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Forum Post: The resource issue, informal poll

Posted 1 year ago on Nov. 26, 2012, 12:26 a.m. EST by Misaki (893)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Cars are very popular in the US. Maybe you also know that they are less popular in other countries, in part because of much higher gasoline taxes (in the range of about $4 per gallon, compared to around $0.50 in the US).

Oil is a scarce resource. It only exists in certain places, and the amount that can be extracted is unrelated to the population of a country. This means that concepts like "production efficiency", the kind of thing you see to justify comparative advantages in international trade, has no meaning here. People in Korea cannot make oil no matter how skilled they are.

(You can make a tiny bit of oil artificially, but it is no where near being commercially competitive.)

The same applies to every other type of resource. The concentration of things like copper in ore, mined in the US, has been dramatically decreasing over time. We might eventually have to recycle most things. For certain things, like uranium, it may be economical to extract from seawater where it ultimately ends up after being dissolved from the continents, but this is not possible for many materials.

If the standard of living in other countries goes up, there is more competition for resources. This means that the average standard of living in the US will go down, measured in the amount of resources consumed.

If you have been following along with the idea of working less, you should understand how it works. If the US uses it, inequality will be reduced and there will be less spending on foreign luxury goods. So if this is all that happened, we would consume more resources unless there was society-wide agreement to do things like increase the gasoline tax.

But if other countries see the US using it, they will probably use it too. This will lead to inequality decreasing in every other country, such as China with its 1 billion people, which causes the same effect of increased consumption and competition for resources. Oil prices, and therefore gasoline prices, will probably rise significantly until people start driving less. The prices of other resources would also go up.

So we would have less people in prison, less homeless people, and less 'suffering' overall, but gasoline would become more expensive.

Is this worth it?

2 Comments

2 Comments


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[-] 2 points by gsw (2733) 1 year ago

Yes oil will be competed for increasingly as world wants more cars and energy, emulating USA.

http://www.bakerinstitute.org/publications/EF-pub-SegalDistribution-04292011.pdf

Above country, Mexico, exports 25 percent of its Nationalized oil ( from which 35 percent of nations revenue derives) but will be not exporter but importer in future (well this is from James Baker report, who would probably like the oil to be privatized, I would presume)

That's why we need to be model of solar and wind and water, tides, direct solar to home and businesses, and develop hydrogen at corporations for energy use. End coal and fossil fuels asap (sorry to people who wants more coal. Convert to green it is better for you)

We should consume less.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLBE5QAYXp8 the story of stuff

Old cars convert engines, like in brazil.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/all-brazils-cars-to-use-ethanol-6275216.html

It makes sense to decrease the wealth gap, so world can share resources for everyone, not just most evolved profiteers.

We may want to go to less consumption, more agrarian sustainable. Kiss your car goodbye, get a horse and buggy.

[-] 1 points by Misaki (893) 1 year ago

Everyone wants to be able to import oil.

But probably, prices will go up and many countries will continue to export it. The ones that might like to import it might not be able to afford to.

Sadly, even Saudi Arabia is doing better than the US in preparing for the end of fossil fuels.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-10/saudi-arabia-plans-109-billion-boost-for-solar-power.html

The switch to sustainability will happen eventually... but the point is that people, many of them young people, are being affected by the problem right now through unemployment and so on.