I keep seeing video footage of citizens who have been asked to comment on the recent plan to open up offshore oil exploration. President Obama and his crew have read the tea leaves and have concluded that, in addition to advancing alternative fuel technologies and markets, it would be useful to open up offshore drilling, at least a bit. Invariably the people who appear on air seem to concur that we need to find and tap the petroleum resources under the sea floor.
Rarely one hears an interviewee who will openly say that we should reduce petroleum consumption, or at the very least, its growth rate.
Here is my question. Why are we so anxious to tap all of our resources as soon as possible? Isn’t oil in the ground a little like money in the bank? Oh, I forgot. We are not a savings culture.
Obviously, the new exploration emphasis is to support a decent growth rate in consumption. A high throughput of fossil carbon and energy is needed to sustain the profitability of certain large public corporations.
As I see it, the problem with public corporations is that they are run on behalf of what are essentially absentee landlords. The stockholders demand a good return on their investment or they’ll bail. Can’t blame someone for that. So, management runs the corporation in a way that affords maximum profit rather than maximum sustainability. As a result, in the same manner as absentee landlords, management drifts into the mindset that they can justifiably milk the resource to depletion for fast cash. If cash is king, fast cash is divine.
The market is very much like a stomach. It cannot plan. It only knows that its hungry or not hungry. It seems to me that an organ with a bit more wiring should be in charge of energy resources.