focus on production methods and processes (PDF), which it suggests could be crucial to finding a regime that can pass WTO muster. The WTO recently upheld a U.S. ban on imported shrimp trawled without protective measures for sea turtles. In that ruling, the WTO noted that the disputants were all signatories of the same endangered species treaty. Such reasoning, the report says, could be applied to climate and trade policy clashes between nations.

            A carbon intensity tax could be placed on oil using products.
            In the United States, a range of proposals are on the table in Congress, including measures requiring, as a condition of entry into the U.S. market, the submission of verifiable emission allowances by importers of greenhouse gas-intensive goods to cover the emissions released during production. Other proposals include the establishment of a performance “carbon intensity” standard that would apply to all energy intensive products produced domestically and overseas. The performance standard would effectively set a limit on the amount of carbon that could be emitted during the production of specific greenhouse gas intensive products, regardless of the country where the production took place.



            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

              Mark Cuban:
              In fact, if you index the expected growth in bandwidth consumption by applications that are heavy LAST MILE bandwidth users (as opposed to the Internet backbone where there is plenty of bandwidth but consumers cant get to it) vs the actual increase in LAST MILE bandwidth available to the home, our net effective throughput to the home could decline over the next few years. The Internet is like a highway. There is plenty of room for everyone to go as fast as the throughput will let you go, that is until the traffic forces everyone to slow down.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

                How about a new bank first.

                http://www.csis.org/component/option...k,view/id,252/

                Mar 13, 2008
                Felix Rohatyn on an Infrastructure Investment Bank
                Ambassador Felix Rohatyn, a CSIS trustee, testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs about the need to revitalize investment in America’s aging and ailing infrastructure.
                Ambassador Felix G. Rohatyn is a vice chairman to Lehman Brothers
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Rohatyn
                Felix George Rohatyn (born May 29, 1928 in Vienna, Austria) is an American investment banker known for his role in preventing the bankruptcy of New York City in the 1970s
                Dodd ,3-11-08
                Senator Hagel and I have offered one such idea: A National Infrastructure Bank, which would establish a unique and powerful public-private partnership.
                http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-3401
                (b) Financing Packages- The Board is authorized--
                • (1) to act as a centralized entity to provide financing for qualified infrastructure projects;
                  (2) to issue general purpose infrastructure bonds, and to provide direct subsidies to qualified infrastructure projects from amounts made available from the issuance of such bonds;
                  (3) to issue project-based infrastructure bonds for the financing of specific qualified infrastructure projects;
                  (4) to provide loan guarantees to State or local governments issuing debt to finance qualified infrastructure projects, under rules prescribed by the Board, in a manner similar to that described in chapter 6 of title 23, United States Code;
                  (5) to issue loans, at varying interest rates, including very low interest rates, to qualified project sponsors for qualified projects;
                  (6) to leverage resources and stimulate public and private investment in infrastructure; and
                  (7) to encourage States to create additional opportunities for the financing of infrastructure projects.
                Last edited by bill; 03-20-08, 03:13 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

                  Originally posted by babbittd View Post
                  Babbittd, the progress concerning transmission capacities of fiber links has been significantly faster than for example the progress in the speed or storage capacity of computers. Laser Physics and Multiplexing technologies have yet to prove to be of any concern that technical limitations to fiber-optic data transmission could become severe in the foreseeable future.

                  The last mile should be of no concern, take the technologies being rolled out in Japan or South Korea or here in the States by Verizon and others. Couple available bandwidth with the application compression and remote desktop technologies already available. There should be no concern, that the existing systems could not support tens of millions of telecommuters.

                  I worked for Verizon for a stint and I can say there is allot of spare capacity using the existing deployed technologies even with all of the streaming video,audio, stateful and stateless bandwidth usage going on.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

                    My wife worked at a six figure job for a company and telecommuted one day a week for 2 years. But they insisted she be there the other 4 days. This required us to maintain a 2nd home in a different city and fly or drive back/forth on weekends.

                    Meanwhile, at her office, 99% of all communication was conducted via email, IM, or phone. Her work was done on a PC connected to the central server both at the office and at home. Her coworkers were actually located on different floors of a large building. Her boss worked on another floor and she saw her about once a week. The rest of it was phone contact and email. Basically zero reason to be there physically more than maybe one day a week. Yet they rented this very large, very expensive building for employees after running out of space at a previous location.

                    I'm wary of govn't participation in this kind of thing, but something creative in the realm of tax credits might open these guys' minds up more to the possibilities. Anything to get through to these technological dinosaurs. Think how much less one could pay employees if they were freed of the burden of a 1.5 hour commute each way in traffic from the suburbs. Think of the office space savings.

