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June 19, 2005


Dimitar Vesselinov

Where will the energy come from?

"James Howard Kunstler discusses the content of his latest book 'The Long Emergency' with John-Michael Dumais of Oasis Forum on WKNH. The interview covers U.S. military strategy in the Middle East, myths about alternative forms of energy, the effect of peak oil on the housing bubble, and Kunstler's views on a forthcoming reevaluation of what has value within our society."


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We can have an intelligent debate about energy policy and the harm persistently high oil prices will have on the global economy, but can we dispense with the alarmist peak oil junk? I have yet to be convinced that the model has any use in understanding the exploitation of the global oil supply, and one could have an excellent discussion without any reference to this flawed model.

John Robb

Peak oil hasn't been disproven as a model (it was accurate as a means of predicting the peak in US oil production in 1972). However, one doesn't need it to discuss high oil prices which are the result of China's torrid growth and terrorist/guerrilla disruption (of Iraq and increasingly other locations).


John, one datum does not a proof make. You say the peak oil model hasn't been disproven, but I say the burden of proof lies on the model to illustrate its validity.

I grant that the peak oil model may be accurate if
1) demand is constantly increasing and
2) geologically determined characteristics of oil fields are the primary factor that limit oil production rates.

These two assumptions held for American oil production from the mid 1950s til the early 1970s, hence Hubbert's model accuratly predicted peak US oil production. These two assumptions do NOT hold for the world oil market. Demand can fluxuate (due to global recession, or even just the China growth bubble bursting due to its banking system's awful loan policies) and political/security considerations seriously affect oil production (as your analysis of GG system disruptions so profoundly illustrates).

In short, Hubbert's peak oil model is useless in addressing the exact issues you and I agree we SHOULD be focusing on: the consequences Chinese economic policies (which both drive growth and could lead to an awful crash) and GG disruption will have upon global oil prices, and what all this will mean for America.

Lisa Williams

hm. All these comments on peak oil, none on immigration.

So, one thought on immigration and globalization:
The dollar in my pocket has more freedom than I do. It can fly all around the world and work. Why is money so much freer than people?

This isn't a sarcastic question or a poke at anybody or anybody's philosophy; I really do want to know. Doesn't global capital flow combined with what are really extreme restrictions on human movement (we think immigration is big, but probably 90% of people are simply stuck where they are by accident of birth) create so much instability that it could (and does, in the case of debtor nations) destabilize whole societies?

Given the prospect of a dollar crash I find the "have faith in the Market" idea less and less comforting.

John Robb

Excellent Lisa. You are right on.

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