Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Oil prices resume upward progress, but the interesting bit is this: "Soaring demand from fast-growing China is widely seen as one reason for the tight market."

Now, China has a funny relationship with the world, especially in the light of the news that it's to develop its own standards (as well as its own Linux and its own CPU). It wants to maintain independence, but is increasingly involved with other countries, as can be seen by the interest in trading there, plus its oil. Perhaps its been reading up on Jefferson, and is sticking to the motto "[Friendship and] free trade with all, entangling alliances with none".

However, as the US have proven, reliance on fundamental foreign sources for a domestic economy is risky, and a route that I would think that the Chinese are understandably cautious of. If they have any sense, they'll pursue two routes:

  1. Undergo major investment in local sources of oil, obviously. This would have to be seen as a stop-gap solution (depending on the timeframe being looked at, naturally), but would have the added incentive of having increased value to the outside world

  2. Invest in self-contained, sustainable energy sources so that the economy no longer depends on otuside sources

So, 2 points (that may also be relevant to Oli's hopes to get governments to invest in sustainability):

  1. Seeing as the Western world is quite happy to carry on consuming as we consume, with no fundamental change to where our energy comes from, could we see the major breakthroughs (in terms of both technology and policy) for alternative energies come from a Communist empire, i.e. China? (Note also that they have the possibly-necessary scale available, plus no "barriers to entry" as a free market may do - if they want to enforce it, they perhaps could do so more than we could here)

  2. Is it fair to say that a desire for independence, by any nation state, may result in sustainable energy infrastructures being adopted more quickly? This could maybe be thought of as a "large scale" concept of the various "new-agers" in the West striving for independence from the state and the economy, and so developing the technologies as a matter of necessity.

Could be interesting over the next 200 years.

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