"He's a snake in the grass, I tell ya guys; he may look dumb but that's just a disguise; he's a mastermind in the ways of espionage." Charlie Daniels, "Uneasy Rider" Update from Rob Bradley: My BOOKS prove that I'm a free-marketer! (That's why I'm free to boost fossil fuels and bash enviros on my blogs!) - TT's Lost in Tokyo

Update from Rob Bradley: My BOOKS prove that I'm a free-marketer! (That's why I'm free to boost fossil fuels and bash enviros on my blogs!)

I noted in a previous post that Rob Bradley, CEO of the Institute for Energy Research and lead blogger at MasterResource, has cheered on big coal and bashed what he calls "Malthusian anti-energy crusaders",  but ignoring while he does so the questions of (1) whether there are any legitimate disputes as to the environmental impacts of coal production and consumption and (2) the role of government in contributing to or perpetuating these disputes.

In response, Rob says that his bona fides are not to be questioned.  I quote below the relevant portions of the comment thread (emphasis added):

TokyoTom { 02.05.09 at 2:50 am }

Rob, are the John Badens, Terry Andersons, Bruce Yandles, Elinor Ostroms and others who want to find ways to manage our commons better - by improving ownership, incentives and pricing signals - also part of a “Malthusian crusade”?

I just wanna make sure I know who to hate.

As for that big fly ash breach/spill in Tennessee, I’m glad that you didn’t point out how this was a result of government ownership of TVA, with the added benefit that costs will be borne not only by direct and indirect victims, but by taxpayers as well. No sense in pointing out how government is so often in the way, particularly if it detracts from our “we hate enviros!” message. Last thing we ever want to do is to reach a shared understanding with enviros of the institutional underpinnings of problems, since that means our funders might lose some of their fairly purchased, government-given special privileges.

rbradley { 02.05.09 at 9:46 pm }


I have several thousand pages in the public domain on free market theory and history applied to energy, including criticisms of political capitalism.

The ball is in your court to buy and read any of my six energy books–and to visit my website http://www.politicalcapitalism.org. Particularly focus on Enron on this website.

Capitalism at Work (2009) is the latest book that I invite you to read and review.

TokyoTom { 02.05.09 at 10:21 pm }

Rob, does this mean that you are a “free-marketer” in principle, but can’t be bothered to show it in your public policy discussions?

rbradley { 02.06.09 at 9:28 am }


It means that you have to do your homework. I take on opposing views as a matter of course in my books and essays–I hope you understand that I do not have time to regurgitate my arguments in a personal debate with you.

But if you are really a “libertarian,” you need to get more critical toward climate alarmism and the history of Malthusianism–and more realistic towards government failure versus market failure.

I am signing off with you but look foward to your review of Capitalism at Work–a multi-disciplinary treatise on heroic capitalism that as a libertarian you should study.

TokyoTom { 02.07.09 at 4:44 am }

Rob, Roy Cordato (linked at my name) said this:

“The starting point for all Austrian welfare economics is the goal seeking individual and the ability of actors to formulate and execute plans within the context of their goals. … [S]ocial welfare or efficiency problems arise because of interpersonal conflict. [C] that similarly cannot be resolved by the market process, gives rise to catallactic inefficiency by preventing useful information from being captured by prices.”

“Environmental problems are brought to light as striking at the heart of the efficiency problem as typically seen by Austrians, that is, they generate human conflict and disrupt inter- and intra-personal plan formulation and execution.”

“The focus of the Austrian approach to environmental economics is conflict resolution. The purpose of focusing on issues related to property rights is to describe the source of the conflict and to identify possible ways of resolving it.”

“If a pollution problem exists then its solution must be found in either a clearer definition of property rights to the relevant resources or in the stricter enforcement of rights that already exist. This has been the approach taken to environmental problems by nearly all Austrians who have addressed these kinds of issues (see Mises 1998; Rothbard 1982; Lewin 1982; Cordato 1997). This shifts the perspective on pollution from one of “market failure” where the free market is seen as failing to generate an efficient outcome, to legal failure where the market process is prevented from proceeding efficiently because the necessary institutional framework, clearly defined and enforced property rights, is not in place.”

Do you agree?

My focus in reviewing your comments and those of other posters is whether you are contributing in good faith to conflict RESOLUTION - conflict over readily understandable preferences - or to “winning” the struggle over government for the benefit of your clients.

I think that`s perfectly fair.

So far, I don`t see much of an effort at good faith engagement [with the enviros].

Here`s to hoping that you demonstrate here that you are a free-marketer, and not a rent-seeker.

Published Sat, Feb 7 2009 6:55 PM by TokyoTom


# MasterResource/Tom Tanton: another muddle-headed "free-marketer" who think it's fine that coal gets to shift pollution costs to others

Friday, March 6, 2009 7:50 AM by TT`s Lost in Tokyo

Sadly, so-called "free-marketers" are often so busy smacking down bad arguments from greens

# [Update] Rot at the Core: Rob Bradley at "free market" MasterResource blog shows his true colors as a rent-seeker for fossil fuels

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 4:11 AM by TT`s Lost in Tokyo

[Update: I`ve added more background on Exxon, "Malthusians" and productive engagement.] How