RE: [OPE] Leave the oil in the soil?

Date: Thu Feb 14 2008 - 11:09:10 EST

> Leave the oil in the soil? Have you people ever seriously considered what that would imply in total for people's lives now?
Hi Jurriaan:
It would imply higher prices for oil on world markets in the short term 
("right now"),  unless other oil producers increased production to 
compensate - which is entirely possible.  Higher oil prices imply
higher manufacturing and transport costs - this would hurt most 
capitalists but benefit some (most notably, in the oil industry).
For workers, higher oil prices would represent a reduction in their
standard of living because of increasing costs for gas (petrol), 
heating fuel (more important obviously for working families in some 
regions than others), electricity, etc.  The prices of oil derivatives
(including plastics, fiberglass, etc.) could also be expected to rise 
and this would affect the capitalists who utilize those materials as
elements of constant circulating capital and it could be expected
to effect working-class consumers to the extent that a significant
percentage of consumption goods consumed by workers includes
materials which are oil derivatives.  All of this could lead to an 
increase in the rate of inflation in most capitalist nations.
Over the longer-term, there would be other likely consequences
- which could be environmentally friendly or adverse. In the former
category, increasing oil prices could stimulate R&D and innovation
in alternative 'green' energies such as wind, solar, etc. It might
also lead to increased non-green energy production such as increased
coal production and nuclear power. And, it would predictably push
forward plans to extract oil in increasing amounts from "tar sands"
- which would have negative environmental effects especially in the
areas which would be basically strip mined for oil.
It might very well benefit oil-producing nations, though,
to "leave the oil in the soil" if they believe that oil prices 
are going to dramatically increase in future decades. 
This might be something of a gamble but if they restricted
production now then they could extract the oil and sell it 
on world markets in future decades when it becomes 
increasingly dear.
In solidarity, Jerry

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