                    Oh yeah, btw, this company's stock is lurking at about 10% of what it was last summer and I'm enjoying the large severance package they paid her when they laid her off. Actually it's invested in gold.

                    She was then was offered a job by a large software company, but only if she moved accross the nation. This company makes software for use by telecommuters. Her role involved working with her old company here on the opposite side of the nation. Yet they still have that old fashioned compulsion to have her there, in person. Even though much of the time she would have just been on planes flying through our city here to her old office. Just insane.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

                      Originally posted by brucec42 View Post
                      My wife worked at a six figure job for a company and telecommuted one day a week for 2 years. But they insisted she be there the other 4 days. This required us to maintain a 2nd home in a different city and fly or drive back/forth on weekends.

                      Meanwhile, at her office, 99% of all communication was conducted via email, IM, or phone. Her work was done on a PC connected to the central server both at the office and at home. Her coworkers were actually located on different floors of a large building. Her boss worked on another floor and she saw her about once a week. The rest of it was phone contact and email. Basically zero reason to be there physically more than maybe one day a week. Yet they rented this very large, very expensive building for employees after running out of space at a previous location.

                      I'm wary of govn't participation in this kind of thing, but something creative in the realm of tax credits might open these guys' minds up more to the possibilities. Anything to get through to these technological dinosaurs. Think how much less one could pay employees if they were freed of the burden of a 1.5 hour commute each way in traffic from the suburbs. Think of the office space savings.

                      Oh yeah, btw, this company's stock is lurking at about 10% of what it was last summer and I'm enjoying the large severance package they paid her when they laid her off. Actually it's invested in gold.

                      She was then was offered a job by a large software company, but only if she moved accross the nation. This company makes software for use by telecommuters. Her role involved working with her old company here on the opposite side of the nation. Yet they still have that old fashioned compulsion to have her there, in person. Even though much of the time she would have just been on planes flying through our city here to her old office. Just insane.
                      So you are amenable to the government rewarding stupidity. That should work in the U.S.
                      Jim 69 y/o

                      "...Texans...the lowest form of white man there is." Robert Duvall, as Al Sieber, in "Geronimo." (see "Location" for examples.)

                      Dedicated to the idea that all people deserve a chance for a healthy productive life. B&M Gates Fdn.

                      Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement. Unknown.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

                        Originally posted by Jim Nickerson View Post
                        So you are amenable to the government rewarding stupidity. That should work in the U.S.
                        think you misunderstood him... he's saying the government needs to nudge overpaid ceo dumbo to not piss away energy heating and cooling a building and forcing his employees to burn fuel driving to and from it so they can sit at a computer all day just like they do at home. you'd think he'd do that to save money but doesn't.

                        push oil up to $300 and i bet you don't need a dollar of tax incentives. at that price j6p sits at home and the buildings are converted into post housing bust public housing projects. need to commute to actually make widgets? take public transport.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

                          Here is a decent article explaining how it can be done. Best Buy is a good example, although it's retail store employees don't get flex hours, the corporate employees have instituted a new model that trashes the traditional 9-5 job with a commute. This was all done virally under the radar. The CEO was told after they had measured the productivity results.

                          http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16040492/

                          Even if of only a third of the 100 million of so people who get into a car every day and commute to work were to telecommute, the impact of say foreign oil imports would be enormous.

                          This article has a few calculations and estimates.

                          http://undress4success.com/tell-the-...to-pound-sand/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

                            Biofuel stocks got hit badly recently from the commodity price collapse. Any good stock worth considering at this point? This area seems to be complex and full of mine fields.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Wired Magazine Interview with Eric Janszen: Hope for the Collapsing Economy?

                              Originally posted by metalman View Post
                              think you misunderstood him... he's saying the government needs to nudge overpaid ceo dumbo to not piss away energy heating and cooling a building and forcing his employees to burn fuel driving to and from it so they can sit at a computer all day just like they do at home. you'd think he'd do that to save money but doesn't.

                              push oil up to $300 and i bet you don't need a dollar of tax incentives. at that price j6p sits at home and the buildings are converted into post housing bust public housing projects. need to commute to actually make widgets? take public transport.

                              No, I didn't misunderstand anything. If one must be rewarded not to waste resources, when not wasting would save money, then to give them other people's money to induce rational behavior is blantantly rewarding stupidity.
                              Last edited by Jim Nickerson; 03-21-08, 02:47 PM.
                              Jim 69 y/o

                              "...Texans...the lowest form of white man there is." Robert Duvall, as Al Sieber, in "Geronimo." (see "Location" for examples.)

                              Dedicated to the idea that all people deserve a chance for a healthy productive life. B&M Gates Fdn.

                              Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement. Unknown.

                              Comment

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