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  •  Economic Diversity (none)
    Address the transportation crisis, and energy will follow.

    When I think about energy - transportation is by far the most complicating factor.  In my own thinking about this, I went from being an advocate for free trade to a strong supporter of tariffs and trade regulation.

    In my view, barring major technological advances, the transportation problem will not be solved: We will use petroleum-based transportation until the day it runs out.  A problem occurs because the transportation and industrial activities become organized around a model of cheap fuel and delocalized supply.  In the short term, we keep building our oil-economy. In the long run, previously efficient long-distance trade agreements (whether farm-to-city or nation-to-nation) become expensive, and all the industrial specialization we've invested in becomes a waste.  

    I can only conclude that a robust economy is a diverse economy.  As in the rainforest and other ecological systems, short-term human interests are at odds with diversity and long-term economic stability.

    •  Part of the driver of this (none)
      Is that ship transport can use almost bottom of the barrel petroleum. We wil be bicycling to work, and it will still be efficient to ship tomatos from Chile.
      •  That's less true (none)
        for high-value, high-tech products, which tend to ship air freight. For example, Apple builds iPods in China and ships them direct to the consumer from there. Semiconductors from Asia all ship air freight.

        In some significant sectors, the shipping delay and expense (ocean feight isn't really all that cheap right now, and it's never fast) can give a significant advantage to domestic producers. One thing that always amazed me is that the auto industry never took advantage of domestic production and flexible manufacturing to compete against imports (now the "imports" are built here anyway).

        We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

        by badger on Thu Sep 15, 2005 at 01:18:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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