The Case Against an Oil-based Economy

Sean Hannity in his propaganda screed the other day was unequivocal. He has, in the past few months been involved in “getting America back to work,” on his radio show and FOX News network. In reality it has been a commercial for tar sands and fracking. Revolution and Beer in a series of shows with environmental activist Dr Lora Chamberlain, and in an earlier blog showed that the promise of high paying jobs in North Dakota’s Bakken Oil fields was a dangerous illusion.

We brought to you the voices of people currently working there on the lack of housing, and what was available was going for confiscatory prices. Hannity’s Shangri-oil in North Dakota had made life dangerous for women, bred crime, caused significant pollution and left many stranded and destitute in the winter-harsh climes of the North West. Still Hannity and others claimed there was a near endless supply of jobs in excess of $100 thousand per year salaries. On his show this week, despite his industry guests saying that most jobs started at $30-40,000, he kept quoting jobs at $90,000 or more, in a pitch that would make a school-yard crack dealer blush. Then he said something even more obscene, but true: That the US is an oil-driven economy.

I couldn’t argue, because, sadly it is true, and that is not a good thing. In fact for our economy, for stability and for our future it is more than just potentially disastrous, it is disaster in which the clock is already ticking. The economics are simple, and there are glaring and recent examples that prove that eventuality.

Recently the Dutch Safety Board released preliminary findings on the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine in July. The report fell far short, and left more questions than answers. It also did not provide a backdrop to the disaster and the significant geopolitical and economic issues that contributed to the shooting down of a commercial airliner and the loss of all 298 on board. But those factors are significant and involve a superpower land grab for oil and gas concerns in eastern Ukraine-site of the bitterest fighting- and the Crimea. In a previous piece Revolution and Beer detailed much of that oil and gas rush, and named names. See “Obama’s missteps as tension mounts between NATO and Moscow. An excerpt from the upcoming book, “A TRAGIC FATE: Politics, Oil, the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17and the Looming Threats to Civil Aviation” by Revolution and Beer’s WC Turck.”

The Russian economy is almost solely based on oil and gas, by most estimates around 70%, which is an astounding and frightening number. Their budget depends on a barrel price of around $114. The current price, as of this writing for a barrel of Brent Crude is about $97/barrel. A tactic of the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia- targeting primarily oil and gas concerns, has been to force down the cost of oil in order to strangle the Russian economy. Putin has replied by stoking military action as the one card he has to play in order to shock the market, maintain a modicum of insecurity and keep the prices as high as possible. In the short term the big oil and gas concerns in the West will suffer, but in the long term they will reap untold rewards. Russian firms and banks, and the whole of the Russian economy is on a long slow slide to insolvency because of the state of its infrastructure, a lack of technical capability and reliance on oil and gas.

But to a lesser extent the US economy is far too dependent on oil and gas as well. That dependency, as reserves and supplies mature, peak and decline will drag the US economy down as well. It also leaves us vulnerable to manipulation from foreign threats. No rational industry analyst believes that the US could ever supply its entire domestic and oil needs at current usage. Everyone agrees that oil and gas are finite resources that eventually will run out, or at the very least become cost prohibitive as research and extraction costs far outpace profits. It is also true that, at current technology, green energy alone could not support the US energy and transportation needs fully. Of course the argument to that is that in 1987 current technology could not support modern cellphone technology.

Green tech, most especially electric vehicles, and solar and wind power could currently offset a significant portion of the country’s needs at current technology. The effort must be, for all of those who believe that the country faces significant threats from abroad, must acknowledge that a preeminent reliance on oil is a virtual gun to the head of the nation. Reliance on renewable sources of energy, and in research to expand the availability and reliability of renewable is the only thing that will ultimately protect us from being blackmailed, or having our economy collapsed. The benefits resonate far beyond the growing threats to the nation, and include a boom in green jobs and a benefit to our environment. One is a short-sighted view by those simply interested in profits and those looking for long term viable solutions.

It is all rather like the squirrel in autumn who collects nuts without building an adequate nest through the winter, and the squirrel who collects enough nuts while also building an adequate nest that will protect it and its offspring from a harsh winter. It is really a rather simple lesson

CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post

fLIGHT pLAN pART 4: A Revolution and Beer Novella

There were three hundred and fifty million souls on the planet at the end of the Black death in 1350. Humanity reached one billion as Charles Darwin was beginning his scientific journeys aboard the HMS Beagle, a time span of almost 500 years. It took one hundred and five years to reach two billion, and less than sixty to reach six billion. In 16 years humanity will add another two billion, on a planet that remains exactly the same size as it began.

The prescription for the future is control; control of population, power and resources, setting up a cataclysmic dichotomy. These pillars of control had underwritten the progress and upheavals in the greater narrative of humanity. throughout history civilizations had struggled and fallen over constraints and access to resources.

The Japanese and Nazi expansions of the 1930s and 40s had been over resources. Their opposition had been far less animated over the inhumanity and horror of those expansions than they were over threats to those resources. Capitalism and Communism competed under the banner and control structure of opposing ideologies. But the truth was that Soviet-style Communism did not accommodate the idea of conservation and instead quickly and so thoroughly exhausted its resources that it simply collapsed over its own short-sightedness.
After the collapse of the Soviet system the absence of viable global competition capitalism perverted itself into that same short-sighted mentality that had befallen its antagonist. Where communism had collapsed over short-term material gain, so too capitalism suicide itself over fast abstract financial gain. It betrayed its conservational roots and illusioned itself with the economics of the made up. The theory and practice od capitalism proved every bit as flawed and corruptible as its long dead competitor.

What was worse, those naked capitalists had forgotten, even mocked the simple reality that any economic system was in fact an engine. Recourses, labor and capital maintained the efficiency of that engine. But in just a few decades the pornographers of money had traded the long term efficiency for n orgy of excess and accumulation. the engine had become strained by the extraordinary and dangerous imbalance of unchecked greed. Resources and capital had been pilphered and siphoned, draining ninety percent of the fuel into less that one percent of the participants. Resources and capital pooled obscenely among that one percent, leveraged but not circulated, slowly were grinding the engine to a halt and the world’s economy to the brink of collapse.

On its own that was dangerous enough, but where once nations and empires might once have struggled with distance and time and technology, global trade and instant communication had facilitated the dismantling of the world and the exploitation of short term and disruptive fuel sources.

Populations are hungry, economies of a 21st century scale are ravenous against the finite and rapidly dwindling resources of a small planet. No longer could population and economy be defined on local or even national scales. For the first time the fate and future of an entire species, and indeed the planet hung precariously in the balance, with the ultimate control left exclusively to those plundering oligarchs. They held no regard but for their own aggrandizement and short term whims. they controlled the message to the masses, or brutalized those who questioned and dissented. That threatened as never before every positive advance mankind had ascended to from the beginning of time…

Use Facebook to Comment on this Post