January 18, 2012


Daniel Yergin, The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World (New York: The Penguin Press, 2011) (This is not a riveting tale, but an important tale. We take the availability of energy and energy sources for granted. This is surprising in light of many of us having experienced some form of power outage due to various causes (torrential rains, ice storms, snow storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, windstorms, blackout, brownout, equipment malfunctions, etc.). These are temporary. Sometime life threatening, but mainly inconvenient. Yet, many off us have near mental breakdown when, say, the lose of electricity means we cannot recharge our cell phones, watch television, use our computers, get coffee from our favorite coffee shop. What would it be like were the music to stop and energy were not readily available, or its availability about as reliable as some third-world country? Would we ever recover? Would we kill each other? People shoot people at gas stations when gas is temporarily in short supply. What would happen were there no gas for a month? For several months? Don't expect the American Exceptionalism, markets, capitalism, and the rule of law to save our sorry butts. Think Mad Max. Think The Road Warrior. Think Beyond Thunderdome. The downside of globalization is that there is no where to run to when the proverbial crap hits the proverbial fan. We all, to mix the metaphors, go down the toilet together. Food for thought: In a November 4, 2011, Associated Press item captioned "Tempers flare over 6 days of Conn. power outages." Michael Melia reported: "Tempers are snapping as fast as the snow-laden branches that brought down power wires across the Northeast last weekend, with close to 300,000 Connecticut customers still in the dark and the state's biggest utility warning them not to threaten or harass repair crews." "Angry residents left without heat as temperatures drop to near freezing overnight have been lashing out at Connecticut Light & Power: accosting repair crews, making profane criticisms online and suing. In Simsbury, a hard-hit suburban town of about 25,000 residents, National Guard troops deployed to clear debris have been providing security outside a utility office building." After six days only! And in relatively tame Connecticut. My, my!).