Monday, 26 October 2009

They're All Mad, You Know

There is categorically no absolute shortage of oil in the world: but political and other non-economic barriers to oilfield development can easily create artificial – and very damaging – undersupply. (Watch out for oil prices in 2011, when economies have recovered from the soft patch that will follow the phasing out of fiscal stimuli). Many of the great oil exporting provinces – Saudi, Russia, Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria etc – make it difficult and in some cases actually illegal for foreign enterprises to invest in oil projects.

I recently learned of an interesting parallel that, in combination with the oil nonsense has truly comical consequences, if one can be permitted to laugh in such matters. The USA, a great agricultural producer, makes it difficult and in some cases actually illegal for foreign enterprises to invest in US agricultural projects. Perhaps you knew this but I did not.

So: the Saudis, with oil and gas pouring out of their ears but short on food, turn energy into crops (by using it –wastefully - to desalinate sea water and watering the desert).

The Americans, with crops aplenty but short of oil, turn cereals into ethanol - wastefully - and hence into gasoline !

Politicians, eh ? Those whom the gods would destroy ...

ND

9 comments:

Steven_L said...

You're right Nick. I can well see myself joining the Monster Raving Loony Party a few years down the road once I'm fed up of Cameron and co.

Blue Eyes said...

The old self sufficiency arguments will never stop raging. The Americans are probably the most protectionist free marketeers ever!

So, what does Britain have that the world needs????

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Americans are not free marketeers. They act exclusively, and ruthlessly, in their own interest. The moment a market is working against them, they will subvert, suspend or destroy it. It is interesting - psychologically speaking - that they act this way yet truly believe their own rhetoric.

Budgie said...

Blue Eyes said: "So, what does Britain have that the world needs????"

Black, differently-abled, Muslim, female, lesbian, single-mother, Jewish atheist five-a-day assistant deputy outreach policy co-ordinator? Anyone?

Anonymous said...

O/T
Nick,

Recently we spoke about the possibility of State gold seizures.

It appears there is a clause in the mis-named "Patriot Act" that states that Bank safety deposit boxes can only contain paper products, - wills, contracts, fed. notes, etc, thus, metals would be "illegal" under the P act.

I only discovered this, this weekend, but it tells a story. Apparently military folks are being trained in Texas "Forts" for civilian crowd control, etc, from selected military who have no qualms about shooting on fellow Americans.

I reckon this qualifies as "They're all Mad, You Know".

Mark Wadsworth said...

That is a brilliant compare-and-contrast!

Sackerson said...

Nicely put, Nick.

Nick Drew said...

anon @ 1:38 - only paper products - ve-ery interesting ...

Nick Drew said...

Sackers - it has just occurred to me, this could be taken as an argument against self-sufficiency-at-all-costs ... where do you stand on that ?