More on high oil prices (so-called $4 gas) and why it's not that bad

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Image:Oil Prices Medium Term.png
A friend of mine (actually I translate the odd article there too) sent me this link to follow up on a post I wrote ten days ago about high oil prices and the benefit it can have on technology, and other difficult situations in particular and how they can provide a spur for innovation and growth. There seems to be a perfect timeframe and intensity for difficult situations that spurs innovation to the next level, and gives enough time for the new innovation to sink in. If the intensity is too low (in this case, if gas is still not too expensive) then innovation won't happen in the first place, and if the timeframe is too short then once the situation has passed people will sink back into their old habits and forget about the innovation they were using before when things were difficult.

This applies to just about everything in life, such as university: people in university are generally somewhat poor, paying for tuition with loans and working part-time jobs to supplement their lives, but at the same time there's a bright future a few years ahead if they work hard enough, so the current situation spurs people to work harder at self-improvement. This is also why a lot of bands only produce good albums for the first few years. After a few years of success the drive to succeed in spite of all odds kind of fades away into a type of soft, comfortable new reality.

Anyway, to the article. Here are some reasons why high gas prices can be a good thing:

  • A boom in mass transit. That's obvious, as many people can't afford expensive gas.
  • Lower obesity. More people are walking and biking.
  • Fewer accidents. Less cars on the road = fewer accidents.
  • Shorter commutes. Less cars on the road = less traffic.
And some more. See the article for more details.


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