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Friday, April 28, 2017

Sustainability and economy do not mix on cheap oil

Posted by steve on June 26, 2005

You need to understand that sustainability and economy do not mix when you treat energy as an endless resource like any other.

I know that we are preaching the balance between bottom line, environment, society and health but at the same time we recognize that the economic ideas society is based on are counter sustainable and that we are in a serious system fix.

Take this example: Suppose one day people decide to go for lift-sharing in a big way. I am sure commuting and other trips could be organized with say three – four people in each car, but for the sake of argument let’s say average two per car.

That would result in an overnight halving of petrol consumption.

That would mean a reduction in road maintenance costs and need for new road building.

It would also reduce the need for new cars, garage services etc.

That would bring about a reduction in tax income to the government.

At the same time oil companies, car manufacturers and sales and service companies would have an excess of staff and start to lay them off. Even less tax income to the government, and increased outlay for unemployment.

Possibly they could find new work in lift sharing Internet and mobile Internet application companies, but a lot of that could be done with IT.

These unemployed would spend less and government income would shrink even more bringing the need for higher taxes.

Now, if you double taxes on oil at the same time it starts to make sense. Still more unemployment but the government can afford it.

But then you need the government to create jobs. That’s hard when energy prices are up, as jobs start to get outsourced to nations with cheap labour and energy.

At the same time there is always a lot that needs doing in society.

Try to turn it any which way you can, you will see that as the age of cheap energy ends we need new thinking and a change of system.

If you ask us of course, we will point to the”go along society” we envisaged earlier. Click on the link if you missed it earlier.

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