Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
Silver Is Close To Something Big - 2nd Mar 21
Bitcoin: Let's Put 2 Heart-Pounding Price Drops into Perspective - 2nd Mar 21
Gold Stocks Spring Rally 2021 - 2nd Mar 21
US Housing Market Trend Forecast 2021 - 2nd Mar 21
Covid-19 Vaccinations US House Prices Trend Indicator 2021 - 2nd Mar 21
How blockchain technology will change the online casino - 2nd Mar 21
How Much PC RAM Memory is Good in 2021, 16gb, 32gb or 64gb? - 2nd Mar 21
US Housing Market House Prices Momentum Analysis - 26th Feb 21
FOMC Minutes Disappoint Gold Bulls - 26th Feb 21
Kiss of Life for Gold - 26th Feb 21
Congress May Increase The Moral Hazard Building In The Stock Market - 26th Feb 21
The “Oil Of The Future” Is Set To Soar In 2021 - 26th Feb 21
The Everything Stock Market Rally Continues - 25th Feb 21
Vaccine inequality: A new beginning or another missed opportunity? - 25th Feb 21
What's Next Move For Silver, Gold? Follow US Treasuries and Commodities To Find Out - 25th Feb 21
Warren Buffett Buys a Copper Stock! - 25th Feb 21
Work From Home Inflationary US House Prices BOOM! - 25th Feb 21
Man Takes First Steps Towards Colonising Mars - Nasa Perseverance Rover in Jezero Crater - 25th Feb 21
Musk, Bezos And Cook Are Rushing To Lock In New Lithium Supply - 25th Feb 21
US Debt and Yield Curve (Spread between 2 year and 10 year US bonds) - 24th Feb 21
Should You Buy a Landrover Discovery Sport in 2021? - 24th Feb 21
US Housing Market 2021 and the Inflation Mega-trend - QE4EVER! - 24th Feb 21
M&A Most Commonly Used Software - 24th Feb 21
Is More Stock Market Correction Needed? - 24th Feb 21
VUZE XR Camera 180 3D VR Example Footage Video Image quality - 24th Feb 21
How to Protect Your Positions From A Stock Market Sell-Off Using Options - 24th Feb 21
Why Isn’t Retail Demand for Silver Pushing Up Prices? - 24th Feb 21
2 Stocks That Could Win Big In The Trillion Dollar Battery War - 24th Feb 21
US Economic Trends - GDP, Inflation and Unemployment Impact on House Prices 2021 - 23rd Feb 21
Why the Sky Is Not Falling in Precious Metals - 23rd Feb 21
7 Things Every Businessman Should Know - 23rd Feb 21
For Stocks, has the “Rational Bubble” Popped? - 23rd Feb 21
Will Biden Overheat the Economy and Gold? - 23rd Feb 21
Precious Metals Under Seige? - 23rd Feb 21
US House Prices Trend Forecast Review - 23rd Feb 21
Lithium Prices Soar As Tesla, Apple And Google Fight For Supply - 23rd Feb 21
Stock Markets Discounting Post Covid Economic Boom - 22nd Feb 21
Economics Is Why Vaccination Is So Hard - 22nd Feb 21
Pivotal Session In Stocks Bull Bear Battle - 22nd Feb 21
Gold’s Downtrend: Is This Just the Beginning? - 22nd Feb 21
The Most Exciting Commodities Play Of 2021? - 22nd Feb 21
How to Test NEW and Used GPU, and Benchmark to Make sure it is Working Properly - 22nd Feb 21
US House Prices Vaccinations Indicator - 21st Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction – No Need to Hold Onto Your Hat - 21st Feb 21
Gold Setting Up Major Bottom So Could We See A Breakout Rally Begin Soon? - 21st Feb 21
Owning Real Assets Amid Surreal Financial Markets - 21st Feb 21
Great Investment Ideas For 2021 - 21st Feb 21
US House Prices Momentum Analysis - 20th Feb 21
The Most Important Chart in Housing Right Now - 20th Feb 21
Gold Is the Ultimate Reserve Asset - 20th Feb 21
Is That the S&P 500 And Gold Correction Finally? - 20th Feb 21
Technical Analysis of EUR/USD - 20th Feb 21
The Stock Market Big Picture - 19th Feb 21
Could Silver "Do a Palladium"? - 19th Feb 21
Three More Reasons We Love To Trade Options! - 19th Feb 21
Here’s What’s Eating Away at Gold - 19th Feb 21
Stock Market March Melt-Up Madness - 19th Feb 21
Land Rover Discovery Sport Extreme Ice and Snow vs Windscreen Wipers Test - 19th Feb 21
Real Reason Why Black and Asian BAME are NOT Getting Vaccinated - NHS Covid-19 Vaccinations - 19th Feb 21
New BNPL Regulations Leave Zilch Leading the Way - 19th Feb 21
Work From Home Inflationary House Prices BOOM! - 18th Feb 21
Why This "Excellent" Stock Market Indicator Should Be on Your Radar Screen Now - 18th Feb 21
The Commodity Cycle - 18th Feb 21
Silver Backwardation and Other Evidence of a Silver Supply Squeeze - 18th Feb 21
Why I’m Avoiding These “Bottle Rocket” Stocks Like GameStop - 18th Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction Delayed Again While Silver Runs - 18th Feb 21
Silver Prices Are About to Explode as Stars are Lining up Like Never Before! - 18th Feb 21
Cannabis, Alternative Agra, Mushrooms, and Cryptos – Everything ALT is HOT - 18th Feb 21
Crypto Mining Craze, How We Mined 6 Bitcoins with a PS4 Gaming Console - 18th Feb 21
Stock Market Trend Forecasts Analysis Review - 17th Feb 21
Vaccine Nationalism Is a Multilateral, Neocolonial Failure - 17th Feb 21
First year of a Stocks bull market, or End of a Bubble? - 17th Feb 21
5 Reasons Why People Prefer to Trade Options Over Stocks - 17th Feb 21
The Gold & Gold Stock Corrections Are Normal - 17th Feb 21
WARNING Oculus Quest 2 Update v25 BROKE My VR Headset! - 17th Feb 21
UK Covid-19 Parks PACKED During Lockdown Despite "Stay at Home" Message - Endcliffe Park Sheffield - 17th Feb 21
How to Invest in ETFs in the UK - 17th Feb 21
Real Reason Why Black and Asian Ethnic minorities are NOT Getting Vaccinated - NHS Covid-19 Vaccinations - 16th Feb 21
THE INFLATION MEGA-TREND QE4EVER! - 16th Feb 21
Gold / Silver: What This "Large Non-Confirmation" May Mean - 16th Feb 21
Major Optimism for Platinum, Silver, and Copper - 16th Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction Looming, Just as in Gold – Or Not? - 16th Feb 21
Stock Market Last pull-back before intermediate top? - 16th Feb 21
GAMESTOP MANIA BUBBLE BURSTS! Investing Newbs Pump and Dump Roller coaster Ride - 16th Feb 21
Thinking About Starting to Trade This Year? Here Are Some Things to Keep in Mind - 16th Feb 21
US House Prices Real Estate Trend Forecast Review - 15th Feb 21
Will Tesla Charge Gold With Energy? - 15th Feb 21
Feeling the Growing Heat and Tensions in Stocks? - 15th Feb 21
Morgan Stanley Warns Gasoline Industry Is About to Become Totally Worthless - 15th Feb 21
Debts Lift Gold - Precious Metal Prices Will Rise on a Deluge of Red Ink - 15th Feb 21
Platinum Begins Big Breakout Rally - 15th Feb 21
How to Change Car Battery Without Losing Power, Memory, Radio Code Settings - 15th Feb 21
Five reasons why a financial advisor can make a big difference to your small business - 15th Feb 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

