Thursday, March 31, 2011

Obama's Energy Independence Speech: The audacity of more of the same.

This had a good start as he mentioned supply and demand and the facts of economics. Having invoked capitalist theory to start, however, he jettisoned this framework 3 minutes into the 45 minute speech and everything became mandates, subsidies and picking & choosing technologies. There was a lot about mass transit which isn't economically viable in the US. The strategy of taking food from children and converting it to biofuel was also mentioned with Brazil being listed as an example.

What I really found ironic was that Obama said that his visit to Georgetown University was symbolic of the fact that the youth would need to be involved with this as achieving energy independence is a long term project. Georgetown doesn't have an engineering school. In fact the word "engineer" was only uttered once in the speech, while "scientist" and "physicist" were prominent. Are we going to win the future with litigation?

Beyond that, I think there are a large number of interwoven social, cultural and economic factors with the energy independence issues. As long as most of the elites think we are constitutionally obligated to lose the future in the social, cultural and economic areas, I don't see how we can think of winning the future technologically.