The Intersection

Yesterday, I wrote about financial speculators and their impacts on commodity markets, focusing on oil. Here, Stephen Colbert and Stephen Colbert play three-card Monte to explain what’s going on:


  1. #1 Sciencefan
    August 21, 2008

    Yep, they got it right!

  2. #2 Brian D
    August 21, 2008

    No, they got MOST of it right. It’s a good explanation of how speculation works and how futile drilling actually is. However, it makes one critical error: The renewables ‘game’ is here now. The issue isn’t technology, it’s deployment.

    Then again, I can cut him some slack, since it’s a comedy show and parroting the Bush line on things (on renewables, this is summed up as “technology, technology, technology, blah blah blah” — read the Luntz memo) is sort of his schtick. And I have to admit, it was a pretty amusing segment.

  3. #4 Brian D
    August 22, 2008

    The Ridger:

    Considering how US oil production peaked in 1970, but US oil demand continues to grow, outlawing oil exports wouldn’t stop the need to import, and would probably just get the libertarians in a hissy fit.

  4. #5 Walker
    August 22, 2008

    If we just made it illegal to export US oil, we’d be okay.

    1. This is a form of protectionism and would most likely result in a trade war. WTO would certainly authorize other countries to retaliate in kind. Seeing as we cannot possibly remain self-sufficient on U.S. oil alone, this would probably result in higher prices in the aggregate.

    2. Back to the fact that the U.S. cannot support all of its oil demand in country, consider the affect that this would have on distribution. Who gets the cheap oil and who has to do with the expensive foreign oil? Usually this is solved by something called “market price”, which you are arguing against. So what do we do instead? Are we going to have a federal program for rationing oil to businesses throughout the country? 70s-style gas lines here we come.

    3. What’s the goal here? To make oil cheaper? So it can be depleted faster?

  5. #6 carl jochen
    August 25, 2008

    An automated national personal transit system powered by solar and wind would go a long way toward solving many problems in America and the world. The good news is that all of the technology needed is in use at some application somewhere right now. I am exploring how to make such a system reality in my national personal transit blog

  6. #7 Elyse Levy
    August 26, 2008

    There are also other options available that use our current technology, such as algal bio fuels. Algae biofuels can be used stablize CO2 concentrations, while powering the economy and decrease foriegn dependance.

    Waste CO2 from power plants or nutrient laden waste water from agriculture can be used to help algae grow. This seems to be a win win situation for many people as well as the environment.

  7. #8 The Ridger
    August 28, 2008

    It was not a serious suggestion, of course; it was meant to make people stop and wonder just why the oil companies would sell all that new oil to American drivers.

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