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Culture Change print magazine issues: 20  19  18  17  16  15  14  13  12  11  10  9  8  index

Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Long Distance


More Cause for Depression
War and GWB's oil savvy

by John Price

The current situation is extraordinarily complex but it doesnít hurt to take different cuts through history.

From the time of the Industrial Revolution the base energy source turning our "wheels of industry" has consistently reduced in price, albeit with the occasional hic-up.

According to M. A. Adelmanís estimate (in the early sixties), the total cost per barrel of oil from the Middle East was 4 to 10 cents against $1.56 for American oil. (Petroleum Press Service, May 1966)

Since the US oil industry kept going and didnít just fold, this means the oil companies profited greatly from the Middle East margin, investing in every conceivable oil consuming technology. This is the dynamic that shaped the last fifty years of the 20th century, punctuated by recessions that have always followed oil price hikes.

The good side of this observation is that the whole make-money-by-burning-oil equation means that there is an incredible amount of waste in the productive system that can be profitably eliminated, if anyone notices.

The bad thing is that, just as no-one seems to have noticed that there is a limited supply of oil on this Earth, no-one will have noticed that there is a clear link between the economy and burning oil.

And so the whole house of cards built on the holy dollar will likely collapse.

Then we will descend into absolute misery ó the die off that some expect.

It neednít happen but it probably will.

GWB hasnít noticed apparently, that you need oil to fight wars... or that it is plainly stupid to fight wars in countries that you import the stuff from.

The US went into WWII as the worldís major supplier of oil. Now, as he apparently is piously going to take us all like lambs into the next war, the US is the major importer of oil. He doesnít see the significance of this change.

He hasnít noticed that President Ford pulled the US out of Vietnam in 1975 after the cost of prosecuting the war went through the roof due to the quadrupling of the oil price, which concurrently induced global recession.

If the US is unable to prevent the high-jacking of planes on its own soil and their transformation at low cost into extremely destructive weapons, pray tell how is it going to be able to prevent the blowing up of oil wells, in Iraq or in Libya or Nigeria or Saudi Arabia. It will take considerably more intelligence than is currently on display.

Without in any way deprecating American entrepreneurship and ingenuity, its power stems from its command of money and what money can buy. Take away what drives the money making machine and what have you got, impotence, and a serious survival problem.

Against all current wisdom, those who survive now with relatively little money will be much better off than those who absolutely depend on it, those of us (in the "Free world") whose invisible article of faith is:

In Money We Trust - I don't think anyone sees it.

Watch the stock-market. Watch the banks.

Wealth is created by sowing beans, not by counting them.

And bean counters have brought us to where we are, following money based formulas that no longer apply as we pass through this unseen discontinuity.

John Price is a Melbourne-based, 58-year-old Ph.D. (in Physics) writer. He has tracked the relationship between oil and the economy since working as an Energy consultant in 1974-5. He was a senior bureaucrat in the Victorian State public service before falling victim to the oil induced recession (1991).


Articles of interest:
Measuring and controlling the actions of governments 

Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results. 
WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius 

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.


Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California. Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)

Culture Change mailing address: P.O. Box 3387 , Santa Cruz , California 95063 USA
  Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

Culture Change was founded by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit torganization.