Wednesday, February 22, 2006

For Your Consideration

"Of the 100 largest economies in the world today, fifty-one are corporations, while only forty-nine are countries (based on a comparison of corporate sales and countries' gross domestic product). The 200 largest companies' combined sales are bigger than the combined economies of every nation in the world, excluding the top ten nations. The 1999 sales of each of the top five corporations exceeded the GDP of 182 nations."
The Hydrogen Economy - Jeremy Rifkin - pg 88

"In the United States, five companies, Exxon/Mobil, Chevron-Texaco, BP Amoco-ARCO, Phillips-Tosco, an dMarathon, control 41 percent of domestic oil exploration and production, 47 percent of domestic refining an d61 percent of the domestic retail market. After tax profits for the five companies rose from $16 billion in 1999 to $40 billion in 2000, a 146 percent increase in twelve months. After-tax profits for the same companies in the first quarter of 2001 rose again, from $8.7 billion to $12 billion, a 38 percent rise in just three months. The oil industry's soaring profits stand in stark contrast to the 43 percent decline in income of the 1,400 other largest U.S. corporations in the first quarter of 2001."
The Hydrogen Economy - Jeremy Rifkin - pp 77-78

"Over the next few years, the topping-out of Russian oil production, as well as of oil from the North Sea, the Alaskan north slope, the areas off the shores of West Africa, and other regions, will leave the Middle East in the enviable position of supplier of last resort before the end of the decade. Even making allowances for inflated reserve figures, it is generally agreed that two-thirds of the present conventional-oil reserves in the world lie in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia alone possesses 26 percent of the total global reserves of oil.

Moreover, while other giant fields, especially those in the U.S. and Russia, have peaked and are now on the decline, the Middle East fields are still ascending the bell curve. The reserve-to-production ratio (R/P) tells the story. The R/P is the number of years that reserves of oil will last at current production rates. In the United States, where more than 60 percent of the recoverable oil has already been produced, the R/P is 10/1. In Norway, the R/P is also 10/1, and in Canada it is 8/1. By contrast, in Iran the R/P is 53/1, in Saudi Arabia 55/1, in the United Arab Emirates 75/1, in Kuwait 116/1, and in Iraq 526/1."

The Hydrogen Economy - Jeremy Rifkin - pp. 33-34

"Benefits from Iraqi oil fields are hardly worth the long-term, multi-year military cost. Instead, Bush must have went into Iraq to defend his Empire. Indeed, this is the case: two months after the United States invaded Iraq, the Oil for Food Program was terminated, the Iraqi Euro accounts were switched back to dollars, and oil was sold once again only for U.S. dollars. No longer could the world buy oil from Iraq with Euro. Global dollar supremacy was once again restored. Bush descended victoriously from a fighter jet and declared the mission accomplished-he had successfully defended the U.S. dollar, and thus the American Empire."


Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

Does this guy EVER mention hydrogen in his entire book?

2/22/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

You labelled this one as "for our consideration", so I'm not quite sure of the purpose... So what have I learned?

First, there are some enormous corporations in the world. When people complain about big corporations (now there may be some valid complaints but) they often name numbers without giving any consideration to issues of scale... some corporations are bigger than many nations!

Second, in the early 00s, big oil made big bucks while ... big tech? big industry? did not; in fact, they flouundered. Are these events directly related, or merely temporal cohabitors? How do the cross-industry numbers compare from the 1950s to today, and what major historical and financial events occured during that time period?

Third. It appears to scientists that some of our usual oil sources will run out in the immediately forseeable future. It also appears that countries in the Middle East have a lot of oil. Seeing as we use a lot of oil here in the States, we might be headed for an uncomfortable monopoly. If we get there, I bet a lot of folks will blame the politicians for it. Just like they did when gas prices spiked back in September (if I remember accurately). Well, that'll be a pickle for the government, eh?

Fourth. What is the Empire, exactly? There's a reference to Bush's Empire. Later a reference to the American Empire. Neither are defined. Why are benefits from Iraqi oil fields not worth the military cost? (It sounds like Iraq's got a lot of oil to go around, no?) How are oil military operations discretely measured against other military purposes? The author again makes observations in a chain, intending the reader to see these events as related, but without explaining how they are related. (At least not in the quoted passage; I have not read the book).

Wasn't the Oil for Food program termintated because of incredible scandal and corruption within the ranks? Wasn't the dollar growing weak in spring and summer of 2003, and in the surrounding times? What missions has Bush actually declared, and in what words? When and in what words did he declare 'the mission' (which?) accomplished? I'm willing to entertain a lot of ideas, but not particularly the unsubstantiated sort. Maybe I should just read the book...

Hydrogen is some pretty easy stuff to get, I'm curious about the part of the text from which the book draws its title. I am presuming that hydrogen shall (in the author's opinion) relieve us of many of the problems of oil-dependence, and perhaps is a magic elixir for other ills too.

I remember back when flywheels were the wave of the future. (This was maybe ten years ago.) Unfortunately it's darn tough to get a flywheel's plane of rotation to change. Hydrogen has a tendency to explode. Maybe they can develop a car that'll suck hydrogen out of the air as it goes; at least the thing won't fireball in a collision.

2/22/2006 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger anonymous julie said...

Paul, I think you might enjoy reading the comments to this post:

It deals with resources and use, and presents some more detailed logic for why reduction of our dependence is necessary, as opposed to transferring our dependence to other resources.

2/24/2006 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger graceonline said...

Thanks for the food for thought, Paul.

Is it a coincidence that President Bush, a member of the US oil cartel, has just given operations control of six of our ports--New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia--to Saudi Arabia?

2/26/2006 03:30:00 PM  

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