Many people are quite rightly worked up these days about what Nicholas Stern called the biggest market failure ever – namely the human decisions that are leading to climate change. Not nearly as many people are worked up about the human decisions that are contributing to another global externality – namely the creation of antibiotic resistant bacteria. I am putting a section about this in the chapter on Externalities in the second edition of the Anti-Textbook.
There is a very nice article on the subject in today's New York Times. It's a case study of the difficulty of dealing with this problem because, at its root, is the usual suspect: profit maximization combined with the hamstringing of governmental regulation by corporate power, in this case the power of the livestock and poultry industries. Yes, I know, relative to the size of the economy as a whole they are a drop in the bucket, and yet (to mix metaphors) the tail wags the dog.
I'm Rod Hill, a professor of economics at the University of New Brunswick and the co-author, with Tony Myatt, of "The Economics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Microeconomics" (London: Zed Books, 2010) and The Microeconomics Anti-Textbook: A Critical Thinker's Guide, second edition (London: Bloomsbury, 2022). The first edition was translated into Chinese (Shiwenbooks, Beijing) and into Turkish (Heretik Press, Ankara, 2017. I will use this blog as a place to post discussion with readers of our books and related subjects
Feel free to get in touch: rodntony [AT] gmail.com.