Oil Rents – Drill for Health Care!

Eddie of Hidden Unities sent me this post to think about:

Marginal Revolution: Drill, drill, drill?: the economics of drilling
Under the authors’ understanding of incidence, consumers wouldn’t benefit much at all because oil prices would not fall noticeably. Still, drilling makes economic sense if the loss of environmental amenities is valued at less than $1,141 a person (per American, not per Alaskan) and that was with a price of oil roughly half of today’s price.

Much of the anti-drilling talk misses the point: even if drilling does not free us from foreign oil, it redirects “rents” (payments for oil in excess for what’s needed to economically produce that oil) from Gap countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia to our government, and our taxpayers.

According to the calculation at Marginal Revolution, oil drilling would essentially pay for a $1,141 health care insurance payment for every American every year. That would be good for business, good for health, and good for America.

John Robb on how the Seam can fight the Gap

In the past, I’ve occasionally been hard on John Robb’s theories. I’ve made fair criticisms. Robb has previously focused on very angry men, superempowered individuals who would lash out in acts of violence. Of course, such actors can only create random violence, and so their effects will be drowned out in the noise. Robb also focused on terrorist groups attacking the economies of their enemies, but terrorist organizations are much smaller than states, and by trying to take down the economies of their enemies they often are attacking their enemy at the strongest point. Very foolish.

However, John Robb is exactly right on how seam states like Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova can defend themselves against Russia. Russia is a Gap state with a brittle, fragile economy. Indeed, “Russia” is almost just another name for “Gazprom and her mecenaries.” Attacking the mercenaries attacks Russia will she is strong. Attacking Gazprom attacks Russia will she is weak:

Beneficially for these countries, the costs of maintaining a defensive posture that relies on systems disruption is nearly zero. There is no need to maintain a “toy army” or any defensive systems at all. In fact, it’s likely preferable not to put up any fight at all during a Russian incursion to minimize damage/casualties. What is needed are small teams (given how may in these countries already speak Russian and can pass for Russian) that can disrupt pipelines, powerlines, etc., which are very inexpensive to maintain (another option is to purchase guest workers/criminals to do the job). Further, some of these countries have a well developed software industry and can generate cyberattacks on Russian corporate targets. Even better, these countries can invite anyone in the world offended by the Russian action, through sites that provide target lists/exploits and offensive software, to join in the attacks (bounties/rewards could be offered for exceptional attacks). In many cases, the returns on investment (ROIs) for these disruptions can top one million $ to one $.

Every country that borders Russia or has friends that do should be studying how they can attack Russia’s hydrocarbon infrastructure. The simpe stupidity of Russia’s invasion of Georgia has already taken 40% off the Russian stock market. Imagine how much more painful that war could have been if Georgian special forces went Robbian, and began attacking Gazprom’s oil infrastructure across Russia.

The Coming Popularity of al Qaeda

I have argued before that because of the Left’s fascination with “other voices,” al Qaeda will become a hip movement on college campuses (in the sense that Che is now or the Viet Cong once was) . This will happen in a generation after 9/11.

We’re already seeing signs of this. Among those 18 to 29 (who were about 11 to 21 at 9/11/01), twice as many people believe the U.S. government Let It Happen On Purpose — that is, the US government used al Qaeda as a patsy to achieve its own goals.

Gene Expression: Who carried out 9/11? Views Differ….
Question: “There are three main schools of thought regarding the 9/11 attacks. The first theory is the official story, and maintains that 19 Arab fundamentalists executed a surprise attack which caught US intelligence and military forces off guard. The second theory known as Let It Happen argues that certain elements in the US government knew the attacks were coming but consciously let them proceed for various political, military and economic motives; and the third theory Made It Happen contends that certain US government elements actively planned or assisted some aspects of the attacks. Based upon your knowledge of 9/11 events and their aftermath, which theory are you more likely to agree with?”

How long before we see an American presidential campaign worker wear an Osama bin Laden t-shirt? We’ve already seen love of the Communist terrorist Che among campaign workers.

Update: Purpleslog agrees.