Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Newsweek's Illusionist

From ASPO a commentary about a recent Newsweek article regarding oil. Forgive me for thinking that the author of the Newsweek article needs some educating.

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

You could almost be amused by the tendency of corporate economists to make uniformly optimistic prognostications, if they didn't influence our policy makers so much and if the policies they promulgated didn't have so much impact down through decades.

We actually knew, or had no reason not to know, of the finite nature of oil reserves and our ability to deplete them rapidly, as early on as the 1930s. In fact, we DID know, and that's why we started stretching our tenacles into the middle east at about that time. Of course, we knew that Nazi Germany was totally dependent upon the mideast for oil, as was the rest of Europe, and we had to secure the region. But we knew also that our own demand would outstrip our domestic production at some point, and we were moving stealthily to lock up supplies and reserves there by 1940.

We knew by the 1950s that our demand alone would probably outstrip global supplies at some point, and yet we recklessly promoted policies and economics, such as the development of suburban sprawl and promotion of auto ownership and use, even though our policy makers had no excuse for knowing that the way of life thus enabled would prove unsustainable by this time.

Because of those policies and the sprawl and auto dependence they promoted, and subsidized with our taxes, we have a huge inelastic demand for copious quantities of liquid fuels, and we no longer have the financial wherewithal, let alone political will, to reverse the policies of the past 60 years and allocate our remaining resources to the construction of the communities and systems we'll need when our available supplies of oil drop by 20% or more.