- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Oil, substitutability, and socialism

Posted by: Stuart Gort ( USA ) on November 26, 1999 at 22:33:13:

In Reply to: Oil, substitutability, and capitalism posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on November 26, 1999 at 00:38:25:

:: SDF: I think this is the proper place to ask, WHERE? The oil shale reserves of Utah and Wyoming? The question that needs to be asked about oil shale is one of whether it costs a barrel of oil per barrel of oil, i.e. whether it is economical in terms NOT of money BUT of resource expenditure, to extract such shale oil from the ground.
:: The point is that it TAKES OIL to convert global industry to oil substitutes, and that if such substitutes are "adopted" too late, there won't be enough oil left to convert. Meanwhile, global industry, struggling under the yearly crisis of overproduction, increases its oil consumption by, what was it, 2% per year?

Truthfully Sam, I look forward to the day that viable substitutes are developed in lieu of oil. It will run out someday and that is a certainty. Trusting the oil companies to find suitable substitutes in a hurry might be bad policy and I would hope and expect that numerous companies are researching the subject now. Nevertheless, the oil companies are self-interested and logic dictates that of all the companies doing research now, they are probably leading the pack. They have the resources and the financial imperative to do so. I have to imagine that the self-interest of the oil companies will translate well for the consumer.

The next point is whether a collectivist or green system could administer such issues more effectively than a free market system. The collectivists speculate, hope, and pontificate that they have the experience, savvy, and motivation to handle things. The history of man and his foibles does not convince me that these humanists are even close to understanding man well enough to succeed on a grand scale.

Stuart Gort

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