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Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

A step in the right direction

Friday, August 06, 2004

The key to moving towards energy independence is to anticipate the knee-jerk reaction that the very powerful energy industry will have to any proposals that suggest a change to the status quo. Listen, closely, you can almost hear them saying it now, "This policy will put thousands and thousands of Americans out of work!"

No, actually, your pathetic, short-sighted management of your companies, not planning for the inevitable need to develop new energy resources to position your companies for success in the future, will put thousands and thousands out of work.

Ever have that argument with a free market capitalist who says that there is nothing wrong with "big box" chain stores like The Home Depot coming to town and putting "Mom & Pop" hardware stores out of business? What's their biggest argument? "If Mom & Pop can't get creative and figure out how to compete, then it's survival of the fittest."

Any chance that this same free market capitalist would apply that same theory to, let's say, oil companies who claim that they will be put out of business by competing energy companies?

I didn't think so.

The truth is, regardless of how much environmentalists and anti-corporation activists despise the current energy industry, it makes no sense to propose policies that threaten these corporate giants. If there is one thing that these companies are good at it's producing and distributing products to millions of consumers spread all over the globe. Yes, production and distribution has been extremely destructive to the environment, but that is more a function of the toxic nature of the product than their business practices.

Kerry's plan, based on the scanty information available thus far, seems to understand the value of making the development of sustainable energy an attractive, money-making proposition for the energy industry. Why reinvent the wheel when we can just make it a better wheel?

Will the energy companies still cry foul? Yes, particularly because they are so financially and politically entangled in the Middle East. However, given how badly it is going over there, while a U.S. President from an oil family presided over record-breaking gas prices, they may not have a leg to stand on.