Peak Oil News: Noam Chomsky On Peak Oil Theory

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Noam Chomsky On Peak Oil Theory

The official weblog of Noam Chomsky

The basic theory is incontrovertible. The only questions have to do with timing and cost. ...

The date can be pushed back much farther if more costly (or maybe some to-be-discovered improved) technology is used. As for the estimates of cost, by reasonable standards one could argue that oil is far under-priced. In real terms, it's not particularly high now as compared with other commodities, from some reasonable base line. And low-priced oil leads to heavier use and less effort to create sustainable alternatives.

That I think is a far more serious problem than production peaking. In fact, one could argue that the earlier production peaks, the better off the human species (and a lot more) is, because of the effects of unconstrained use of hydrocarbons on the environment.

Talk about "shrinking our economies" is pretty meaningless. Our economies would shrink substantially if we got rid of huge expenditures for the military, for incarceration, and other highly destructive activities. Sustainable economies might lead to highly improved quality of life.


At 5:34 PM, September 08, 2004, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose this is a big step for Chomsky but he still did not really have anything to say about the major implications of peak oil (see As for his faith in technology... it seems like he does not recognize the trend of techno-industrial society. An alternative energy resource would most likely wreak more havoc. He also doesn't seem to understand the nature of greed in regards to capitalism judging by his optimism about "shrinking our economy." I also wonder what his idea of a sustainable economy amounts to. Perhaps a totalitarian techno-sphere could be sustainable? Besides, what direct action is Noam calling for? Get rid of huge expenditures for the military, incarceration, and other highly destructive activities. OK Noam. Great advice, we'll get right on it. Thanks for clearing it all up and showing us the way. -- Tweet Tweet

At 6:30 AM, July 10, 2008, Blogger XXIII said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:39 AM, July 10, 2008, Blogger XXIII said...

I think Noam's comment is very valuable in a sense that it gives us a whole new perspective on how to treat the current energy problem (which has always been the path of real alternative thinkers). If we can all think for ourselves and pursue this whole new perspective, a real concrete alternative strategy and program will surely be attained. In fact, current rapid developments in alternative energy sources are very good indicators that Noam's insight is right on the spot.

Once more, Noam's answer demonstrates thinking that resolves problems from the root--it atacks the structure of our current economics and our expectations from it. Of course the issue on oil can always be "answered" by neoclassical rhetoric easily (if that's what you're begging for)--as you can see it's just a supply/demand problem coupled with an analysis of geopolitics. However, a perspective like what Noam offered here is so different and refreshing-at least on a conceptual and theoretical level-that it really pushes us to pursue original thinking and authentic alternative solutions.



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