From Straw Man to Steel Man: Energy and Economic Narratives

November 11, 2022 9:00 AM


Carey W. King, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Assistant Director, Energy Institute
The University of Texas at Austin


Physical constraints, primarily energy, affect our social and economic outcomes much more than we think. A lack of understanding of these constraints pervades our politics, policy, business decisions, and economic theory. Thus, citizens too often hear hollow energy and economic narratives that promise us economic growth no matter if we switch to renewable and low carbon energy or remain dominated by fossil fuels. We simultaneously blame our politicians for policies that don’t work yet ask for unlikely combinations of outcomes. The problem is that we don’t know we’re asking for too much because we’re not taught to understand the interdependent energy-related connections within the economy.

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