Economics of oil and the American Dream

A new hurdle has been passed for the Keystone Pipeline, as expected it was ran through on a Friday Afternoon when DC and New York City was evacuating for an incoming hurricane.  Seems they save “bad” decisions for the environment for when news will not report it.  Typical to say the least:

Picture courtesy of

But let’s get out of the gutter and talk facts.  I like facts.  They are the bread and butter of reality and they paint a picture which will never be wrong.  For instance, in the above picture some people see evil.  I see jobs, taxes, and production.  Some people see hell.  I see human ingenuity, environmentalism, and above all else a work ethnic from Canada.  We can argue over the semantics all day long, but what you see in production is up to the person.  But the reality here is that these oil sands have produced a vibrant economy in a location in Canada that is exploding in population growth, and other jobs are making this the most prosperous of the Canadian provinces.   What is it that you see when you see that picture?  I will leave that for now and go on to explain how its irrelevant whether this pipeline is built, the oil will still be sold and someone will buy it.

We may be able to pick the reality we see from pictures such as this, but human ingenuity should never be questioned and the right of people to work should never be up to activists who spend their time just trying to take apart jobs and dismantling economies all in the name of the “Greater Good.”

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Jevons’ paradox

As a note, parts of this post are from an older essay I wrote awhile back which was in reply to a recent Obama initiative at the time to put huge amounts of money into “making cars more efficient” or perhaps “increase their MPG” is the better way to phrase it.

Either way, it’s not that cut and dry.  Jevons’ paradox goes back to 1865 when economist William Stanley Jevons noted then that coal efficiency improvements had not just increased the amount of work done, but had actually increased the overall amount of coal used as well.  This process is rather well-known in that although increases in efficiency will result in more efficient usage of energy, it will almost always result in more usage of the said resource needed due to lower costs that in turn drives economic progress.

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William Jevons

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