"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, July 9, 2012

Are You Man Enough?

There's a point in the great scene from Glengarry Glen Ross where the real estate executive is laying into his soon-to-be-fired salesmen with the caustic comment that there is money laying around out there and "are you man enough to pick it up?"   Well, there's wealth out there in America waiting to be picked up -- wealth in natural gas, oil shale, convential oil reserves, and offshore oil.   Here is a summary from Walter Russell Mead, one of my favorite bloggers:
While the chattering classes yammered on about American decline and peak oil, a quite different future is taking shape. A world energy revolution is underway and it will be shaping the realities of the 21st century when the Crash of 2008 and the Great Stagnation that followed only interest historians.  A new age of abundance for fossil fuels is upon us.  And the center of gravity of the global energy picture is shifting from the Middle East to… North America.

The two biggest winners look to be Canada and the United States. Canada, with something like two trillion barrels worth of conventional oil in its tar sands, and the United States with about a trillion barrels of shale oil, are the planet’s new super giant energy powers. Throw in natural gas and coal, and the United States is better supplied with fossil fuels than any other country on earth. Canada and the United States are each richer in oil than Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia combined....

The other important change in the new world energy picture is one I wrote about earlier this week: Israel’s potential emergence as a major oil and gas producer. With trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, and potentially as much as 250 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil, Israel may be on the verge of joining the wealthiest Arab states as a world class energy producer.

These changes won’t take place overnight, but they are coming faster than many understand. US domestic oil production is up almost half a million barrels a day thanks to North Dakota, and the surge in US natural gas production is already changing international trade patterns. More change will come.

As I wrote a few days ago:   "America has enough energy to create an economic Golden Age... no civilization in history has ever turned its back on its own wealth in such an irrational way."  Are we men enough to pick it up?

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