25 November 2002

Rolling Stone Dares to Address The Future, But Fails

A recent issue of Rolling Stone magazine (dated November 28, 2002), has an article ("Beyond Oil," by Amanda Groscom, p. 70+) contains a panel discussion about the "possible" coming future depletion of oil reserves. Rolling Stone occasionally prints "alternative" news, despite occasional rumors that nobody who reads Rolling Stone reads this stuff and that Rolling Stone's national affairs column will be slated for removal. After all, this magazine does for rock music listeners what People magazine does for TV-watchers. At any rate, Rolling Stone used to have a column by William Greider, and it featured one of the only pieces to be published during the 2000 election season criticizing GW Bush's atrocious record as Governor of Texas. This issue features a panel discussion on tomorrow's most important political event.

Unfortunately, it's not much of a debate. The panelists mostly respond to prepared questions, so (for instance) we don't get to contest the panel chair's question "What about the people who say we're going to run out of oil by midcentury?" That's not the problem -- the problem is that the price of oil is likely to get out of control long before then. Nor do we get to contest the corporate shill's response: "At BP we believe there will be plenty of oil for a long time" (yes, but at what price?) and "The question isn't whether there will be supply in the future but whether there will be demand" (since the world makes practically everything out of oil today, how is demand supposed to be a "question" in the future?). Nor do we get to contest the self-appointed "expert"'s assumption that "what drives change is price signals," with the least suspicion that it may be too late by the time the price signals kick in.

In fact, one of the strongest arguments for ecosocialism is that the world must band together and create an alternative energy infrastructure in disregard of the capitalist system's price signals because price signals (and the impending rush to wean the world from its oil addiction that they will bring) will not save us from the coming oil shortage. Further discussion can be found at the Running On Empty site.


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