FIRST ACCESS to Nadeem Walayat’s Analysis and Trend Forecasts

Peak Oil? Why not Peak Water

Commodities / Water Sector Sep 25, 2010 - 12:14 PM GMT

By: William_Bowles

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticlePeak Oil? Why not Peak Water, after all, water is much more crucial to life than oil ever will be and it's being consumed in vast quantities by the same economic system that chows oil?

In fact, water is a far more potent and relevant symbol of the way capitalism chows the planet than is oil. Although it too is a finite resource, it also a renewable resource through the process of recycling, something that is done by nature in another of its amazing cycles that keep (kept?) the biosphere stable; what we call homeostasis where life, chemistry, physics and geology all meet. Water is thus far more symbolic of the irrationality of capitalist production than is oil, where even a renewable resource is consumed by capitalism.


This is why I just cannot get my head around the fact some on the left (who I think should know better) are buying into the 'peak oil' BS. 'Running out of oil' is essentially a problem for capitalism, but not for you and me. In fact, 'running out of oil' maybe a blessing in disguise. Just think, we could once again be living in a world without plastic bags![1]

Clearly, oil and gas are non-renewable resources[2] but then so is every other element, mixture and compound present on Earth.[3] What makes oil so important is its centrality to capitalist production and especially its ability to wage war, that's why there's all the fuss about it[4]. But why has the left bought into this 'peak oil' BS?

