Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Copenhagen and Home

I heard a story on Marketplace recently about how the Japanese, who import all their fuel, have really gotten religion since the first oil price shocks in the 1970’s. After three decades of investment in conservation and efficiency with no backsliding like some people(us), their per capita energy usage is now just half that of ours.

I would suggest that we aren’t considering the true cost of our energy use. The 13 million barrels of oil we import every day will cost us three or four hundred billion dollars this year.

But shouldn’t we factor in our five or six hundred billion dollar annual defense budget?

And that doesn’t include the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the Iraq war alone is estimated by Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz to total three trillion dollars so far, about equal to what we spend on oil imports over ten years.

Now consider that much of this money is borrowed, and will have to be repaid with interest. I’m certainly no economist, but it seems reasonable to figure that our real cost is two or three times the nominal cost of oil. Cheap energy is no longer cheap, if it ever was.

And that’s just the monetary value. U.S. forces have suffered over 36,000 casualties since we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s like two for every high school in America.

Remember Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery” where the village would pick one person at random every year and stone them to death to ensure the coming harvest? Barbaric, huh?


At 3:33 AM , Blogger liquiddaddy said...


I heard Tweety ask rhetorically the other day that if it is sensible to have fire insurance on our homes, why not on our planet?

Makes sense to me, but then I'm up at 5:00 am and you are blogging at 2:32.


At 5:12 AM , Blogger Julia B. said...

I'm down with fire insurance for our planet, but I can't see insuring irresponsible planets like Mercury that are always orbiting too close to the sun, and would we have to extend coverage to all them damn asteroids?


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