August 31, 2006
Energy Followup Post
So there was quite a bit of great discussion in the two threads on Energy Independence in the last couple of weeks. (See here and here.) Two more thoughts. First, frequent commenter "Papa Ray" sent me this link: China nomads on energy's cutting edge, which is quite an interesting story. Frequent readers may know that I have a burning desire to go to Mongolia one day (at least I think I've mentioned that before). I've often wondered if the nomads there would do well with some sort of rugged electrical production system. Maybe something like this: SkyBuilt Power.
And also, a Loyal Reader sent this comment:
Let's get a little creative in our quest to reduce our consumption of
imported petroleum. Use tactics that cost little or nothing.
If every job that could be accomplished by telecommuting were to be
for 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 days a week, we'd reduce our consumption
overnight. A distributed workforce is a good thing, in wartime and
For those who can't telecommute, how about changing the workweek? Four
10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days would reduce consumption by up
Road tolls can be increased without taxing gas, increasing car-pooling.
Right turn-on-red, smart traffic signals, enforcement of pedestrian
scofflaws and a myriad other options, in combination could reduce
consumption immediately, by more than 25%, with very small impact on
No Manhattan Project (i.e., huge waste of taxpayers' funds) necessary.
Change the rules of the game.
Any thoughts, readers?
August 18, 2006
Discussion: Energy Independence Part Two
Those readers who have been participating in the conversation below on Energy Independence could do no worse than to click on the ad in the sidebar for Ford and see what they're up to. (Or just go here).
My take is that Ford reads the marketplace and understands that there is a widespread demand for vehicles using a different form of energy. That demand may be due to environmental concerns, national security concerns, or economic independence concerns. It doesn't matter. Ford wants to fill that demand. I think they should be commended on an innovative ad campaign too (and no, I don't get revenue per click for Blogads, so I'm not juicing my own bottomlilne here).
All of this reinforces my earlier belief that a sense of legislative forbearance is what is most desperately needed, not some new government program akin to putting a man on the moon. If there are regulatory obstacles to projects like that of Ford, then by all means, let them be removed. But otherwise, let the market sort it out. In the end, the result will be more efficient and achieved faster than any comparable large-scale titanic government effort.
August 15, 2006
Discussion Topic: Energy Independence
One of the frequent strategies espoused for the war is that of pursuing independence from the importation of vast sums of foreign oil.
It seems there are many competing agendas among those who favor this move. Many want to end the dependence on fossil fuels in general. That may be well and good, but it doth not make an immediate foreign policy or strategy for war.
Also, many who advocate increasing the use of alternative energy see no way for this to happen but for the government to invest massive sums in such technologies. It seems to me that any sector of the economy in which the government is heavily invested, whether monetarily, from an attention-standpoint, or via regulations, is likely to be inefficient and screwy. Consider public education, health care, pensions, and defense (hey the military is filled with motivated individuals, but it is after all a bureaucracy and as such, filled with nonsense). In other words, it's hard to see how a massive government program to rid our dependence on oil would really serve any immediate strategic aims. I rather think that the government should abolish the energy department altogether and then if there are market alternatives to imported oil, those will begin to shine.
The other agenda for many who insist on an end to imported foreign oil is an old-school isolationism. Rid the US economy of the necessity to have anything to do with oil exporters, and then we can just fence the Middle East in and let them kill each other off. But it seems to me that those who are angry with us now will be no less angry with us if we are more isolated from the world.
Any thoughts? Please discuss.
May 15, 2005
A Fisking of Drucker
For some time last week, my newswire was prominently displaying a link to Trading Places by Peter Drucker in the latest issue of National Interest. Another blogger, who is an American ex-pat and a senior economist with Europe's largest private economic and financial research institute in Germany, wrote a pretty sound fisking of Drucker's article at 21st Century Schizoid Man.