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lord rev dyjuan d barnes YAHWEH

if we want to be independent of the foreign oil and if the markets are based on confidence then we as a nation must tell all these money grabbing assholes that we are going to use our oil reserves which will lower the prices of the foreign oil because they still want to have our business we can get gas back to $1.00 per gallon and they will drop it down but most if not all our governmental leaders are fucking and getting fucked by these bitchass oil companies

Brigitte

Yes, and if we want to have start ups in the field of renewable energy grow, succeed, and stay in business, they need support. Germany is a good example. Although the country doesn't even come close to the sunny days most of the U.S. has, it is a leading producer of solar cells because of, yes, government subsidies and solar price regulations.
Wind energy and other sources, too, need financial incentives--especially at the start. Actually, in the U.S., too, there are some financial benefits--for example, right here on Long Island, where I live.
If we can pump more than $ billion a month into the Iraq war, we surely can promote clean, renewable energy.

Eric Chen

Professor Nacos,

I support weaning our nation from oil. I agree with you that it seems self-evident that alternative energy is a critical issue to be solved, for multiple reasons.

However, we're not a socialist democracy, and we are big consumers with a big complex interconnected economy that's spread over a big country and globally interconnected with a big world. Our government is empowered by us to do a lot of things, but flirting with economic disaster isn't one of them. (Quite the opposite, actually, especially since the Great Depression.) It can fund research for alternative energy sources but how much can it do to incentivize real, and radical, change of the national standard for fuel when oil currently powers every part of our economy, indeed, our society?

I think you are onto the start point by focusing on localized energy needs that are less accountable to the national standard for fuel, eg, power for housing developments rather than transportation.

Competitive industry is cautious and conservative by necessity when it comes to fundamental infrastructure - it's a matter of survival. For them, oil is proven, they're fully invested in it, and it powers their competitors. The challenge is to prove to them that alternative energy is sufficiently cost-effective and reliable to warrant the cost and risk of changing over their technologies from oil to ... something else. Best bet on that front is for new, revolutionary start-up competitors in the various industries to not only succeed, but win over the market while using alternative energies. How much can the government do there without crossing the line from regulation to interference in the private sector?

Brigitte

Eric:
I very much appreciate your comments and the above one in particular. As far as our dependence on foreign oil for our energy needs is concerned, I would hope that we would follow the Western and, even more so, the Northern European examples and work towards independent energy sources and, just as important, renewable ones.
You are right that market forces play into this but with oil prices increasing rapidly, there should be an incentive to find and finance alternative energy.
I, for one, cannot understand how new developments are going up that do not take advantage of solar energy or other types of alternative energy sources.
As much as I appreciate the workings of the free market-place, I also believe that there are collective societal interests that must be pushed even at the expense of financial market interests.

Eric Chen

Professor Nacos,

I believe, ultimately, the market will be the key driver of change. However, the price of oil will have to become much higher for that to happen, because in our current industrialized civilized world, the consumption of petroleum-based products and fuel have become intrinsic in our lives, expectations, and ideas of progress. (Eg, go to a modern hospital and check out what materials and how much energy is used.) Oil isn't a choice - it's a staple. Weaning ourselves from oil would be like weaning recently past civilizations from wood. Right now, the only energy sources that come close to matching oil are nuclear energy and possibly coal.

I support the liberal premises of the Bush Administration's strategy in the War on Terror. At the same time, I've always understood that our 20th-21st century intervention in the Middle East, with the exception of our support for Israel, has been largely based on the strategic and global economic importance of the region's oil supply. With civilization set up the way it is, oil is actually one of the more sensible reasons to deploy our military; stability and favorable relations in that part of the world matter to us a lot.

The difference is that before 9/11, we sought stability in the Middle East through realism. Realism failed us and on 9/11, President Bush converted to liberalism. Now, we're attempting to build a liberal peace rather than settle for the same realist compromises that contributed to so much harm.

I wonder, if we aggressively try to become independent of oil while our global competitors stay on oil, how will that affect our economy's standing in a competitive global market?

Brigitte

Yes. But we ought not to accept the status quo and rather try to mobilize people--young people in the first place--, to do what is right. We cannot wait for politicians to solve problems, nothing will change.
I am so impressed with the anti-FARC mass demonstrations I mentioned above. This mechanism needs to be explored for other good causes--and apart from election campaigns.

Tony

Hi Brigitte. I could go on for hours on this subject, but basically, people just don't want to exercise any self-restraint. They have been conditioned to refer ALL problems and irritations to their gov't. More later, Tony

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