Sunday, November 02, 2008
The Way Out, pt II
Or another example, take energy. Obviously for most people the important fact about energy is that the price of oil has declined from nearly $150/bbl to $65/bbl. That seemed likely really good news at the time until the world's attention was taken over by the stability crisis in our major financial institutions.
In any case, it should be clear that we need to increase our capability for producing energy, oil and otherwise. But it's interesting to look at this through the prism of the upcoming recession. As consumer spending decreases, it's very likely that the economy as a whole will require fewer cell phones and mortgage brokers. But we will still need access to more energy, both for our own economy and to help the process of industrialization in China, India, and other countries in the same situation. Therefore we should regard our hard-earned expertise in energy production as an important foothold in working our way out of our economic problems.
Unfortunately, I don't see this as likely under President Obama. In particular, it would require the repudiation of the global warming agenda which doesn't strike me as being remotely plausible given that such a large percentage of Obama's base favors it. The are other issues as well that tend to mitigate against any kind of industrial-scale energy production; nuclear, oil, natural gas, coal, electric grid infrastructure. Essentially, the Democratic party has Luddite mentality on the whole issue for thirty years. Maybe President Obama is going to change that, but we haven't seen any signs of that yet.