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Delving into the forces that shape our living standards
Best Business Blog, EPPY awards, 2011 and 2012

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Economy Lab

Best economy reads: Is it too late to stop biofuels? Add to ...

A roundup of the best economic posts on the Web







A Race to Hunger

Bjorn Lomborg fears it may be too late to put the biofuel genie back in the bottle, particularly in the United States:



"The United States spends about $6 billion a year on federal support for ethanol production through tax credits, tariffs, and other programs. Thanks to this financial assistance, one-sixth of the world’s corn supply is burned in American cars. That is enough corn to feed 350 million people for an entire year. ... Unfortunately, when it comes to policies marketed as reining in global warming, protecting the environment, or creating 'green jobs,' we have a tendency to make hasty decisions that don’t pass the test. ... Government support for biofuel is only one example of a knee-jerk 'green' policy that creates lucrative opportunities for a self-interested group of businesses but does very little to help the planet."

Is Ontario in decline?



Livio di Matteo says Ontario's share of Canada's GDP has experience broad swings in the past, but he's worried about what has happened over the past 20 years:

"The recent trends are more troubling if one realizes that since 1990, Ontario’s decline in the relative share of Canada’s GDP has been accompanied by an increase in its share of Canada’s population. Relatively more people are producing relatively less output. The productivity implications are disturbing."





Facebook is the largest news organization ever



Joshua Gans of Melbourne Business School weighs in on the reasons behind Facebook's extraordinary valuation:

"When Facebook emerged, many lamented, 'Who would be interested in this trivia: the fact your train broke down, your coffee was extra-strong, your new job is a hassle, or that your kids had the flu?' The answer is: you. You have consumed this information for years by just talking to friends and coworkers. You are not interested in this kind of information from people you don't know, but you are interested in it from people you do know. But until Facebook came along, no one had figured how to sell ads while your friends and family were talking to you."





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