Friday, April 14, 2006
Lie of the Day
The lie here is that the free-market will solve our energy problems.
Drivers may be eager to buy. (I imagine quite a few would like to get their hands on an alternative to $3-per-gallon gasoline right now.) But the capitalists' eagerness to sell has nothing to do with demand and even less to do with the national interest.
Big Oil now leads the corporate pack in earnings, and unless it can see a way to make more money than it's currently making, no widespread alternative to petroleum will emerge. Any technology that threatens this energy monopoly will simply be purchased and diverted into Big Oil's "R&D" program, where it will languish. Such acquisitions can even be used to boast how Big Oil is working to guarantee us a "brighter future" while they squeeze out every cent we earn.
In a moment of lucidity in March, Thomas Friedman, another NY Times columnist, wrote,
One of the most pernicious things that Vice President Dick Cheney and Big Oil have done for years is to define "realism" when it comes to U.S. energy policy and therefore they have owned the debate.
If you listen to them, they always offer this patronizing, pat-you-on-the-head view about alternative energy hybrids, wind, solar, ethanol which goes like this: "Yes, yes, those are all very cute and virtuous, but not realistic. Real men know that oil and fossil fuels are going to dominate our energy usage for a long time, so get used to it."
Unless the revolution comes early, "Get used to it" sounds like good advice.