Monday, June 16, 2008

Thinking Outside the Gauge

Gas/petrol prices are sky-rocketing.  Here in Britain they can be be as high as £1.20 per litre (that's almost $10.00 a gallon).  In the States it is considerably cheaper, but still outrageously beyond what people have been used to, with some areas paying up $4.50 per gallon.  I was speaking to a friend in the States and she told me reports were around that the oil companies were making record profits.  It was her opinion that the government should rein them in by forcing them to lower their prices.  I must admit that I had to disagree.  It isn't because I believe the government hasn't the right to regulate prices (actually, for me the jury is still out on that one), but because I would hope for a response that gets us out of playing the oil companies' game altogether.

For argument's sake, let us say that the government does begin to consider a programme of reining in the oil companies and their exorbitant profits. Surely, in order to avoid regulation, the oil executives will voluntarily lower prices.  However, we are still playing their game.  We are still thinking 'inside the gauge'.  Without a doubt prices would eventually rise again and the entire issue would again come up.  Much more helpful would be for the government to stop listening to the oil companies altogether and be incredibly serious about developing ways in which our need for them would be obsolete.  It would mean the government and people of countries doing something really courageous. It would probably mean they'd have to stop paying any attention to the oil lobbies and the well-being of oil companies. It would be a risk, but it would send a clear signal saying 'We are not playing by your rules anymore.  We are going to really do things differently. We are going to think and act "outside the gauge"'. With the their backs to the oil companies, governments could spend real time, money and effort in finding new and creative ways of making all our 21st century gizmos go; at the same time encouraging with genuine incentives those who develop new ways forward and those who step out of their comfort zones and make use of them. Don't deal with oil companies at all, simply leave with no customers.  Oil prices would come down pretty quickly, but then we just wouldn't care

Now, I will be the first to admit that I am not an economist and what I am proposing here would be laughed out of an serious business person's office.  On the other hand,  spirituality I know, and I think spirituality does come into play here.  It is the spirituality of looking at events and situations with truly new eyes, instead of continuing to run faster and faster on the same treadmill thinking it will take us somewhere different.  I also know that the really great advances in history were as a result of people not simply doing things differently but thinking things differently.  It means thinking new rules and new ways.  I believe that as nations and as a species we will be facing many new challenges and issues in the coming years and old ways of doing things will simply not do. Thinking outside the box (or the gauge) will be will be make the difference between survival and extinction. 

2 comments:

ronan said...

Typing in "patron saint of oil" in google had an interesting result. First entry is the luckymojo site. Lucky mojo manufactures hoodoo oils it seems.

The actual heading of the first google entry is Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.

Google's search engine was clearly having a bad day or else telling me something.

And yes Bill O Reilly at Fox News is after the oil companies too for "hosing" americans.

You get strange company these days.

PS sad to see that a google search on ronan fox which used to bring up "the most fertile man in ireland" high up the listings. It is way down now as a dvd on buy.com

Eric D said...

Luis - Interesting post, and I'm all for looking at this through new eyes. I encourage you and others to keep up that kind of thinking until a truly new view is formed that can persuade me that my view is in error.

My view is that oil is stored energy, there aren't any other useful stored energy sources we aren't already using, and human use has overwhelmed what we can profitably extract. In short, it's a long slide downward. Individuals and communities can insulate themselves from the high cost by creating walkable areas, but they cannot insulate themselves from the world economy. Consider: www.theoildrum.com for multiple views.