I suspect that part of the problem lies with the ideological position on the left that on the one hand rightly opposes consumerism, a way of life that ultimately consumes everything, with the much more difficult problem of posing an alternative. Oil has become symbolic of the capitalist way of life, yet it's ridiculous to advocate that we stop using oil, at least in the short term. The real question is how it should be consumed and critically who decides?

It also has to be accepted that we who live in the West have adsorbed the ideology of Empire and this includes those of us on the left, who assume that the nature and quantity of their consumption is non-negotiable, unless of course capitalism does it for them.

Sure, we could 'run out of oil', but so what? We're also 'running out' of helium. But let me rephrase this: we're running out of economically viable sources of oil. And by economically viable, they mean profitable to extract, not that there's a shortage.

Then there's the issue of global warming/climate change to which undoubtedly burning fossil fuels is major contributor in the form of carbon dioxide. But an even more inflammable contribution to global warming is the gas methane (ten times more heat retaining than is carbon dioxide), produced in vast quantities by beef cattle for all those billions of burgers. Once again, the problem is not production per se but the quantities and the inevitable distortions and inequalites that monocultures create and perpetuate.

Thus consumption of oil, in order to satisfy the demands of shareholders, is but one aspect of an all-consuming capitalism. To single out oil, to make a special case out of it, seems pointless and just like the 'over-population problem', a gigantic red herring, pointing away from the real solution to our crisis.

The bottom line is that capitalist economies do not want to change the way they 'do business' just as companies often resist the introduction of new ways of doing things because they deem them not to be profitable or too expensive to implement. If pursuit of profit is the only driving force then clearly we're going to 'run out of oil' and a bunch of other things. And let us not forget that the single biggest consumer of oil on the planet is the US military machine.

Undoubtedly because oil is so central to capitalist economies and as it gets more expensive to extract it, it becomes (yet another, if major) source of conflict but no more so than other strategically critical materials are, especially the so-called rare earth elements so necessary to electronics sector.

So why has oil been singled out and not initially by the left but by the oil industry itself?

For the past one hundred years the major western powers have had a lock on petroleum resources. Two world wars and uncounted 'minor' ones fought over access to, and ownership of, oil. The question therefore is not its abundance or lack thereof but who controls it and who determines how it is used?

Media commentary in the West should be our guide as to the role of oil in our economies where it is assumed that access to oil is our God-given right, therefore we constantly hear the refrain 'energy security' and now closely followed by the refrain 'peak oil'.

There are new reserves of oil and gas being discovered all the time but they are no longer concentrated in a few locations. So it's not that the world is 'running out of oil' but the West's access to the world's supplies are now not only constrained by the cost of extracting it[5] but that it entails the West, principally the US need to control more and more locations, necessitating the expansion of its military bases. It becomes a vicious cycle of consumption, production, expansion and war.

Oil, along with many other resources (including people) fuels the endless expansion of capitalist production. Forget 'peak oil', instead let's get rid of capitalism and then we can decide how we can best we can share and maintain the Earth's resources between all of its inhabitants, present and future.

Notes

1. Apparently, we 'consume' 600 million tons of plastic products each year, and all of it is made from oil.

2. Unless you subscribe to the theory of abiogenesis, or the non-organic origins of oil. But even if this hypothesis is correct, the raw materials that oil is made of are also finite just like everything else. See also this for some background on 'peak oil'.

3. Actually, the Earth is a net importer of energy and materials, it's what makes planets so special as they operate anti-entropically unlike practically everything else in the universe. All the energy sources on Earth originate from the sun (it's energy production is scheduled to 'peak' in 5 billion years time). And we also get millions of tons of elements entering the Earth's atmosphere from outer space every year in the form of meteorites and other space debris.

4. Although competition between economies was one of the essential causes of the two World Wars, in both cases oil acted as a catalyst. In the First world War it was Germany's push Eastward where it threatened the British Empire's possessions and access to resources. In the second, Hitler's invasions, also Eastward, was essential to fuel his armies and later, it was the US embargo on Japan's access to oil, also in the East, that signaled the attack on Pearl Harbor.

5. In any case, the 'cost' is determined not by the actual cost of extracting it, but by what price it commands on the world market. Were oil to become so expensive, whether through actual shortages or like now, through economic downturn, that its consumption dropped radically, wouldn't that be good thing? We might then be forced to turn to alternative sources, like gas or any number of alternatives. Were there the will to do so.

Strategic Culture

William Bowles is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by William Bowles

© Copyright William Bowles, Global Research, 2010

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.


© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules