Thursday, May 8, 2008

Well, I am glad someone found a good use for the economic stimulus check.  I really have to read The Onion more often.  This one was a good giggle.

I found this interesting little article.  It came by way of my Google alerts.  It is the only one I have seen since I set up the alerts (not so very long ago) which talks about 'sustainability' or 'steady state economics.'  The author touches on themes I have been thinking about for sometime.  When our Idiot-In-Chief Bush talked about energy independence in the 2007 State of the Union speech, I observed  three problems when  he advocated cellulosic ethanol:  first, the industry would not go with switch grass or other such sources when corn was a better ethanol source; second, the price of corn would go through the roof when corn for energy competed with corn for animal feed, corn for human consumption, and corn for the production of biodegradable plastics (and what ever other industrial products corn is used for); third, it merely substituted ethanol for part of the oil we consume daily and does nothing to actually reduce the demand for fuel.  But that is par for the course.  No one has made any proposals which actually reduce demand.  This article doesn't really either.  The author notes at the end that he is pessimistic because people of wealth and power don't want to give up either.  Unfortunately, people with little wealth or power want both.  And if they can't get the real thing they will settle for the appearance of wealth and power with out the substance.  Changing that dynamic is key.  Without it there is no possibility of achieving a steady state economy.  For another look at the problem look at this article.  

Something else to ponder in light of the above is this from Michael Klare on  Klare makes the connections clear between the status of the United States as a superpower and the abundance of cheap oil.  The key here is 'cheap.'  It doesn't matter how much oil is available, if it is no longer cheap our standard operating assumptions and procedures will have to change.  And if the recent past is any indication availability may be more of a problem than ordinary Americans realize.  Yes they are finding new deposits.  However, a couple of years ago, when the Bush administration was pushing hard for new drilling in the Alaskan wilderness areas, I looked at the projected figures for the estimated oil in that area and looked up our daily consumption of oil and found that it represented a little over three years of consumption.  If we took every barrel out.  Recently (and I wish I still had the link) I read a blog which listed the newly discovered deposits and yearly consumption for key years through the last half century.  Before about 1970 (please forgive me if I am a little off here, I am working from memory) the oil discovered each year exceeded the yearly consumption.  Since then, the yearly consumption has  exceeded the new discoveries.  And the global demand is only increasing. 

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